• Angie Gunn LCSW CST

The Triad of Sexual Expansion

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

Sex therapy clients tend to fall within a few common categories. They can be summarized in the following ways: folks who they they are broken, folks who think their relationship/ their intimacy/ their sexual connection is broken, and folks who have no idea where they are at but would like it to be different.

There's a base assumption in our culture that we all have had time and capacity to learn about sex, our bodies, and how to be in meaningful, pleasurable relationships. Unfortunately this isn't the case. NO ONE IS BROKEN OR BAD. But as adults it's hard to understand where to start on the journey of self and other sexual discovery. I've come up with a model to help you dig in. The first step is reading this post to get a sense as to who you are. As you go through that process, you'll identify some of the challenges you're facing in understanding your identity, attraction or expression. We'll explore the barriers here and provide a pathway to expansion and integration.

The work to be done in order to explore all the parts of your sexual/ romantic/ sensual/ erotic self can fall within three categories. When you think about the challenges within the context of these categories, there's space to confront the barriers directly and move towards a fuller expression, and eventually a more integrated sexual self.

The three categories are:

What's OKAY: given who you are, in all your complexity, what's okay for you to consider, explore, fantasize about, or identify as? What defines what's okay for you, and do you want to change it? (ie: religion, family, culture, self perception of worth)

-we call this category a layer cake- you're exploring every tasty layer to understand what makes you, you.

What DO I WANT: what are the infinite possibilities of things you'd like to explore and try? What arouses you, sparks desire or creativity or playfulness?

-we call this category a treasure map- what are you hunting for and what will enjoy along the way?

What can I ACCESS: logistically speaking, what can you get access to? What types of expression, and with whom?

-we call this category a wall- shifting and understanding concrete and perceived barriers to access.

As you scroll down you can see some of the factors which fall into each category. This way of thinking about it provides a basis for work in therapy, personal journaling, or conversations with a partner. Spend some time sitting with each circle; consider who you are from a judgement free perspective, focused on self acceptance, curiosity, and understanding. No matter where you are at right now, it's okay. Sexual expression and expansion is a journey, and one which we will hopefully continue on forever.

As you review the various parts of each category, what stands out to you? Do you feel drawn to any one circle, and the areas of exploration within it? What are some of the specific parts that you'd like to get more information about?

There's a lot of info on each of these, we will have subsequent posts diving more deeply into each category. So stay tuned and reach out in the mean time if you're needing support!

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