Exploring Consent Event

Exploring Consent Event - Manchester 9th and 10th November '19

I am a passionate advocate of everyone honing their communication skills, especially when it comes to intimacy. Because lets face it, most of us are bewildered by the complexities of guesswork and telepathy that forms the landscape of many of our relationships.

So how would it be if, instead of not knowing how to get what we want and second guessing what the other wants, there was an easier understanding; an ability to communicate and bring safety, ease and permission into our relating. This is pretty much the entire ethos of Consent which is so much more than just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in the bedroom - it’s a life skill!

So how would it be to notice what we truly want? And then to be sure of it? to trust it and value it and then to be able to communicate this in a way that ensures that both you and the other(s) are no longer second guessing but are clear, comfortable and at ease with what is happening?

Well, the Wheel of Consent is a tool developed by Dr Betty Martin which helps us to identify exactly this process. The process of noticing, trusting, valuing and communicating our needs before taking any action. The Wheel helps us to understand ourselves and the other more clearly.

All areas of my life and work are underpinned by The Wheel and I regularly introduce its concepts as foundational and invaluable learning tools in my one to one work with clients. In wanting to reach more people with this exceptional and healing work, I began earlier this year, to train with the School of Consent to become a Certified Wheel of Consent Workshop Facilitator.

There have been very some useful workshops so far on this journey and now I am delighted to be co-facilitating a new 2 day workshop with the very lovely Michael Dresser, Certified Facilitator and School of Consent Faculty Member. Michael and I are excited to be working together and to be bringing this hugely inspirational tool to Manchester in November.

So whats involved? This is a two day workshop which can help you to:

  • Get clearer about what you do and don’t want

  • Communicate your needs and desires more easily

  • Understand giving and receiving better

  • Navigate intimate relationships and interactions better

  • And start to bring a completely fresh approach to all your relationships.

Costs for the two days are £120 (waged), £90 (low waged) and £60 (unwaged)

Places are limited, so advance booking is absolutely essential Find out more and book here I can hardly wait to meet you!

A* Pleasure

A* Pleasure

A Transcript of the talk given at The Sex Lectures Manchester July 23rd 2019

Watch the video here (14 minutes)

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Hello, I am Sian Johnson a Bodyworker, Sex Coach, Tantric Masseuse and Pleasure Educator

I run Creative Sexuality based in Leeds and my passion is supporting people to explore sensation, pleasure and (re)discover joy

My Invitation to you, is to get really comfortable in your seat

To put down whatever you are holding for the next few minutes

To uncross your legs and place them on the floor

To lean back in your chair

To notice your breath

Maybe even to slow and deepen your breath

To close your eyes

And bring your awareness to your lips

You might like to open your mouth, feel the air brushing over your lips as you gently inhale and exhale

Notice how it feels to move your lips, to gently press your lips together and open them again

And notice your breath

You may want to moisten your lips to bring your tongue there to play a little… softly… gently

And notice how this feels. 

What sensations are there, are they everyday functional or are you feeling a little more alive than before?

And as you begin to bring your awareness back into the room, I invite you to take another breath and share with us any single words of what you are noticing in your body right now?

(contributions from the audience: calm, sensual, present, pleasure)

Great, thank you.

And I invite you to stay curious about these sensations, while I talk a little more

 

So, the muscles and the nerve endings of the mouth, the lips, and the tongue contain some of the highest concentration of nerve endings in the body

Another set of muscles that has a similar number of nerve endings and therefore the same capacity for sensation, is at the other end of the digestive system: the anus. And we will get to that in a just a moment. 

 

So tonight I will be talking about anal sensation and the possibility for pleasure that this area of the body holds for us.

So, if I asked you at this point whether you have an interest in having a good sex life, I’m sure some of you would be willing to put up your hands. If I asked you the same question about anal sex you’d probably be a little more reluctant to respond

And I know from the clients that I see and the conversations I have, (yes I am the person who talks about anal sex at dinner parties.) That there is much confusion and misunderstanding and even fear about the anus. And yet we all have one

So, let me bring some light to this area by starting with two of the clearest distractions and barriers that most people have around the anal area, one of them is pain and the other is poo. 

