Sex and Relationship Coaching for a Passionate, Connected and Fulfilling Life

In this important and timely NYT article, Amy Sohn looks at how some forms of couple’s therapy may not get to the root of sexual issues. A whole new generation of therapists are approaching sex differently and The Somatica Method is at the cutting edge of approaches that teach couples connection and intimacy, but go beyond that to help couples make sex hot and exciting again (or for the first time). In our practice we see so many couples who have a wonderful connection but sex has gone by the wayside.

In our upcoming book, Making Love Real, we cover how sex can be a big part of the glue that holds relationships together, but that sex and what makes sex hot is largely misunderstood. We help each person in a couple share their unique sexual psyches, their deepest and most vulnerable longings, so that sex can touch into what it truly arousing and fulfilling. We are so excited to be a part of this important direction in couple’s coaching and sex therapy.

The Sessions is a movie about sexual surrogacy — a form of sexual therapy in which a psychotherapist, surrogate, and client work together as a team to support the client in overcoming emotional and functional sexual difficulties. The story is based on the experience between a young Cheryl Cohen Greene, an actual surrogate who still lives and practices in Berkeley, and one of her clients, Mark O’Brien, a Polio sufferer who was paralyzed except for some movement in his fingers, toes, face, and eyes. While it was a wonderful idea to tell the story of surrogacy and how it actually helped Mark, who eventually married a woman and who stayed in connection with Cheryl until he died, it was an unfortunately unrealistic depiction of their relationship.

Within Hollywood’s relationship lexicon – a lexicon that cannot imagine intimate sexual connection outside of the romantic trajectory where you meet, fall in love, and then must either marry or part ways forever – the idea that a man and a woman could “practice” sex, feel affection and connection, and not fall in love is impossible. Unfortunately, instead of showing the actual relationships that surrogates have with their clients – a relationship of non-judgmental acceptance, supportive care and affection where the client can explore, heal, and expand around their own sexuality – Hollywood had to make Cheryl and Mark start to fall in love and, as a result, have to end their relationship. This is not the true story of Cheryl and Mark and it is not at all representative of a surrogate-client relationship.

We feel this is an important distinction because, as with any experiential practices around sex, our cultural misunderstandings about sex and relationship can get in the way of accessing important tools for learning and growth. The truth of sex and relationships is that there are as many different ways to combine them as there are people who engage in them and, while we try to fit these connections neatly into the expected trajectory, they do not stay within these culturally expected boundaries. People have sex without intimacy, marriages without sex, and affairs even when they still love their partners. In our upcoming book for couples, we will be talking about how to have a real, honest relationship that accounts for the beautiful uniqueness of every human being and every relationship, a beautiful uniqueness that was impossible for Hollywood to depict in The Sessions.

We just finished teaching the 2013 Somatica Professional Training of Sex Therapy and Relationship Coaching. Our students reported that it was a powerful, life changing experience. We had such a wonderful time teaching and watching our students grow and transform in front of our eyes. We are very excited to spread the Somatica Method all over the US and around the world, and are looking forward to seeing the new Somatica practitioners bring their unique talents to helping people create mind-blowing sex and fulfilling relationships.

Here is some of the feedback that we got:

“This has been one of the best educational experiences of my life.”

“This class was life-changing. It touched on all the areas in my life that needed work and I feel like I had the tools and guidance I needed to make the necessary improvements so I can offer these tools to others. Celeste & Danielle are the real deal. They know their stuff and offer it in a way that anyone can learn the tools and strategies for not just a healthy sex life, but for a healthier LIFE.”

“Just amazing! I never felt a teacher being so open, vulnerable, funny, easy and absolutely brilliant.”

“The Somatica Training was invaluable in providing me with a framework to work with clients on sex, intimacy and relationships. Tantra and Sexological Bodywork provided me with embodiment skills and understanding the importance of breath, sound and movement. Somatica provides the missing element, which is central to human sexuality, of emotional connection in an embodied state. Somatica is the glue that holds all of my training and education in sexuality together!”

“I honestly can’t imagine any other training that could move and inspire so much compassion and self-love. There’s nothing in my life that compares to Somatica.”

“Coming from the MFT (Marriage and Family Therapy) world I felt lots of arenas around sexuality did not ever get discussed. After taking this class I have learned not only about how to help my clients, I also learned so much about myself in relationships. It is incredible that we can go through life so disconnected and not even know. For anyone looking to better understand themselves in relationship or by themselves, I highly recommend this course. It will challenge you in the most profound way.”

