Re-Inhabiting Boundaries, Pleasure and New Sexual Intimacy After Childhood Abuse with Somatica Practitioner, Dr. Laura Jurgens


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Laura had heard about my work and chose to receive a series of sessions several years ago.  Since then, we stayed in touch and I’m grateful to share that our dynamic has evolved as colleagues.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know Laura’s wonderful work as a Somatica practitioner, particularly given her previous background as a cognitive Life Coach – engaging both the body and mind.  I’ve shared her methodology for re-conditioning touch, intimacy, and sexuality practices and patterns for long-term couples for a new-found vulnerability and authenticity for connection and aliveness.  

Laura’s site: 

Dr. Laura Jurgens, pronouns She/They, is a certified Somatica Sex and Relationship Coach via the Somatica Institute, as well as a certified cognitive-based Life Coach via The Life Coach School.  Their Ph.D. is in the biological sciences, from the University of California Davis.  She provides practical tools and experiences to support those interested in reinventing their relationships with themselves, their bodies, their pleasure, and their partners.  She applies evidence-based, scientifically grounded somatic (body-based) and cognitive (mind-based) tools to get the results desired as quickly as possible – life-long skills to connect with and enjoy one’s body and emotions, and to help navigate the complexities of human relationships. 

We explore: 


How when children do not feel safe at home, they can also not feel safe in their body, and thus, how disembodiment can become a wise coping mechanism. 


How learning to process emotions within her body, tracking her physical sensations, and de-escalating her panic responses, allowed Laura to contextualize these responses as part of her human experience leading to an awareness of her boundaries. 


How her switch from judgment to curiosity about her own embodied emotions provided a freedom and safety to be in her body.


How overriding your own boundaries robs people the opportunity to love the real us and our real “yes.” 


How when somatic ruptures occur in relationship, they often need to be repaired in relationship.  


How Somatica practitioners support their clients to learn about their desires, touch & arousal patterns, and give voice to their wants within an embodied, relational, and boundaried container.


How unlike sex talk therapists, Somatica practitioners use their authentic attraction, real-time arousal, and expression of desires & vulnerabilities with 100% honesty, within a container that prohibits genital contact, kissing, or clothes-off interactions.


How for Laura, genital dearmouring involved being present to the sensations of armour at her genitals, breathing into that space, feeling the emotions keeping the armour in place, and allowing the energy to wash through her system and release – which invited new energy in the form of pleasure to replace previous numbness.  


How the keys to re-patterning intimate play within her 20-year marriage was their shared intentionality and willingness to recreate new relational intimacy from square one by listening to the truth of their body, taking penetrative intercourse off the table, and focussing on exploration to discover what each body desired moment by moment and voicing these desires.  


How learning to engage in the difficult conversations of repairing and reconditioning intimacy patterns that were not working, can make the relationship stronger, more loving, much more pleasurable, and lots more fun. 

Rahi: Welcome to Organic Sexuality, where we explore the restoration of pleasure, the reclamation of sexual sovereignty, and the realization of our embodied sexual nature. An invitation to honor the pleasures of your body by embodying the pleasures of your nature. I'm your host, Rahi Chun. I'm a certified somatic sex educator, sexological bodyworker, and creator of Somatic Sexual Wholeness.

Rahi: Before we introduce Dr. Laura Jurgens to the podcast, two announcements, a free masterclass exploring the intersection of sexual dearmouring, and the Mother plant Ayahuasca will take place on Saturday, December 9th from 10 to 11:30 AM Pacific Standard Time. It will feature Susanne Roursgaard, creator of The Gaia Method, Dr. Jennifer Lang, holistic gynecologist and psychedelic integration researcher, Salimeh Tabrizi, plant medicine facilitator, educator, and advocate, Kayt Pearl, researcher of touch therapies with psychedelic medicines and myself. To register, go to somatic sexual masterclass. Or if you're listening to this interview after December 9th, to receive the recording, email The second announcement is that The 3 Keys to Genital Dearmouring Spring 2024 online course registration is now open at super early bird rates. Use coupon code "podcast" for an additional $100 discount. For information about all course content and registration, visit somatic sexual Again, that's the number 3 KEYS. And now our interview with Dr. Laura Jurgens. How does one re-inhabit one's body and reclaim their boundaries after a history of childhood, physical and sexual abuses? How does one release and repair chronic genital numbness and armor into healthy arousal and pleasure responses? How can couples recreate new intimacy dynamics and play from 20 plus year patterns to newfound discoveries of sexual aliveness? Moment by moment today, we're blessed to hear from Dr. Laura Jergens, certified Somatica practitioner, as she shares her remarkable journey of reinhabiting and reclaiming her body, her sexual pleasure, and the sexual intimacy in her marriage.

Rahi: I'm very excited today to be inviting Dr. Laura Jurgens, who goes by the pronouns -She and They, uh, Dr. Laura is a sex intimacy and embodiment coach whose background includes both cognitive and the somatic as she was certified through the Life Coach school, the premier coaching school for cognitive-based coaching, as well as the Somatic Institute, a global leader in embodied sex and relationship coaching. She provides practical tools and experiences to support those interested in reinventing their relationships with themselves, their bodies, their pleasure, and their partners. And I can attest that she's done all of these things in her own life, and I'm so excited to have you with us. Laura, thanks for joining us.

Laura: Thanks so much, Rahi. It's wonderful to be here with you.

Rahi: Ah, great to be here with you too. So glad. Um, so I thought a great jumping off point. Uh, you know, I'm so impressed by the journey of reclamation that you've taken, uh, with your own body. Um, you know, I know of a, a lot of the adversity that, that you experienced when you were younger as a child and as a teen. And, um, you know, that included violations and being on the street, you know, when you were 16. And, you know, to get to a place now where you are inhabiting your body, giving voice to your pleasure for what your desires are, your b your boundaries, your, um, you know, your authentic desires, and to hold space in supporting others to do that, that it's an incredible journey. And I so bow to the path you've taken and how you're holding space for others. I would love to know, as a jumping off point, I mean, if you could provide a context of what some of the adversity was and what that, um, did with your embodiment and what were the key experiences that led you to really coming back to inhabiting your body and to embodying your pleasure?

