How many have heard about sexological bodywork? As a profession it hasn’t been around that long, coming out of California in around 2003, created by a group of individuals who believed that sexual health and erotic education are basic human rights. Sexological Bodyworkers are somatic sex educators which means they work with the body to support people to learn about their own erotic and sexual development, as well as their sexual health issues and concerns.
…but we carry a hangover of enormous guilt and shame courtesy of 2,000 years of Christian religion that said our bodies, genitals and sex was BAD!
I recently completed the second module of my training to become a certified sexological bodyworker and am excited about the potential of this work to create sexual education and healing to a world still very hung up about bodies, sex and genitals. Why is it that we can access any number of healing modalities that will massage our bodies, heal our psyches, and medicate our pain, but no one teaches us about our sexuality or erotic potential? It’s obvious that sex is big business, huge business in fact. We all want better sex, explosive orgasms, to increase our pleasure potential, but we carry a hangover of enormous guilt and shame courtesy of 2,000 years of Christian religion that said our bodies, genitals and sex was BAD! Religion has been used to control the sexual lives of individuals for way too long. Many of us have dropped the religious allegiance, but we’ve held onto the outmoded shameful beliefs around our sexuality. You have to ask yourself, why the prudery around this most natural and beautiful act of creation and pleasure?
Well time for a change I say. This is not a subject that is new to me. As a priestess I have long known how sexuality was revered in our ancient past and that the temples were the churches of that era and the congregation worshipped a goddess who was all about sexual expression. In fact in the temples of the goddess, the sacred prostitute was the highly trained priestess who essentially facilitated an act of sexual prayer, using her body as a conduit through which the goddess was made present.
The sacred prostitute has long called to me through the shadows of the past, beckoning to me from behind diaphanous veils, suggesting to me sensual delights made all the more erotic because of the clandestine nature of her persona. But who is she, this sacred whore – the one whose body is claimed by the goddess, who shares her sacred flesh as a divine act of prayer? The term sacred prostitute was coined by Christian male academics and historians who deemed the archaeological evidence they discovered as being proof of ancient sex cults. It was inconceivable to them that these ritual acts were anything other than prostitution. Regrettably, the name has continued through to the modern vernacular, carrying with it derogatory aspersions, but back then, these women were known as Qadishtu, Hetera, Naditu, Harimtu or many other names and they all spoke of the sacred or holy women who mediated sexuality in the name of the goddess.
For years now I have investigated the sacred whore, written articles about her, researched her academically, finding out all I could about this purveyor of sexual pleasures. Nancy Quolls-Corbett, a Jungian therapist, describes this archetype as “severely suppressed by our modern patriarchal culture, with its shameful view of the body and sexuality”. In her book, The Sacred Prostitute, Quolls-Corbett takes us back through history to a time when the Goddess oversaw the creation of all life and the sexual acts performed by the priestesses were about honouring the fertility of the land. The public rituals of fornication with the vegetation god were intended to encourage bountiful grain harvests or to increase the animal herds.
These sexual priestesses were also known for their healing arts and their ability to “take the war out of men”. Upon returning from battle, they would seek out the services of the sexual priestess, who would heal not only their physical bodies, but their emotional and spiritual wounds as well. It was said that these women healers would draw off the effects of war and gently and tenderly love the men back to wholeness using their bodies before returning them to their families.
Today the contemporary sacred prostitute wears a different persona and no doubt a different name. She no longer works from a temple but you will find her plying her sexual healing arts as women have always done down through history. She may not necessarily engage in the physical act of sex either, but she still combines her sexual energy with the sacred, accessing source energy and applies its healing balm to a wounded body and a wounded world.
Yes, I am priestess, yes I am holy whore, but more simply, I am sacred woman
Having journeyed with the sacred prostitute for so many years, researching and writing about her, invoking her in sacred ritual, educating through workshops and retreats and accessing her energy to work with my own clients, it is only in recent years I have claimed this archetype for myself. I too am the sacred prostitute. I am a channel for the sexual energy of goddess. At one time that concept was way too big to actually own. After all, I’m not a sex worker; I don’t claim to heal men through engaging sexually. I was in denial of my sexual connection to source energy, the sacred healing that is engaged when I bring my physical and emotional presence to an individual. It’s taken me a long time, and even as I type these words, I question my public declaration and claim to the title. I don’t likes labels that can box you in and limit the way you are perceived. Yes, I am priestess, yes I am holy whore, but more simply, I am sacred woman.
Finding sexological bodywork has felt like a home coming. Many who learn this bodywork to support clients in their own erotic and sexual development, will not invoke the sacred to inform what they do. That’s perfectly okay and neither detracts nor adds to the validity of this important work. But for me, me personally, I have found a body of work that mirrors the vocation of the temple priestess. The ability to include sexual energy instead of denying it, is the point of reconnecting lifetimes past with my present work. For me it is coming home to what is so familiar, to at last legitimise the marrying of sexual energy with the healing of the body.
I think Kenneth Ray Stubbs said it well when he described the sacred prostitute as a sexual shaman, someone who facilitates healing through the use of sexual energy. “Such a person is involved in an ongoing personal meditative, ceremonial, spiritual practice. This is not a weekend job. They have the willingness to facilitate a person of any gender, sexual orientation, and age. An honouring of the god, source, goddess, divinity in the other, with the outcome being for the recipient’s highest good.”
- Learning to Give and Receive Pleasure
- Yoni mapping for Pleasure, Pain or Numbness
- Inability to Orgasm
- Relief from Pelvic Pain
- Couples Wanting to Learn how to Pleasure Their Partner
- Premature Ejaculation / Erectile Dysfunction
- Recovering Sexual Functioning and Pleasure after Childbirth; Genital, Pelvic or Breast Surgery; Trauma
- Accepting and Loving One’s Body, Gender and Sexuality
- Understanding Anal Pleasure, Prostate Massage
- Internal and External Scar Tissue Remediation
If you would like to know more about sexological bodywork and its myriad benefits here is a great website full of resources and contacts for people in the USA: http://www.sexologicalbodywork.com/doku.php?id=profession
If you are interested in undertaking the certification in sexological bodywork in Australia, it is offered by the Institute of Somatic Sexology at this address where you can find all the details: http://instituteofsomaticsexology.com/professional-training/certificate-in-sexological-bodywork/
If you would like to see me or make contact for a session, I am in Uki in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales, Australia, not too far from Byron Bay. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or see my webpage for more information: https://goddessofsacredsex.com/sexological-bodywork/.
With warm blessings and much love
The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine – Nancy Qualls-Corbett
Reclaiming Eros: Sacred Whores and Healers – Margaret Wade and Suzanne Blackburn
Women of the Light: The New Sacred Prostitute – Kenneth Ray Stubbs