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Witnessing Arousal

Witnessing Arousal

(This is one of the practices from the professional Sexological Bodyworker training. You will find the training manual here).

Being witnessed while practicing Orgasmic Yoga is a very different experience from just practicing Orgasmic Yoga alone. Sexological Bodyworkers both witness and coach Orgasmic Yoga. During a coaching session, a Sexological Bodyworker makes assessments, provides evaluations, suggests changes and encourages future practice sessions. Orgasmic Yoga Witnessing, on the other hand, involves none of these elements. Witnessing simply involves the Sexological Bodyworker watching another person’s solo sex session with compassion and non-judgment. 

Witnessing Orgasmic Yoga (or witnessing masturbation) is based upon Mary Stark Whitehouse’s Authentic Movement. In Whitehouse’s therapy, done clothed, the movements and stillness of the client are passively observed by the therapist.

Some Sexological Bodyworkers specialize in witnessing their clients’ solo sex. This witnessing can be done in person or by Zoom. Witnessing is often done in a series of five sessions. This allows the client’s creativity and playfulness to expand and develop over the span of the five sessions.

Witnessing has simple and profound effects. A client might experience newfound freedom and find new ways of feeling themselves. When individuals sense they are being witnessed without judgement, they seldom go into habitual ways of self-touch. Instead, they respond to being witnessed by being more present with their own body. Simply being witnessed by a compassionate presence may provide all a client needs from a Sexological Bodywork session. Often, there is nothing that needs to be fixed or worked on. An individual may simply need to be seen in their arousal.

Practicing Witnessing

You don’t have to be a sex professional to compassionately witness or be witnessed by a friend or lover. Request of someone who trusts you, to allow you to watch them masturbate mindfully. At the beginning of the session, read the following exercise guidelines together. You might email a copy to your partner beforehand.

Begin the session by stating your intention aloud. Have your partner speak their intention aloud. 

The Masturbator chooses the environment; perhaps they will lie on a bed or will stand or sit. Masturbating in front of a mirror is an option. The Masturbator and the Witness should make an agreement about how long the actual masturbating will last. For example, both might agree: “This session will last at least fifteen minutes but no longer than an hour.” You can also set a timer to signal when the session is over.

The Witness is clothed and not in direct eyesight of the Masturbator (as much as is possible). Both the Witness and the Masturbator will want to have a comfortable space for the session.

Without interacting, the Witness simply watches with the mindset, “Oh, this is how this person pleasures themselves.” During this exercise, the Masturbator is not intentionally performing for the Witness. Most times, the masturbator is able to move into their own experience and maintains only peripheral awareness of the witness. 

After the Masturbator is finished, they should take a few minutes to just be and reflect on their session. This reflection allows the experience and learning to be installed into long-term memory. Then, the Masturbator shares their experience of the session. The Witness listens without comment.

Perhaps the Masturbator would like some observations on what the experience of watching was like. If this is the case, the Witness should only speak about their own subjective experience of witnessing. The Witness should make no comments about the Masturbator’s actions. No positive comments, no negative comments–even if the Masturbator requests such an evaluation. The Witness can express gratitude for the honor of being present.

We recommend doing this exercise both as the Masturbator and as the Witness. We recommend journaling about your experience of witnessing and of being witnessed. Here is a way to structure your reflections: What happened? What did you learn? What was the impact of your intention? What were the feelings and sensations? What were your distractions and roadblocks? 

If you cannot do this exercise with another person, you can get a sense of being witnessed by imagining a most compassionate presence watching you as you masturbate.

This practice is from www.YogaofSex.com – the training manual for professional Sexological Bodyworkers.

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