I give a lot of thought to what makes a great sex life. What makes us sex life healthy, what makes it enjoyable for people, what makes it fulfilling?
When I consider the kinds of things that matter, I think about the ability to slow down and be present in the moment. I think about the ability to tune into your body and to know what you want in that moment. Not just abstractly, like if I asked you at breakfast what you wanted for dinner, but what do you want right now?
It’s equally important to know what you don’t want. Not just knowing what your boundaries are, but also how do you recognize what is making you uncomfortable or that something isn’t pleasing right now? And then how do you speak up about that? It’s crucial that you’re able to communicate with a partner in order to ask for what you want (and to speak up about what you don’t) to negotiate and collaborate with them.
Another important aspect of better sex is the ability to enjoy the journey. So, instead of being goal oriented or focused on performance or on an outcome, to have better sex, you’ve got to just enjoy what you’re doing in the moment with the partner. You’re fully present. You’re not in a hurry. There’s no test that you pass or fail at the end of it. Those are critical components of good sex.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good starting point for what I work with people to accomplish in their intimate lives. There are a lot of professions that help people with this. So, while I do this as a sex therapist, other mental health counselors work with people around some of these issues. Massage practitioners are working with people around touch and just being in their body.
I had an earlier episode of Better Sex with a Tantric Healer who’s explicitly working with people around what they want, communicating consent, boundaries, and presence.
And it turns out I’ve learned about a new profession, or at least new to me, of people that that help with these issues and skills. I met Anna Joy Reedy, who is my guest today, through a colleague, and I was really struck by how warm and sincere she is. As we talked about what she does, I was fascinated, so I invited her on the show.
She is a professional Cuddlist. She has a philosophy degree that she’s put to use as an entrepreneur, and she is enthusiastically pioneering this new frontier of touch therapy as a Cuddlist. This is something she’s fascinated by and really moved to share with people. She’s really interested in all things somatic and she told me she’s got lots of, “not yet birthed writings” in the works too. She’s got a lot to share and I’m just delighted that she’s on the show with me today.
We talk about what a professional cuddler does and what you can expect in a session. We also answer the question, “Is it ever sexual?” and cover safety concerns.
And, most importantly we talk about the healing power of platonic touch. Proven to help reduce chronic pain and depression, while boosting immunity and enhancing mood, platonic touch and cuddling can positively impact overall wellness. Much like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, professional therapeutic touch is healing and transformative.
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