For those people who think that sex is ‘natural’, sexual intercourse will be deemed the most natural. Surely that’s the point of it all: underneath the fog of human complexity, sex is procreation. Everything else is just scene setting.

And it’s natural in its specifics too. It’s obvious that a reliable erection is a prerequisite. It’s obvious that thrusting is involved. It’s obvious that, once started, it’ll continue until orgasm. Until the little death do us part.

Is any of this true?

In Gramsci’s view, hegemony isn’t that one idea is more successful or better than another. Rather, it’s that it’s not thought of as an idea at all, but as how things are.

And that’s what intercourse is. And the hegemony is so strong that often, all we feel we can do is tinker with the pace or with the position.

Consider the first assumption, that an erection is a prerequisite for intercourse. This is an idea that causes tremendous unhappiness. Men’s shame and anxiety around their erection often causes them to initiate intercourse too early, to become disassociated from their partner and to focus on their ‘performance’ rather than on the connection. It’s  most often the direct cause of intercourse becoming increasingly boring and repetitive, and eventually ceasing altogether.

And it’s false. Many people – The Taoist Masters, for example – have known for millennia that it’s perfectly possible to initiate intercourse without an erection. Once you’ve verified this for yourself, ideally with sufficient quantities of quality lubricant, you might want to ask why such an obviously false idea came to be thought of as unquestioningly true.

But to ask the question is to answer it, because, just in the asking, the whole patriarchal scenario hoves itself into plain view.

The erection conjures up the second assumption: a person acting, from desire -the man- and a person being acted upon, and having desire thrust upon her – the woman. The initial thrust affirms this, begetting the succeeding ones. Which in turn takes us up the speedy funicular of arousal.

Even if there is only one person on the train.

And the third assumption is equally damaging: the obligation of orgasm. People -particularly men – will often tell me how they feel obliged to conjure up some image to make them come, which they then feel guilty about. When I suggest to them they could just stop, and resume later if they wanted to, it’s as if I’m suddenly speaking a strange language. But it’s their internal language that’s in Desperanto.

Imagine what intercourse would be like if none of these assumptions applied. What would it look like? What would it feel like?

You will have your own ideas, but for me, it would be primarily  creative and feeling and expressive, rather than the performing of someone else’s script. It could go in multiple directions, rather than just the predictable one. Or it could just stay within a beautifully intimate meditative space. It would be a spontaneous act of co-creation, rather than endless repetition.

If you can imagine it, you can start to dream a new world into being.


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The most obvious idea we have about our sexual bodies is that they have a structure. And if we know that structure, then we are on the way to acheiving sexual happiness. In fact, it seems so obvious we don’t really think it’s an idea at all, it’s just reality.

In Sexological Bodywork, there’s a technique called ‘Genital Mapping’. It’s a way of working with the body to bring the structure of it into consciousness. It is empowering to know, for instance, what part of your labia is being touched so, as it were, the sensation can find a home in your consciousness. You can get a sense of the structure of your genitals, and in consequence you can be more empowered with regard to your pleasure, to the touch you give yourself and -crucially – to the touch you ask others to give you.

Sheri Winston’s wonderful book ‘Women’s Anatomy of Arousal’ maps out, in a lot of detail, the structure of women’s genitals. The G Spot, obviously, but lots of less known areas too. It has helped me tremendously, and many other practitioners.

So it seems churlish, as well as nonsensical to say that I think the idea is wrong: our sexual bodies don’t have a structure, at least not in the way we normally think. And not just wrong: harmful, inimical to the profound happiness and connection that we can experience as sexual beings.

How so?

The idea that our sexual bodies have a structure derives from the more general idea that our body overall has a structure. In turn that rests on a fundamental mind/body duality. Our Self, what makes me ME, and our consciousness, are mental qualities, and our body is a sort of container, housing this. The idea was first expressed in its modern form in Descartes ‘Meditations’ [1641]. And this in turn was grounded in the practice of anatomists, who gained their knowledge of human bodies through the dissection of corpses, rather than, say, the observation of living beings.

