Disclaimer: The SSEA welcomes and supports all members, celebrating their unique skill sets and chosen practices. Members pledge to operate ethically, but the SSEA does not monitor members’ ethics, nor does the association take any responsibility for members’ personal conduct within sessions. Each member is responsible to uphold their code of ethics as agreed upon and outlined with clients during the intake process. Each client is responsible for ensuring the practices and relationships they are experiencing with a Somatic Sex Educator are educational, healing and empowering for them.
Ethical Practice in Somatic Sex Education
Through Somatic Sex Education there is effective help available for people struggling with various challenges around sex and sexuality, and there is the potential for them to develop a sense of wholeness and wellbeing.
Professional training in Somatic Sex Education and Sexological Bodywork means that practitioners are taught to practice the profession with honesty, integrity, and competence. Our primary commitment is to the health, well-being, and safety of our clients.
Somatic Sex Education is a safe way for people to explore and heal their sexuality, because we are ethical practitioners who work within clear boundaries and roles.
Members of the SSEA pledge that:
The practitioner’s chief focus and primary ethical responsibility is on their client’s wellbeing.
The practitioner works to support the client in the experience of embodiment and empowered, enthusiastic consent.
When touch is included in Somatic Sex Education it is for the purpose of the client’s learning & growth.
During the session the practitioner is fully and consistently at the service of the client’s personal growth and learning.
The practitioner commits to their own professional development and ongoing self care.
The practitioner is aware of the potential for attraction within the client-practitioner relationship and ensures the focus is always on the client’s growth & learning.
The practitioner practices in a way that is free of narcissistic focus on power, admiration, or sexual gratification.
Entering into a client-practitioner relationship involves an intake process in which limits and boundaries are clearly set out and agreed to.
Somatic Sex Educators practicing as Certified Sexological Bodyworkers have additionally pledged to follow these ethics:
Client checklist for Working with a Somatic Sex Educator
There are several factors that can have an impact on a person’s ability to work effectively with a Somatic Sex Educator. This checklist doesn’t claim to be all someone needs to consider when they are contemplating working with a Somatic Sex Educator. It is provided as a starting point.
Self-care after a session is as important as what happens during sessions with a Somatic Sex Educator. Some of the items in the following list offer guidance about what clients can do to integrate healing and wholeness.
□ Do you have a support system? It’s important to have support for your journey in addition to your Somatic Sex Educator. Consider your inner and outer resources and the people and animals who are in your life. Who can you talk with about this work?
□ Are you ready emotionally? The process of discovering, identifying, releasing and healing from sexual abuse or neglect is powerful. It can feel like your world is being turned upside down. Profound emotions can be released, and have a big impact on your life.
□ Are you ready physically? Will your physical health, diet, exercise, and sleep routines support you through the process? When physical health issues are present, be sure to consult with your doctor to make sure you are not neglecting important medical treatments. Let your Somatic Sex Educator know of any medications with side-effects that may influence your state of mind or emotions during sessions.
□ Are you ready mentally? How do you react to challenges? What happens in your mind when you feel triggered? It is important to establish a practice of mindfully witnessing thought patterns associated with your sexuality before engaging in a program of Somatic Sex Education focused on body-based learning. Practices like meditation, journaling, prayer and personal nurturing can be important for people on this journey.
□ Do you have enough time? A journey to sexual wholeness is not a simple process. Be wary of anyone promising simple solutions or techniques that will miraculously “make everything better” and heal your wounds.
In addition to time for your sessions with a Somatic Sex Educator, you must also give yourself adequate time to process and integrate what your sessions reveal or trigger. “Homework” given to you by your Somatic Sex Educator will likely form an important part of your journey to wholeness.
□ Can you afford a series of sessions? There can be a significant cost involved to complete a program of Somatic Sex Education, which could take several months or more. Each client is unique, so the time it takes and the number of sessions needed to complete a learning process are different for each person.
□ Have you found a Somatic Sex Educator you feel good about? Check out a Somatic Sex Educator’s qualifications, experience and reputation. Interview a potential practitioner to see if you feel they are a good fit for you. Many Somatic Sex Educators offer a complimentary 10-minute call or Skype session. If you have reached the point where sexual healing and wholeness feels imperative for you, then trust that your due diligence and intuition will lead you to the right people to work with.
□ Are you able to speak up if things feel wrong? The majority of Somatic Sex Educators are well-qualified, trustworthy and very competent. They are following a calling to help others the way they have been helped to heal and learn sexually. And all of them can make mistakes, or inadvertently trigger painful memories. Occasionally Somatic Sex Educators can be misguided, or lack appropriate boundaries. To work effectively with a Somatic Sex Educator, you need to notice when things feel wrong, and speak up. Ask your practitioner immediately to stop and change the activity or the plan for your sessions.
□ Are you building a community? Ask your Somatic Sex Educator to tell you about workshops and help you find groups that you can participate in. Don’t become dependent on a single practitioner. Create a “sexual wholeness” community.
Checklist developed with thanks to Sunyata Satchitananda – SafeSexualHealing.com