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why i’m a sex coach

You’d think, if I was trying to change the world – and I am – that I’d choose something more serious than, y’know, coaching people about sex.  I could be helping people transform their lives or become enlightened.  I could be saving the earth, empowering women, dismantling systems of oppression.

At first glance, sex might not seem all that serious or important.  Why?

  1. Because sex is adult play.
  2. Because it happens in the body.
  3. Because it’s private and nobody talks about it.
Fascinating that we might think these things are not important!  Let’s take a look at each of these things individually, shall we?

Sex is Adult Play

Aaaaaah, pleasure.  Never forget how hard our North American colonial ancestors worked to wipe this out.  WORK HARD.  DON’T HAVE FUN.  The protestant work ethic, and it’s accompanying disdain for all things pleasurable – especially sex – continues to leave its mark on American culture.  In its extreme form, we think having fun is capital “E” Evil: “idle hands are the Devil’s plaything” and all that.  More often we think of fun or play as useless and unimportant.  This couldn’t be less true.

As human animals, we require play.  Like all mammals, it stimulates the SEEKING system in our brains, described by neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp as “the granddaddy of the systems.”  It’s what makes us get up out of bed in the morning, makes us curious and interested in being in the world.

We give children permission to play, but forget that as adults play is still something we need.  Sometimes it comes out sideways, like when we accidentally spend hours googling, texting or haunting Twitter.  We have a basic need to explore, to experience new things.  Without it, we’re not as smart, our immune systems suffer, and we don’t live as long.  Not to mention that we’re just plain miserable.

Exploring purely for pleasure is not just good but necessary for our minds, bodies and spirits.  And what better playground to explore than our own sexuality?

Sex Happens in the Body

Most of what we value nowadays happens in the mind: science, technology, the information age.  Even what many of us do for fun happens outside us, often on a computer or TV screen.  We are passive observers of our lives and the world around us as we spiral down the rabbit hole of TV shows, video games, Facebook and internet forums.  We literally treat our bodies like they are robots being piloted around by our minds.  The only time we give our bodies any attention is when they don’t behave – don’t look or function the way we want.  And if we treat our own bodies this badly, it’s no wonder we do the same to the planet.

Much as we’d like to separate our minds and bodies, however, nature doesn’t make that distinction.  You are not piloting a robot: you are your body.  When you start living in the whole of your body and not just up in your head, you have access to a whole lot more information.  Your body can tell you how you really feel about things, instead of whatever (very convincing but nevertheless made-up) stories you have in your head.  Your body can tell you what’s sustainable, when you need to rest, when you need to play, and when your job or relationship is bad for you and you need to get out of there.  Your body can sense things before your mind can – it doesn’t need to understand the why or how of things.  It simply is.

Most of us numbed out of our bodies at an early age.  Maybe we were shamed into it, or maybe it just felt safer because everyone else was doing it.  We’re culturally numb, and the waking up can be painful.  But when we reclaim our bodies and our bodies’ desires we remember what it really feels like to live in the world.  When we live in the whole of our bodies it’s a whole lot easier to know, not just think, that we’re connected to everything and everyone else.

It’s a whole lot easier to know, not just think, that how we live and treat the planet matters.

Living in the whole of our bodies connects us to the whole of ourselves, and the whole of the planet.

CC Image Courtesy of HarmonyonPlanetEarth on Flickr

 

Sex is Private

I don’t know about you, but secrets always intrigue me.  What do we keep secret nowadays?  Our bank accounts, matters of national security, and oh yeah, our sex lives.  What’s up with that?

Usually, when we keep secrets, there’s a reason for it – and it’s not generally because “it’s not that important.”  When it comes to sex, I think it’s shame.  (That may well be true about bank accounts and national security as well, but we’ll leave those for another time.)  Deep down, despite our very best efforts, many of us still don’t think we should be having sex, or that we shouldn’t be enjoying it.  Maybe we think we’re doing it wrong.  Maybe we think we’re different from everyone else.  Whatever it is, it keeps us in a place of shame.

When we feel ashamed, it’s hard to take ownership of our lives.  We’re easier to push around.  We become sucker-consumers, believing ads that promise us “she’ll love you if you wear this cologne”  or “these designer jeans will get you laid.”  We do what Cosmo or porno or our partners tell us is sexy or desirable because we don’t even know what that looks like for ourselves.

What happens when we start actually talking about these intensely personal parts of our lives we feel so much shame about?  Well, we feel vulnerable, for one.  But when we risk vulnerability, we gain intimacy – with other people and with our own selves.  We are seen, maybe for the first time.  We realize we’re not the only ones with that problem, desire, or experience.  We stop worrying that we’re bad or different in some way and begin to accept ourselves.  If there’s something we want to explore, we go after it.  If we’d like to make some changes, we stop going in mental circles and get the information or help we need.  We start making better, more informed decisions –  an especially useful practice when it comes to safer sex!

Releasing shame empowers us to stop doing what we’re told and start being who we really are and want to be.

So you see…

…that’s why I’m a sex coach.  Sure, I could do something else that transforms people’s lives, saves the planet and dismantles systems of oppression… but why not do them all at once, and with a healthy dash of ease and pleasure?  Now that’s what I’m talking about.  And this world of transformation and empowerment, of pleasure and curiosity and befriending the earth: that’s the world I want to live in, and it’s the world me and others like me are creating.  Care to join us?