Laura: Sure. So in a sort of a nutshell, I had a very isolating childhood that was quite abusive, and I was really disconnected from my body. I think a lot of people experience in this culture. We already get disconnected from our bodies. Uh, we have so many messages that, you know, really focus on our, you know, on this sort of like white supremacist, patriarchal, colonialist diversion of sort of what success is. And we train kids like that from the beginning where we're in our brains and, you know, supposed to sit still and, um, you know, supposed to focus on school and all that kind of stuff. So people generally get disembodied. But when you have abuse and trauma at home and you don't have a safe place to be, um, being disembodied is actually a very reasonable coping mechanism because Right. It's something that, you know, if a child, um, does, if a child doesn't feel safe at home, they stop feeling safe in themselves.

Laura: Yeah. And so, so that's, you know, largely what happened in my early childhood. And then, you know, I was sort of sequentially abandoned by both parents at different times of my life. Mm-Hmm. And ultimately that culminated in me being by my, by myself. And at, you know, about 16, I was about 15. I was no longer at home, and about by 16 I was, uh, homeless and living on the street and sort of, you know, dumpster diving and all kinds of stuff just to, to keep myself alive. Hmm. Um, so that's its own trauma, that level of poverty and not knowing where you're gonna sleep and, you know, not, and, and sort of feeling very ostracized from society. Mm-Hmm. , um, and from any sort of care creates another layer of armor on ourselves. Mm-Hmm. , you know, it certainly armors your heart. Um, Mm-Hmm.

Laura: . And so that was like, and also in there. Then at 14, I, you know, was I was raped, and then I had a sort of like really sort of messed up relationship with my rapist for a while because it was actually safer to be with him than it was to be at home. And so I had about six months of, um, really non-consensual, not for me sex, you know, but it was in exchange for a different type of safety Mm-Hmm. And I didn't even realize it was rape for a long time. I didn't, I was, you know, I was 14. I didn't really know what was happening to me, but I didn't realize until I was 42, that wasn't all my fault. Despite being a feminist . And despite being a really thoughtful, smart person, the messages that I had gotten around, you know, what I owed a quote unquote boyfriend, and mm-Hmm.

Laura: , what was sort of my fault even at home were such that I didn't realize that this was something I wasn't even prepared to consent to because I didn't know what was really happening. Mm-Hmm. . So those are some of the sort of social traumas and then the sort of personal traumas, right. That kind of layer on to each other. And a lot of people have similar stories. Unfortunately, we have so many people in our society that have stories of isolation, stories of violation Mm-Hmm. , um, stories of just disconnection and feeling really disconnected or not entitled to their own body's pleasure. Um, so that was really what was sort of set the stage for me. And then there was a really long , it was a long and twisty path to come back, you know? Mm-Hmm. . Um, but it is possible. I was severely depressed for many years.

Laura: I had a really not successful, was not successful in therapy. Um, it was a lot, lot of times it was like talking to a brick wall, and I just sort of got re-traumatized. I didn't see anybody who really knew how to deal with the types of things that I had gone through or how to connect with me. So there was a, there was a, there was a lot of seeking, basically seeking, and I thought that it was me that was broken rather than understanding that I had trauma trapped in the body. And that I also had a lot of mental and emotional coping mechanisms that just weren't actually helping or serving me anymore. So it took a while of unraveling that Mm-Hmm. And just a lot of intention Mm-Hmm. to do that. And then once you have the intention, somehow the tools and the teachers sort of come, you know?

Laura: Yeah. It, it, it really comes bit by bit and organically when you decide that you're worth the care. Mm-Hmm. . And that was, that's the turning point I think for me. And in my experience, the turning point for everybody is when you decide that you are worth the care Mm-Hmm. , and you're willing to give yourself a little bit of compassion. Mm-Hmm. , hopefully it'll turn into a lot of compassion in the future. Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . But even just a little compassion in the beginning to give yourself that patience to actually start finding the tools and the help that you need.

Rahi: Yeah. Wow. Um, it's an incredible, um, journey you've taken to get to where you are. And I, you know, as you were sharing it really struck me how, you know, as children when we are being abused and our emotional and physical needs are not being attuned to or met, um, it can all often feel like, like our bodies are not ours, um, to, to decide about or to take care of. I mean, you know, when our bodies are being abused by our caretakers, it can, it can really feel like they're, they belong to our caretakers. And so when you shared about, um, being in that, uh, domestic situation at 14 with a boyfriend who was sexually abusing you, um, it makes sense that if you grew up not really being dissociated to cope as well as not, you know, really feeling like you had your own body's agency, then, um, it, it's easy to imagine how someone else using your body for their needs is kind of a continuation of what you were used to at home. Um, so, you know, it sounds like the real turning point came with this self-compassion and the intention, as you said, that really kind of started the wheels churning and directing you to other experiences that aligned with that intention. What, what were the experiences that really seemed pivotal for you in making a difference? Because it sounds like talk therapy, you know, was probably helpful to a certain, a certain degree, but not, not, it didn't make a difference in your body. Yeah. What really made a difference for you inhabiting your body?

Laura: Yeah. So the first, it was sort of a series of things for me. And I think people come to, you know, they, they, we find our own, our own path forward. And it's not necessarily always in the same pattern or, or linear, but for me, it was really finding coaching that was, that was helping me understand my emotion. Mm-Hmm. So once I got a handle on my emotions and how to work with my emotions and how to process my emotions, I finally learned that it was okay for me to have emotions and that they were not emergencies . And that there was actually tools to help me process 'em in my body. Mm-Hmm. . And I had no access to it at first. I couldn't, people would, you know, the coach would ask me, well, where are you feeling this emotion? Like fear or something?

