UPDATE: March 8, 2021, unchanged as of November 2023:
»A reflection on FEMINISM, CHOICE, COMPLICITY and SILENCE« and how most Sexological Bodywork and Somatic Sex Education professional associations, leaders, teachers and influencers remain complicit and continue explicitly and silently enabling and supporting unethical practices, retraumatization in trainings, abuse of power and sexualized violence.
UPDATE: April 25, 2019: »Open Letter to the Communities of Somatic Sex Education and Sexological Bodywork« by Christiane Pelmas and Ondra Veltruský.
In response to sexual boundary violations being reported in our field of Somatic Sex Education / Sexological Bodywork, a small group of teachers and practitioners convened over six months to 1) create the foundation of an ethical statement to which we can all hold each other accountable, 2) to break silence and complicity, 3) to address and interrupt harm and 4) to develop a process through which those who have been violated/harmed by teachers and practitioners may report the incident, tell their stories and receive essential support and resources toward their healing. This statement—meant to be a beginning, not an end—is the result of that work.
By signing this statement you demonstrate your commitment to ethical, boundaried professional and teaching relationships that honor the power dynamic inherent between teachers and students, practitioners and clients.
We stand together in solidarity with high ethical expectations of each other and our global, diverse and multi-cultural professional Somatic Sex Educator / Sexological Bodyworker community.
Liam “Captain” Snowdon
We, the undersigned, stand together in community as practitioners and teachers of Somatic Sex Education and Sexological Bodywork. We are deeply concerned about the harm done as a result of boundary violations, rapes and sexual and power abuses experienced by students, committed in our profession by those who we have trusted to teach us. We require the following understandings of our global, international community of profession-wide teachers:
With this statement we break the complicity of silence—both current and historic—that 1) overtly and covertly inhibits and prohibits students and apprenticing teachers from naming the sexual violation and abuses of power experienced at the hands of their teachers, and 2) excuses teachers from being accountable when violations are brought to them.
As a profession, we wish to clearly articulate and model exquisite boundaries and consent in our interactions with our students and clients. We wish to establish Somatic Sex Education as a modality governed by these exquisite boundaries, practiced by professionals who are held accountable by local and global bodies of council, whose clinical work adheres to up-to-date understandings of current evidence-based theories and practices on Trauma. We therefore demand compliance to these standards from our own teachers and leaders. We recognize the immense power, positive value and impact Somatic Sex Educators have in our world, and hold ourselves and each other, as a cohesive professional body, to a high standard of excellence in our boundaries as professionals.
This statement is an invitation to any and all Somatic Sex Educators / Sexological Bodyworkers worldwide, to embody these values, demand excellence from our teachers and from each other, and begin the necessary conversations to create global and local webs of communities to support us in this endeavor.
[ 1 ] Teachers (and supporting teachers, apprentices and coaches) of Somatic Sex Education and Sexological Bodywork do not have sexual and/or romantic relationships with their students. Practitioners of Somatic Sex Education do not have sex and/or romantic relationships with their clients. The teacher/student/client relationship is a power dynamic that makes authentic consent impossible. Teachers/practitioners who have sex with their students/clients are unequivocally taking advantage of a fixed power dynamic and dishonoring one of the core values of our profession. We define ‘student/client’ as anyone who is currently studying/working with, or has studied/worked with a professional.
[ 2 ] Teachers of Somatic Sex Education / Sexological Bodywork are committed to practicing in transparency within the larger professional community, to being accountable and to repairing harm, when harm—intentional or unintentional—occurs. We acknowledge we have not grown up in cultures of consent. We believe repairing harm—with transparency and in community—when violations occur is a hallmark of an ethically-guided profession, and a necessary core value of the teachers we want to learn from. In regards to harm, we believe people when they say they have been harmed. When someone says they have been harmed, we immediately slow down and stop business as usual to give the process time. We move slowly so as to not cause further harm, and we seek to understand empathically the full impact an individual has experienced. This commitment to slowness, empathy, transparency and repair includes (but is not limited to) seeking peer supervision and professional supervision, mediation, etc. It requires that a teacher/professional participates fully in any processes authentically attempting to repair harm their students have experienced.
[ 3 ] We ask that teachers and practitioners publish, visibly on their websites, the Code of Ethics they adhere to, as well as publicly name their professional supervisor(s), and the professional association(s) they belong to. Each code of ethics must explicitly state that sex with students and clients is never permitted, and is a violation of all ethical codes of professional conduct, and that boundaries cannot be renegotiated in the student/teacher or client/practitioner relationships. We ask that every professional association has a transparent grievance procedure which begins with the temporary cessation of client practice/teaching for any teacher/professional who has violated this core tenant of our global code of ethics.
