Things are moving forward
As I wrote this update, I was enjoying a week-long self-imposed self-care retreat at Zipolite Beach, a beautiful, remote community in Oaxaca, México. I spent a week relaxing, rejuvenating, and re-imagining what the world will look like for me in the months and years to come. It was a necessary step in preparing for the changes emerging in my life.
If you have followed me on social media, thank you for being present on my journeys. It means the world to me. I enjoy learning about the life experiences of others–there is important information we can always share with each other. This post is an update on my various endeavors. It includes info on how to stay updated and connected. Enjoy!
Progress on Dissertation
I am pushing aggressively to complete my dissertation and at least defend by the end of this calendar year. For those who are not aware, I am conducting a phenomenological examination of the practice known as sacred intimacy as taught by Joseph Kramer and the Body Electric School in the era of the emergence of the AIDS epidemic. The work was created to provide vital, pleasurable touch without the exchange of bodily fluids. It was initially primarily offered to cis men dying of AIDS, and often used in hospice spaces to help people through their transition.
Sacred intimacy, a practice that integrates energetic work, movement, touch, breath work, ritual, and safe interactions, has evolved through the years to support people as they work through recovery in substance use and addiction, developing self-esteem, healing from mental, emotional, and spiritual blocks related to unhealthy relationships, and fostering more meaningful intimate relationships with others. Sacred intimacy has also been used as a method to explore sexual orientation and gender identity, navigate the many possibilities of sexual expression, expand personal knowledge about sexual health and wellness, and build a more meaningful embodied life experience.
I continue collecting data, writing and editing chapters to complete the project, and hope to defend the final work in front of my dissertation committee either late fall/winter or early spring semester at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).
Research Fellowship Examining Pleasure
I was offered and accepted a Postdoctoral Research Fellow position with the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. I will be working with Professor Ethan Coston and a team of researchers on the Sexual health, Erotic life, and pleasure eXperiencing (SEX) Project. Through this project, we aim to learn as much as we possibly can about pleasure and positive aspects of sexuality. The five-year study aligns very closely with my own research on pleasure and sexuality. Although my involvement has just begun, I have already learned much about academic research.
You can find out more about this study here.
Men’s Embodiment Coaching
During the last several years, I supported patients to access sexual health and wellness, and gender-affirming care services. The time I spent in the arena was invaluable. It allowed me to explore healing from a more prescriptive, clinical lens. I worked with patients in the 2LGBTQIA+ community, trans and gender-expansive people, people living with HIV, Spanish-speaking patients, and victims of sexual assault, among others. Working in a clinical context helped me to understand what medical and mental health providers struggle with when helping to support their patients.
During that same time, however, I limited my somatic and embodiment coaching as well as sacred intimate practice. Although I am grateful for learning in the medical space, my heart yearned to return more actively to supporting clients as they pursued their integrated healing. Although I scaled back on the work, it never truly left my heart and soul.
SoonI will again be offering limited appointments in my somatic and embodiment practice. Re-branded as Ecstatic Life Path Coaching for Men, I will be offering experientially-focused sessions and programming from a body-based perspective for self-identified men. For those who are struggling with finding their authentic selves, exploring their erotic possibilities, and finding greater opportunities for intimacy, this programming will be for you.
This, by far, has been the work that most feeds my soul, and I am convinced is my gift to offer to the world. I am excited to integrate all that I have learned and experienced, and to share that with others.
Remember the importance of self-care. Break away and focus in yourself!