#193 – Pleasure as a Means of Healing Trauma – Kathy Slaughter

#193 – Pleasure as a Means of Healing Trauma – Kathy Slaughter

Listen to “193: Pleasure as a Means of Healing Trauma – Kathy Slaughter” on Spreaker.

Pleasure as a Means to Healing Trauma 

Kathy Slaughter introduces an interesting way of integrating pleasure, in both sexual and everyday activities, as a way to heal from trauma. She talks about what trauma does to our body and mind, how to regain the connection between the two, navigate healing in intimate relationships, recognize triggers, and how to trust and feel safe.  

Slaughter’s Interest in Healing from Trauma 

Kathy’s interest in this field of work stems from her decades of experience working with situations like domestic violence, substance abuse, and gender and sexuality struggles. Evolving from her own experience as well, Kathy embraced the idea of pleasure becoming a step in healing trauma.  

Integrating Sexual Pleasure in Trauma Healing & Its Relevance 

While it’s harder to incorporate pleasure in the initial stages of trauma survival, it can be experienced through soothing activities, like a hot bath. When you’re in the thriving stage, embracing pleasure can unlock a pool of resources of soothing strategies. Trauma disconnects people from themselves and the process to get the connection back varies for every trauma, but it’s also fundamentally the same and comes out of the need to feel safe and trust.  

Role of Physical Pleasure 

Kathy identifies behaviors her clients enjoy and reinforces those behaviors in everyday life which couples can transition into the bedroom. Once they start integrating pleasure into their daily life, they learn to be mindful of things around them that bring them pleasure, help with anxiety, pressure release, and sleep.  

Partner Pleasure in Healing from Trauma 

While healthy relationships can restore your connection with yourself, relationships that have trouble with intimacy through sex can experience pleasure in everyday things like holding hands or cuddling. Kathy suggests trauma survivors take individual or couples therapy to recognize triggers and learn how to not let them get in the way of intimacy. 

Fight, Flight, Freeze, Fawn Response & Sharing Responsibility 

A partner who tends to respond by fighting can snap in the bedroom when triggered, a partner with a risk of fleeing might respond by pulling away. Someone with a tendency to fawn might be prone to please, while someone whose response is to freeze might dissociate in the bedroom. Kathy suggests looking out for these responses to check in when it shows up.  

She believes that the partner initiating the activity has the primary responsibility to look out for triggers, while the other person as an adult has the responsibility to look out for themselves at all times. It’s about balancing, supporting, and being there for each other.  

Biography: 

Understanding how abuse happens, how to recover from it, and how communities can prevent abuse and respond to harm in life-affirming ways forms the basis of Kathy’s passion. Grounded in Social Work values and paradigms, Kathy has spent 15 years working on healing trauma and uncovering pleasure, agency, and safety in the consulting room. Currently, she leads a team of five at Soaring Heart Counseling, a sex-positive, queer-affirming, trauma-informed therapy practice in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

To connect with pleasure, Kathy enjoys practicing yoga and meditation, dancing, hiking, and planning outdoor adventures with friends at regional Burning Man festivals. 

Resorces and links: 

More info: 

 

 

 

#171 – God wants us to have pleasure – Rachel Alba

#171 – God wants us to have pleasure – Rachel Alba

Listen to “171: God Wants Us to Have Pleasure – Rachel Alba” on Spreaker.

God Wants Us To Have Pleasure 

Our topic today is about getting closer to God through pleasure. I’m talking to Rachel Alba, who is a sex coach for people raised in Christian traditions that are struggling with shame or negativity around sex, and are at a point in their lives where they’re willing to take that on and try to transform that into something positive. 

She shares her personal story of her journey around this, and a lot about the idea of faith development. And opening up to new ideas about sex and then how to explore that and reduce the kind of shame response that people can have.  

Rachel works as a sex coach specifically for people who are coming from Christian backgrounds. And she got into that specifically because she was raised Roman Catholic and was led to believe sex is a space for us to really come back to the Garden of Eden and very much experience union with each other, union with the divine, even a fuller union with ourselves at the same time. And that’s a really positive viewpoint that Rachel was exposed to in her particular parish, this sense that sex is really good and pleasure is really good. And we can experience God’s grace through those things. 

