What is Somatic Sex Therapy?
It’s common for several of my clients to have had various other attempts at working through their sexual dysfunctions. Whether it’s erectile dysfunction, vaginismus, or premature ejaculation, a lot of people have talked with their doctors. Some have even gone to therapy.
A lot of people are helped by their physicians and other therapists. However, there are times that people feel like they just don’t make any progress, and they feel stuck. If you’re one of the people in this situation, you might benefit from Somatic therapeutic work. But what the heck is it? I’m going to do my best to make something complex concrete and simple to understand.
A Very Basic Way of Reconnecting
Our bodies have built in ways of orienting to our environment. This is instinctual. This helps us assess threats and respond accordingly. However, as we live our lives, it’s almost impossible to avoid facing extremely frightening and intense situations. The problem isn’t just that you face these situations, it’s that humans struggle to allow their bodies to move through these experiences. This is something that we’re still gaining knowledge about. What we do know is that our bodies hang onto past experiences and support and mindfulness therapy practices such as Somatic Experiencing can help us move through these experiences.
Don’t Worry, This Can Happen to Anyone
If you read that your sexual dysfunction can come from unfinished experiences in your body, you may experience shame. It’s important to know that this can literally happen to anyone. It’s also important to know that it’s not just negative sexual experiences that can lead to sexual dysfunctions. As our bodies have more and more unfinished business, it may make less room for pleasurable experiences such as sex.
Sometimes It’s Multiple Experiences Instead of Intense One-Time Events
Single, traumatic events can be a cause of sexual dysfunctions. However, out development can also play a major role. Sometimes that is how we learned about sex. Other times it comes from how we learned about ourselves as people. All of these experiences shape our knowledge, but they also shape how our bodies take in the touch of a sexual partner and the idea of sex itself.
Basic Isn’t Necessarily Easy
It’s hard for most of us to learn about how our bodies respond to our environments and people. We’re just not raised to step away from intellectual thinking and be present with our bodies in this way. So many times Somatic Therapy begins with becoming more familiar with what is happening in your body. Although that sounds simple, it’s not necessarily easy. Some people can name how they feel, but struggle to name the body based experiences of how they feel. Others struggle to name how they feel altogether. So the first part of somatic work is when you begin to learn the language of your body. Like learning any other new language, this can take some time. It’s well worth the wait.
After you gain more knowledge about your body, a lot of the healing happens on its own. Your body re-learns how to decompress in therapy with your therapist. As this happens more and more, you can add sex therapy strategies of touch with your partner to identify how your body is responding.
If you’re reading this and it makes some sense, and you’re still a little confused about Somatic Therapy, it’s OK. This is a basic overview and there are lots of nuanced elements to learning about your body in this way. You can look around on our website and you’ll find various pieces of information about this type of therapy. If you want to learn more about how it can help you or want to set up an appointment, please contact us today.