“Really amazing and life-changing. So different from anything I’ve done. Celeste & Danielle have a way of articulating things that’s at once profound and straightforward. Everything is so applicable to what’s going on with me in my life.”

Are you a professional in the therapy, coaching, sexuality or sexological bodywork field, or someone who wants to share their sex-positive attitude through a career helping clients have the healthiest, happiest sex lives possible? Expand your professional skill set, grow your erotic repertoire, and spread the love with The Somatica Method. Apply for a seat in our 2014 Somatica Method Professional Training today!

This is a great and very balanced article on sex surrogacy recently published by CBS News. We have found that a very small subset of our clients need sex surrogates, but that most of our client are able to benefit greatly from the level of practical, experiential sex coaching we provide. Both women and men can overcome sexual dysfunction and expand their sexual horizons through the Somatica Method  and we have also helped folks evaluate if a surrogate is the right way to go for them!

In honor of the Giants winning the World Series (yay Giants!), we figured we’d offer a few brief words about sex and baseball. Baseball, like every other sport or physical activity, takes a certain kind of body-based learning. Do you think that the first time Renteria picked up a bat, he hit a home run? No way. And, as with baseball and any type of embodied learning, being a great lover takes more than just practice, it also takes a great coach! 😉 Let’s stay with the home run metaphor for a minute. Technique is very important, but there’s so much more – just having a great swing still won’t get you a home run. There’s having the desire, the confidence and the passion to do it, there’s knowing and playing by the rules, picking up on the pitcher’s pitches, and feeling into your own body and knowing what you are capable of. Much of the information out there on being a great lover is so limited to technique, however, that you might learn the perfect swing but will never get yourself a big-league at-bat to show it off. If you really want your lover to have unforgettable experiences with you over and over, you gotta bring all of yourself – desire in your eyes, confidence in your hands, connection with your passion and intention in your kiss. You have to read your lover’s cues, and be connected with them. Don’t just settle for a great swing – be the best player.  We’re here if you need us, we want to be your Bruce Bochy of Sex.

We were delighted to read the news this week that funding for abstinence only education has been cut drastically and that a large grant now exists for a more (and in some cases a much more) comprehensive sexuality education. These new research-supported programs strengthen young people in many aspects of their lives – including work, general education, and life skills.

While we are delighted that these programs are expanding their purview, we feel there is an even better way to approach sex education. This country already places plenty of emphasis on its work ethic – what we feel what is missing in our education as a country is an ethic of pleasure. We imagine a world in which every person feels entitled to having and giving pleasure. A world in which each person is also taught to take account of other’s pleasure and make sure we are sharing pleasure with others instead of taking it from them without regard for their needs or feelings. Sex education, without pleasure education, is empty and leads to huge, lifetime disappointments around sex in our culture. When it comes to young people, as a culture, we fear talking about pleasure because we fear that it might encourage young people to have sex. However, young people get messages about the pleasures of sex everywhere – except those from whom they really need it, namely parents and teachers. What people don’t realize is that an ethic of pleasure is also protective for young people. Research on young girls’ sexuality found that those who were told that they had a right to pleasure actually ended up making more conscious and communicative decisions around sex, were more likely to wait longer to have it, and were more likely to use protection when they did. We hope someday to live in a world that is based on an ethic of pleasure – having it, giving it, and receiving it – and we hope that sex education for people of all ages will have pleasure at its foundation.

It’s a brand new year in a brand new decade and those of us here in the U.S. are encouraged to make some New Year’s Resolutions. We only have one: to never make a New Year’s Resolution again. In January people sign up for the gym in record numbers, by April, those numbers have been cut in half. And it’s the same with diets and cooking classes and organizing your house. This year, we have a better idea, we invite you to have a New Year’s Revolution. 

What’s the difference? Glad you asked! A New Year’s Revolution is when we stop pushing ourselves and criticizing ourselves into change. Instead, we take a gentle, curious and loving approach to ourselves. This way, we find a deep place of peace and acceptance about our life choices, our bodies, our sexual desires and fantasies, and our failures and disappointments. It is amazing what happens when you stop pushing, you actually start living your life the way that you want to live it. A Resolution (boo!) is when you listen to the voices that you’ve taken on from the outside telling you what you what’s wrong with you and what you are supposed to do to fix it. A Revolution  (yea!) is when you reclaim your birthright, your connection to the inner voice that actually knows what you really want so that you can feel comfortable, safe, joyful and fulfilled.