Slow Sex &
We are not one, we are many. (And this is not a disorder:)
We all have voices in our heads… Ever wondered where they come from, or who they belong to? Well, they are part of us. In Voice Dialogue we call them sub-personalities, or in short: subs.
Every person accommodates a whole inner community of subs.
Two well known ones are the pleaser and the inner critic.
Each sub has its own ways of perceiving, thinking and acting, it has its own convictions and strategies about how things should be handled. Just like real people. They are the ones responsible for our habits, our reflexes. They are our survival strategies. Although they have different approaches, they have a shared mission: to keep us safe and help us survive in the best possible way.
They are partly inherited from our parents and modeled on important people in our early lives.
What is Voice Dialogue?
“Voice Dialogue is a method for giving voice to our various selves, also known as inner selves, parts, sub-personalities and energy patterns, and include archetypes. Our selves make up who we are. We have primary selves (which together form our ego or what we call our ‘personality’) and disowned selves (our shadow). We also have selves we’re simply not conscious of, and there are selves that will emerge throughout our lives. Our selves hold our conscious and subconscious thoughts, memories, perceptions, beliefs and values.
Voice Dialogue is about developing the ability to handle, or manage, our selves in a more conscious way, under guidance of a facilitator.”
Slow Sex &
With the Slow Sex Experience we want to take people beyond the standard script of what they think sexuality is, can or must be.
As a facilitator I remind people to move slowly, to work with their breath, to listen to their heart beat. I want them to be able to feel what is alive and present in the body. I give them tools to fine tune their explorations by being attentive to their own needs, desires and boundaries. For years, I have been focusing mostly on the body as a message board. However, I have found that my approach has its limitations. I started to observe that some people check out mentally during the exercises (dissociation). Others go into a freeze (often this is for a fellow explorer unnoticeable). Others share in the circle at the end their frustration about not being able to change their narrative (way, manner, habit) of relating. Even though they try really hard to be present, to relate from the heart, communicate their wants and needs and to set boundaries, they still don’t succeed in creating the kind of nourishing and empowering experience for themselves (and the other) that they were hoping for.
This summer, my dear friend and mentor Francine Oomen, who is an expert in transgenerational trauma and a Voice Dialogue coach, attended several of my workshops in Amsterdam both as participant and as observer. She noticed similar things and got really curious to find out: Which parts of a person are present when relating intimately to someone else? Which parts aren’t? And why?
Inspired by the Voice Dialogue method, developed by Hal and Sidra Stone in the seventies, we started looking into ways how we could explore our conditioned lovemaking script and move beyond it.
Francine and I decided to join forces and take a deep dive into this fascinating field. Adventurous and spontaneous as she is, she drove 2,500 km to co~facilitate the 21 day Slow Sex Community Experience in southern Portugal with me in October 2022. The SSCE was set up as a pioneering laboratory with 18 courageous people that had worked with me before and were open to our experiment ~ to connect the Slow Sex Practice to Voice Dialogue.
During three weeks, we actively worked with Voice Dialogue, not exactly in the traditional way, but with a variation of it, developed by Francine. A result of the collaboration of her artistic and analytical subs.
Journaling in the early morning became one of our spiritual practices. This we call the Self-dialogue. A VD session is ‘normally’ facilitated, but Francine gives tools for having a dialogue (in writing) with members of your inner community. Starting point for a dialogue can be a conflict, intern or extern. Something is being triggered inside of you which activates, almost as a reflex, a survival strategy, a pattern which wants to be broken. By having an inner dialogue with the manifesting sub you try to understand the ‘rules’ and strategies. Every sub has in essence good intentions and has come into existence for the same reason: to protect the vulnerable child inside of you. You need to first fully understand the sub by listening actively and compassionately. Then there will be space for the polarity to show itself. By stepping back from your own story, witnessing the conversation between the sub and its polarity, you will be eventually able to approach the conflict in a different way and through this, slowly slowly create a new narrative.
During the forum practice we embody the different subs and their polarities. Every forum is dedicated to investigating a specific universal subject that plays an important role in our way of relating. One person steps into the middle. The rest of the group holds space outside through their presence. The person in the middle steps out of the centered position and steps into the energy of the sub. Like in a heart sharing, we can not plan beforehand what will be shared. It arises in the moment itself. You merely become the vessel. And then the magic happens. The subs really present and show themselves in the way they live inside of us. With all there is. Through the forum practice we want to get to the core of our inner business. We want to dismantle survival strategies that our subs have developed along the way in order to protect the vulnerable child inside of us. Seeing the subs at work, inner conflicts and patterns become visible. We can see who sabotages our intimate relationships, who influences our pleasure, who manipulates our reality, who makes us feel guilty and ashamed and why. We’ve already met the pleasurer, the boundary pusher, the explorer, the sweety, the manipulator, the mister nice guy, mama’s boy & daddy’s girl, the frozen one, the angry one, the one that wants to run away and many many more.
Most of the subs are universal. Just as our stories are as well. They come in different forms and shapes and have their own flavor. But in essence, we are all dealing with the same transgenerational shit. Because It didn’t start with us! That’s why we resonate with each other (and each other’s subs). The forum practice creates mutual understanding and compassion within the group. In an incredibly short amount of time, masks and stories are dropped which makes it possible to truly and authentically relate: from vulnerable heart to vulnerable heart. And that’s what we want!
The combination of the Slow Sex practices with (Inner) Voice Dialogue gives us tools to move beyond our habits, which have their roots in our scripts, and gives us the possibility to create authentic relationships. By getting in touch with the different parts within ourselves we slowly can re~write our story and connect deeply to our own vulnerable child. Once we’ve given that little child love, attention we are able to give and receive in connection with others what we are truly longing for. Relating is and will be work. But it will be fun, playful, exciting and nourishing!