Frequently Asked Questions
somatic sex education--that's the same as surrogate partner therapy, right?
No. Somatic sex education is a completely different modality with different guidelines and ethical practice. These two modalities have many shared goals and benefits, such as supporting clients in developing self-awareness, improving body image, and increasing the capacity to receive and feel pleasure. However the way these goals are accomplished are quite different.
Surrogate partner therapy uses a partner engagement model in which the surrogate partner therapist and the client interact with each other emotionally and physically to build the skills needed to resolve the client’s sexual concern, which can include mutual touch between the client and the surrogate partner.
Somatic sex education has its roots in an erotic trance model, which focuses on the internal experience of the client, not the interaction between the client and other (in this case, the somatic sex educator). Touch in my sessions is one way; I do not receive erotic touch from my clients. I also always remain clothed in somatic sex education sessions, including when doing bodywork. Since I am also a certified sexological bodyworker in addition to being a certified somatic sex educator, I follow the ethical guidelines dictated by the Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers, one of the professional associations of which I am a member. You can see the full code of professional conduct and ethics of the ACSB here.
Another difference between somatic sex education and surrogate partner therapy is that the latter requires a triad model in which the client, the surrogate partner, and a licensed therapist or clinical sexologist work as a three-person team. The three team members stay in communication with each other about progress, strategy, and therapeutic goals. Somatic sex education does NOT require that you work with an additional therapist. If, however, you’d like me to be a part of your wellness team, I’m happy to communicate with your therapist or medical providers once you sign a consent form allowing me to do so. I have worked in such a triad model before and found it joyful and beneficial to all parties.
Both somatic sex education and surrogate partner therapy are powerful modalities that can support you in resolving your sexual concerns and stepping into your most joyful, actualized version of your sexual self. Only you know which modality is ideal for you at this time. I’m delighted to provide a referral to surrogate partner therapists in the area whom I recommend. And you’re always welcome to connect with me via a complimentary 30-minute consultation call if I can support you in discerning if somatic sex education is right for you!
what's the difference between somatic sex education and sexological bodywork?
Great question! Sexological bodywork was founded in California in 2003. From the beginning, sexological bodyworkers referred to themselves as somatic sex educators or sexological bodyworkers interchangeably. And that was technically accurate as sexological bodyworkers are sex educators who focus on and facilitate learning that happens in the body, in the soma.
However, as our field has grown in the past 14 years, many of us in the community have deepened our understanding and integration of somatics, as well as our understanding of and commitment to consent and trauma-informed practices, adding these skills, philosophies, and values to our practices and our way of being. We have expanded the definition of what it means to be a somatic sex educator.
When I completed the Level 2 Sexological Bodywork training in 2016 in Canada, I became a certified somatic sex educator. So all certified somatic sex educators are sexological bodyworkers, but not all sexological bodyworkers are certified somatic sex educators. (It’s confusing, I know!)
Basically, sexological bodywork is one set of tools under the umbrella of somatic sex education, which contains myriad other tools. And sexological bodyworkers are not certified somatic sex educators unless they’ve taken additional training.
Do you have professional liability insurance?
I do! I maintain both professional and general liability insurance, to ensure the safety and comfort of myself, my clients, and my referral partners.