And that has an obvious hierarchy: the Mind acts on the Body. And when we are touching another, our Mind acts on their Body. The Mind is active, the Body is passive. Do the right thing, and the Body will respond appropriately. Find the G Spot, rub it long enough, and arousal will happen.

I think not.

In my experience of giving genital touch, this isn’t what happens. How I experience it is not giving touch and getting a response, but rather that the touch itself is relational. I do think the genitals have a structure, but not in the way that a building has a structure. Rather, when I touch someone’s genitals, it is as if I am encountering a person. And the touch is a kind of conversation with that person. And as a consequence of that, the apparent fixed structure of the touched part changes.It’s not -or not primarily -that the change is from non-arousal to arousal. Rather, the change seems to be from structure to fluidity.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t, for instance, a ridged structure on the upper wall of the vagina which people identify as the G Spot area. There plainly is. I don’t want to deny the obvious, just to say that we misunderstand it: our bodies are waiting to be engaged with like persons, not engaged with like buttons. And if they are engaged with like persons, something remarkable and beautiful can happen.

Let me give an example.

I’m meeting regularly with my friends and fellow sexological bodyworkers Katrina Clark and Lucy Iredale. We are planning to give a sexuality training for next year, and when we meet we always do some bodywork together. Recently, we were exploring the clitoris.

Like the G Spot, I think it’s fair to say there’s a clear idea about how the clitoris should be touched.You focus on the head, like a magic button. We did something different. After a slow and connecting general massage, we placed a finger slightly to the side of the clitoris, and waited for the relational connection to arise. And when it did, to our surprise, we found a whole fluid texture which felt as if it was underneath the visible detail of the clitoris, and which was full of feeling and sensation. The touch felt internal to the vagina, but wasn’t.

This was completely new to us. It wasn’t that we’d found a deep structure to that whole area, although there might be the temptation to say that. Rather, a different way of touch had revealed how that area was: dynamic, fluid, vividly alive.

And this raises the possibility of a whole new perspective on touch: a move away from the where of touch to the how of touch. From a doing to to a doing with.

We’re continuing to explore this perspective, and I’ll write further about it as we do.

Cuddle Party

What is intimacy coaching?

When people come to a sexuality professional, the general sense is that something will be done to them. They’ll experience more, or experience something different, or expand their knowledge and expertise, as in:

“I’ll experience something new”


“I’ll learn something new”

In this scenario, the sexuality professional is the expert, like a doctor, who’ll work out what’s wrong, and fix it. Fix you.

Intimacy coaching is different. It has similarities with surrogacy. The similarity is slightly hidden, because when we think of surrogacy, we generally think of it in terms of sexual intercourse: the idea that people who have a fear of intercourse can overcome it through having sex with a surrogate.

My experience of surrogacy was different. When I was working in London in 2015 with the great Sue Newsome, we would work together with a client. She would take the role of the therapist, and I would take the role of the body, the surrogate. All that was required of me was to be physically available and emotionally honest.

I never had sex with the client, who tended to be of two kinds.

In the first, the [female] client would often have a lot of sex, but would find it unsatisfactory and superficial, because it was normally drink or drug fuelled, and lacked intimacy and emotional connection.

In the second, the client might be having sex or not, but the fundamental issue was a lack of confidence.

Both types of client found intimacy problematic. Eye gazing was difficult for them. Likewise embracing.

It seemed that the first kind of client used substances as a kind of bridge to move from ordinary experience to sexual experience. The problem with that was that the relaxation and connection engendered in the body -which would naturally lead to arousal, in its own time – through simple intimacy was missing, which meant that when it got sexual, the body, and the heartful, loving self within the body, got left behind, rendering the whole experience repetitive and superficial.

And for the second kind of client, they found intimacy difficult because they regarded it as the entree to something – sex – where they felt inept and unconfident. This person thought of sex as being like a skill, or like a language everyone else knew but her.

When I started working independently, I forgot all about this. I thought of myself as a bodyworker, working with people on the massage table, enabling them to feel safe and relaxed sufficiently to experience sexual pleasure, perhaps for the first time in their lives.