 

Yes poo. We learned, as babies that exploring the contents of our nappy was NOT OK. And so began our socialisation of this part of the body as smelly, dirty and unclean. And certainly it is wise to take care here and I’ll come back to anal hygiene later

And fears around pain relate very much to the idea of penetration as the only form of anal pleasure and so when people have tried it, it’s often been without the helpful hints on offer here tonight

 

Everyone has a story to tell. The story of my bum is that it’s had a lot of trouble: from nappy rash, to unwanted intrusions, to its role in bladder infections, to prolapse and surgery. So it’s fair to say that my bum has had a pretty poor time of it.

So much so, that when I was training, I was perfectly open to working with other people’s anuses but quite honestly I was pretty much, in every way, hysterical about having mine touched at all.

Now, with the right circumstances, I love it. 

What changed? Well, I got a guy in to help me with that, not just any guy, a bodyworker guy

I knew the techniques from my training – how to relax the area, how to breathe, how to stimulate the nerves, how much pressure, where and when, how to titillate and tease the area so the muscles would relax and open to sensation, much as we did at the beginning here, with the lips. I just couldn’t do it for myself.

First, I allowed myself to be honored by him through a body massage, I allowed my nervous systems to relax into sensuality. And from this place of being in my body, of being in arousal, I was able to guide him in the touch techniques. He was patient and honoring. He was responsive to what I needed in each moment. I could ask for what I wanted, to slow down, to pause, to hold, to move. And so

I was able to experience sensation, pleasure and eroticism. I had my first orgasm from anal touch. It was a beautiful experience. And who would have thought that this journey - from hysteria to ecstasy - was possible in just two short hours. 

And so, I’m a convert, I believe that this area of the body can be just as beautiful and erotic an experience for most of us as our genitals and our lips.

And for some people, this is all a bit outrageous, edgy and pretty radical and that’s OK

Naturally there are some precautions: (and solutions) We all know, or can guess, the limitations of pornography. Most anuses cannot and should not be expected to perform the way we see them in porn. So here, especially for you is a quick fire anal 101 

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Sound like a passion killer? Fair enough, I mean by the time you’ve douched, put out a row of condoms, chosen your lube, found out what a dental dam is, selected a range of condom covered toys, mail ordered your gloves, discussed boundaries, made your agreements … you might well be exhausted!

OK maybe it’s not for your average evening, but this preparation can be part of the anticipation, part of the caring for yourself, caring for your partner and an honouring of each other. And maybe you could add in some soft lighting, rose petals and a Namaste while you are there? 

If you are new to anal touch, it may be some time before you feel relaxed enough to allow touch there at all. And it’s useful to know that not all anal touch, and anal pleasure is about penetration. The Rosebud massage focusses on external touch and stimulation of the perineum and anal area. It can bring pleasure in a quite wonderful way without anyone feeling the pressure to open to internal touch – your friendly local bodyworker should be able to help you with that

If penetration is something you’d like to explore then slowly and gently is the key here. And if you think you are going slowly then halve that speed again. Allow yourself time to notice the sensations so that you can make choices about how to go forward. And…

Stop

No

Slower

Faster

Pause

Slower

Deeper

Lighter

Slower

Harder

Oh my god!

and

Not at all thank you

Are all valid responses to any intimate touch

The are two rings of muscles at the entrance of the anus. The outer ring is voluntary; which means we have choice over when to open and close it. The inner ring however is involuntary, which means we have no conscious control over this muscle. ‘Training’ this muscle to relax is possible over a period of time and is as much to do with creating a sense of safety and relaxation of the whole body as it is about opening to penetration. It is NOT about pushing through and trying to override the body’s natural reflexes

So start with one finger and lots of lube and explore. For people with a prostate gland see if you can discover the walnut textured gland just tucked inside the body. It’s accessible by pressing on the membranes of the anal wall. Gentle circles and strokes with tips of fingers can bring immense pleasure for some and for others it may be more of a ‘whatever’. The same area of the anal wall can be used for people with vulvas to stimulate the urethral crest area at the roof of the vagina where, for some people, the G spot resides.

If there is pain or resistance, stop, gently withdraw, hold the area, honor the body 

In time you might want to explore with specially designed toys that stimulate different areas including the muscles on entry and exit. Again, slow everything down, give yourself a chance to really notice the sensations so that you have choice.