Sex, Pleasure, Shame, and Christianity 

Our discussion dives deep into the history of attitudes surrounding sex, pleasure and shame within Christianity. And how so many people come from a place of spirituality. One of the first things Rachel does, is to remind people is that shame is actually a positive thing, which can sound a bit crazy. 

But she points out that our initial shame response is actually meant to protect us. So, it’s positive in the sense where it was meant to protect us. And a lot of times what happens is we just didn’t ever actually like grow out of that shame response that we had around sexuality.  

God created your body for pleasure.  

Rachel says that God didn’t give us nerve endings simply because we need them to be able to like, feel textures on trees. She believes God gave us pleasure and the ability to experience pleasure, because God wants us to experience pleasure. 

About Rachel 

Rachel is a certified Clinical Sexologist and holds a Masters of Arts in Theology and Ministry from Boston College.  She comes to Clinical Sexology (sex coaching) with a decade of experience as a massage therapist and extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology.   Her work combines:  developmental spirituality, sexology & anatomy, sex-positive theology, and mindful sensuality to help clients from Christian backgrounds let go of any lingering sexual shame, experience more pleasure, grow in their communication and sexual skills, all while deepening their spirituality.  Other things I love are:  sangria, playing piano and singing, and the 1970’s film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. 

Links and Resources: 

Instagram – @rachel.alba.coaching 

Website  https://www.sexwithspirit.com 
[Where you can find a Free Three Keys to Releasing Sexual Shame miniclass] 

Sex-Positive Christian Feminists‬ Podcast with Rachel Alba & Lurie Kimmerle – https://podcasts.apple.com/si/podcast/sex-positive-christian-feminists/id1549622305 

More info: 

Training video – ​https://jessazimmerman.mykajabi.com/video-choice 

Sex Health Quiz – ​https://www.sexhealthquiz.com 

The Course – ​https://www.intimacywitheasemethod.com 

The Book – ​https://www.sexwithoutstress.com 

Podcast Website – ​https://www.intimacywithease.com 

Access the Free webinar: How to help your partner want more sex without making them feel pressured or obligated: ​https://intimacywithease.com/free-webinar 

 

#170 – Orgasmic Expansion – Serena Haines

#170 – Orgasmic Expansion – Serena Haines

Listen to “170: Orgasmic Expansion – Serena Haines” on Spreaker.

Orgasmic Expansion

Serena Haines joins me on this episode to talk about orgasmic expansion – a hybrid technique developed by fusing techniques she used working as a Somatic Sex Educator and Sexological Body Worker. The goal of orgasmic expansion is to maximize pleasure and experience. It aligns perfectly with the Intimacy With Ease method when couples reach the point of having an enjoyable sex-life but wanting to expand their pleasure. 

Define – Orgasmic Expansion 

Orgasmic expansion is a fusion of slow sex techniques, breathing, orgasmic potential, and neo tantric exercises melded into one. Serena states that, unlike what people may assume, it’s a practical and tangible approach to expand one’s potential for pleasure in a safe and connected relationship. 

Phase 1 

It starts by guiding her clients to practice a few intimacy and neo tantric exercises. These exercises involve eye gazing, touching, sitting back to back, and breathing deeply which allows a deeper connection to form between the couples. 

Phase 2 & 3 – Intimate bodywork 

Then the couples do guide intimate bodywork on each other which involves erotic massage that isn’t necessarily therapeutic or sexual. The massage is for them to relax and receive pleasure sensations from giving and receiving touch. While the partner receiving the touch focuses on breathwork, the other partner focuses on the sensation of the touch. 

Genital mapping & Genital massage 

Then they move down to genital mapping, genital massage, and end with pleasure. Genital mapping is where the partner who is receiving the touch is focused on their feelings, sensations, and erotic responses of their body, disregarding the expectation to reciprocate afterward. The giver is guided into exploring their partner’s body and focused on the sensation, feeling of the partner’s different parts of the body, even the color and visual of the vulva. While the receiver enjoys pleasure, the giver enjoys the erotic visual which is extremely important. 