However, I found I had some clients who, in response to touch, not matter how slow and safe I went, seemed to become more disconnected from their bodies. In experimenting with ways out of this, I gradually came back into connection with surrogacy.

I found that by coming into relational contact with the client, allowing them to embrace or be in contact with me, or having them experimenting with how they wanted to be touched, or how they wanted to dance with me, changed everything.

The intimacy opened up a space for desire. Relational desire, where it wasn’t what you were having done to you, or what you were doing to someone else, but what you were feeling, and what you were feeling together with the other person, me. Feeling with.

I call this work intimacy coaching. There are boundaries to it. I don’t have sex with a client. And that boundary is helpful, because it removes the idea that intimacy has an end point. Which leaves the client open to experiment with what they want in the present moment.

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I remember first reading Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden, a collection of her interviews with women discussing their sexuality and fantasies, and being amazed at their wealth of detail, ingenuity and richness. The book was published in 1973, and her primary motivation for writing it was to confront the widespread belief at the time that women didn’t have sexual fantasies. When asked about it, she said that “more than any other emotion, guilt determined the story lines of the fantasies”

In an ironic turn of events, many women now feel guilty at not having sexual fantasies.

On enquiry, what they tend to mean is that they don’t have a story like structure that they find arousing and masturbate to.

What is Erotic Fantasy?

In the Immortal Words of Bonnie Tyler:

Somewhere after midnight in my wildest fantasy

Somewhere just beyond my reach there’s someone reaching back for me

Racing on the thunder and rising with the heat

It’s going to take a Superman to sweep me off my feet

Doesn’t a small part of us die when the talk turns to our “wildest fantasy”?

Either we feel awkward about not having one at all, or that if we did say what it was, people would either be dropping off to sleep or calling child protection.

In my exploration of fantasy work with Rachel Connor, what we’ve noticed is that almost everyone does have sexual fantasy, it’s just it doesn’t necessarily appear in a story like form. Because it doesn’t, it’s disregarded. And being disregarded, it becomes formulaic and repetitive, and loses its capacity to be creative and expansive.

These alternative forms of sexual fantasy include:


Fragments can be visual, or can involve on of the other senses. A visual fragment is something very short, a second or so of something, like an item of clothing being lifted up. An auditory fragment might be a phrase [“She put her hands inside my pants and pulled them down”]. A fragment could be an imagined smell or scent, or taste.


Many people seem to have an arousing image, or a series of arousing images [ a bit like a pack of playing cards]  

Anticipations and Memories

Remembering something arousing which happened to you, or anticipating something which has not yet happened is sexual fantasy too, but tends to be ignored because it seems to be “life” rather than “fantasy”

How can we open all these varieties of fantasy to our wider life, and make them creative, embodied and relational?

Rachel and I have uncovered a number of ways to do this, and we have got to the point of sharing these methods and approaches more widely.

We ran our inaugural course on Erotic Fantasy over 4 x 90 minute sessions, which started Thursday 17 June. In 2022, as we come out of the pandemic, we will start in person workshops.

If you want to be kept informed of our activities, please subscribe to my newsletter. The subscribe button is on the Home Page here






[This is a continuation of my blog ‘What do men want from sex]

How can we develop sexual empathy?

How can we know what it feels like to be another person, to experience what they experience?

I say that there are two primary ways, and a prerequisite.

The prerequisite is to abandon the idea of sex as a performance, with orgasm as the desired outcome. That can be difficult to do, as it’s almost hardwired into us by our culture, but if we can do it, even once or twice, and replace  performance with presence and connection, that changes everything. A good way to start is to agree to exclude the habitual things -intercourse, most obviously -while you recalibrate.

What are the two primary ways?

The first is through the body, and the second is through the imagination.

Although the sexual nerve structure of men and women is remarkably similar, it doesn’t look similar, and our socialisation – what our role is supposed to be sexually – isn’t similar at all. So, a good place to start to develop empathy is with a part of the body which, at least in most respects is similar, and which would facilitate a reversal of our social conditioning as men and women. And that good place to start is

the anus. There. I’ve said it. Why?

