Feeling Our Bodies More
Do you remember when you were young, playing endlessly, or when you were a baby, spending hours delighting in the sensations from your body?
Our bodies are an inherent source of sensation; populated with nerve endings when stimulated our skin provides information to the brain about what we are experiencing. This sensory information tells us if something is hot/cold, tingling/still, flowing/stuck, and its interpreted as being somewhere on the spectrum of pleasure through to pain.
We learn to repeat actions we register as pleasure and to avoid what we register as painful.
If we experience pleasure through touch we are likely to repeat that practice, conversely if we feel pain we’re likely to refrain from future repetition.
These bodily sensations will give rise to emotional states such as joy or love to anger and shame. As we go through childhood we are conditioned by the world around us and the responses of others which can change our emotional states. For example as a young child we may have touched our bodies in a way that felt good for us but were shamed from a care giver, meaning we connect the practice of self touch to shame. This is significant as how a care giver responds to us affects our survival, without them we fear being cast out into the world, alone, abandoned which goes against our nature as relational beings, so we learn to adapt, we avoid the shameful behaviour and limit our touch to the areas of the body where we don’t get shamed and rejected.
This primitive response lays down an emotional content in the body tissues that gives rise to emotions we may label as ‘negative’. Every time we touch these areas the emotional content gets activated so we make the association between self-touch and shame. The far reaching consequences of this patterning can lead to avoidance or deep confusion within the psyche.
Some of this patterning happens prior to our development of language, meaning we don’t have a context in which to understand our state. It’s not until much later when the brain has developed language along with a full contextual understanding that we can make the rational connection between self-touch and a negative emotional state.
Associations can give rise to challenges in sexuality and intimacy
What I notice, in my practice with clients as a sexological body worker, is how these associations give rise to challenges within the arena of sex and intimacy. Many of my clients share feelings of shame, or anger, or feelings of low self-worth when they engage in sex, often resulting in avoidance, compromise, engaging in sex that’s devoid of emotional connection, inability to orgasm or issues with ejaculation. All of which reduce our capacity to feel pleasure in our bodies and often create myriad relational issues.
Pathways back to pleasure
When I see this showing up in my clients I offer a pathway back to pleasure, by connecting with the original feelings that have become housed in the body and giving them space to be there the client can complete and release what’s been held on to meaning the original state of being, that of pleasure, can return to the body.
Rather than being limited by the conditioning of the past the client finds a place of freedom in their bodies, a return to their natural ‘baby’ like innocence and so their pleasure capacity increases and their relationship to self and others shifts.
I offer this pleasure reclamation work in 1: 1 sessions, couples sessions, workshops and bespoke retreats.