All life is sacred.
Your body is a living temple.
Sex is raw life force; it is connection to all of life.
We are born of sex.
Sexuality is sacred.
What if we had grown up with these life-affirming truths? What if our sexuality was being honored as our birthright? What if the sanctity of our bodies was a core value held by society, mirrored by our family and reflected by our community? What if all consensual explorations of sexuality were seen as part of our human experience? What if diversity was celebrated and all individual choices based on consent respected?
In our society, sex is tricky. The invention of the pill and the sexual revolution of the 60’s have given (foremost white privileged) women much greater control over their sexuality and made sex outside of conventional heterosexual marriage acceptable, yet we cannot escape the commercialization of sex and particularly women as sexual objects and a prevalence of rape culture, reflecting anything but true sexual liberation.
While the equal rights of non-hetero-normative people are threatened or denied, sexual assault perpetrators on college campuses so often walk away free from their violent actions due to a failed justice system and sexual abuse is a leading health risk for children, most often perpetrated by a family member or known person.
Often, children who were abused at a young age were robbed of their natural innocence of exploring their own bodies. An inherent curiosity about their bodies and the bodies of others and a natural desire for pleasure has been taken, twisted, and used through the acts of violence and for the selfish need of the perpetrator. Many who have experienced sexual abuse and the exploitation of their bodies have learned to mistrust their own bodies and emotions, and may feel afraid or disconnected from their own sensuality, desires and experiences of pleasure. Some may have "learned" to hate their bodies or feel disturbed by their sexual turn-ons and fantasies and some take refuge in self-punishing or self-denying behaviors.
As therapists or health practitioners, working with those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, we assist people in the process of uncovering and reclaiming their own sensuality, sexuality, desire and passion.
A sex-affirmative or sex-positive approach to trauma-informed healing encourages and supports survivors to say ‘no’ as much as to say ‘yes’; to set boundaries as much as to welcome intimacy and ultimately to freely choose one's sexual experiences and expressions from an empowered place and move from coping to thriving in your sexuality as much as in the rest of your life.
Those who are healing from sexual abuse and violence can reclaim their sexuality through the use of hypnotherapy, Reiki or other trauma-informed care so that they may not only be free from flashbacks in intimate situations or enjoy sex free of triggers, but clients can also learn to utilize breathing techniques, guided imagery, dialogue with the body or energy healing techniques to release blockages that may be preventing a full and fulfilling sexual expression of the self.
When we work on reclaiming sex, we work not just with our bodies but also with our minds. Yes, we invite our senses to open to the present moment and we learn to trust ourselves in the exploration of pleasure. AND we work on removing the damaging layers of traumatic memories and experiences as well as societal, cultural and political messages. We help uncover that authentic core self, that core that is whole and complete and alive with vital life force. Clients learn to use the power of their own sexual energy as a positive, creative force in their lives.
To reclaim the sexual self, ones own sexual power, we call sex back from all the places it was taken from us, we call sex back from former lovers or those we wish we would not have been lovers with, we call sex back from those who violated us and those who disappointed, and we call sex back from those who make us feel sexy and those who don’t. Calling sex back means that this is your energy. It is life force energy running through all living things. You can begin to feel this energy up and down through your body connecting you to earth and sky.
Guiding those who have experienced sexual abuse in the process of reclaiming sex, we are assisting them also in releasing shame, guilt and suffering and reclaiming pleasure, passion, power and self-determination. Having access to our own vital life force allows us to use this energy to fuel all our endeavors, weather to dance, create art, garden, work, study, stand up for justice and equal rights or make love with our whole selves.