Rather than pontificate, let me tell you a story.

A long time ago, I was on holiday with a lovely Swiss woman in Ticino. We were staying in a house overlooking Lake Como. One morning, without telling me what she was going to do, she started playing with my anus. It changed my life.  At first I was a bit shocked, worried about being unclean and disgusting. But gradually I relaxed into it, and for the first time ever, I felt I was the object of the love and desire of another, and all I had to do was to receive and experience. I didn’t need to do anything.

That was profoundly changing. But equally transformative was that I understood for the first time the power of delicate, presence focused touch. I understood how exquisite it could be. I didn’t need to get anywhere.

And because, for the first time I understood that, then my behaviour could change.

The most viewed Post I’ve written, by far, is ‘The Benefits of Anal Massage‘. Which was a surprise to me, as I couldn’t remember writing it. Obviously, many viewers – probably most – are Porn Fiends, who bounce straight off again, but it’s plain that quite a lot of people read and think about the article, and they do this, I think, because they’re aware that the heteronormative performance idea of sexuality is deficient and limiting.

Turning to the Imagination, a lot of you will have seen my recent posts on the work I’m doing with Rachel Connor about The Erotic Imagination.

The essence of that work is the belief that we can enter into the interior erotic space of another, and we can do that in a number of ways.

We can do it by opening up their erotic fantasies so we, and they, can get away from the story and understand the underlying bodily feeling, and that we can do this by a process both of elaboration and by the generation of images memories and associations, which in turn are rooted back into body feeling, which in turn generates fresh images and memories.

We can also do this in an interactive, spontaneous way by generating images, and hence a story, from body sensation, which the other can then have a body response to, and hence complimentary images, propelling the story forward.

We’re running an inaugural course, starting mid June, and prior to then, we’re doing a couple of Tasters. You can read more about it here.

So, that’s what I’d like to share with you about sexual empathy. My purpose isn’t to give you a blueprint, but to give you a key, so you can consider the possibility that your sexual life could be different, and in a very positive way. And, of course, if you’d like any help with that, please get in touch.

[you can get a full list of my articles here]





In my work with clients, and particularly with Couples, I use a schema called ‘The Compass of Sexuality’. I’ve adapted this from various sexuality school traditions, expanding and adjusting to fit all that I know within it.

The value of a schema like this starts from the recognition that we all tend to get stuck in our sexual behaviour. What characterises the behaviour of most of us, and particularly Couples, isn’t exploration and adventure, but repetition. Having a sense of other realms, or facets of sexuality opens us out to growth, rather than miring us in boredom and dissatisfaction.

It’s called The Compass because it has 8 orientations, like the points of a compass: North, South, East, West, and the points in between: North West, North East, South West, South East.

I thought it might be helpful to briefly introduce these realms.


Agreement [North]

This  is based on my Wheel of Consent work with Betty Martin

It is primarily about communication and consent, asking for what you want, learning to be comfortable, saying No to what you don’t want, Yes to what you do and understanding consent not to be a once and for all thing, but fluid, active and momentary.

The work enables you to become clear about:

-how you want to touch the other

-how you want the other to touch you

-your yes and your no to the other to touch you as they wish

-your yes and your no for you to touch the other as they wish

It is particularly good for people with wobbly boundaries, pleasers, martyrs and people who “just want to give”.


Innocence [South]

In this area, we replicate beautiful practices of simply receiving and experiencing, as we would as a baby.

And, we can also replicate and heal early life hurts, as well as engaging more vigorously with our early development.

The pioneer in this field is John Hawken, whom I trained with in 2004.

Body [West]

This encompasses a whole realm of practices and perspectives. In my tantra training with Hilly Spenceley, we had a wonderful practice where, as a group, we would cover ourselves in oil and just interact, sliding and slipping across each other. Jessica Parker has taken this into the public realm with Lady Liquid Love

For Couples, it can include Erotic Massage, where, when you’re being massaged, you are just totally within your experience, totally absorbed, totally receptive. Caffyn Jesse‘s book, Erotic Massage, in my opinion, is the best presentation of this.