Laura: And I was like, I don't know. I have mm-Hmm. , you know, I've got nothing, lady, you know? Mm-Hmm. , what are you talking about? And it took me a while and some patience to start noticing, okay, actually there's something like that feels like it's stuck in my throat. Oh, I can feel a little bit of dis, you know, tightness in my chest. I can start feeling some hot or cold sensations. Mm-Hmm. Starting to track the actual physical sensations of my emotions in my body. Let me actually start to deescalate the, the sort of disembodiment response, the sort of panic response when I was having emotions and allowed me to contextualize them as being part of the normal human experience. Mm-Hmm. , it was okay that I had these, it's okay that I needed to process them. And even when I came face to face with like, you know, suicidal despair Mm-Hmm.

Laura: , I was able to then tell myself, this is an emotion. Mm-Hmm. I can, I can process this in my body. Mm-Hmm. , it's not an emergency. And it doesn't mean anything particular about me. It just means that I have the thoughts and the patterns, the stories in my brain that are generating this emotion. So I learned how emotions are created through coaching and how to process 'em, which started giving me a handle on the beginnings of embodiment. Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . And that then led to me realizing, okay, I'm if when, once you're paying attention, Mm-Hmm. , once you're in your body and you're starting to pay attention, it becomes clear really quickly that you need some boundaries. . Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . Right. It becomes, because your body tells you. Right. And so if you're paying attention to listening, you, you start noticing that you need to manage, you know, I, I need, I actually, this is also the process of me stopping using any sort of substances to manage.

Laura: I used to drink a lot of wine. I used to drink a lot of glasses of wine in the evening. Mm-Hmm. . It was, you know, because I didn't know how to process my motions for myself. Mm-Hmm. . And I was trying to sort of consume something to fix it for me, which of course it doesn't. Right. Just kind of pushes it away for a little while. Numbs it out, gives you all the like, negative stuff that you have to deal with later and actually winds up increasing your anxiety in the long term. Mm-Hmm. . So being embodied helped me notice what was going on with, you know, what coping mechanisms weren't working for me. Helped me pick up other ones that were like self-compassion meditations, and, you know, taking a lot of baths, . Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. doing things that brought me joy and relaxing.

Laura: And so that then once you start doing that, you also, you come face-to face with the fact you need boundaries. And you also start learning that, hey, I'm an erotic being like, here I am. And you start noticing the places where you feel cut off. Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . And so it, I feel like the body directs you into your healing. But the challenge for a lot of us is accessing the body's wisdom first and being able to start processing our emotions and start working with our emotions in a way that allows us to, to deescalate the sort of like the, this panic response where we're constantly trying to suppress 'em or trying to numb them out with, you know, Facebook or TV or booze or whatever. So once we stop doing that, then the, I think the healing gates, the flood gates kind of open. Mm-Hmm.

Rahi: . Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. It's really interesting, um, really understanding that your way into your body was really examining and exploring and welcoming, holding space for your emotions in your body. That was like your kind of key in, um, and then recogni, and then not taking those emotions personally, but really kind of being fascinated by how the different emotions, um, can provide different flavors for your embodiment. And it sounds like, yeah. The

Laura: Switch between judgment to curiosity Mm-Hmm. is a profound one.

Rahi: Profound. Yeah.

Laura: It's profound. If you can start titrating in a little little curiosity instead of so much judgment. Mm-Hmm. So starting with ourselves, what, how can I be curious about this instead of judgmental about it? Mm-Hmm. , you know, and yeah, it works with other people obviously too. How can I be curious about this person? Mm-Hmm. instead of judgmental about it. And when we do that, yeah. We absolutely, exactly what you said happens. Mm-Hmm. , right? Yeah. You start being able to do it to, to process emotions in a less personal way.

Rahi: And it sounds like the curiosity led you to not only processing emotions in a less personal way, but you got really curious about what could feel good in your body.

Laura: Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. Um,

Rahi: So I, I wanna ask you, this is fantastic. Um, I wanna ask you, as you started discovering what could feel good and getting curious about, you know, different erotic pleasures in your body, um, it makes sense that understanding or discerning what your boundaries are, what doesn't feel good would follow, how did you learn? You know, 'cause we sh you, you shared earlier about, uh, you know, we talked about growing up, and if our, if we're physically abused or feel like our body's not ours, it can be very reflexive to let other people kind of use or abuse or handle our bodies. As, as you were feeling more into your own body with the key end of your emotions, feeling good, being curious about pleasure. Can you help listeners understand what supported you in starting to identify and then voice and assert your boundaries with others, because that, that can be a really kind of, you know, huge relearning curve for a lot of people who grew up at being a people pleaser or being, you know, having the fond response.

Laura: It is. It is. And it has been such an amazing, surprising, and rewarding journey. Hmm. Boundaries are, I think, one of the great tragedies of our current society. Hmm. That we are just not encouraged to have healthy boundaries. And it really is, does such a disservice to our relationships. Oh yeah. Because saying no is one of the best gifts you can give people. Hmm. And we don't respect that or honor that in our current ways of relating with each other most of the time. Mm-Hmm. . But, so in, so to go back to your question and make sure I answer it for the listeners, for me it was really learning what boundaries are and what they're not. Mm-Hmm. And realizing that they're not about trying to force somebody into doing what we want. Mm-Hmm. , that's a kind of a common lay version of sort of how people are interpreting boundaries sometimes.

Laura: Oh. You know, somebody might say like, oh, I have a boundary about that. Right? Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . So therefore you can't do it. Mm-Hmm. . But that, that's not a boundary, that's an ultimatum. That's not a boundary. All Mm-Hmm. boundaries, like real boundaries are about taking care of ourselves and loving ourselves and loving the other person. Mm-Hmm. . And we don't have to do them at people. Mm-Hmm. . Right. So we, we decide for ourselves how to take, it's about, it's about taking care of ourselves within our, and staying within our capacity. Mm-Hmm. . And it's, we have to first to have boundaries. We have to acknowledge that you have a capacity. Mm-Hmm. , we can't be running rough roughshod over ourselves and, you know, trying to do every single thing under the sun and be perfect at everything. It, it is not possible to actually effectively put, to have boundaries.

