My journey to connect the Gift Economy with intimate embodiment…
Many studies have shown that regular sexual activity can benefit our health in a myriad of ways: boosting immunity, reducing stress, and even preventing heart attacks. Yet so many of us still struggle with intimacy and sexual expression. More and more people, though, are becoming conscious that they can change this.
I passionately believe the power of the work I do as an Embodied Intimacy Coach can be transformational and that everyone should have access to it if they need it. I invested and trained so that I could make a real difference to peoples’ lives and wellbeing. So recently I’ve been asking myself ‘If I’m serious about this, why should only those with a certain amount of money benefit?’
Through my work with Newbold Trust I was lucky enough to be part of a presentation and discussion about the Gift Economy with Fabien Barouch. In brief this is based on the principle that my work is my gift to you and you may choose to show your appreciation by making a gift to me in return. Your gift may be monetary in value. But it may be that you feel better able to offer me a gift which has some other kind of value, or even a combination of the two. Most importantly there are no obligations or expectations.
And – as many of my clients experience a ‘lightbulb moment’ when they start to really connect with their body – I experienced a sudden inspiration that if one of the key principles of how I work is through co-created experience (working collaboratively with my clients to explore the path that is right for them, and taking that journey together), then shouldn’t I also be using a ‘payment system’ based in co-creation?
This is a radical step in a world where practitioners and therapists are urged to value their work more fully, and many often don’t acknowledge the true worth of what they do. And, of course, it also raises questions about what we actually mean by ‘value’.
Money is a key factor in how most people approach the idea of value. And often doing things ‘by donation’ are seen as cheapening. But for me it helps to think of it differently: that there is a difference between a donation and a gift – not so much ‘PAY what you WANT’ but more ‘GIVE what you CAN’ – acknowledging the real value to you of the work you receive from me, and understanding everything which has gone into enabling it.
This way of doing things involves trust for both of us. But, after all, trust is a crucial part of becoming more conscious with intimacy. Engaging with this work is all about building relationships – with yourself, with others. Without trust it’s hard to have an authentic relationship, or to explore what you really need.
So I’m about to embark on an experiment in trust, value, reciprocation and authenticity which feels exciting: from now on I’ll be offering my work on a Gift Economy basis – helping folks rediscover their connection to their body, intimacy, touch, and their erotic potential as a gift rather than a transaction.
I believe that putting trust at the heart of ‘value’ will bring an authenticity to this work that money alone can never achieve. And bring rewards to both me and those I work with far beyond even the importance of the work itself. I’m grateful to those like Fabien and the Foundation who have already begun to tread this trail for allowing me to make this profound realisation. We can never truly know the wider benefits our actions may have on helping others to feel things differently. I’ll let you know how I get on – and maybe you’ll be inspired to explore this path with me!
By Michael Dresser
Certified Embodied Intimacy Coach, Newbold Trust Operations Manager and Homecare Focaliser.
With a background in music, theatre, graphic design, and office and project management, Michael brings creativity to the Homecare department, and order to the rest of the team!