July 10, 2017

The Unconventional Therapy that got me Back in the Sex Game. {Adult}

Editor’s note: Elephant is not your doctor or hospital. Our lawyers would say “this website is not designed to, and should not be construed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment. Always consult a health professional before trying out new home therapies or changing your diet.” But we can’t afford lawyers, and you knew all that. 


Relaxing by the pool in Las Vegas, I received a Facebook message that read:

“Thank you for sharing your sacred journey of sexual healing via yoni massage with such love, clarity, and beauty on elephant journal. Your authenticity flows gracefully through your descriptive writing, and the sincerity of it communicates volumes. The more transformative souls such as you share such experiences of returning home to the body, the more audiences will give themselves the permission to do the same.”

It was signed, “Blessings and Light, Rahi Chun.”

As I read through Rahi’s website, and the testimonials, it was clear that he provided sexual healing services. As luck would have it, I was traveling to Los Angeles, where his business is located, the following week. I thanked him for his praise and promptly scheduled a session.

During our in-person intake, Rahi explained, “The way I hold space is to invite safety in listening for what the client’s body and sexual energy is ready to explore and experience with clear boundaries and consent. It will be your intention and your body’s guidance that will lead the experience.”

We talked openly about my family history, my relationships, my sexual history, and my sexual preferences. We talked about my first yoni massage (performed by a woman) and the way my sexual experiences had changed afterward. Thanks to the healing that occurred during my first yoni massage, I could orgasm for the first time.

Rahi clearly articulated the differences between tantra yoni massage (my first experience) and the type of massage he would perform. Tantra yoni massage experiences are more about expanding sexual arousal and the energy experienced through connecting and relating with your partner or facilitator, whereas somatic sexual wholeness (Rahi’s specialty) serves to empower self-awareness and build a fluency in expressing and embodying sexual arousal and energy in your own intimate relationship with yourself.

With this foundation of self-love, wholly and sexually embodied women and men are then able to relate to others owning their own sexuality, which creates a nourishing and expansive dance that is ideally free of dependency or co-dependency of another.

As such, he was certain to explain that during the massage, touch would be uni-directional—from him to me—and he would use gloves. Overall, there would be more boundaries and communication of consent throughout the session.

Sexological Bodywork has been a state-certified training in California since 2003. It offers a sensuous and effective alternative to standard sex therapy, and working with a Sexological Bodywork professional can help people heal shame while exploring desires and discovering the tools they need to create a pleasure-enriched life. The Certified Somatic Sex Educator program was first offered in 2012 as an upper-level training for Certified Sexological Bodyworkers.

“Certainly talk therapy can be enormously helpful for people working on sexual issues, but body-based coaching is what allows people to really integrate new knowledge about intimacy and erotic energy into their lives and relationships. When people experience new capacities for pleasure, they are empowered to transform their erotic lives.” ~ Caffyn Jesse, Somatic Sex Educator

In terms of experience, Rahi has a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology. He is also a Certified Somatic Sex Educator/SexologicalBodyworker, facilitator in pulsation therapy, and has certifications in Family Constellations Therapy, Daka (Sex) Healing, and Faster EFT for Sexual Trauma.

One thing struck me during my intake session was the way Rahi empowered me throughout the conversation. As a woman who had recently “come into her own” in terms of sexual prowess, I had given away much of my sexual competence to my partner. Rahi was quick to remind me that it was my body having the experience, irrespective of my partner. This was revolutionary for me and helped me change the diminished mindset I was in, after an on-again, off-again relationship and terrible breakup.

After the intake session, I did a lot of thinking about how my relationship compared to other aspects of my life. I was then able to frame my relationship in a new way. This is the text I sent to Rahi after our intake:

“When I think about my relationship with my ex, we had fantastic sex—incredible sex—in a very safe and exploratory way that was awesome for us both. But maybe it was just to open my eyes and expand my horizon, to get me “back in the game,” so to speak, so I would be ready for a relationship that hits the right spots on all levels, not just chemistry. This line of thinking has me feeling kind of okay about my breakup for the first time in nearly two months.”

I have to mention that one of my best friends, who loves to call me out on my bullsh*t, pointed out that if I wasn’t having orgasms before, I was never “in the game” in the first place. Touché.

But I still count having great sex as being in the game, because for the previous 20 years, I had suffered from debilitating depression and sex wasn’t something I enjoyed or even engaged in routinely. Part of the reason for that is because during my depression, I was heavily medicated on five different prescriptions (including antipsychotic medications, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and stimulants). All told, it’s a wonder I even functioned, so having a sex drive and being sexually active on a regular basis was certainly a game changer for me.

I also had a hysterectomy just before beginning this last relationship, which meant I was no longer on hormonal birth control. In my situation, I believe the hormonal birth control contributed to my prior depression. In addition, the synthetic hormones now required because of my radical hysterectomy have a bit of testosterone in them, which increases my sex drive.