Physiological changes and responses 

The next step after making sure they both feel the pleasure is to guide the partner to notice and observe the physiological changes and responses in their partner’s body. Serena gives an example of looking at how the labia swells and changes colors and the time it takes. Serena points out that for most partner’s it’s uncomfortable to let these changes happen with their partner observing. However, this process allows the other partner to explain and talk through 

the changes they’re observing. This encourages the receiver to express what feels good and tell the partner to do that. The goal of genital mapping is for the partner to understand the physiological responses happening in their partner’s body and for the other partner to relax and let the time be taken for the energy to flow through their body. 

Serena then guides the process to go up to the clitoris and apply slow sex techniques like orgasmic meditation. Orgasmic meditation is working with the clitoris to map out the pleasure points. The partner goes through these points like clockwork while receiving and giving feedback until they find the most sensitive spot. Serena explains the process to be followed to reach an orgasmic point. She guides the partner to let the orgasmic potential move through the breath and expand the heat generated in the genitals through her body instead of quick orgasm. Serena says. It’s about prolonging and expanding the pleasure potential. 

Giving and receiving feedback 

The partners are guided to speak up about their experiences throughout the session. They are encouraged to give and receive feedback and it’s prompted by Serena’s questions such as, “How does it feel, how does it look?”. It allows the conversation to flow that creates a medium where they feel comfortable to tell each other if something feels good, if it feels enjoyable, which is rare when the couple is alone. 

Orgasm 

In case the partner orgasm soon into the process, the partner can either relax and take it up in another session or they can keep going. Serena emphasizes the whole idea of this process is not to bring them back into orgasm but to guide them to hold onto the potential as long as they can. 

For men 

For men, the stroke technique while playing with the shaft and coronal ridge is much slower than a regular handjob. It’s common for penises to lose erection if the buildup isn’t the same after a certain point. Contrary to what many people may think of it as something wrong, it allows finding the pleasure potential in a soft penis. So, Serena guides them to keep going if that’s what they decide. 

How is it different or similar to Sensate Focus? 

The orgasmic expansion focuses on a slow addition of the sexual touch to expand pleasure potential in an already satisfying sex life. Sensate focus is different in the sense, it is focused on getting them to a place of a satisfied sex-life after overcoming the challenges. 

Orgasm is not the point of sex 

While the term “Orgasmic expansion” might lead you to believe that it’s all about orgasm, it’s really about expanding your pleasure potential and physiological responses of your body. Serena urges to explore the pleasure that lies before the point of an orgasm which isn’t even necessary to reach. With her client, by taking orgasm off the table, they remain stress-free of an expectation or a disappointment to reach an orgasm which isn’t the point. The duration of this course is meant to feel the sensations of your partner’s touch, feel, and pleasure. Orgasm may or may not necessarily happen at the end. In real life, it’ll help you when you don’t feel the pressure of an orgasm when you’re having that moment with your partner and you will enjoy the pleasure potential moving across your entire body. 

Challenges in this process 

One of the challenges people face in this process is having to digest the idea of having a third person there. It could be stressful that leads a lot of people to back out which is completely fine to back out and try again next time. Also, it’s hard for the receiver to just breathe and not do anything else. Similar to how the giver is focused on being anxious about their performance. Serena says it’s hard for people to be in the present but practicing it at home without the pressure of having a third person there can help. 

Misconceptions and fears 

Some of the fears people have are for the process to be too sexual or that the third person participating in the touch. Serena points it out as not true, she has a conversation prior with the client to set boundaries of how closer or far they want her to stand. Also, before any physical touch, expectation, and consent of what exercises they are going to do are already set and there’s no going backward. It can be revisited in the conversation before the next session. 

