Let's talk about sex!
And boundaries, and gender, and communication, and what actually goes on behind the closed doors of my treatment room.
A couple of weeks ago, my BFF and I were out having a meal at Paa Dee (a Thai restaurant, corner of SE 28th and Burnside). If you haven't been, you should go -- they are fantastic! When the check came, it was enclosed in a paperback book, as has become fashionable to do around town. The above image was the cover, and it got me thinking.
It scared me to death to embark upon this journey. To become a healer; to step into this role as a cis-hetero man. A big part of my fear was, "I don't want people to think I'm that guy." You know the guy I mean. Ugh.
This is why I bristle at the crass jokes some of my friends (uniformly male) make about happy endings and rubdowns and such. I am working on getting a sense of humor about this stuff (totally swear), but it's a big deal to me. To be clean, clear and unambiguous about the nature and kind of healing work that I do: safe, ethical, healing, non-sexual touch. We've got some funny ideas in present day America about men, women, sex, our bodies and our spirituality. So much unfortunate, unnecessary dysfunction.
Bodywork is the oldest form of medicine known to humankind. Every day, every session hour, I use techniques that have been successfully employed by healing hands for thousands of years. Of course I also use techniques that have been modified and updated even as recently as the last few months, but that's the amazing thing about this work: it's evolving and changing with us as a species. The more we learn about the unity of our body/mind/spirit, the more bodywork changes and evolves.
The more I do this work, the more I'm grateful for the iron-clad professional boundaries that were put in place by my instructors at East West College from the very word "go". There is something about the ritual of the clinical intake, the safe and tactful use of sheets (the "drape") and the manner and intent of your therapist that put healthy boundaries in place and make the difference between you the client feeling safe and cared for in a non-sexual, non-threatening way, and...that other thing.
I've been privileged to work with men and women of all different races, body shapes, athletic ability, sexual orientations, placement on the gender expression scale and so on. My goal in every case, with every client, is to provide a safe place and an environment that by its nature and intent is therapeutic and healing.
And, in case this song isn't already rolling through your brain, here's a little Flashback for your Friday!