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September 9

Sex and Aging/ Inability to Orgasm

“Rosalynn”, a 68-year old hairdresser, hadn’t been sexually active for many years. She explained to me, her body was feeling numb. She was no longer able to orgasm, even during masturbation, which had never been a problem for her before. She was feeling frustrated. She hinted at other issues but declined to discuss them over the phone during our initial consultation. When she arrived in my office a few days later, we had a more in-depth conversation as part of the intake process where deeper truths revealed themselves. For the past twelve years, Rosalynn has been the sole breadwinner and caretaker for her terminally ill husband. The stress and anxiety was taking its toll on her. But perhaps more pertinent to her condition, she carried a lot of anger towards her partner for past infidelities and other relationship issues. His condition was worsening and he was not expected to live much longer. Despite her anger, she was determined to care for her husband at home as long as it was feasible. She felt resigned to the coming loss and was hoping to be able to rejoin the living, including being sexual again. She wanted to feel pleasure in her body as she used to. She’d read that Sexological Bodywork could help people connect with their bodies and learn to feel more pleasure. She wanted to try it – to do something for herself. Before doing any hands-on work with a client, I teach them Betty Martin’s Wheel of Consent. Many people have trouble establishing boundaries, asking for what they want, and understanding when they can say no. Betty Martin’s Wheel has become the gold standard worldwide for teaching consent for people of all ages and is an invaluable tool for understanding the dynamics of touch. Afterwards, Rosalynn reported that learning the Wheel had completely changed how she viewed her marriage and the decisions she had made. She understood better how she had participated in much of the dysfunctional behavior during her marriage. She recognized that it wasn’t all her husband’s fault and this helped her make peace with much of what had transpired. Next, we needed to dispel some of the stress, anxiety, and anger she was feeling. During the intake process, she recounted a trip they had made to California, and a visit to the Redwood Forest. It was the last trip they had been able to take before her husband’s illness made travel impossible. Visiting the redwoods had been a meaningful, spiritual experience for her and she thought about it often.

In a deep hypnotic trance, I was able to take her back to the “Avenue of the Giants.” She was able to walk among the trees, touch them, draw strength and wisdom from them. Before bringing her out, I gave her a post-hypnotic suggestion that when we did bodywork, she would be more focused, more present in her body, able to feel the pleasurable sensations much more intensely that ever before. As she came out of trance, she said she could smell the forest, feel the breeze blowing through the trees. It was vivid and real to her as when she was there. The next day, I received an email from her. She said the bodywork and trance had been a powerful experience for her, and had both reawakened her to the pleasures of her body, and also seemed to lift a great weight off her shoulders, dissolving much of the stress she’d been feeling. During the next session, at her request, we did the bodywork while she was in trance, among the redwoods – smelling the fragrance of the forest, feeling the gentle breeze on her skin, with the giants witness to her awakening. For her, it was a powerful experience of spiritual sensuality, After several similar sessions, Rosalynn felt more at peace with the past, calmer with her situation, and stronger in facing the work of caring for her husband. She felt more alive in her body and hopeful for the future. She was able to orgasm once again and fully enjoy it. I taught her self-hypnosis and she began to make it a daily practice, helping her deal with life’s challenges and making her feel she had more control of her life. Most of my clients come to me, having already exhausted all other avenues for help. Many feel broken, often hopeless. For them, it’s incredibly healing just to be able to share their feelings with a loving presence; someone who listens and provides a safe, non-judgmental space to discuss their most personal concerns. And the actual work builds on that.

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