Team RW is so excited to share this guest blog by somatic sex & intimacy coach, Meryl Gellman.
Okay, I have three questions for you.
- Do you sometimes wake up feeling like you haven’t slept at all?
- Have you walked or driven somewhere only to realize you have no idea how you got there?
- Do you snap at people and later wonder what came over you?
If you said yes to any of that, believe it or not, you may get a lot from working with a Somatic Sex & Intimacy Coach.
It may not seem connected but stay with me here.
Imagine shifting the above to the following:
- I woke up feeling so replenished & my partner(s) and I cuddled for a bit before getting up.
- I had a sexy-eye-contact flirt with a hottie at a red light while I was driving to the grocery store.
- I’m tightly wound right now, and I don’t think this is a good time for me to talk about this.
When I first started telling folks that I’m a somatic sex coach, I was shocked by how many people thought that meant I would watch them have sex and coach them on what to do. While I love where their heads are at & never say never, it hadn’t crossed my mind that for most people, it stands to reason that Sex + Coach = Coach Me In How To Do Sex. It makes perfect sense.
My ultimate goal as a somatic sex coach is to help people have the best sex and relationships possible by reconnecting with their bodies and feeling empowered to choose pleasure every damn day.
My clients & I establish intimate, loving, two-way relationships with each other within my professional boundaries & their personal boundaries wherein we teach each other our optimal conditions for giving & receiving love.
We usually don’t get to talking about the physical experience of sex for quite a while. Pleasure happens in the brain, and the body receives it. I help reconnect the emotional and intellectual self and then re-establish the connection with your body so you can fully receive pleasure. I would never have guessed, but it turns out that 12 years as an opera singer + 12 years in hospitality = Somatic Sex Coach.
As a reformed opera singer, I am keenly aware of the power of our bodies, particularly when it comes to muscle memory. Together, we will bring it back to the body. Every time we work together, your body will become more familiar with the physical sensations of your feelings. (Crazy, right? Read that again.) This means that not only is your brain learning, but your body is learning, too. Our bodies remember everything and constantly communicate with us through physiological sensations like hunger or acute pain and our intuition (aka gut feelings). Practicing embodiment will connect you more deeply to both, and you will learn to trust your whole self.
Let’s break it down a bit by using the examples from above.
1. Do you wake up feeling like you haven’t slept at all?
Your nervous system may be running on overdrive, making it difficult for you ever to feel totally relaxed. Our society rarely celebrates or even offers opportunities for us to settle into our bodies. We are constantly in a state of activation through social media, news updates, systemic racism, body shaming, the work/family/personal time balance, everyday triggers, expectations (real & perceived)… I could go on.
If we are unable to stay settled in connection with our own bodies, it’s unrealistic that we would be able to settle into connection with other people. Yet, here we are, striving for perfect romances, friendships, family connections, and work relationships. It’s a lot of work, and you’re tired. Where & how do pleasure & desire even fit into your life? The answer: everywhere.
The first step in reconnecting with your body & desire is to settle the hell down.
You’ve been running at or beyond capacity for a long time, and there are a lot of feelings sending tons of energy coursing through your body. Doing this work means stepping into a boundaried space where you learn to attune to yourself, and we attune to each other. Because the boundaries of my work allow for touch, this can look like holding eye contact, holding & cuddling each other, or offering reassurance through physical connection.
By practicing the tools of secure attachment and being with my settled nervous system, your own nervous system will settle. You will learn to teach someone how to love & care for you and co-regulate your nervous system with you, and how to be empathetic to others’ needs & feelings without subsuming your own.
2. Have you walked or driven somewhere only to realize you have no idea how you got there?
Aside from being just plain dangerous, this doesn’t sound like the most mindful way to move through the world. Integrating mindfulness into embodiment practices will help deepen your connection to your body, making it much easier & more accessible to check in with yourself. Living mindfully in each present moment helps reduce anxiety and encourages constant connection with your body. Ideally, every choice you make would be an embodied one.
It’s the difference between the following two experiences of the same scenario:
Experience 1: You don’t know how you got there, but you’re at the grocery store. You grab a bunch of carrots from the produce section and check it off your list.
Experience 2: You’re at the grocery store, feeling your oats after a bit of flirting with the red light person. You walk over to the carrots and begin looking over the different bunches until you come across a bunch you find particularly aesthetically pleasing. You smell the sweet, earthy freshness and feel excitement rise in your body for how freaking delicious these carrots are going to be.
