Erotic Bodywork; what it is and how it could benefit you!
I had supervision with Betty Martin (inventor of the Wheel of Consent) the other day. She responded to my list of confusions, puzzles, exhaustions and troubles with this instruction…
“Receive Erotic Massage.”
She then explained. “It teaches you that you do not have to DO anything to be enough”.
What I did about it…
Two days later, I was lying on my own massage table and a friend (and former lover) was touching me playfully and responding to my requests for touch and massage. I was in a state that you can only really get into with one-way touch. A state where I was really receiving, but that I was responsible for the sensations in my body, for asking for what I wanted and for regulating and playing with my own pleasure using breath and movement and sound. This is like a practice I recall doing on my Certified Sexological Bodywork course – Erotic Massage Dancing!
Now, I have SEX. I have sex with a sexual partner. We never do Erotic Massage Dancing or anything like it. The sex we have is focused on ‘Partner Engagement’ which is very much about the attraction, about who each other is, and two-way, mutual touch and pleasure. It is also often happening under a spell of lust, fantasy, a touch of kink and sometimes accessories. This is so awesome I do not actually have words for it!
On my massage table with my friend, though, I had a very interesting and different experience…
- The whole experience was one-way touch, which means that I was only concerned with receiving touch for my pleasure for that time.
- I was able to notice what my somatic interventions (like changing my breathing) did to my inner experience, pleasure and arousal.
- I felt responsible and accountable for my own pleasure.
- I noticed and enjoyed subtle touch and sensation that usually I might be a bit ‘mindless’ about or blocked off from.
- I took on board some ways of being touched that I do not ask for much, but I should!
- I was taken back to those early days of my training, where I was introduced to the idea of erotic practices and to the videos of very lively pairs practising together.
- I am reminded of an earlier blog I wrote about Creating your Own Practice Space – see https://www.body-curious-sexcoach.co.uk/practice-space-pleasure/
Last night I drove back from Quintimacy Birmingham, a weekend event that included demos and teaching about erotic touch. The whole weekend, and particularly Day 2, was about erotic practice/ bodywork. Participants left with tools and practices to use in their life. And more than that, an experienced, ‘felt sense’ of their bodies, their intimate parts, their boundaries and limits, longings and desires that can only come from immersive bodywork practice.
On a Facebook post the other day, one of my colleagues used the term ‘Sexual Peer’. I think you could equally use the term ‘Erotic Peer’. They said ‘a sexual peer is someone you believe and trust is emotionally and erotically intelligent, experienced and empathic’. This really resonated for me and having sexual partners who fit this description is incredibly valuable, yet I suspect not many of us think like this when navigating dating and relationships. Being polyamorous, I don’t believe anyone can meet ALL of our needs, so perhaps not all of our sexual or play partners need to tick these boxes, but I feel it is important to me to at least have this connection with someone I am sharing myself intimately with, or to be able to dialogue about sex and pleasure with someone on this kind of wavelength. Or maybe we gain experience of this with a therapeutic erotic or sexological practitioner.
These two concepts, Erotic Bodywork (as opposed to simply sex) and Erotic Peership are very interesting to me, and something we were cultivating at Quintimacy and through this important work.
What are your thoughts? Is Erotic Bodywork something you might benefit from? Who might be your Erotic Peers? How can you welcome or cultivate more of these into your life?