The word somatic means of or relating to the body. So whenever "somatic tools" are referenced we are talking about practices that you can do with your body. These practices or tools always include engaging with at least one or more of the following:
> Placement of awareness (what you are consciously focusing your attention on)
The foundations of somatic work rest in an understanding that there is incredible wisdom and value in being consciously connected to the body. In the modern western world our understanding of and connection to our bodies has been diminished. We live in a time of intellectual greatness, where all the focus is on our mental capacity and intelligence, the body has been forgotten and it is costing us greatly.
We don't respect our bodies, we don't understand what they need and we are numb to their sensations. Our attention is constantly in other places. Men are feeling lost, confused and uninspired on mass scale, that is why the rates of men's mental health issues and suicide are through the roof. One of the major contributing factors is that men are not connected to themselves, they don't know who they are on a deeper level, what they want or how they even feel.
Men are taught not to feel themselves. They don't know how to connect to the subtle sensations that can arise in the human body or how to respond to them.
Somatic tools are the most foundational, practical and accessible way of beginning to rebuild this relationship to the body and the inner self. They are easy to do and they apply to people of every experience level, right up to being enlightened (if you believe in that kind of thing).
When we start to look at sex as the deeply primal act that it is we can see how important it is to be connected to the body. If you look at animals living their lives, fucking, eating, they aren't distracted by thoughts, they are feeling and experiencing what they are doing in that moment. To have great sex you need to be able to feel it, you need to be able to focus on it for long enough to really drop into the pleasure and connection that it offers.
the autonomic nervous system (ANS)
I have chosen to give the ANS significant space because it is an aspect of the human body that the average person knows little about. And yet it plays a huge role in your experience of day to day life.
The autonomic nervous system is a part of the central nervous system and it is not under conscious control, meaning you can't affect it's functions by simply thinking about it with your mind. Unlike your ability to move your arm. The ANS is responsible for many of the bodies autonomic functions like breathing, managing digestion, heart rate and so on. It is basically the body's regulator and controls everything that keeps us in equilibrium, or not.
The amazing thing is that the ANS can be consciously affected through using somatic tools. Meaning if you are in a high stress state you could choose to do a specific breathing practice that will support your ANS to relax and come back into a point of equilibrium. This is exciting and important news because a side effect of the busy life of modern humans is that we are more stressed and scattered then ever. When it comes to sex it's really difficult to experience deep pleasure and connection with yourself or others when you are stressed, numb and scattered. Being able to consciously regulate yourself and come into a place of equilibrium is an essential part of great sex and relationships.
In the video below I go into more detail about the two different branches of the ANS and how it functions.
The somatic tools in this video series offers you a range of foundational practices that you can start experimenting with to regulate your nervous system and expand your idea and experience of pleasure. Play with them, have a go and see what feels good to you. Keep what you like, let go of what you don't and continue exploring. This is just a drop in the ocean of what is possible when it comes to playing with your breath, sound, movement and touch.