“Erotic Integrity”: two words that we don’t usually put together. Yet the concept underlies everyone’s sexual and romantic behavior.
When someone comes into my office, the first thing I do is help them figure out who they truly are as a sexual being. Often we buy into the predominant cultural model of sex and relationships, such as heterosexual, monogamous, missionary position on Saturday night, without necessarily questioning it. But there is often so much more to someone’s sexuality than they are aware of. Through gentle though candid questioning and attentive listening, that is what I help people figure out: who are they sexually, really? Much suffering can come from trying to be something we are not.
Then I support people in embracing who they are as an erotic being. Self love is a lifelong path. Lastly I help my clients figure out how to express their sexuality in a way that is an authentic reflection of who they are. This is an individual journey.
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In a relationship, expressing your Erotic Integrity authentically might be as simple as wanting more kissing and hand holding. It may also be that you communicate with your lover that you have heretofore unexpressed desires. Erotic Integrity is the lens through which I work with clients. It’s my approach to my work. It represents the goal I have for you, whatever that will look like for you. I define it as being true to yourself sexually.
Erotic Integrity is having our actions be congruent with our proclivities, having a clean agenda rather than a hidden one, and not being deceitful by omission as it pertains to sexual or erotic activity. It requires us to come from the best in ourselves rather than our fears. Erotic Integrity requires us to know ourselves, our turn‐ons, what feels right in our gut, and to act from that place. I believe it is the lack of erotic integrity that causes some of us to repeat ineffective patterns in sex and relationships. This often leads to pain, lies, betrayals, on the disappointment of feeling like we never find what we want, knowing something more is possible but not knowing how to create it… Lack of erotic integrity is not necessarily a character flaw, just a lack of awareness. Let me explain with a couple of examples.
Eve initially called my practice because she felt no chemistry with her husband of a few years, Adam. She was not attracted to him and thought something was wrong with her. She was afraid her marriage might end. She had, however, felt attracted to, and even kissed, a few other men, since her marriage, and she was beating herself up about this. I immediately assured her that she was not broken, and that there are always very good reasons why we have the difficulties we have in relationship. Eve had an emotionally abusive background, but that did not define her. She felt like she needed to stand up for herself, but she was going about it ineffectively. Rejecting her wholesome husband and pining for bad boys was not the way. Standing up for herself, owning that she had a high level of sexual desire, that she was a juicy and vibrant sexual being, and that she wanted to have passionate uninhibited sex with him, required her coming from a place of erotic integrity, and being accountable for her desires. Asking him to make love to her up one side and down the other and back again was more in line with her true sexual desires. When I suggested this she lit up, she sat up a little straighter, got a twinkle in her eye, and exuded an aliveness I had not seen in her before. She saw hope. Adam got laid that night, and those following. In subsequent weeks, their marriage was thriving. Eve was also leading by example: Adam also shifted from settling for the occasional mercy fuck to bringing the best in himself to the marital bed. His erotic integrity was in the game also.
Another example is that of Bruce and Alice. They had just broken up and were in crisis. They hadn’t been having sex because he didn’t know how to approach her, and as a result she felt angry and rejected. This is another very common scenario. He squelched his desires; she told herself it didn’t matter. Miscommunications had also led to both of them feeling unappreciated. Him finding his erotic integrity entailed taking the risk to be vulnerable and initiate sex, owning that he wanted her, picking a time that set him up for success rather than an inopportune time, finding a way to bridge the gap when he felt distant rather than to retreat, masturbating less and turning more to her instead. Her erotic integrity entailed expressing her emotions and appreciation of him more, not expressing her anger in a passive aggressive way by putting him down in public, telling him that she loved the feel of his body and his crew cut, and taking down the emotional wall she had put up. This courageous couple did this and more, and are back together and happier than before, with hope for the future.
My hope is that you’ll come to define erotic integrity for yourself. It means different things to different people. Once you know what it means to you, you’ll know whether you’re living it or not. This is a personal inquiry. You’re only accountable to yourself. Your discovery may enliven debate, deepen your relationships with yourself and others, and enrich your life, erotic and otherwise. Erotic integrity is the lens that I hold in my mind as I work with clients in my Clinical Sexology & Relationship Coaching practice. It is the vision I hold for them, the path I help them find, often without ever using those words. And I am honored to be doing this work.
Not quite ready but want to read more? Check out my book: Erotic Integrity book
New Book: Erotic Integrity®: How to Be True to Yourself Sexually
In Erotic Integrity, Dr. Claudia Six leads readers through ten sexual themes including garden-variety performance anxiety, sexual boredom, newly dating, coming out, and more and reveals three simple steps to a more rewarding sex life: knowing who you truly are as a sexual being, embracing that knowledge, and living it authentically. Frankly presented and illustrated with candid case studies, these steps can be applied by individuals and couples of all ages and sexual orientations, with or without children. Based on Dr. Six’s twenty-five years experience as a clinical sexologist, this straightforward guide skillfully challenges readers to self-examine, self-accept, and self-actualize for a more fulfilling sense of eroticism, to feel more confident in bed…and in life.