Biography 

Serena Haines, a Somatic Sex Educator Sex Coach in North Atlantic, Canada helps people navigate sexual challenges and expand intimacy as an individual or as partners. She studied Clinical Sexology and became a Certified Sex Coach. She made a fusion of all techniques learned over the time of her being a sex educator to create “Orgasmic Expansion”. She also helps couples who are not challenged sexually but want to learn and experience intimacy and new things. 

Resources and links 

Website: ​https://www.serenahaines.com/ 

Workshops: ​https://www.serenahaines.com/#offerings

Instagram: @serena_haines

More info: 

Training video – ​https://jessazimmerman.mykajabi.com/video-choice

Sex Health Quiz – ​https://www.sexhealthquiz.com 

The Course – ​https://www.intimacywitheasemethod.com 

The Book – ​https://www.sexwithoutstress.com 

Podcast Website – ​https://www.intimacywithease.com 

Access the Free webinar: How to help your partner want more sex without making them feel pressured or obligated: ​https://intimacywithease.com/free-webinar  

 

 

             

 

 

#151 – Blocks to Orgasm – Kim Akrigg

#151 – Blocks to Orgasm – Kim Akrigg

Blocks to Orgasm 

Kim joins me on this episode to discuss blocks to orgasm.  Her aim is to work with the subconscious mind to transform women.  

Listen to “151: Blocks to Orgasm – Kim Akrigg” on Spreaker.

What Blocks Orgasm? 

She delves into the root of the problem being control over women even at an intimate level and shares what these blocks actually look like.  She touches on society’s reaction to kids unknowingly exploring their bodies and being shamed for their behaviour as opposed to them being guided to understand when it’s appropriate. 

Other blocks include sexual trauma and religion which frowns upon individuals seeking physical pleasure.  

Our Minds Can Create Blocks 

Kim talks about the role our minds play when reacting to sex or orgasm. She mentions how our subconscious feeds our responses by recalling its very first sexual experience and the feelings it brought with it. This of course manifests in our daily lives and sexual encounters. 

Being aware of our personal stories around sex is key to understanding our blocks and how to fix them. This helps to distinguish between those who have blocks and those who just haven’t discovered how to reach orgasm yet. 

Rapid Transformational Therapy 

Kim tells us about a method called Rapid Transformational Therapy. The technique uses hypnosis, cognitive behavioural therapy and NLP, and it uncovers memories from the subconscious to help her clients. Dealing with the mind is crucial to helping clients as Kim emphasises. 

What to do on your own 

Kim suggests once you are open to reaching and enjoying intimacy, that you spend time on your own figuring out what you like and what works for you sexually. If you are unsure of what an orgasm feels like, Kim suggests going with whatever makes you feel good. 

If you want to work on your obstacles on your own, Kim suggests that you confront your thoughts around sex and tuning into your mind in order to figure out what is attached to your obstacle. She shares affirmations we can use and techniques that work. She reveals that repetition is the key to unlocking your pleasure. 

Background 

Kim Akrigg is the host of Kim Akrigg The Podcast and an RTT practitioner who studied under Marissa Peer. Her work focuses around using your subconscious mind to unlock your orgasm! 

Resources and Links 

Website: http://kimakrigg.com 

IG : @kim.akrigg 

#132 – The Pleasure Gap – Katherine Rowland

#132 – The Pleasure Gap – Katherine Rowland

Listen to “132: The Pleasure Gap – Katherine Rowland” on Spreaker.

The Pleasure Gap 

Katherine explains her initial interest in sexual pleasure gaps began with her journalistic coverage of the search for a female version of Viagra. She describes being intrigued by the prevalence of the notion that there is something fundamentally wrong with women’s level of sexual desire.  

She argues that feminine sexual desire is an ephemeral state that stems from myriad sources and appears as a final state that is or isn’t reached. She says it’s not a single trait that can be manipulated directly. Upon seeing this attempt to manipulate female sexual desire, Katherine began to interview women about their own sexual desires and what brings them sexual satisfaction.  