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And if penis penetration is desired then ensure you have agreements in place, that you can communicate easily, that you have condoms, lube and again,

slow – everything - down!

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For some people anal pleasure is off the agenda, never to be broached and that is OK. It is perfectly valid for anyone to make that choice at any time, and if that’s true for you then I urge you to respect your boundaries and not be persuaded by real or perceived peer or partner pressure. 

For others, anal pleasure might be something you’d like to tick off your list of sexual exploits. Maybe it’s an area of deep curiosity for you or a part of your fantasy.

Whatever your reasons, and whether you are exploring anal pleasure with yourself, with a partner or with a bodyworker, I wish for it to be for you, as deeply an intimate and transformative experience, as it has been for me.

Thank you

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Spreading the Word

I never saw myself as much of a speaker or workshop leader, preferring to let others stand upfront believing they had ‘the right’ words and infinitely more knowledge than me.  Yet following my first talk December 2018 at Manchester Sex Lectures on how Touch Changes lives , I realised that maybe I could contribute in some small way to the ranks of professionals who are reaching out to more and more people about this work that can transform lives. Talking about sex, intimacy, desire, connection and getting our needs met in clean and clear ways is what I have always enthusiastically enjoyed talking about, so why not now do it in public?  

And, taking a deep breath, I am pleased to share some ‘spreading the word’ events that I am involved in over the next few months.

Cutting Edge Dialogues of Desire. The Manchester Sex Lectures series 2019. Following the sellout successes of the Sex Lectures in 2018, this new series promises to be even more daring, sexy, fun and informative. The talks are 28th May, 18th June, 23rd July and 19th September. Tickets are only £17 plus £1 booking fee. I am attending all of the events and speaking about A* pleasure at the 23rd July event. Book your tickets now before they sell out

Living Tantra Tribe. Osho Leela, Dorset 13th – 16th June. Here I’ll be using techniques from Sexological Bodywork and Wheel of Consent to lead a 2 hour Bossy Erotic Massage workshop. The event is closed to the public being held specifically for trainees and graduates of Jan Day’s living Tantra Training. I’m excited to be sharing these techniques with my LT Tribe peers.

Manchester Tantra Festival. Pathways Studio 28th - 29th  June. Learning the about choice in touch, intimacy and wider interactions through the Wheel of Consent has helped to transform my life. I use the techniques in my own life, in sessions with my clients and I am now training to be a licensed Wheel of Consent facilitator for members of the public. I’m delighted to be running two workshops as part of this. The first one of the opening workshops at  Manchester Tantra Festival on 28th  June: I’ve called it Wheel of Consent – The Joy of Choice. The festival runs for the whole weekend and is open to members of the public. Advanced tickets only at Manchester Tantra Festival

The Joy of Choice. 7th September, London. I’m running a full day Wheel of Consent introduction workshop for members of Jan Days current Living Tantra 10 cohort, This is sold out already and I am very much looking forward to sharing this learning with this lovely group of people .

 If you would like to help organise a Wheel of Consent workshop for your community, then get in touch by email and I would be happy to look at ways we can work together

In an age where loneliness, isolation and disconnection in relationships and in our communities is becoming more and more the norm, I take my part in stepping up, joining my peers in engaging more people to seek empowerment and to make this a different reality for themselves and those around them.

I invite you to join us.

Transforming Times

I am so very excited and grateful to have moved to a new apartment and to be offering much improved services for clients. As much as I loved my little flat in Chapel Town, I’m delighted to now have more spacious and modern accommodation in Pudsey, just West of Leeds. The Temple is my work room and I have created a relaxing candle lit space dedicated to exploring pleasure and learning from a non judgmental, compassionate and honouring perspective.

What clients are saying about the new venue:

“It was good to see you in your lovely new apartment. Felt very comfortable in such a warm, modern and discreet environment. A real improvement ! And the Temple was really relaxing ! Thank you as always for your kindness and care”

“I have to congratulate you on your new venue. The facilities are so much improved and professional compared to the old one, both externally (locale, parking, discreetness) and internally. The new temple deserves a special mention, the ambience you have created is beautiful, you should be proud. You offer a unique service that has certainly given me something back in my life and I wish you every success, you deserve it.”

