During my first professional sexuality training, I was explicitly encouraged to have no boundaries. If there was a man I didn’t want to do an intimate exchange with, I was told I should work through my resistance, that my boundaries were due to my ‘issues’. And so I did. When the exercise one afternoon was having my genitals touched by every single man in the group, one after the other, I went with it. My trauma was triggered so hard that I disassociated and couldn’t make eye contact or speak properly for 24 hours. Now, seven years later, I find myself working through layers of trauma that I accumulated through this sexual ‘healing’ training.
I was guided to become a somatic sex educator and work giving sessions to others, and we did not learn ANYTHING about trauma and having boundaries. The world is reeling from the #metoo movement and the ‘conscious’ sexuality scene too is so rife with the overstepping of boundaries, it’s absurd. Sometimes these transgressions are big – like teachers seducing students – but more often than not, we overstep our boundaries so consistently in smaller, subtler ways, that we’re not even aware of it until they accumulate to the point that a seemingly minor transgression creates a large trigger.
One of the effects of trauma is that we disconnect from our bodies and their guidance – thereby opening ourselves up to an increased likelihood of overstepping our boundaries, triggering our trauma and accumulating even more. Combine this truth with our contemporary urban lifestyles + fried nervous systems + our need for intensity + the world of conscious sexuality events with facilitators who have very little understanding of trauma = total clusterfuck and recipe for disaster!!
While this movement of conscious sexuality workshops and events has been wonderful for supporting us to release shame, I dread to think of the trauma that has been accumulated in them.
If there is anything I have learned in these years it is to slow down and work with subtleties. Having adventures and learning sexual/spiritual techniques in a workshop can be fun, but for me where the real power lies is learning to tune into the subtleties of our bodies and trusting their wisdom again, remembering that what is most important is ensuring we are in our integrity in every single encounter we engage in, moment to moment.