Surrogate Partner Therapy moves at a very measured pace. The first stage of the work is dedicated to building communication skills, building trust, learning to be present, and learning conscious touch. This slower pace has a great benefit: by the time we get to erotic work, we are comfortable with each other and we have some skills and can experience authentic connection.
Often I work with clients that have had some sexual experience. (Often times they haven’t had any, and that’s ok too.) But I bet they haven’t had the experience of a deeply safe and satisfying connection, or they probably wouldn’t be seeing me. Maybe they’ve had a few casual sexual encounters. Maybe they’ve only ever seen sex workers for their experience. Maybe they had a traumatic event or events in their lives that have affected how they can show up in relationships, especially sexual relationships.
Every client I see is unique. The work can look similar but it’s never “the same”. I meet clients where they are and with my toolbox, we create sessions that fill in any gaps or give them the education they never received. Many times the education is sex education, but often it’s body awareness education.
Yesterday I saw a client I’ve been working with since last summer. We’ve built a trusting relationship and we’ve done a lot of Wheel of Consent work, often asking ourselves, “Who is this for?” Other questions include:
How do I want to be touched?
How do I want you to touch me?
How do I want to touch you?
This session was our first erotic session. We’d moved into the next, and likely the last phase of our work. It was time to start putting all our skills together.
I love sending this video to clients early in the work. It helps them understand why we move at a slower pace:
In this video, Ilan Stephani talks about how the animal kingdom, specifically tigers, establish relationships. Ilan then compares it to the order we tend to establish relationships. I have this printed for my office to remind me why I do my work in the order and pace that I do!
I share this video with my clients and I share that if we establish safety and proximity, the sex will come easily (assuming both want that kind of relationship). Sometimes I assume they are rolling their eyes in their head, thinking, “Yeah, sure. Can’t we just get to the thing I came to work on?!” But thankfully they trust me and we proceed.
Yesterday my client and I had a plan for our session, body and genital exploration. We would take turns, each having 30 minutes. I started by touching him. I touched for my curiosity and pleasure. There was no goal in this touch other than being present and curious. I had so much fun running my hands all over him. Did he enjoy it? Yeah, he did. But ultimately it was for me. I wouldn’t want him to just tolerate it. It’s important that it’s something that feels ok to him too. But what I’m not doing is looking for his reaction. This is a practice in direct pleasure. (Otherwise, it would be in-direct pleasure, when I’m getting my pleasure from his pleasure – which is ok but not the most efficient way to feel good. You can learn more by reading The Art of Receiving and Giving: The Wheel of Consent by Betty Martin and Robyn Dalzen.)
At 30 minutes the timer went off and we switched places. He started his exploration and it felt amazing to me. While he was still touching me for his curiosity and pleasure, I was definitely reaping the benefits. I could feel my skin start to come online. It was waking up. First, a few little noises slipped out from between my lips. As his touch continued I let myself get lost in it. Before long my hips were rising to meet his touch, I was moving into his fingertips, my audible pleasure increased. I even felt the most delicious whole body orgasm move through me. The 30 minutes was delightful. When the timer went off, I laid there wanting to share some thoughts but my body was buzzing with so much electricity that I also didn’t want to say a thing. I gave myself a few more moments and then I put my practitioner hat back on.
“Do you see how that could have EASILY moved into other forms of sexual contact?”
We have safety, proximity and now it’s so easy to move into the touch/sex phase.
We both experienced so much fun and pleasure in this session. The slower pace really pays off, for both the client AND myself. Nothing beats a client with conscious touch. Why is it “conscious”? Because we know who it’s for. More on that in another post. 🙂