Laura: When you're doing that, you have to acknowledge that you, you are human being. You are a human animal. You have a capacity, and you start noticing in your body when you feel yourself close to your capacity. Mm-Hmm. And you start, that can include in an emotional capacity. You know, my capacity for dealing with my mother is very, very, very small. Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. , other people may have my capacity for dealing with other people is, excuse me, is actually pretty big. Mm-Hmm. and other people's capacity for dealing with my mother is pretty big. Right. My capacity for dealing with my mother is not very big. Mm-Hmm. . So I noticed that in my body, and I realized that I needed to, to be clear about what, what was my capacity and honor it for myself. Even if I don't ever tell somebody else what my boundary is, I still have it.

Laura: And I know what I'm gonna do given a situation. So I, I learned that given a situation, the boundary is my decision about what I am going to do. Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. , whether or not I communicated to somebody else. And that it really needs to track an embodied sense of our own capacity. Yeah. When we do, when we do boundaries that way, they're so loving. And that's where, you know, we don't have to do them sort of at somebody or against somebody. We don't have to do them aggressively to try to get people to stay away or do what we want. We can actually offer this as, look, I, I really wanna be in this relationship with you. I really wanna have this exchange with you. Now is not a time when I have the capacity to do that. Can we reschedule this? Right.

Laura: Like, so you can do, you can do it in a loving way. If it's a sexual boundary, you can offer it. You know, I think you're wonderful. Today is not a day when I feel like being felt up. Mm-Hmm. , this is like, you can be very straightforward, but you can still be kind about it. Mm-Hmm. . And I think, so understanding the nuances of boundaries and understanding that they're not, they don't need to be aggressive. Um, but they really do keep us from being in resentment. And that's where the people, you know, this journey of boundaries is always, is gonna come up against your people pleasing. 'cause we are, especially women are socialized to be championship people pleasers. But when we're doing that and we're not being authentic to ourselves, we don't actually give anybody the opportunity to love the real us. And we don't give somebody the opportunity to really get to enjoy our authentic Yes. Mm-Hmm. . Right. Because they never really believe us. 'cause we're pretty much bullshitting all the time. . Mm-Hmm. . So we're not saying when we, when we give somebody our real no. And we give somebody our true Yes, then we really get to celebrate both of those things with somebody else.

Rahi: You know, there's so many gems in, in what you shared there, Laura. Um, you know, I love your, your the way you, you hold boundaries as really attuning to and understanding the capacity and your limits, and you're really just, I mean, it's a gift to be that honest with somebody else in service of the relationship. And that's what I hear you sharing. Um, exactly. Yeah. You know, as well as understanding what boundaries are not, it's not rejecting someone, it's not being aggressive, it's not, um, you know, it's really, you know, it's really loving yourself and, and, and honoring the relationship. Um, I I'd love to know your journey of, um, you know, as you are, as you described, becoming embodied, tuning into your emotions, feeling into what your pleasure is, being able to speak to and honor your boundaries. Um, how was the journey for you to start vocalizing and asking for what you wanted in sexual intimacy? Um, especially coming from, you know, a past where Yeah. In situations it was taken from you.

Laura: Yeah. The journey was hard. Mm-Hmm. . It was, this was not something that came easily to me. Mm-Hmm. . So any of you out there who find this really hard to say what you want, I hear you and I see you because it is, it is not easy for a lot of us. And I felt at times that it was almost impossible for me to actually physically get the voice to move out of my throat. Mm-Hmm. , it felt like there was a block. Mm-Hmm. . And I actually think there was Mm-Hmm. a block. Mm-Hmm. . Um, that's how it, I experienced it. It was so, I, I couldn't even tell you that it was like a fear. It was more just like, it was like, somehow I didn't have that capacity. Yeah. You know, it felt like I didn't have the capacity, but everybody does have the capacity Sure.

Laura: To say what you want. Mm-Hmm. . Um, you might need to go slowly with yourself and start really small. Mm-Hmm. that was what worked for me, was starting with very basic non-sexual things. And taking the, the sexual part off the table for a little bit in a relationship can really help you to practice. Mm-Hmm. asking for what you want. Even if it's just like, this is the way I want you to touch my hand. Right now, what we need is not, we need the practice of asking, but we also need the practice of the other person. We need to do it in relationship. Right. And we really need these practice. Those of us who have the type of trauma I do anyway, I will say Mm-Hmm. Um, where, when, when we were children and we asked for what we wanted, we were smacked down, or we were belittled or humiliated or something horrible happened to us Mm-Hmm.

Laura: Um, we were not encouraged. We were shut down in some way, then we really do actually need to heal this in relationship. Yes. And that's one of the things that I do with people in my practice Hmm. Is, is actually provide that type of relationship where people can heal through practicing with another human being. Yeah. But it's so important to have somebody actually receive that well Mm-Hmm. and to have somebody receive it. Well, when we say, no, not that way. Mm-Hmm. , you know, and to have them then just wait and be, you know, you do this so beautifully in your practice too. Mm-Hmm. . It's one of like, the most amazing things to experience is when somebody really welcomes your desires. Mm-Hmm. , you're very specific, your body's desires. Mm-Hmm. Not what we think we should. You know, it was a takes, it took me, I had to be embodied first before I could learn how to do this, because I had to be able to listen Mm-Hmm. first to what my body wanted instead of what I thought in my brain that I should want. Anytime there's a should in there, you know? Mm-Hmm. red flag should be going up. So getting into the body and then practicing with very low stakes types of touch. Mm-Hmm. and starting to connect. I needed to connect my mind and body so that my body felt like I was gonna represent her needs.

Rahi: Right.

Laura: Right. And that my voice was gonna be used for her. Mm-Hmm. . And that freed up my voice a lot. And it's actually one of the things we did together when I was working with you that was, you know, I had started that process, but having the time to really have a dedicated person who is gonna be a practice partner in that beautiful way with your attention is just, it's so profound. And it just creates space for somebody to really unlock. Mm-Hmm. the relationship between their mind and their body and their voice. Mm-Hmm.

