By Adrienne Alden-LMFT and Registered Yoga Teacher
Integrating yoga into sex therapy allows clients to experience and practice safe and fun touch without the pressure of having to perform sexually.
Part of the difficulty of psychological sexual struggles is that they manifest in the body. Our bodies respond to beliefs, memories, and interactions in ways that we may or may not be aware of. For example, a client grew up in a legalistic religious community. They spent most of their childhood being told not to wiggle, and giggle during religious events. They were also told to wait until marriage to have sex. They learned to ignore and defy their body’s sensations and desires. They did not learn to tune into the feelings in their body. This inability to be conscious of sensations lead the client to struggle with arousal during sex. Despite feeling attraction and love for their partner, sex was not a fun experience for them.
Sex therapy is traditionally talk therapy only. While helpful, it can take more than talking to reassure and relax the body into a state that is calm enough to become open to physical closeness. Sex and discussion of our sexuality can feel vulnerable and awkward. It can be difficult to attempt deeper connections when you have had experiences that tell you it’s not okay to be raw. Being in sex therapy and being sent home to try an excercise can at times be outside of a persons threashhold of tolerance. Moving through poses and breathing solo or with a partner can help you learn to relax. It can also help you loosen parts of the body that are tightening in response to beliefs and interaction patterns.
The client in the example used yoga to give themselves permission to tap into feelings in their body. By practicing letting a stretch feel nice it became easier to melt into the pleasure of their partners touch. Through two-person poses, touch and physical togetherness became about something fun and physically satisfying instead of awkwardness and anxiety. Practicing touch and pleasure with yoga eventually translated into the bedroom. The client was able to embrace sexual pleasures.
You might ask what in the world happens during a yoga sex therapy hour. Yoga Sex therapy happens with clothing on. There is nothing directly arousing or sexual about yoga sex therapy. The hour is spent doing traditional yoga similar to a yoga class. There are specifically tailored directions focused on sensation and touch pertinent to what brought you to sex therapy. The yoga poses and work are used as a metaphor for sexual experiences. People generally leave feeling relaxed and connected or having giggled some (or a lot).
Yoga sex therapy helps with:
- Getting out of your head and into your body
- Relaxation techniques to assist with arousal struggles and premature orgasm
- Techniques to assist with being present in the moment and your body
- Reduction of pelvic pain
- Higher levels of arousal
- Better orgasms
- Building positive memories around touch
- Practicing relaxing in your body solo or with a partner
- Showing yourself or your partner what your body looks, feels, and sounds like when it’s relaxed
- Practicing how to communicate with your partner
- Learning to experience touch that is safe
- Stretch tired painful muscles
- Having a fun hour doing two person partner poses (a fun date night)
- Build confidence and trust in a relationship as you move through tough two person poses
- Stretch or strengthen muscles that are needed for sex and intimacy