I worked with my doctor to remove my prior diagnoses from my medical file, but after extensive testing, the Major Depressive Disorder remained due to the fact that I continue to have pain in my body, although I show no other consistent symptoms of depression. The fact that I was now working with a Somatic Bodyworker who also has a degree in Spiritual Psychology seemed like fate.

A few days after our intake session, as I left for my appointment with Rahi, I honestly had no idea what a treat I was in for and the impact the next five hours would have on my outlook—not just sexually, but personally and professionally as well.

What I was certain of, however, was that Rahi would be extremely attentive to my needs, having spent so much time learning about who I am as a person, by reading my articles, spending time understanding the influences on and experiences of my sexuality, and most importantly, ensuring the way I was seen and heard during my intake session.

Primed with these certainties and the idea of reclaiming my sexuality as my own—and not something that belonged to my former partner—was enticing to me. I was eager to begin my journey to somatic sexual wholeness.

When I scheduled the appointment, Rahi had asked me to wear comfortable clothes because he had some exercises for me to do. Exercises? I thought. I figured he meant Kegels.

Nope—he truly meant exercises.

And these weren’t just any exercises, they were Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises® (TRE®).

He facilitated a series of seven different moves; they were more like stretches, but while being fully aware of the sensations in my body. They weren’t strenuous, yet they caused my body to tremor—like how sometimes when you’re exercising, your muscles just shake. Or maybe that’s just me because I don’t exercise enough…

TRE® is a much more sophisticated and complex process designed to elicit what is called the body’s “natural tremor mechanism.” Through the unraveling of chronically held anxiety from within the nervous system, your body naturally releases tension.

Even bigger than the release of tension through the vibrational tremors, on a higher level, the release from TRE® addresses chronic nervous system disregulation and the energy distortion that may have occurred over a lifetime. In my case, the distortion was the result of growing up with feelings of being unlovable, bad, undeserving, and shamed.

Even now, several months after my massage, it’s still hard to imagine that the experience addressed such profound and rooted issues stemming from my childhood. That is why this work is so important—it changes you. I’ve had a hard time even writing about it, because the changes that took place consciously and unconsciously—both while my body was being physically stimulated and afterward as the work integrated and I applied the concepts I learned to the way I lived my life—were so complex and multi-layered.

While I performed the exercises, therapeutic tremors released the held trauma from my body. Rahi supported my legs as they shook, and his notes reveal that I was in this state for a full 15 minutes as the tension left my nervous system.

I have terrible insomnia and rarely sleep more than a few hours a night, so it was interesting to hear Rahi say, as he facilitated this process, “Perhaps you will sleep well tonight.” Yeah, right, I thought to myself.

Somatic Psychotherapy is a modality grounded in the mind-body connection. Contemporary practitioners of somatic therapy believe that viewing the mind and body as one entity is essential to the therapeutic process. Per somatic therapy theory, the sensations associated with past trauma may become trapped within the body and reflected in facial expressions, posture, muscular pain, or other forms of body language.

One of the ways to address this trauma is through bodywork.

After we finished with the exercises, I disrobed and laid face down on the massage table while Rahi began a full body massage. This was not a sensual or sexual massage; it was therapeutic and comparable to the kind of deep tissue massage I’ve received from professional massage therapists—which was just what I needed. He was inviting a presence to my voice of intuitive wisdom, and the feelings and sensations I was experiencing at the time. As my body cried out for physical touch and the pain in my muscle tissues deepened, Rahi intuitively increased the pressure to meet my demands.

As he completed massaging each body part, he invited me to tune in to listening for how my body wanted to experience itself, by asking if I wanted him to continue the massage, stop the massage, do something different, or repeat anything. I openly communicated with him if he was using too much pressure or not enough throughout the session. Because I was having significant neck and shoulder pain during my visit, I asked him to repeat the massage on my shoulders and neck. He accommodated and worked diligently to remove the knots that had settled in my shoulders.

He told me that the full body massage was “a way of gauging how trusting (a client’s) nervous system is, how safe they feel in asking for what they want, how present they are with their sensations, and how relaxed they are in receiving.”

I’ve never been good at receiving. I’m a giver—I always have been. But receiving from others is difficult for me. It was a gift just to be in this session with Rahi. Just a few weeks before I connected with him, I had a first-time session with a new coach who schooled me for operating in masculine energy and trying to control situations all the time rather than just going with the flow of the feminine energy and receiving. It was eye-opening for me.

Shortly after working with that coach, I received the gift of travel to Las Vegas and Los Angeles and landed squarely in Rahi’s healing energy.

The universe was sending me a message to receive in a big way.

And boy did I receive—much more than I ever imagined I possibly could from a massage, or even from connecting with another person. While the session itself was unique, it had never occurred to me that bodywork could impact so many areas of my life. From the trauma released through TRE® to the stored emotions that lessened with deep tissue massage, the bodywork Rahi performed primed my body for the next stage of the process—the yoni massage.


This is part one in a three-part series about my journey to somatic sexual wholeness. Click here to read part two: How Yoni Massage helped me Heal from Generational Trauma & Shame. {Adult}



Author: Melissa Drake
Image: David Cohen/Unsplash
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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