Rahi: . Yeah. I, I, I feel really, really strongly, um, as I know you do too. I mean, I'm just echoing what you shared, you know, know when ruptures happen in relationships, they need to be repaired in relationships, you know, in the same way that when ruptures happen, somatically, they need to be repaired somatically. Um, and to re you know, replace the old story or the, or the old touch imprint, um, the old story of, of what the body experiences is possible can be life changing. It opens up entire new terrains. It's almost like a whole new neural pathway opens up for what's possible. Um, yeah. That's fantastic. You just described it so well, it's really

Laura: Like a restoration, right? It's, it's,

Rahi: It's restoration.

Laura: We all have this neural pathway available to us. Mm-Hmm. , we have the ability to say what we want. We have the ability to know what we want. Mm-Hmm. . And then say it. So that's the first step is actually like, it is,

Rahi: You would know it a lot

Laura: Of people who just, we need to know what we want and Mm-Hmm. , I had a hard time coming to that, and a lot of my clients do. Mm-Hmm. . But I promise you are cap capable of knowing what you want. Mm-Hmm. , you might just need a lot of space and encouragement to find it. Mm-Hmm. and a little bit of patience, but once you know it, you can say it. We all have that pathway, but it does, it gets damaged in relationship just, and it does get damaged somatically too, just like you're talking about.

Rahi: Yes, yes. Absolutely. Yeah. I, I, I find that with clients who really have no clue what their body wants, providing some options so that their body can, you know, feel into what feels better, what feels good. It can be like baby steps. And then once they experience what feels good in their body, yeah. I mean, taking the leap to actually ask for it, especially when there, there's, when there's been a pattern of being punished or ridiculed or, or bullied, um, when they did in the past, uh, it can be just be a huge breakthrough and turning point. Um, Dr. Laura, I wanna ask you, um, about the Somatica method, because UAA Somatica practitioner, um, and I, you know, for listeners, I'd love for you to describe if you can, succinctly what a Somatica practitioner does based on the Somatica method. And I'm curious what role the SOMATICA training played in your, uh, reclamation journey as well.

Speaker 4: Yeah. So a somatica practitioner is a really unique type of interaction. We have really unique interactions with our clients because we're not like therapists where we're just sort of sitting talking and very removed, right. From the very emotionally removed, very physically removed. We do have, it is a close on practice, but we do invite a lot of touch and a lot of intimacy. So what I create with clients is really a relationship lab. So we have an actual relationship that we build, that we use to explore things like learning our own arousal, learning how to manage increasing and decreasing our arousal, learning our own desires, how we like to be touched. Really just playing and exploring those things. And it's so unusual to have somebody that we can practice with. So it's a very practice oriented, embodied type of work where you're sort of maybe getting you, you're getting guidance and you're getting training, you're learning skills, but we're also actually really, truly having a vulnerable relationship and practicing communicating vulnerably, being in an intimate dynamic with someone. Mm-Hmm.

Rahi: Wow. Wow. That sounds so beautiful. It, it kind of sounds like the practice we all should have gotten in high school, you know, before, oh, gosh.

Speaker 4: Engaging. Oh, yes. , I wish I had gotten relationships. Right. I wish everyone in high school had gotten this. And I, I mean, to some extent, I wish we were all really capable, you know, of getting it even earlier. Just a lot of a how to commun, you know, when I see some of the kids these days Mm-Hmm. Who are getting practice talking about their feelings and Mm-Hmm. Starting to understand that they have some control. It's not just so and so made me feel this way. Right. But like, how does this feeling feel in my body? What is this? Um, just even that simple practice as a child is so powerful. And most of us need to learn it as adults, how to process feelings in our body, how to allow somebody to be close to us when we're feeling vulnerable. Mm-Hmm. How to speak Mm-Hmm. About our own desires and how to, to receive someone else's and someone's boundaries with kindness. Mm-Hmm. . So those are some of the things, you know, we might practice in a whole session. Just how do we feel safe while sharing and receiving boundaries?

Rahi: Wow. That that mean, which

Speaker 4: I wish we had in high school too.

Rahi: . Yeah. Yeah. It's astounding. Um, so it's, I love that you call it a lab and, but you know, what's dis what's different about it as, as you underscored earlier, you know, the difference with a sex therapist or a talk therapist is here you are using yourself and your real intimacy attractions, vulnerability. So it's like a real time, real, you know, somatic situation where your arousal and your feelings are involved and engaged, but it's a very safe container with boundaries.

Speaker 4: Absolutely. So, it's a hundred percent honest. I don't have to pretend I don't, I would never do that to anyone. Hmm. We actually see what's there and we play with what's really there, and it's really incredible to be able to have the space to do that with someone, but within a container where we all know the boundaries and we know that it's in the service of their growth and their relationships.

Rahi: Mm-Hmm. Yeah. You know, what stands out to me is the, the invitation for clients to really become familiar and intimate with their own arousal system whilst it's relating intimately with a, another real human being involving touch in real time.

Speaker 4: Exactly. Yes. And we learn that there's, you know, the whole body erogenous zone, even so, even though we don't do genital touch, which I think is such an important part of your practice and, and such an important modality, but there's such a beautiful compliment to actually activate the rest of the body and to allow ourselves to be connected to our genitals while the rest of our bodies activated and with another human being as well. Mm-Hmm. . And it really helps us change the, the sort of, you know, internalized idea of what sex is as this sort of, you know, we have to be naked doing this one particular thing where there's like a penis going into something. Right. . Like, that's like the, the cultural definition from our, our patriarchal cultural definition of sex. Yeah. And instead we're just playing with bodies and we're playing with arousal more enjoying ourselves. Mm-Hmm. And so we use pleasure as a way of helping ourselves heal from disconnections with ourselves and with other people. And, Mm-Hmm mm-Hmm. disconnections with our joy.