[ 4 ] Teachers of Somatic Sex Education / Sexological Bodywork continually receive their own up-to-date professional training in consent and trauma, and teach these topics, including ethics, in every training. They model the importance of these practices in their behavior and language. They continually work to hone and refine their skill in their own practices of consent, so they can be role models for how we hold power in right relationship.
We censure and reject any teacher/professional not willing to do the important work of learning and unlearning, with their hearts, minds and their pelvis’, these critical core values.
We welcome teachers who embody these values and ethics through their words, actions, and lived-example teachings and practices.
We conclude by saying that most of us do excellent work. Most of us teach and support our clients to be empowered and sovereign; to be vitally well within themselves and therefore their communities. And we warn that if even one of us does not practice ethically and responsibly the entire profession—including all its practitioners/teachers—are in jeopardy.
The biggest freedom comes when we can place attention where we desire. We have the freedom to place our attention on the bright, blissful and ecstatic potential of our noble profession, but we must not neglect the inherent shadow side. We must support those who need to speak up. We must fight shame. We must demand truth and integrity. Each of us must seize the opportunity to look at our own shadow. And here, each of us has the great potential to heal and to learn, and thereby to support our communities to heal and learn.
November 4, 2018
San Francisco, California, USA | emancipating-sexuality.com
Boulder, Colorado, USA | christianepelmas.com
Liam “Captain” Snowdon
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | captainsnowdon.ca
Berlin/Prague, Europe | ondra.li
(names in alphabetical order)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You are free to share and adapt the above statement under the following terms: You must attribute us (“we-can-do-better.com”) and you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original. Read full licensing terms.
By signing this statement you demonstrate your commitment to these values. (Signatures will be added manually and posted once per week.)
Signatures will be added manually and posted once per week.
— 2018 —
Week: Nov. 4-10, 2018
Connie Eberhart · Los Angeles, CA, USA · embodypleasure.org
Pamela Madsen · USA · backtothebody.org
Juliana Goldstone Brattleboro · Vermont, USA · boldlyembodied.com
Nina Powell · New Zealand · ninapowell.org
Tanya Rozenthal · Netherlands · itsaboutlove.nl
Kirsteen · UK · somaticsexologist.co.uk
Laurence Robinault · France · energie-coeur.fr
Kevin Brizendine Reno, NV
Tracy Montgomery · Ottawa, Canada · tracymontgomery.ca
Sheena Lawless · Westmeath, Ireland · somawakening.com
Meredith Reynolds · London, UK · meredith-reynolds.com
Tara Maitland · Dublin, Ireland
Karey Iven · Portland, Oregon, USA · pleasureworks.net
Pono Stewart · Victoria, BC, Canada · ecstatictouch.net
Ron Stewart · Victoria, BC, Canada · ronstewart.net
Adriana Giammaria · Udine, Italy
Susann Weißenborn · Berlin, Germany · bewusstesliebesleben.de
Caitlin K. Roberts · Victoria, BC, Canada · caitlinkroberts.com
Claire Gunzel · Middleton, Victoria, BC, Canada
Elizabeth Wood · Colorado, USA
Kristen Aschenbrenner · Victoria, BC, Canada
Julia Pessis · Portugal
Matia Divitt · Nevada City, CA, USA · playfulintimacy.com
Dan Powers · Boulder, CO, USA
Rhiannon Webb · Victoria, British Columbia, Canada · corvidawellness.com
Zarahy Roman Dominguez · Colombia · zarahyromantantra.com
Alyssa Morin · Boulder, CO, USA · thiseroticlife.org
Amanda Wattie · Rochester, NY, USA · amandawattie.com