For Groups, it can include things such as Play Parties, BDSM, and suchlike.

Spirit [East]

This area is what is usually called tantra, or sacred sexuality. here is the home of ritual and ceremony, where we can see ourself and our partner as greater than our individual personality, embodying something universal and true.

In my work with Couples, I find that designing ceremonies appropriate and specific to them is a wonderful way of enhancing a creative loving intimacy, which goes beyond  personal hurts, disappointments and stories, and enables the best in us to heartfully express itself.

Fantasy [North West]

This is a particular favourite, and I am presently developing workshops in this field with a colleague. We ran two pilot workshops pre covid, and will start offering this work once the epidemic passes.

Our culture’s common belief is that our sexuality exists in two forms: the interior and the relational.

To the interior belongs sexual fantasy: the stories or images that we find exciting and arousing, often deriving from experiences in our childhood. We think of these fantasies as private, and often we feel uncomfortable about them.

In my view, our fantasies, when shared and played with, contain a fantastic opportunity for sexual healing and expansion.We can express parts of ourselves which are normally hidden. We can play with aspects of ourselves that we have taught to be ashamed of. Particularly with Couples, it is one of the major routes out of stuckness and repetition, if they have the flexibility to get out of a performative view of sex.

Energetic Practices [North East]

In Chinese tantra in particular, and in the Chinese arts in general, such as Qi Gong, there is a focus on the circulation of energy, particularly sexual energy. The best known practice is the microcosmic orbit, where sexual energy is drawn up from the base, brought up the spine, through to the third eye, then down the front of the body.

In Indian tantra, a similar practice is carried out by a Couple, who circulate energy within and between themselves, in a practice known as Yab Yam.

I think these were the inspirations for the creator of Sexological Bodywork, Joseph Kramer, to create a practice called Taoist Erotic Massage, which we learned on our training.

Risk [South West]

This too has many aspects, but, so far at least, rather than encouraging people to have risky sex, I use this as a way of expanding communication, both within the person and relationally.

With Couples, using a variation of Clean Language, invented by David Grove, the Couple are encouraged to explore practices, sexual and otherwise, which they find risky, to get a sense of the internal landscape that the thought of the risky activity presents, which often greatly illuminates the entire internal world in expansive and unanticipated ways.


Loving Presence [South East]

This is the realm of the Heart, which can contain and express all the other realms. In the systems I have adapted this schema from what, in other iterations of this schema, is often caricatured as Familiar Sex, and people, including myself, have enacted humorous sketches of old fashioned couples having predictable sex. There’s a reason for that, because the system evolved as a way of getting people to get outside what they were familiar with – and probably bored with – to try something different to just see what happened, and how they felt.

In contrast, I believe that our real purpose -not our imaginary purpose of fame or money or happiness – is to keep our heart open. And to do that, we both need to express what’s there already and to keep letting the new in. We are always either collapsing or growing. In this realm, we are connecting at a level beneath the familiar scripts of what intimacy should look like, to a natural, empathetic spontaneous connection in the moment, freed from the mind. [I talk more about the 8 dimensions in my free mini course; there’s a subscribe button on the Homepage]

[More articles here]


Twice a week, on my way to the zen dojo, I walk through Glasgow University and past a plaque commemorating Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, who was a professor there.


Adam Smith had a theory about the origin of money. He said that prior to money, people would rely on barter. Say that I’m a fisherman and you’re a farmer. I’d give you, say, two fish for a lump of bacon. That was the exchange rate. There’d be some other deal with the baker and the candlestick maker. But the problem with the barter system was that it was cumbersome. So, some bright spark invented money.


The thing is, the theory is entirely untrue. When anthropologists looked at ‘primitive’ societies who didn’t have money, they worked on mutuality, not barter. If I caught a lot of fish, I’d give you some. When you slaughtered some pigs, you’d give me some bacon. It wouldn’t work of course if one of us was a freeloader, but that didn’t seem to happen.