 

“I think your new place is great! I was a little uncertain myself of the new location as it is not an area of Leeds that I know well. However it was actually really easy to get to, it’s just off the ring road and the parking is great, there is lots of space. It is probably easier for me than the old place. The entrance is very easy and discrete, just dial on the intercom and then take the lift up. Your new place is really nice, lots more space and modern but with lots of personal touches. It makes for a comfortable and relaxed environment to have conversations. The temple itself is a different space than before, being a bigger room and more open, and it’s nice to have that space to work in such a relaxing environment, plus having an ensuite bathroom is a great addition too.”

“In her chic, modern apartment, Sian has created a beautiful, serene and intimate temple, presided over by Kali. Just being there satisfies many of the senses… Sian satisfies the rest!”

This has been a significant transformation for my work and many wonderful people have very kindly supported this step up through my GoFundMe campaign. Click here for videos of the new venue and contribute if you feel moved to.

Many thanks

Sian

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Touch Changes Lives

 

Touch changes lives 

This is a transcript of the lecture delivered as part of the Sex Lectures series organized by Sex School for Grown Ups at the Anthony Burgess Foundation in Manchester on 6th December 2018.

Watch Video here

Introduction:

Sian is a conscious sexuality body worker who brings her experience of tantra and sexology into supporting people facing challenges in the bedroom. She believes that by getting to know, communicate with and trust our body we can move towards expanding and confidently expressing our sexual needs and relationship wants.

 

Tonight Sian will talk about positive touch and how we can each explore this as a foundational tool that brings with it the potential to enrich the relationship we have with ourselves and with those around us.

 

Touch changes lives 

Like many of us in my line of work we come to it through our own experience and stories, this is a small part of my story. 8 years ago, at the end of a sexually dysfunctional relationship, I didn’t know it but I was afraid to touch or be touched by anyone. I was having sex, fine, but I never allowed it to ‘touch’ me. I didn’t know that there was a fear hangover from that previous relationship.  Until a Turkish massage. I was excited to go and I relaxed pretty quickly. The woman’s touch was so present, so genuine and so heartfelt that it touched into feelings of loneliness, hurt and isolation that until then, I wasn’t even aware was stored in my body. I cried tears of anger, grief and sorrow.

Fast forward to 2018 and things are very different for me. I am in touch with my body, I am more aware in the moment of the emotions moving through me and I’m no longer afraid to touch, to be touched and to feel.

 A turning point in that long journey from fear to feeling came during a transformative tantra retreat where, through structured touch exercises and the strong container provided by the workshop, I was able to learn more about myself in one week than I did in years of talking therapy. Since then I’ve gone on to train in tantra, kink, consent, and Sexological Bodywork. And as Roger said in the introduction I am a now a conscious sexuality bodyworker. Essentially what that means is that I work with people through a combination of talking, coaching and through the medium of touch.

 What I find the most significant about this work, that I want to share with you tonight is that with all of the bells and whistles of the ‘how to have better orgasms’ and ‘how to last longer in bed’, it is easy to forget how fundamentally important touch is to all of this, to all of us, in all of our lives. How we touch, why we touch and the recognition that, more often than not, for most of us, our touch is either an expression of love, or a call for love.

 

 Let me introduce 2 ideas Touch Deprivation and Skin Hunger

  • Touch deprivation is a condition that involves little or no stimulation by way of physical contact with other people.

  • And the term ‘skin hunger’ relates to touch deprivation and is a recognition that as humans become more “connected” through technology, the lack of physical touch is making us more and more lonely.

 

The Benefits of positive touch include

  • Releasing of the feel good hormone, oxytocin.

  • Increases levels of neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin that help us regulate our mood

  • Touch is shown to reduce anxiety and stress, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, inspire positive thinking and expand trust

  • Waitresses who touch customers lightly on the shoulder, hand, or arm receive higher tips.

  • Touch is so powerful, that studies have shown that premature babies in intensive care units who have regular skin to skin contact will thrive more than babies who do not.

  • And our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom, the Bonobo Monkeys; use play, laughter and touch to reduce aggression and create peace. Bonobos have more harmonious communities than any other ape tribe, including humans.