Rahi: Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. You know, I was gonna say, I feel like the fact that genitals are not involved actually invites a much, much deeper understanding of your arousal, of your intimacy needs and your desire for connection. You know, it's really kind of profound because I find that, you know, I think a lot of folks just hop right into penetration without understanding their arousal, their desire, their boundaries, their intimacy, their connection. I mean, all of the things that you get to teach, uh, with, with your clients in this model.

Speaker 4: Yeah, exactly. So we, we wanna make sure that the genital, so it's not that the genitals aren't totally involved, but we're just not touching them. So the gen, what we wanna do is actually really bring an awareness to the whole body Mm-Hmm. , including our genitals of that arousal, so that we can track our own arousal and how it relates to desire. And those two things are, as we know, totally different, right? Our, our emotional and mental desire can, is super important to our arousal, but our physical arousal is different. So we wanna help people learn to pull apart those things, identify for the them for themselves, communicate about them, and really track them in their own body. So we do a lot of practice with figuring out what is it that actually really turns you on in different ways, you know, and how do we help you get that more in your life? How do we help you be comfortable with it? For me, I, I wasn't even really comfortable with my own desire and arousal. It freaked, it used to freak me out. It felt really like I needed something from somebody and that felt too vulnerable for me. So somatica is a way that we can practice with owning that and allowing it for ourselves and really starting to relax into enjoying it too.

Rahi: Oh, brilliant. Brilliant. Thank you for that.

Laura: Mm-Hmm. . Absolutely.

Rahi: And, and how about for you in your journey? Um, I mean, how was it, I mean, how was, like, what role did it play in your kind of journey of healing and reclamation with intimacy and sexuality?

Laura: You know, I would say for me that one of the biggest gifts of my training with Somatica was really opening my heart. And in a lot of, and, and learning to be fully present with somebody with an open heart, and trusting this is a hard thing for people with an abuse history. Right. Like, I had a lot of genital armor, but I also had a lot of heart armor. Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . And it was a lot easier for me, you know, coming through academia, I was always very, you know, sort of neck up, right? Like Mm-Hmm. Reclaiming my sexuality and allowing myself to be a full sexual being as I walk through the world. That was another gift of my training because I, I learned not to just be in my brain, but to, to allow myself to be in my body even while I'm working Mm-Hmm.

Laura: while I'm connecting with people, while I am just being present with people. And to be really, you know, open to, so there's so much variety Mm-Hmm. in people's experiences, but there's also so much commonality in no matter what sort of, of challenge that somebody may be having. There's, you know, we all have the same shame responses. We have, um, we have, you know, challenging coping mechanisms that are no longer working for us. There's so many ways that just bringing an open heart and compassion really is so healing that we're humans and we're such, we're designed to be, you know, in deep connection with people. And so that, that training really gave me an opportunity. Mm-Hmm. to be, it, it's, I love it every day, right. Because I get to be open-hearted with people, and I also get to be fun and flirty and playful with them. But I get to experience this joint caring and compassion

Rahi: In a way that's key. Yeah. Yeah. What stands out for me is really the full-bodied, uh, open-hearted connection and being available for that kind of relational, intimate dynamic just in life in general. You know? So it can be a joy to explore with, with anyone who is fortunate enough to cross paths with you. Um, Laura, I wanted to ask you, 'cause you mentioned a moment ago there was the heart demming, which was different than the genital demming. Um, can you speak a little bit about what it was like now that your genitalia is no longer armored? What difference do you notice? Like, what was the journey for you of going from having genitalia that was armored and more numb and less sensitive to res sensitizing and having the full capacity of your erogenous, um, anatomy available to you?

Laura: Yeah. So for me, I had felt, and I know a lot of other people, I have clients that have similar dynamics, where with myself, I was a lot more, it was a, I was a lot more open and I had a lot more sexual response than I did with a partner. It was when I was in the presence of another person that I tended to shut down. And so the process of de arming was really one of a, like, I needed another person to help me with that. Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . I really needed to become more comfortable and to experience a male presence. And mm-Hmm. I mean, you know, I, I, we're not in a post gender world yet. Um, and my experience has been very gendered. Um, there, our world experience , our, our cultural experience is very gendered. And so, um, so that actually, so healing in that di in that paradigm was also important.

Laura: Yes. For me. Mm-Hmm. . Um, but, you know, when I did become de armored, I, like, what's happened for me is that I'm more open with partners. Mm-Hmm. . And it's easier for me to stay in my body and experience pleasure in my body. Mm-Hmm. with a partner. I don't get, I don't get as disembodied. I don't have to take myself sort of out into fantasy world as much. I can stay more present. I still love fantasy world, but Yeah. Um, and I love doing that with partners too, but, mm-Hmm. , I can stay more present. I can stay more present with my sensations, and I can use my voice better so I can direct things more clearly. Mm-Hmm. Where it's what I want. I feel more safe in the encounters that I have. Mm-Hmm. And so, because my body feels safer, even when my mind felt safe, the problem wasn't that it was like, I knew my partner was safe, right.

Rahi: Intellectually,

Laura: But my body didn't know. Sure. And so now that my body knows my partner is safe, my body responses open up. So I'm able to have, you know, I'm able to get aroused faster with a person. I'm able to have more orgasms with a partner. And in general, it just feels more authentic and relaxed instead of sort of performative where I'm sort of constantly trying to overcome something. So it almost made it perform like it had to be performative to some extent. Mm-Hmm. , because I had so much effort involved. Mm-Hmm

Rahi: Mm. Yeah. You know, it, it, it brings up when you mentioned, um, how you were able to experience your arousal and pleasure solo, but it was different with another being. Um, it, it reminds me again, of how important it is to repair ruptures. Um, it's almost like replacing the old story with a new story. So if it's, you know, uh, ruptures relationally, repairing them relationally, and if there was a rupture with a male person to repair that with a male person or a practitioner, um, can really kind of, uh, it's almost like a reset of the nervous system with that. Um, what was a fear response can now be a safe response or even a pleasure response. Um, Laura. Yeah.

