Have you heard of the work of Sexological Bodyworkers?
You may have, if you’ve watched “Sex, Love and Goop” on Netflix, produced by Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s a practice aimed at helping people to have new experiences with their bodies, sensations, sexuality and emotions. It can include full body work including the genitals, also known as yoni massage or vaginal mapping for women or Lingam massage for men. Anal massage and anal mapping can be also part of the bodywork.
Sometimes known as somatic sex education, Sexological Bodyworkers help people understand their desires, while also helping them to heal from trauma, such as childbirth, surgery or a functional problem like vaginal dryness, anorgasmia, premature ejaculation or difficulty getting or maintaining an erection.
Because it is considered sex work in the United States, the therapy is banned in 49 states. In the UK, it is practiced legally and is not considered as sex work. The practice is legal in Switzerland and in many Northern European countries, also in Spain where La Casa Dorada is based.
Unfortunately, in France, this practice is considered as sex work, which is considered as prostitution, and is therefore forbidden. On the other hand, group teaching can be carried out (see La Casa Dorada workshops).
Practitioners may include genital or anal touch in their scope of practice, as may a pelvic floor specialist or a midwife. However, for some patients, intimate touching may not be necessary. This practice requires serious training before practitioners can offer it within the framework of a strict code of ethics.
A professional qualification is only obtained after a training period of two seven-month periods. The training lasts over 600 hours and includes a thorough study of anatomy, intensive and trauma-informed practice, and 50 supervised individual sessions. Facilitation and presentation of group courses on various sexuality-related topics are also included in the professional training. When all the practical tests and supervised sessions have been completed, the person is recognized as a “Certified Sexological Bodyworker” (CSB).
Several professional training schools are currently being developed on different continents. At the Casa Dorada in Spain, Christian Gouttenoire leads courses for women and men who wish to integrate the practices of Body Sexologists for personal and private use.
About the NETFLIX series “Sex, Love and Goop”
Sexological Bodywork practice is discussed in detail in the series “Sex, Love and Goop” on Netflix.
In what cases can we call on their services?
There are several reasons why people may go to see a Sexological Bodyworker, either because they:
Wish to rediscover their body, often after a change, such as childbirth, surgery or after being assaulted.
Recognize that they are stuck in a pattern that no longer satisfies them.
Have difficulty asking for what they want, or even knowing what they want in the area of touch, caress and intimacy.
Experience pain and scarring following sex reassignment surgery or childbirth.
Have questions about body image.
Do not know how to please themselves.
They have not received sex education that makes sense to them.
To have better sex.
More choice in orgasm, i.e., they may be unable to have an orgasm, they have an early orgasm or they have a late orgasm.
Less dependence on porn.
Anxiety or trauma around intimacy.
Bored / wanting to do something new.
An improvement in their libido.
To experience more pleasure.
To feel disconnected from their eroticism / genitals.
To learn to control and channel their sexual energy.
To learn to communicate better with their partners in the intimate sphere.
Contrary to the idea of “fixing” people, Sexological Bodyworkers accompany, teach and help people to get to know their bodies. This approach empowers them to be healthier and happier with themselves in their private and family lives as well as in their professional and social settings. “Practitioners provide a neutral space, free of expectations and performance, to practice and integrate new tools and techniques. Probably the most valuable aspect is being able to talk about what you feel inside. Helping people explore their sexuality and work through sexual issues or concerns can be healing and catharsis.”
So why is this considered controversial?
It goes without saying that you should check a practitioner’s credentials before even considering Sexological Bodywork and the concept of touch therapy will certainly not be suitable for everyone.
The practice of Sexological Bodyworkers is controversial because it works with the client and allows them to experience arousal and pleasure for educational and healing purposes and there are powerful cultural inhibitions about this. For most people, the only context they can imagine for genital touching is between romantic and sexual partners or in a clinical setting where arousal is effectively taboo.
It may happen, depending on the need, that some sessions do not include these aspects of genital touching and may not even include touching at all. We Sexological Bodyworkers believe that the practice should be legal everywhere and for everyone, as it is an educational modality, the scope of which allows for genital touching to be included if and when appropriate, within a delimited framework and a clear code of ethics where intimate touching is one way.