I thought of this in connection with our language of sexuality, which seems to operate as a kind of barter. I ‘give’ you x, then you ‘give’ me y. If I receive x from you, I feel the obligation to give you something back. It’s as if our sexuality is reduced to Christmas time at the Miser Twins’ house, where each twin gives the other £5. Miserable.


The language of phoney giving is ubiquitous. The most rapacious and greedy people talk about ‘giving something back’, or about their ‘legacy’, as if they’re the Hapsburg Empire or something.


People imagine zen is like that too. You put in the hard yards of meditation, and in due course you’re rewarded with enlightenment.


Miserable. Miserable. If we monetise our souls, we will be folded up into nothingness.


Here is a modest suggestion: I believe that what makes us truly happy is the opportunity to be the best version of ourselves. So, when we have the chance to give, and we can give wholeheartedly, we should be grateful for that because, for that moment at least, we are the person we want to be.


And applying that to sex, instead of being resentful and dissatisfied and constantly calculating what we’re owed, we can be grateful for the chance, at this moment, not to be a crimped, calculating person, but a great person, and so, we can give, not in the expectation of reward, but in gratitude at being let out of the cage of calculation. And we can freely receive knowing that whatever connection we create is enough of a gift in any given moment. And that’s priceless.




To access my 5 part free course ‘Sexuality Maps’ click here.

For a full list of my articles on intimacy and sexuality, click here

For Sexuality Practitioners, Resources and worldwide directories, see below and links 


Part of my Somatic Sex Therapy work involves loving, connected and attentive touch [often described as Tantric Massage}. This can include anal massage.

This is a wonderful way to remedy deep rooted body tension, which is a major cause of difficulties with sexual arousal.

One client told me that when she was tightening her trouser belt after our session, she noticed her belt tightened 2 notches more than it had beforehand. She attributed this to the effect of our work. And she speculated how much tension she must have unconsciously been holding in her pelvis and stomach, which had been released.

If you mention anal massage, you’re likely to be met with silence, or embarrassed humour. The reasons for this include:

-the anus is dirty

-interest in the anus is perverted

-anal contact is painful

None of this is true. Also, when we think of the anus in a sexual context, a lot of people are going to think of anal sex, or extreme sexuality, of one kind or another. I think this is part and parcel of a performative view of sexuality in our culture, which, amid other calamities, has caused female sexuality to be disastrously misunderstood

Habitually, if we think of the anus in an intimate way at all, we’ll think in terms of something you do, or something that is done to you [often incompetently and painfully] rather than a means of helping you feel, and feel in a very rich way: in terms of sensation, emotion and memory.

One of the innovations of sexological bodywork is working with the anus. And there’s at least 2 very distinct benefits: regulation of the nervous system, and pleasure. I’ll cover these first, and then make some suggestions on why it may be helpful for frequently occurring problems in sexuality, including ‘female sexual dysfunction’ and ‘sexual inexperience

For sexological bodyworkers and sex therapists like myself, direct touching of the anal sphincters is one of the few ways to get direct access to the nervous system. And it acts as a major down-regulator (relaxant). If someone is very stressed, relaxation of these sphincters has a major effect on the level of tension they feel in their bodies. Indeed, people very often fall into a deep sleep.

So far as pleasure is concerned, there are a phenomenal amount of nerve endings in the anus. More than almost any other area of the body. Because of this, the anus is an extraordinary landscape of different sensations. Move the finger a tiny amount, and the sensation is entirely different. And it very often comes with a huge and liberating emotional charge too, because it brings back our earliest feelings, which are usually repressed.

So there’s an irony: delicate, thoughtful and minuscule touching around the entrance of the anus is exquisitely pleasurable, and also emotionally very moving. It takes us back to our youngest self. Yet when people think of anal pleasure, they tend to think of anal sex, which often is far from pleasurable, indeed often painful, due to people’s selfishness and ignorance. But I don’t think this is an accident: one of the curses of patriarchy is that it splits our pleasure giving organs artificially into Male and Female. It puts a major block on the development of sexual empathy. And because we all have anuses, our common humanity is kept at bay by thinking of the anus only in terms of penetration, not capacity for feeling, which is at the heart of all of us.

