‘I was in my 40s when I first looked at my genitals’ – finding healing through alternative therapy

An illustration
An illustration
  • A local woman shares how energy-work with a sexual healer has rendered her a completely different person.
  • Mariette experienced sexual abuse when she was 12 years old.
  • The abuse affected all her relationships, from her marriage to her relationship with her children and mostly, her relationship with herself.

“We used to rub mud in our panties, so he’d think we have our period” - this is what Mariette’s sister told her about their abusive childhood.

But she can’t recall a lot of things from her past. It’s a blur. Memories hide from her mind, perhaps to protect her from the unspeakable horrors brought upon her innocent 12-year-old body.

READ MORE: “Sexual abuse will remain the ‘safest’ crime to commit because people know that it is most likely going to go unreported” 

After suffering a childhood plagued with sexual abuse from her foster-father, Mariette who is now in her 50s is finally on the road to healing. “My inner voice has always been negative, and I trust no one. Not anyone but my sisters who also suffered this type of abuse as children,” says Mariette .

The abuse has affected all her relationships, she says. From her marriage to her relationship with her children. However, her relationship with herself has been the most damaging. “I used to have sex with people I didn’t want to have sex with, I was promiscuous, and it felt like nothing. I saw no value in myself.”

READ MORE: Going public with her #MeToo story cost Thandie Newton her relationship with her parents 

She never looked at her genitals in a hand-mirror. Not until she was 40. Up until that point, it felt numb down there. An area of shame, this part of her body was destroyed in the process of trauma inflicted upon her as a child. 

“We store trauma in our genitals,” she says. To her, this manifested during sex later in life. She experienced dryness, and sex was always painful. “I was in my 40s when I first had an orgasm given to me by a man.”

Then, when her sister found the foster parent who abused them as children on Facebook a few years ago, Mariette went into a complete spiral. “He is now a pastor in Benoni,” she sneers.

She retreated, slept the entire weekend away and struggled with depression and body aches. “I would overeat, and gain weight.” After seeking advice everywhere, she says she found her answer. “I was always looking for something outside myself to help heal me.” But when Mariette met Jonti Searll, she realised she had to find the answers within.

Jonti, the creator of ErosLife has been working in the field of Conscious Sexuality for almost 20 years, creating healing processes, workshops and material that has helped many people create fulfilling experiences and relationships.

“Our sexuality is linked to all of who we are, our sexual energy is our life-force. Releasing the blockages, we’ve created and freed ourselves from the limitations of the past allows us to create lives, relationships and experiences of incredible beauty,” says Jonti. 

He says he usually works with women who can’t obtain orgasm, who have low libidos, experience painful sex, etc.

As humans, we form subconscious patterns from stress and trauma experienced in our past. The body contracts and doesn’t release. “We need to change the way we respond because we usually just react based on the pattern we know.

READ MORE: For as little as R50 a session, these counselling facilities can lend an ear to SA women in need right now

“Our patterns are so locked in. The body does what it knows how to do,” says Jonti.

He encourages patients like Mariette to break patterns and to rewire their thinking.

“Once I started to release some of those feelings, I cried for months, I felt detoxed, lighter, more positive,” says Mariette who now visits Jonti every week for one-on-one energy-work sessions.

But new patterns take time, “There is no quick fix,” he says.

“Your biology is your biography. Your story is in your body. In this, sits a system of energy. When we start to release that, pressure points gently allow your nervous system that’s been very contracted, to release,” he adds.

Our thoughts tend to go in a loop, says Jonti. But we need to create the possibility in our minds that life could be better for us.

People find energy and massage techniques involved in such therapies scary because sexuality is still taboo and we are too disconnected from it. But when we start to focus more on our feelings instead of how we rationalise a situation, that’s when energy starts to shift, says Jonti.

For Mariette, who used to enter a situation expecting and thinking the worst because of her past trauma, now says, “I’m a completely different person.” It’s almost like you’re tricking your brain with positive self-talk all the time. Feelings over thoughts.

“You are the one who has to change your life, no one outside you can validate you.”

Would you try these healing techniques? Let us know here.

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