  • Nurturing, positive and loving touch is essential in babies for the growth of physical abilities, language and cognitive skills, and social-emotional competency. And infants who experience more physical contact with caregivers have increased mental development in the first six months of life compared to young children who receive limited physical interaction.

  • Indeed touch deprivation during early childhood is often associated with increased aggression during childhood development and into adulthood.

 

In Western Culture

Puberty, hormones and the need for bonding outside of the caregiver relationship during teenage years compels some of us, most of us, with a sense of urgency into exploring sex. And it is at this point; certainly in Western Culture that touch becomes almost exclusively associated with sex.

And this association continues for most of our lives with touch and sex remaining synonymous for many people.

And yet motivated by an unconscious or undeclared need for nurturing touch and our longing for connection we often get into having sex. And many of us initiate or partake in sex when what we really need is to offer and receive touch

 Sex is so conflated with touch that I’m no longer surprised when I hear of female clients who say ‘I don’t let him touch me anymore because it’ll turn into sex’. And the corresponding ‘my wife doesn’t understand me’.

 If this is the status quo for many people, its hardly a surprise that longer term relationships stagnate

But when we look at positive touch and are able to separate it from sex, it can become a way to build bridges between us, it can reclaim an intimacy that can bring comfort and understanding in our relationships

 

Types of touch

  • As well as Sensual and Erotic touch, Barbara Carellas talks about healing touch and nurturing touch.

  • I’d like to introduce another, which is affection: touches on the shoulder, cuddles, and a stroke of the cheek.

  • And then probably the most important type of touch I like to talk about is presence:

Remember or imagine a conversation with a friend when they have switched off the TV and put their phone on silent and they listen to you with their full attention. Compare this to a conversation where your friend is looking at their phone, the kids are interrupting and the radio is on full blast. The first conversation is a friend in presence and the second is not. Which conversation would you prefer?

 It’s the same principle with presence in touch - would you rather be touched by someone running the shopping list through their head or by someone with an open heart?

 

 Exercise

So how can we get better touch in our lives: well I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear that it starts with us. How can we up our own touch game?

Here’s a solo exercise that I developed with a client who, at the time we began working together, described himself as numb; cut off. He had a fear of connecting with his body where so much hurt and pain was stored and fear of being overwhelmed by his own feelings. However, using this technique has enabled him to touch himself and to be touched in a way he has never experienced before.

 I invite you to have a go, and just notice without any judgment, any feelings or sensations that come up for you.

  • My invitation is to place your hands together palm to palm. And rub them together vigorously for about 20 seconds

  • And close your eyes

  • And take a long slow deep breath

  • Now place one of your hands somewhere on your body, through a thin layer of clothes or under them

  • And just breathe

  • And the invitation is to notice:

  • Can your hand can feel the aliveness of your body?

  • Can your body feel the aliveness of your hand?

  • When you are ready take a breath and return to the room

Doing this simple exercise can really help bring us home to our bodies and the power of self touch. 

And we can simply connect with our bodies everyday, maybe in the shower, or sleepily laying in bed or standing at the cream cake counter. See if you can say hello to your body; ask your body what it needs in this moment, is it a cream cake or is it a nutritious juicy peach? (or is it both?)

And then there’s self pleasure, which for many of us can be very functional or goal orientated. One man told me that his self pleasuring would start with a foot massage to relieve pain before he touched the rest of his body.  So is it possible for us to take time to say hello to other areas of our body with connecting loving touch and breathe a little longer before reaching for our genitals?

An authentic Tantric massage can help bring any one closer to the living and breathing experience of our bodies. tantralink.com lists trusted touch professionals. Always talk with the practitioner about what you want to experience before booking a session

 

Touch in the wider world

George Monbiot writes that, “…contact reduces physical pain…affection is a powerful analgesic.”

 So how can we share touch with others, without being locked up!

Seriously it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to create understanding and seek consent before touching anyone. For anyone looking to explore what we really mean by consent then bettymartin.org has the most excellent free resources and many practitioners like me can help you navigate this vitally important area.  It’s a lot more fun than the word Consent may imply!

  • The average UK hug lasts just 2-3 seconds; so how about sharing a melting hug that lasts 20 seconds or more and enables the release of oxytocin.