Laura: That's how I experienced it too, you know? Mm-Hmm. When I worked with you, I really experienced this like, moment of feeling like your presence as a very benign and benevolent, like you were, uh, it is a very benevolent presence for me, and this sort of like emergent feeling of safety in the body, which was absolutely not something that I could get to without the entire sort of the, the container that you created of and, and the somatic experience of being present with somebody who's able to, to hold that type of space and to, to have that type of presence with somebody.

Rahi: Yeah. So it sounds like your body and your body's nervous system feeling that sense of safety within how the space was being held, really allowed for shifts to happen within your own body. Um, can you, do you recall, I'm wondering if you can describe for our listeners, like Sensorially and emotionally the process of genital disarming, if you, I don't know if you recall.

Laura: Yeah, I mean, I do recall it. So viscerally actually, for me, the process was quite spiritual. Mm-Hmm. It was really a sense of, and it was very, there was a lot of energy, and I'm a, I mean, I'm a trained scientist, so, um, which means I'm both very on the practical side of things, but I also recognize how much we don't know about anything and how much we are energy beings. Mm-Hmm. . So it was really beautiful to notice what happened for me first was noticing parts of my body, parts of my genitalia that were a little bit numb. And like, there was there, or maybe a little bit sore. There was like a little bit of like pain or numbness in sort of a spot. And Hmm. I felt because I was so attuned to my body, and that's what we were doing, and that's what I was there for, I was able to ask you to pause.

Laura: So there's, you know, practicing using my voice, asking you to pause, and then having some attention in that place and just creating some space for it. Mm-Hmm. . So allowing that to then just unfold and just be present and just breathe through it allowed me to, it just sort of would open up and I would get a rush of energy and to the extent where it felt like static electricity, like huge blanket of static electricity around my body. Mm-Hmm. . And I would get this sort of big flow of energy that would come up and just kind of wash through me. And then it would the sense that spot in my genitals would turn into pleasure. Mm-Hmm. . And then usually there was an emotion that came up. Mm-Hmm. . But for me, none of them were traumatic emotions that came up. I think because I'd done so much emotional processing already, that it was really just like a, oh, you're there.

Laura: Okay. Okay. Mm-Hmm. . Here you are. Yeah. So the first, you know, the first spot had something to offer me that was really sovereignty. And it felt like when it released, it felt like I got this, I was able to take back my sovereignty. Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . And then, you know, another spot we worked on, it felt like I was able to, to receive like, this benevolent male energy. And I mean, I didn't know what each one of these, this was just all spontaneously kind of came to me with each, each location. And so it was a really interesting, I had no idea that any of this was gonna happen, but this is just the process that happened for me. Mm-Hmm. . And it was really beautiful.

Rahi: Yeah. You know, what I recall from your series is that, um, you had done so much of the emotional work, you know, on your own, in your own journey, that it was a matter of really just updating your tissues to reflect that, that that updated, um, you know, clearing. And, um, you know, the reason I ask is I, I, I think genital disarming can seem really mysterious or, you know, like a vague process. So the way you describe it is so, uh, concrete and, uh, 'cause what I remember is, you know, you would feel, just like you described, you would feel the armor release. Um, there would be emotions or tears arise, uh, followed by the pleasure and that electrical current, uh, you know, that you describe, um, you know, I always liken it to whatever energy had been stored and repressed in that area for so long as now being released from the body and the, the tissues and the psyche. Um, yeah.

Laura: It was pretty amazing. That energy then felt really accessible to me and felt like I was able to claim it for the, you know, in perpetuity. Right. I felt like I had access now to parts of my body where I somehow, you know, somehow that energy had been blocked and it was released, and then I got to integrate it into myself. So I would, you know, when I left the de armoring session, it was, I felt like a bigger sense of myself. Mm-Hmm. , I felt like a, a much more energized sense of me. Mm-Hmm. . And I was able to, I felt like, you know, I had kind of gotten access to my full, to my full humanity in a way that I didn't have, because a few, you know, I had some of these spots that were still holding trauma in the tissues. Mm. Yeah. And it was really joyful. It was really a joyful process.

Rahi: Hmm. Wonderful. Wonderful. Um, I want, you know, I was so impressed with, uh, you know, when we zoomed after your series, when you went back to Texas, you had shared with me how you essentially reinvented your intimate dynamic with your husband. Um, now that your body had changed and the trauma had released and the armor was, was no longer there, I would love for you to share with listeners, because, you know, I get calls from so many clients who've been in marriages or long-term relationships for, you know, from several years to decades, and they feel like they're really in a pattern. And the way you and your husband really kind of, kind of started from like ground zero again and built up this new kind of relational dynamic was so fantastic. Can you share, um, what, what were the key, most important points for you that you felt like made the difference in bringing this updated version of yourself into a new intimate and sexual dynamic with your husband?

Laura: For sure. So I think the most important aspect for me was, and for us in our relationship was intentionality and just willingness.

Rahi: Hmm.

Laura: We, I came back and I, you know, we had been together for 20 years Hmm. And we have a open marriage Mm-Hmm. Um, but we had been primary sexual partners for 20 years. Hmm. And we had fallen into a lot of patterns over the course of that time. Mm-Hmm. . And when we first got together, you know, we were pretty trauma bonded. Mm-Hmm. . And we had, we were in our twenties and, you know, I I, we, you know, hopefully over the course of 20 years, we grow right. And Sure. So I felt like I had really substantially grown and, and so much around my sexuality Yes. That really needed to press the reset button Right. And, and start over. And I needed to find, I really wanted to find that safety in my body that I had felt during the de arming and that sovereignty.