But experience of anal touch [women giving to men] can help in another distinct area: helping men appreciate more subtle, slower and more delicate movement, which is of inestimable value in weaning men away from a “harder, faster” notion of intercourse, which can be so calamitous to sexual happiness, and leading to a much broader sense of sexuality in men.

It’s also very relevant to female sexual dysfunction,This term, I think, is a misnomer, caused by us having a restricted view of sexuality which is over reliant on ideas of bodily arousal. On this view, the body is neutral, and the purpose of sexuality is to arouse us through body stimulation, leading to sex, which is turn leads to orgasm.

This view, in my opinion, fails many people, particularly women. From my perspective, the body is inherently pleasurable, but most of us can’t feel that, because we carry a great deal of stress. And because we think of sex in terms of performance and what we should be experiencing, that makes us more stressed. And so, sex is often a competition between physical arousal and stress, which is one reason why it is often jagged, short and unsatisfactory, rather than extended, pleasurable and connecting.

Elsewhere, I describe how this view also largely ignores many aspects of ourselves which should form part of pleasurable sex: our imagination, our feelings and our strong desire to connect and to be seen and accepted, but for my purposes here, which relate to the anus, I’d like to explain why wider knowledge and acceptance of anal touch would be particularly helpful for women.

Firstly, there is the deep relaxation which I’ve already talked about. Once that happens, I think sexuality will arise naturally within a greater landscape of pleasurable relaxation. In body terms, I think that engenders a desire for touch, specifically, a desire for genital, clitoral touch. So, within embodied pleasurable relaxation, the clitoris actually wants touch: it’s the opposite of regarding the clitoris as a kind of wake up mechanism [the g spot is often regarded in a similar way]

Second, anal touch bridges what we often feel as the distinction between bodily feelings of sexual arousal and emotional feelings.

Third, unlike intercourse, there isn’t an expectation or demand about what you should feel. You can just feel whatever is, and that’s critically important, because one of the main sources of dissatisfaction is being drawn out of the present moment by comparison and judgement.

If you’re interested in exploring any of the issues raised here, or have a sexual or intimacy issue which I may be able to assist with, please contact me. You’ll have seen from my Home Page that I offer a free 30 minute Exploratory  consultation.

To find out more about me, click here

So what would a session potentially including anal touch work involve? Well, firstly we would agree the boundaries for what I would do, which I would not go beyond. Second, we would start with a long, slow, relaxing and connecting whole body massage,  which would enable you to completely focus, without worry, on what you were actually experiencing, to drop into a slightly trance like state, where you are very awake yet very relaxed, just attending to what you are feeling, and the outside world can drop away. When it comes to contact with the anus, it’s really important to be led by the body, and not to force anything, or proceed along a prearranged plan. What you want next should always be the result of what your body is feeling now, and where it wants to go next. And perhaps I should stop there, because there isn’t a standard way to experience this, only the unique way of each person, but if you want to know more, please get in touch.

If you’re interested in working with me but aren’t in Glasgow, I offer the option of working intensively with me over a weekend or similar period. You can find out how this works here

If you’d prefer to work with a female practitioner, please see my links page. This covers the U.K. only, so if you are further afield and want a comprehensive list, you might want to try:

The Worldwide Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers

The World Association Of Sex Coaches

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How does sexual healing work?

I have a client who’s been coming to see me for about a year.  When we started working together, he seemed to be carrying a lot of shock in his body.  If I touched a particular part of him; his belly, for example, it seemed to set off quite violent shaking.  As we continued working, this gradually got less.  He seemed able to be much more present in his body, and able to tell me where he would like me to touch him, and how he would like to be touched. It was an essential part of the process that there was no surprises. We agreed the boundaries of where I would touch him before we started, and it was a firm rule that we would not overstep these boundaries, even if he asked for that mid session. And, he remained in charge of where the touch was from moment to moment. All this was, in my view, essential in attending to his trauma.

When we had our checking in after a recent session, he told me that while he’d enjoyed our sessions a lot, he’d enjoyed that one a lot less. He had an odd sense of being touched, and not knowing if he liked it or not, and it feeling a bit strange.  Nonetheless, despite this, he remained able to direct me to where he wanted me to touch him.

