Ok so no preaching this morning! Day 4 was as inspiring and challenging as were days 1-3. We spent the morning considering sex and sexualities; how do difficulties with sex present in relationship counselling? What happens when a couple no longer has sex? What else might be happening for them? What happens when one no longer wants sex and the other does? Might it be different for gay couples, straight couples, polyamorous groups, bisexual people, asexual people? We did a fascinating exercise in triads, where two were asked to play out a scenario as a couple in counselling, and a third act as their therapist. We were given almost half an hour for the ‘session’ with our clients, and so it was possible to see movement and change happening even within the role play. I had the privilege to ‘counsel’ a gay couple in a 4 year relationship where their sex life had never quite got off the ground, and one of them was thinking he might be asexual but homoromantic. A third party had become involved for the sexual partner to have a ‘f*** buddy’. It was a profound experience for me to appreciate the dynamics and sacrifices involved for both men.
In the afternoon we had a visit from a consultant psychiatrist who works with children and young people struggling with gender dysphoria, that is, that they are unhappy with their gender and want to change. She explained to us the complexities of systems involved, from family, school, medical professionals, psychologists, to social services and counsellors, not to mention the young person themselves, with all the emotion and distress on all sides. I am glad to understand the process much more clearly, and both the safeguards and the empathy of the professionals.
So I am left with one big question.
What is the meaning and function of sex for an individual or a couple? Is it the same for everyone? Should it be? Any thoughts?
The ended with my first visit to a shop selling sex toys for women. We played!