I don’t know about you, but I’m much more psyched to cook with that second bunch of carrots. It might seem weird to get so excited about carrots, but why not savor every morsel of pleasure you can get out of your life? Not only do you get the enjoyment of feeling the excitement of your initial full-body yes, but you also get to feel the excitement of preparing and enjoying these gorgeous & delicious carrots that lit your body up in the grocery store. Staying mindful allows you to remain open to small moments of joy & pleasure that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Experiencing more pleasure in your life means getting in touch with your desire – you have to figure out what you like before you can enjoy it! The most common speed bump on the path of self-exploration is shame.
Shame is the most incapacitating, insidious, and pervasive feeling we experience (“we” meaning, literally, everyone). We are forced to “fit in” to avoid any possible scenario where our shame makes a public appearance.
Brace yourself; I’m here to tell you that it’s all bullshit and help you unlearn all of the toxic messaging that shaped your shame and is standing staunchly in between you and the fully embodied experience of pleasure that you deserve and are entitled to.
By normalizing & de-shamifying those beautiful thoughts & fantasies running through your head, we will be able to explore what feels good for you, what feels exciting, what gives you a full-body YES!
How do you like to touch your partner(s), and how do you like to be touched? (Yes, they’re different!) Does the feeling of fresh cut grass against your bare skin make you weak in the knees? Are your ankles a secret erogenous zone? Busting up the shame in your life will allow you to bring curiosity and exploration to your sexuality so you can move through the world with your pilot light on, always ready to heat up at any increment you want to receive pleasure.
So, if you love the way your kitchen smells when it fills with the savory scent of your favorite stew, and you love the look on your partners’ face when they take that first delicious bite knowing you made it with egg noodles just for them, and you love sitting at that table feeling your erotic energy bubble up inside of you until you finally get to feel your hands against your partners’ soft skin…
Give me one good reason why you shouldn’t get turned on by carrots. And if that sounds like an impossible reality for you and your partner(s), please, for the love of pleasure, call me.
Together, we can create the map of your personal eros.
Self-exploration is a long journey which, in this context, includes reconnecting with and learning to re-parent your Inner Child. Ever wonder why Cupid is portrayed as a baby? I think it’s because our personal eros, sexuality, and core desires begin to form when we are children.
Once we discover & understand your core desires, we can figure out how you can get them during sex. We can explore different kinds of touch, play with giving & receiving passion, learn how to stay connected while playing with fantasy, actively receive each other’s desire, and so much more.
3. Do you snap at people and later wonder what came over you?
That sounds like a trigger to me! As we learn about one another, we naturally and inadvertently step on each other’s triggers. It’s uncomfortable, sometimes more than uncomfortable, but it happens… a lot. When you get triggered, or someone crosses one of your boundaries, your body experiences physical sensations that act as an early warning system that you’re in a state of activation. Bringing awareness to these warnings and knowing what they mean allows us to make new choices. Where we used to snap, we can say, “I need a break.” Where we used to make rash decisions, we can say, “Now is not the time.”
When we’re together, and you get triggered, we will work with it and map the physical sensations and impulses that come over your body at that moment. The pit in your stomach or constriction in your chest, or inability to speak suddenly starts to make sense! We will bring understanding and self-compassion to your triggers, and to yourself when you’re inside of one.
This is a space where you can tantrum, crumble, shake your fists, or offload all of your feelings. Together, we can make a game plan for authentically communicating about your triggers and teach someone what to do when it happens IRL, so you’re not alone in soothing & deescalating yourself. Imagine hearing your partner(s) say, “I see you’re upset right now. I’m not going anywhere. What do you need from me?” or some other delicious & soothing sentence. Remember, this is a two-way relationship, so I may get triggered. When either of us gets triggered, we will practice with vulnerability & empathy and learn how to care for & soothe one another in the midst of triggers.
I woke up exhausted. How did I get here? Why did I say that?
This doesn’t have to be your reality. On some level, you may already feel that something isn’t quite right, or missing, or that you’re settling for what’s “normal.” It’s hard to know where to turn for support when you can’t put your finger on what you need. I encourage you to bring it back to the body, that’s where the answers are.
As a Somatic Sex & Intimacy Coach, I can offer you tools to support you in reconnecting with your self, your desire, and your erotic energy. A connection to self is a connection to all, and I want you to have the tools you need to nourish & deepen those connections.
I want to connect deeply with you and learn how to love you. I want to see where you’re at, understand how you got there, and support you while you navigate this transformative work. Call me or drop me a love note today so we can take the first steps towards intimacy. I can’t wait to watch you thrive as we grow together.
In order to have the best sex & relationships possible, start with yourself.