Laura: I wanted to enable that Mm-Hmm. with my partner. And I knew that for me, in order to do that, we were gonna have to really start with the same kind of process where my body felt. And so instead of listening to my brain, I said, we're not gonna listen to my brain. I'm gonna listen to my body and we're gonna start at square one. So we took, um, we took like insertion based sex Mm-Hmm. Off of the table. Mm-Hmm. and really focused on exploration, um, no, no orgasm goals. Just physical touch and noticing the boundaries, communicating around them, talking about what we want. Mm-Hmm. And we did. So I would actually demonstrate some of those things on him Mm-Hmm. and give him space to do that and talk about what he wants. And then I would give it to him. And then, you know, we would switch and I would ask for a certain type of touch, you know, maybe a light touch along my back and I would teach him what mm-Hmm.

Laura: what I wanted. And if it was not quite right, I would correct it, you know? And so we took our time to really allow the bodies, um, and mine in particular, because I was a person who was carrying a lot of trauma that I had run rough shot over Mm-Hmm. And I had not spoken up for my body, and so I needed to let my body trust me. Yes. So I wanted to, to do that in his presence and have him help facilitate that. And that really opened things up a lot so that my body felt much more relaxed. Mm-Hmm. So that by the time that we are putting sort of all aspects of, of sexual activity back on the table, we had developed a really clear communication Mm-Hmm. . And we had been able to remove what was a lot of people pleasing and a lot of assumptions and stories about our old patterns.

Laura: Mm-Hmm. by just starting from the beginning Mm-Hmm. again. And I almost gotta have kind of like the type of exploratory sexy like exploration that I would've wanted as a teenager, you know, that I didn't, didn't get. Yeah. So we got to have that sort of like little, like slow, slow learning and little bit of touch and things. And we used, we drew heavily on Dr. Betty Martin's work. Yes. Uh, we went and we did, we did all her videos and Mm-Hmm. You know, I, I read her books and, um, all of the, the bossy massage and the three minute game are wonderful tools that everybody should access. They're all on YouTube, so please go do all that stuff with your partner. Um, and we definitely incorporated that as well.

Rahi: Hmm. Wow. That is so, so super cool. I feel like you and your husband, I don't know if your husband's in this line of work, but you guys could teach couples workshops on really how to, you know, restart, reboot, you know, from the ground up because it sounds to me like, you know, the most inten important thing was the intentionality as you shared, but then the willingness that you both had to really take your time. And it's almost like rediscovering each other's bodies and re and rediscovering each other's boundaries and voice, um, to create these new imprints. So your nervous systems are like being rewired with each other, you know, but from the ground up taking, uh, as you say, insertion sex off the table, I've never heard it described that way. Um, insertion sex off the table and just exploring, uh, you know, from ground zero and building, building your way up, that just sounds incredible. And I think, you know, something, all couples can just not, you know, like you can't not benefit from something like that because we do go into, um, patterns and default modes and, you know, when there's only 10 minutes left before the kids come home, you know, that kind of a thing. Yep. Um,

Laura: Yeah. So it was a really wonderful process. I recommend it to everybody, whether or not you've been through a D Armory or not. Mm-Hmm. to kind of go back and I think, you know, we had to address some fears, right. So he had a lot of fears around whether I would, like, how long was it gonna take, and like how patient was he gonna have to be, and whether we would get back to insertion sex or what was happening with that. And I needed to take the time I was gonna take. And, um, we, you know, I just asked him to decide that if we would both commit to just deciding this was gonna work. Yeah. That was the big thing, was just it's gonna work. Mm-Hmm. , we're gonna decide it's gonna work. Mm-Hmm. . But we're gonna take whatever time it takes.

Laura: Mm-Hmm. because the pressure of, well, it's gonna be two weeks or three weeks, or, you know, 17 days and 47 minutes, that is pressure and that Mm-Hmm. pressure does not help the sexy. Yes. So we needed to take all that and just put it aside and let it take, my body was gonna take what time she needed. And so that needed to be okay. And there was some growth there. There was like learning, you know, luckily because of my training, I know how to have difficult conversations. Hmm. And so some of my clients, you know, that's one of the things that we work on, is just how to have difficult conversations where you come out stronger Yeah. Than you went in. Right. How to repair so that you repair like a broken bone where it winds up being stronger and not like a sprain where it's always Mm-Hmm. kind of wonky. Right, right. So those are some of the key ingredients too. But it's absolutely possible to reinvent your sexual relationship with somebody. We, we never know exactly what somebody's capable of, even if we've lived with them for 20 years.

Rahi: Love that. Love, love, love that. Laura, how can people find you?

Laura: So they can find me on my website. It's just Laura Jergens, uh, with the Jergens is with A-U-J-U-R-G-E-N And, um, I have resources up there and lots of like, lo I love to hear from people. So my email's up there and folks can contact me, um, if they have questions. Mm-Hmm, .

Rahi: Wonderful. Wonderful. Um, Laura, thanks so much for being with us, for sharing your journey, for sharing your wisdom, and for doing this fabulous, fabulous work that is so needed. Thank you so much. Thanks

Laura: For inviting me, Rahi. It's always fun to talk with you.

Rahi: How is this interview landing in your body right now? Are there new patterns of connection, touch, and sexual intimacy you would like to introduce into your relationship? Would exploring your arousal states touch boundaries and real-time intimate play within a clearly defined container with a somatica practitioner? Be beneficial to your evolving somatic and intimacy iq. How would it be to inhabit your embodiment, your genital pleasure, and your boundaries even more? Links to Laura's website, laura and a transcription of this interview will be in the show notes. Wishing you and your loved ones a most delicious holiday season. Much love, and until next time, take good care.

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About the Show

We explore the restoration of pleasure, the reclamation of sexual sovereignty, and the realization of our organic sexual wholeness. We engage with leading somatic therapists, sexologists & sexological bodyworkers, and holistic practitioners worldwide who provide practical wisdom from hands-on experiences of working with clients and their embodied sexuality. We invite a deep listening to the organic nature of the body, its sexual essence, and the bounty of wisdom embodied in its life force.

Rahi Chun
Creator: Somatic Sexual Wholeness

Rahi is fascinated by the intersection of sexuality, psychology, spirituality and their authentic embodiment. Based in Los Angeles, he is an avid traveler and loves exploring cultures, practices of embodiment, and healing modalities around the world.