This was a pivotal moment in our work together. I surmised that the shock in his body when he came to me was because he had lost his power to choose whether he was touched or not, and what that touch was earlier in his life.  He hadn’t been able to say no to contact, or to determine what that contact would be, and in consequence, had become dissociated from his body.  His body then held onto the memory of the undesired contact in the form of shock.  Because our work was safe and collaborative, his body had felt it could go back to that point, that fork in the road, where you either exercise sovereignty over your own body, or disassociate.  This time he could choose to take the other fork in the road by exercising his autonomy in directing how and where he wanted to be touched.

I think this shows the absolute centrality of consent in healing the body from past trauma. Consent is being able to choose but that choice is based on what you feel, not what you think you ought to do, or allow someone to do to you.  Because we are not telepathic, that means we need to be able to communicate what we want to the other person.  Consent isn’t a once and for all thing.  You’re always in choice, because consenting is always in the present moment.  You can always change your mind.

I hope that as part of the MeToo campaign, we can re-think our understanding of what consent is.  Too often, there’s an idea that it’s like inviting an army into your castle.  Once you lift up the drawbridge, you’ve somehow agreed to everything that can happen after that.  But, apart from narcissists and psychopaths, that doesn’t work for anybody.

The whole body dissociation that my client experienced is one response to unwanted touch, but there’s also a more specific form.  Sometimes part of the body just goes numb, or becomes painful, or closed off. Many women feel this with genital touch. It isn’t so much that there was a sexual assault -in some ways, that would be more straightforward – but that it didn’t seem possible to say no, because sexual touch was ‘what everyone did’.  If the person is unable to protest the lack of consent, the body will. Except that once the body does protest in this way it will continue doing it, unless the original transgression is processed somehow.

How do we do we process the original transgression?  Through consensual touch, through dialogue, through giving voice to the feelings which come up.  Sometimes, underneath the numbness, a physical discomfort emerges.  Then with that discomfort an emotion, often anger or irritation, arises. After this that body part seems to reintegrate with the rest of the body and rejoin the whole body in feeling and responsiveness. The critical thing is the active, moment to moment consent.  It changes everything.

[If you’d like to talk about possibly working together, you can contact me here]


In the Woody Allan film ‘Manhattan’, a female character says “I finally had an orgasm, and my doctor told me it was the wrong kind”

The joke derives from Freud’s idea that clitoral orgasms were immature and masculine, and that the mature woman should confine herself to vaginal orgasms.

Why Freud felt entitled to pontificate about woman’s genitals without being the possessor of any is far from clear. But many men since have felt a similar entitlement.

Strong similarities

Fortunately, we’ve moved on, specifically, we’re much clearer on the structure of the nervous system. And that clarity enables us to see strong similarities between male and female experiences of orgasm.

The clitoral orgasm is connected to the pudendal nerve. How can a man know what that’s like? Easy. The glands of the penis are connected to the same nerve.

The vaginal, or g spot orgasm is connected to the pelvic nerve. This is the same nerve that connects to the deep structure of the penis.

The cervix orgasm is connected to the hypogastric nerve. Both this nerve and the pudendal nerve are connected to the male prostate.

Lastly, the enigmatic Vagus nerve is connected to the uterus orgasm. In men, researchers aren’t yet sure, but I discovered it by accident during my sexological bodywork training when one of my colleagues located it as part of the pelvic floor, near the root of the penis. The sensation was felt in the head, like stimulation of the prostate, but at the side of the head. Corresponding with the vagus nerve’s upper positioning, rather than the middle of the head.

The similarity between male and female orgasmic experience has been overlooked, I think, for two reasons. One is the confusion between male ejaculation and male orgasm, which are actually distinct. But the main one is the insulting disinterest that the medical profession has historically had to women’s bodies and women’s pleasure.


Seeing these strong similarities will, I hope be a way of enabling all of us, women and men, to understand our common human inheritance of pleasure.

If you’re interested in exploring further, you can contact me here

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