Sex and Sensibility
Christchurch journalist Anke Richter has become Sunday’s unofficial sub-culture correspondent. If it’s under the radar and attracting whispers, she knows about it. Last year it was Circle, the controversial “secret sisterhood” cropping up here and around the world. This year it’s the growing industry of sensual bodyworkers (page 10) who provide a more intimate form of sex therapy than a more traditional therapist would. They can, for example, remove clothes and use physical touch in their sessions. But whereas when writing about Circle, Anke was driven to expose something she viewed as suspect; this time she wants to shed light on a movement she sees as beneficial to humankind, though she’s well aware it will find its detractors.
“There’s so much taboo around this area,” says Anke. “It’s a big thing for people to go and spend $300 and let people touch parts of themselves. But it’s something that’s really coming forward and I believe it will be much more normalised in 10 years, as it already is in places like California and Europe.
“Yes, it comes out of a sort of New Age movement, but people are realising it’s founded in proper research. I see it as an area of personal growth, no different to somebody doing yoga or meditation.”
Anke first wandered into this world several years ago when, researching a magazine feature, she attended a “conscious sexuality” festival in Byron Bay. She entered as a cynic but ended up intrigued, and now sees these therapies as having much to offer, and not just to those who’ve suffered sexual trauma in the past. “We could all do with someme inspiration in this area. We think we know how w to have sex but there’s so much more that cann be experienced, that can help our emotional wellbeing.llbeing.
“I see a lot of relationships around me where e people don’t live their desires or they feel stuck, ck, and they tend to deal with it by shutting downn and losing their sex drive or by turning to drugs andnd alcohol and affairs... I think it’s fair to say that we have an epidemic of sexual dysfunction.”
Sensual bodywork, conscious sexuality, tantra, tra, somatic sex, slow sex – it’s a burgeoning movement ement with many names. And no doubt some readers rs will conclude that one of those could be snake oil.
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