Sasha Lasdon · Madison, WI, USA · integratederos.com
Sandra Hempenstall · Dublin, Ireland
Chris Muse · Denver, CO, USA · chris-muse.com
Week: Nov. 11-17, 2018
Sher Snow · Victoria, BC · eroseducator.com
Stella Anna Sonnenbaum · London, UK · stellawithlove.com
Liana Buzea · Bucharest, Romania, SE Europe · lianabuzea.com
Randy Ralston · Ireland
Victoria Reuveni · West Hollywood, CA, USA · sexologistvixenne.com
Satchita · San Francisco, California, USA · lupawellness.com
Shar Gold · Los Angeles, USA
Anya de Montigny · Richmond · teachmeaboutsex.com
Kian de la Cour · Dawlish, U.K. · sexologicalbodywork.co.uk
Tai Fenix Kulystin · Seattle, Washington · consciouspleasure.com
Andy Eastwood · Pembrokeshire, Wales · heartfelthands.org
Eva Blake · Houston, Texas · liberatingdesire.com
Anara Lani · Denver, CO, USA · anaralani.com
Xanet Pailet · San Francisco, USA · powerofpleasure.com
Cassidy Barnes · Oakland
Aimee Kingery · Pacifica, CA
Lee Harrington · United States · passionandsoul.com
Caroline Carrington · Oakland, CA, USA · carolinecarrington.com
Nino Mar Seliz · Berlin, Germany · transformation-en.com
Lorraine Lovelle · Victoria, BC, Canada · be-embodied.com
Week: Nov. 18-24, 2018
Mareen Scholl · Berlin, Germany · enter-space.net
Week: Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, 2018
Week: Dec. 2-8, 2018
Week: Dec. 16-22, 2018
Darshana Avila · United States · darshanaavila.com
— 2019 —
Week: Jan. 13-19, 2019
Yvonne Weller · Berlin · Germany
Week: Jan. 27 – Feb. 2, 2019
Laurence Robinault · France · energie-coeur.fr
Week: Feb. 10-16, 2019
Cuco Wallraff · Berlin, Germany · sacredtouch.de
Week: Feb. 17-23, 2019
Week: Feb. 24 – Mar. 2, 2019
Anara Lani · Denver, Colorado, USA · anaralani.com
Week: Apr. 21-27, 2019
Week: Apr. 28 – May 4, 2019
Jacek Lejman · Poland
Week: July 14-20, 2019
Nicolas Reveles · San Diego, California, USA · mindfulpleasurepractice.com
Corinne Underwood · Vancouver
Paloma Mckenna · Grass Valley, CA · palomadakini.com
Gabriela Capatina · Carasco (Ge), Italy · gabryartsite.it
Week: July 21-27, 2019
Bishwa Dawadi · Kathmandu, Nepal
Jordi Oller Comellas · Barcelona, Spain · sexcoachtantra.com
Week: Dec. 22-28, 2019
Linda Anne Poelzl · San Francisco, California USA
— 2020 —
Ale Karasik · Berlin, Germany & Buenos Aires, Argentina · alejandrokarasik.me
Katie Sarra · Dawlish, Devon, UK · sexologicalbodywork.co.uk
Patricia Schwarzkopf Castillo · Cancun, Mexico · patriciaschwarzkopf.com
Kara Sterling Heights · USA · kara-s-school2.teachable.com
Stephanie Jo · Los Angeles, USA
Melody Joyce Beacon · NY, USA · bodysouljourney.com
Ev Vigil · Joshua Tree, USA
— 2021 —
Stephanie Lafazanos · Salmon Arm, BC, Canada · wildlywoman.com
Orillia Merbabe Gail · Lkwungen Territories (Victoria, Canada)
Ava MacLean · Canada · kootenaysomatics.com
Karen Yates Chicago · USA · karen-yates.com
— 2022 —
Julie Catoe · Salt Lake City, USA
Onika Henry · Trinidad & Tobago · onikahenry.com
Kiersten Barrow · Peachtree City, GA, USA · sacredcords.com
Sim Eggler · Bern, Switzerland
Jonathan Hudson · San Diego, CA, USA · sextraordinaryliving.com
Anna Thiele · Freiburg, Germany
Phoebe Garland · Aberystwyth, Wales, UK
Jeremy Shub · Berlin · jeremyshub.com
Lauren Hind · New Orleans, Louisiana, USA · thebodyerotic.com
Leanne Lam · Vancouver, Canada
— 2023 —
Jade Schey · Portland, Oregon USA · rhythmliberation.com
Crystal Mohr · Ontario, Canada
Taara Rose · Calgary, Canada (Treaty 7) · sexedforthemodernbed.com
Raynefyre Grayce · raynefyre.ca
Katja Lesar · Ljubljana, Slovenia · psihoterapijalesar.si
Arantxa Joseph · Aljezur, Portugal · arantxajoseph.com
Karen Egan · Ireland
Roxanne Kolton · Berlin, Germany
Inge Visser · Nederland · inge-visser.nl
Femke van Gurp · Maastricht, Netherlands · essencepillar.com