23 Dec Somatic Sex Education Informed Psychotherapy: A Manifesto for Sex Therapists
By Martin Vera
1. Sex is our birthright.
Sex, pleasure, and eros are our birthright. However, it is also our birthright to have as much or as little of these energies in our lives and relationships as we would like. As SSE-informed psychotherapists, we help our clients to cultivate the type of relationship to sex, pleasure, and eros that they desire, within the type of relationship(s) that they prefer.
2. Gender is fluid.
Gender and sexual orientation identities are socially constructed, fluid and can change across a lifetime. As SSE-informed psychotherapists, we help our clients to explore their relationship to their gender and sexual orientation in an open, accepting, and non-judgmental manner.
3. We live in a sexually traumatized society.
The ongoing history of colonialism, corporatism, patriarchy, and white supremacy has sexually traumatized our society by obscuring our connection to our communal and ancestral wisdom and replacing it with a dissociated and fragmented relationship to sex. As a result, we have lost access to our own sexual embodiment. As SSE-informed psychotherapists, we expose the tactics of colonialism, corporatism, and white supremacy so that our clients can build compassion towards themselves (and their partners) about the sexual concerns that they are experiencing. We help our clients to cultivate sexual embodiment by reconnecting them to their somatic, communal, and ancestral wisdom.
4. Consent is crucial (and fluid).
As a result of living in a sexually traumatized society, consent is often absent during sex and erotic activities. Due to a lack of verbal transparency, many people engage in unwanted sexual practices–this can lead to re-traumatization which can further reduce a person’s capacity to engage in consensual practices. As SSE-informed psychotherapists, we help our clients learn how to give and receive consent. We emphasize that consent is fluid, and that every person has the right to withdraw their consent whenever they like.
5. Do your own work.
As SSE-informed psychotherapists, we are not spared from the effects of living in a sexually traumatized society. In fact, it is likely that our own traumatic histories led us to become psychotherapists in the first place. Therefore, as SSE-informed psychotherapists, it is vital that we explore and understand the effects of our own traumatic histories so that we can respond to our clients from a mature, grounded, and unbiased perspective. Further, it is only for a place of our own sexual embodiment that we can effectively help cultivate sexual embodiment in another. Otherwise, we may be prone to reinforcing sexual disembodiment in our clients.
6. Moving beyond pronouns.
While we encourage the use of preferred pronouns and land acknowledgments to demonstrate respect for each other and the land that we work on, we believe in a human rights approach that moves beyond the language that we use and prioritizes the actions and policies that we adopt. As SSE-informed psychotherapists, we develop policies and act in ways that promote the rights of all humans (even those we disagree with) to housing, healthcare, employment, education, democracy, freedom of movement, and clean air, food, and water.