  • Connect with your partner in another way – without any intention to seduce them – approach them in an intense physical way or perhaps offer them sweet and simple demonstrations of your care for them, eye gazing and gentle holding. And if you have the words, you could speak truths about how their intelligence inspires you, their humour warms you or their smile lights up the room. Ahh bliss! 

  • And then there are cuddle workshops. These are non sexual, fully clothed spaces where safe and platonic boundaried touch is shared between adults. These are facilitated by experienced leaders in London, Manchester and around Yorkshire

  • And for the really adventurous there is the free hugs campaign - a social movement which combats isolation and other social issues through random acts of kindness: could you stand in the street with a sign offering and receiving free hugs with strangers?

And so as I leave you this evening, I return to my experience of how touch changes lives. Touch helped me to unlock the stalemate in my life. Touch enables my clients to journey into healing for themselves. Embracing the power of positive touch can help us access our own wisdom, learning and growth. I have seen touch as the catalyst for a light that can radiate out from us and touch the lives of others.

And so, my invitation is to positively touch yourself, allow yourself to be touched, touch others. And in so doing help infuse the world with more love; one body, one heart and one soul at a time.   

Thank you

Etiquette, Boundaries and Consent

Before booking please consider the following

Etiquette 

  • A free telephone consultation of up to 20 minutes is available for the purpose of assessing whether we can effectively work together before booking an appointment.

  • The number of sessions required (if more than one) will be discussed and estimated as a part of the free initial consultation

  • Booking an appointment will always require an upfront deposit of £50 payable by bank transfer or Paypal. Please see the Cancellation and Postponement Policy on the Bookings page.

  • Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible for a smooth start and finish.

  • Please contact me if you are running late. I will try to allow the full time if you do arrive late but some sessions may need to end on time.

  • Calls from no ID or international numbers cannot be answered, please contact me by email.

Boundaries and Consent

  • I am passionate about creating a place where not only are your boundaries respected but you are actively encouraged to learn more about and empower yourself to know and exercise choice with your ‘yes’ and your ‘no’.

  • All touch is for you and is entirely focused on you and your experience.

  • Work together may include some foundational work around the Wheel of Consent, a tool developed by Dr Betty Martin aimed at empowering individuals and practitioners in understanding and practicing healthier boundaries and consent.

  • You, as the client are fully empowered to work within the level of touch with which you are comfortable and I recognise and honour that this may be different session by session and moment by moment.

Are you ready to explore?

Contact me

Professional Statement for people I already know

Providing bodywork to people in the conscious sexuality, kink, LGBTQI and tantra communities, when I am involved as I am, raises questions about professional boundaries. In these comparatively small communities it may not be possible to uphold the strict separation between professional and personal/community life that is desired and usually afforded to clients who do not know me before working together. During the course of our professional relationship, it is likely that you as the client and myself as the practitioner will see each other, or bump into each other; perhaps at a party, workshop, festival, dance or other gathering. And so there is a need to be clear about ethical practice, boundaries and confidentiality in these circumstances.

Confidentiality:

  • All of the usual safeguards for confidentiality and secure record keeping will be strictly adhered to.

  • Every client will receive, as required, a statement about their rights to confidentiality, as well as identifying the few exceptions that may not apply under the law.

  • What happens in the course of professional interactions, will not be shared with anyone else, without a signed release of information from you or in the unlikely instances as required in law or by court order.

  • I will not out anyone's interests, activities or even presence at events and gatherings to anyone.

  • If we meet in public, I will take my cue from how you acknowledge me, and/or what we have talked about and agreed upon. Otherwise, I may make eye contact, smile or nod, but not go beyond that. However, if you identify me to others by the way we work together, I will still not talk about what we have or are working on.

Friends and Acquaintances:

  • If we know each other as good friends, it is unlikely that I will take you on as a paying client. However, I would be happy to have a coffee, as friends and talk.

  • If we are casual acquaintances, but do not know each other well, it may be appropriate to work together as practitioner and client. We will need to discuss and agree the implications of working together before our professional engagement begins.

  • In the distance between good friends and casual acquaintances we would need to take time to discuss how a professional relationship may or may not work.

  • And I am happy to refer you to a suitable colleague if any overlap or complications can be foreseen

If you are considering working with me and want to clarify how that would look, please get in touch by email at sian@creativesexuality.co.uk