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  • Lex

What to expect in an Exploration session

My private sessions, in which I work with clients on a one-to-one (or two, or three!) basis fall into one of two main categories - they are either Sexological Bodywork sessions (which I've written about here) or Explorations. In this post, I will be sharing a bit more about the who, what, and why of an Exploration.

If all we needed to live our most fulfilling lives were ideas and information, we would already be there. What we really need are experiences of being seen and accepted.

Why do people come to me for an Exploration session? What are they exploring, exactly?!

Many of the people who are drawn to this type of work are interested in exploring aspects of their identity - whether that's their sexuality, gender identity or expression, relationship orientation or dynamics, or their relationship with power. I also work with clients who want to explore specific fantasies and fetishes.

Often there have been question marks there for some time. What if I am different to how everyone perceives me? Is this really something I would enjoy? What would it mean if I do (or don't) enjoy it? How would I even go about finding out? Sometimes, fear or shame can keep us from getting any further than playing this out in our minds. We might even try to push away these thoughts and desires altogether but they don't ever fully leave us. If anything they get louder and more consuming as time goes by, leaving us wondering if we really are as happy as we could be. I've been there!

What I offer is a space in which people can explore who they really are outside of their day-to-day lives. It's almost like a laboratory where they can experiment and try things out without needing to get it "right" or feeling the expectations or performance pressure that may be there in a conventional relationship.

For me, these kinds of explorations are a practice in WHOLING - of getting to know and accept all parts of yourself.

My aim is for you to go away feeling more empowered and able to take what you've experienced into your life in whatever way works for you. My role in all of this is as a Guide, there to suggest different tools that may help you along the way based on my professional and personal experiences. Whilst Sexological Bodywork follows a set framework, Exploration sessions can allow for more flexibility. I often weave aspects of Ethical Kink into these sessions as it can offer rich possibilities for self-exploration, however it is not an essential aspect, nor does this mean that sessions need to include any form of power dynamic! Sessions can also include Wheel of Consent practices, Embodied Facilitation, creative expression, ritual, or simply being heard or witnessed.

So, what actually happens?

When a potential new client first gets in touch with me, we go through what I call my ‘intake process’ together. This is a chance for you to clarify what it is that you’re looking to explore, and for us both to figure out how I might be able to help you with that. For many people, it is the first time they’ve really put these things into words so it can be a powerful process in itself.

I also love this part because we can get to know each other and start to build a connection. If we decide to then have a session together, by the time you arrive - whether that’s at my practice space or online - we don’t feel so much like strangers!

On the day, we always start with a check-in conversation (usually over a cup of tea if we are together in person!). This helps us to settle into the space together and for you to share how you are arriving into the session, physically and emotionally. A lot of people tell me that they feel a combination of nervousness and excitement at this point! We will also take time to talk about your desires for the session - whilst we will have discussed them in advance, it's important to see how you feel about them on the day in case anything has changed. We will also check in on any boundaries, health issues, and injuries, and confirm the way in which we will communicate during play.

Once we both feel ready to begin, I will ease us into the exploration. What we explore within the session will depend on a few things - the interests and intentions you share during your intake, the boundaries we agree to hold individually and together, and how you respond during the session. There is no set pace we need to go at and no two Explorations are the same, really!

And then, as we reach the end of the exploration, we move into the Landing. This is a vital part of the session in which we step out of any dynamic we have been playing in and attend to any immediate aftercare needs before you return to the outside world. For some people, this is a time to be introspective in silence and stillness, others like to talk through the experience. Some like a cup of tea and snacks, while others like to move around or take a shower. However this looks for you, it’s a really important aspect of the exploration - to help you ground again and begin integrating the experience. I also offer follow-up support in the days after a session, as this can be when insights start to arise.

Often the most profound things that come out of these experiences are not what people might label as particularly kinky. For example:

- The feeling of finally being understood and accepted

- Being given the space to slow down and notice what you REALLY want

- Being encouraged and CELEBRATED for voicing a boundary or desire

- The liberation that comes with letting go of the need to perform roles assigned to us by society

If you’re curious about empowering yourself through ethical kink, get in touch! You do not need to know exactly what you want in order to start the conversation.

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