In staggering numbers, we are sexually, physically and emotionally abused as children – betrayed by the adults we rely on to survive. In later years, many of us experience unwanted sex, rape, and sexual violence. We hurt other people. We frighten ourselves. We are hated and punished for our sexual choices. And when people don’t have sex by the rules (and that means almost everyone), the punishments are real and they are terrible. Simply living in a sex-negative culture – where desire is so often shamed – profoundly wounds this most sacred, secret part of us.
We can become numb, psychically and physically. We can disassociate from our erotic capacities. Some people experience chronic pelvic constriction and pain. Some have little or no feeling in their genitals. Some respond to arousal by “shutting down” emotionally or physically. Some of us become hypersexual. Some feel we can only be aroused by extreme experiences or violent fantasies that cut through the numbness and allow our erotic feelings to unfold. Shame about our histories, bodies, (dis)abilities, desires and needs keep us isolated and untouched. So often, eroticism becomes entwined with self-hatred. Our lives and loves are distorted by self-defeating behaviors, obsessions, compulsions, and painful attachments.
Jack Morin describes what happens when negative core beliefs distort erotic experiences. They disrupt our ability to accept sexual pleasure. They draw us into self-defeating situations. They can create overwhelming, intense compulsions and obsessions that we feel unable to resist. And they restrain us from developing our full potential – not just sexually, but in other areas as well (The Erotic Mind, p. 226).
Sexual healing begins with acceptance – both self-acceptance, and the unconditional positive regard of another person. With self-acceptance and loving touch, we can become re-embodied, and allow the fullness of our erotic capacities to unfold. Compassion and self-affirmation expand as we make small and large decisions that promote our own best interests and nourish our respect for self and others.
Morin invites us to ask “What would my eroticism be without self-deprecation and fear as guiding principles?” The answers may be astounding!
Sex is a matrix of body, mind, spirit and emotions. Somatic Sex Education can be a shamanic tool for journeying into this matrix and healing the disconnects.
If you are over 18, watch this explicit FREE video on how Somatic Sex Education can be used for sexual healing.
Watch this discussion of Sexual Healing by Somatic Experiencing founder Peter Levine: