I am excited to be at the forefront of recent developments by taking out a certificate in the still relatively new profession of Sexological Bodywork, founded by Joseph Kramer, PhD, in 2003, in California. As I am also trained in Tantra, I frequently get asked what the difference between Authentic Tantric Massage and Sexological Bodywork is.
Authentic Tantric Massage practitioners do currently not have a governing body that determines what they are being trained in, and what they are allowed to do, and not to do. The result is that the term Tantric Massage covers services ranging from a simple sensual massage, to experiences which can take you far beyond anything you have ever felt, on all levels. However, even skilled and experienced Authentic practitioners need to go with what is suitable for their clients. If the client is unable or not willing to take Tantric Massage as anything different than sensual massage, then it’s probable that they experience the session on that very level. The practitioner can then decide whether to take a specific client on, of course. What’s on offer, however, far surpasses a sensual massage.
Both Sexological Bodywork and Tantric Massage aim for so-called Body Epiphanies, which are strong experiences on the physical level that affect the way we are seeing the world. Our horizons get shifted by getting intimately acquainted with something that seemed hitherto impossible, and out of reach. We realize that we are far more than we thought we were, travelling to new dimensions. This cannot be ‘unlearned’ or forgotten any more.
In Sexological bodywork sessions, clients usually bring a specific intention, such as working on a sexual or performance issue, enhancing their pleasure or love-making technique by acquiring new tools, or gain more body awareness and integrate their sexuality into what makes them out as a person. A very important part is clearly defining the intention together at the beginning of the session. I facilitate putting it into words that feel exactly right for the client, and establishing a learning outcome at the end that can be implemented into the client’s life, such as a regular homework practice.
Tantric Massage can help with all of the above issues, however can be more varied in terms of approach, and intentions. While Sexological Bodywork is strong about structured sessions, and consciously finding intentions and outcomes, Tantric Massage CAN use all of these tools, or can provide an experience that is more mystical. Tantra after all uses mystic experiences of aliveness and oneness for profound transformation.
Certified Sexological Bodywork Practitioners must ensure that they adhere to their professional regulations. They use gloves, at least for intimate touch, and stay fully clothed at all times. Tantric Practitioners can offer naturist settings, too.
A definite advantage of Sexological Bodywork is that usually a series of sessions is required to work on a specific issue. This is ideal for women clients who feel they have not been sexual, or been intimately touched, for quite a while. The first session in this case would not involve any nudity or intimate touch, but rather a coaching style session with breathing and easy movement exercises. Intimate touch may only be scheduled for the second or third session. A Tantric Massage is often less suitable in these cases.