Men and Woman Experience Sex Differently 

In broad strokes, Katherine explains the Pleasure Gap is a measure of social inequality. She explains three intersecting ideas, the first being the differences men and women give in the accounts of sexual experiences. She says men report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than women, they achieve orgasm more readily, and are happier with their sex lives overall. She also informs us that men feel less stress, pain, and anxiety related to sex.  

By contrast, she tells us women commonly report low desire, absent pleasure, muted or unfulfilling orgasms, sexual aversion and disinterest. She points out that women beat themselves up for feeling that way about sex. Katherine reiterates that these are common female experiences of sex, but woman are prone to blaming themselves for their problems. 

She suggests that even women who report some satisfaction during sex may not be experiencing the event completely. Katherine mentions one study in which 50% of female participants reported having an orgasm when the scientific monitors for orgasms indicated no orgasm had occurred. She says this suggests that women’s education about their bodies and their possibilities is distressingly subpar. 

Female Sexual Dysfunction 

Curious about this disparity in human feeling, Katherine shares that many women express sexual dysfunction, asserting that their genitals feel numb or dead, all while lab tests report ordinary, healthy function of those organs. In other words, she noticed that women were responding physically to sex without any pleasure or intimacy being experienced in their brains. She suggests that because the mental and emotional aspects of sex are so important to women’s pleasure, that medications that aim to help women enjoy sex by affecting their genital performance miss the mark. 

 

Sex in Media vs. Sex in Life 

The third gap Katherine mentions is the gap between the sex we’re sold in the media and the sex we actually want and find fulfilling in life. She suggests that our modern notions of a liberated identity suggest that women should want and exude sex constantly, but real women often experience the opposite reality. She suspects that the problem is rooted in the lack of education women receive about sex and pleasure.  

Ms Rowland also cites the stereotypes that men, the socially dominant sex, are supposed to desire lots of sex, while women are limited to being a gatekeeper restricting sexual access. Katherine believes that women need to be taught that pleasure is worthwhile and healthy so that they can feel comfortable exploring what gives them pleasure and allows them to enjoy sex. 

What genuinely leads to satisfying good sex is intimacy, freedom of expression, creativity, safety, and being empowered to explore what genuinely turns you on. 

The Effects of Sexual Trauma 

Sexual trauma and abuse can also hinder women’s experience of their bodies according to research. She explains that women with this history may feel numb and distance themselves from the experience of sex or be hyperactive and hypervigilant during sexual encounters, leading to them feeling too stressed to enjoy sex. Women Katherine talked to also noted that women are inevitably objectified in pornography, which can lead to women objectifying themselves, instead of seeing sex as an avenue to express their own desire. 

What Woman Want 

She tells us that the scant research available on what makes good sex suggests that sexual satisfaction has nothing to do with the physical aspect of genitals coming together. 

Feeling fully present in the moment—often achieved through mindfulness and the like—and feeling overwhelmed and encompassed by their experience to the extent of forgetting about daily obligations are markers Katherine found in women’s reports about good sex. 

Katherine also found women asserting a need for safety, and the need to feel confident exposing the full extent of their sexuality with their partner. She mentions that many women who discuss transcendent sex often describe it in spiritual terms – as if sex is a way to break into people’s spiritual interiors as a homecoming in the other person. 

What Women Can Do to Improve Their Sex Lives 

Katherine asserts that her book is not proscriptive, though she does provide resources for self-inquiry and erotic amplification. Katherine does suggest that women can try to shut off the external noise distracting them from sex as much as possible to increase sexual immersion. She also suggests that they can explore their bodies and fantasies to enhance their knowledge of their bodies and their sexual experiences. 

Background: 

Katherine Rowland holds a masters in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. At the same university, she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellow in medical anthropology. In the past, she published and served as the executive director of Guernica. She’s contributed to Nature, the Financial Times, Green Futures, the Guardian, the Independent, Aeon, Psychology Today, and more. She is the author of the Pleasure Gap. 

Resources for Katherine Rowland: 

https://www.katherinerowland.com/ 

https://www.amazon.com/Pleasure-Gap-American-Unfinished-Revolution-ebook/dp/B07RKW3FZ7 

 

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.