January 21, 2014

Beyond the Iron Facade and Into the Male Heart

Here is part three of our six week series on sex, relationships, and healing sexual trauma with Ben and Jen Rode and Valerie Taormina. This week we meet Valerie, certified somatic sex educator, colleague, and all around amazing woman! In this post, Valerie shifts our attention to the impact of sexual abuse on men and six things she's learned about male sexuality through her work.


While there are so many things I want to contribute to this blog series, I just couldn’t move forward without first addressing something that I feel is horribly misunderstood and which is the source of optimism and hope in my life: the view inside the male heart.

In Ben’s first blog post, he opened by providing statistics about female sexual abuse.  Now, in Ben’s case discussing female sexual abuse is very relevant because his Explosive Sexual Healing technique is a radically powerful way to help women reclaim their bodies after sexual trauma.  However, there is another side to sexual abuse that is rarely explored, privately or publicly.  In fact, with the exception of the Catholic Church and priest obsession, there is little mention of male sexual abuse in the media.  When cases of male sexual abuse are mentioned, they are often depicted as rare outlier events that are strange and unusual.  For example, take the rare case of the female high school teacher and the captain of the football team -- even in these cases the male is often framed as “sort of cool” or “a stud” to score his teacher.  These views are insanely harmful and inaccurate.  In fact, here’s an even bolder statement: these views are keeping women from getting the men they want.

In my practice one of my specialty areas is working with highly functioning men.  Many of my clients are top entrepreneurs, CEO’s, investors, et cetera.  These men manage lots of people, lots of money, have a ton of influence, and many of them are slightly miserable.  Often these men come to me confused; they don’t actually know why they are seeking help except they have an intuitive feeling that something is blocking them in their sexuality and their ability to connect with others.  If any of you have seen The Wolf of Wall Street and can remember Leo’s character Jordan Belfort, then you have met a few of my clients.  Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but only a little (however Jordan definitely could use the treatment from a sexologist).  

Anyways, what I want to say is that these men (and I’m almost willing to say all of these “type” of men) suffer from blocked hearts.  While I’m speaking of blocked hearts metaphorically it isn’t too surprising that men in this category tend to have higher rates of heart disease.  Now, each case is special to each man (and for confidentiality reasons I can’t discuss any specific case) but what I would like to share with you is some themes that are revealing themselves that I think everyone should know.  Here they are in no specific order:

1. Male sexual abuse isn’t honored

60% of my male clients have reported losing their virginity to girls/women four years or more older than them.  Out of these men, 50% report their first time being with women eight years or more older.  In other words, 30% of my male clients reported statutory rape.  What’s worse, most of these men expressed feelings of shame and guilt and low sexual satisfaction thereafter with any partner.  What might be the impact of a potential large proportion of our male population hiding sexual coercion?  What might be the impact of a large proportion of women sexually coercing boys?  Now, what’s the impact of stories like "the jock and the teacher” being expressed in the media? 

2. They want to please you, and the inability to do so can cause trauma

Often masculinity is portrayed in the media as something selfish.  We hear women talk about men jack-hammering women or just getting themselves off.  Sure, this happens but usually it’s a result of a man feeling completely resigned in his ability to please the female body, not because he doesn’t want to.  Guess what ladies: men know when you’re faking it.  When I say they “know” I’m not necessarily saying they consciously know but subconsciously they know. Their body knows and it leaves them less satisfied (and you too).  95% of men I work with express a deep and profound desire to provide pleasure to women.  They want to give you the mind-blowing orgasm you dream of.  What’s getting in the way of everyone getting what they want?  Why is this so hard?

3. Men can, and often do, experience physical pain during sex

What feels good to each man is different to each man, as much so as for women.  80% of my male clients have reported being touched in a memorably negative way.  In the same way that women report men “putting it in” without lubrication, many men report painful experiences where women are thoughtless in their touch.  Learning your male partners body and what he likes is just as important as the contrary.  In doing so, I guarantee your sex life will improve.  What are your opinions of the male body?  How might this have affected experiences in your past?

4. Penis size/body image affect men more than we want to believe

Now, I’m not going to say that the pressures put on women in regards to beauty aren’t awful, but I would like to point out that men suffer too and this affects their sexuality.  Men also suffer from the penis size phobia.  Here is something I want all of you to know: the vaginal shape, size, depth, and sensitivity are just as varied as the penis.  Yup, that’s right, there is literally a “best fit” for everyone.  Our societal fascination with the “Dirk Digglers” of the world are traumatizing our men and possibly keeping some of you from the penises that feel the best to your body.

5. The pressure on men to avoid vulnerability causes trauma

I have the privilege of being allowed inside the sacred space of men and women.  The trend I am seeing is not that men are less sensitive, but instead that they are quicker to harden their sensitivity.  Women seem to be more resilient; their hearts close down from consecutive trauma, whereas men tend to close down after their first confrontation with emotion.  We teach our men not to feel.  To be a man is to be tough, to be without emotion.  So what happens when a man first feels emotion?  Well, he goes numb. It’s an extraordinarily effective survival strategy.  Underneath this iron fa├žade is an incredibly open, communicative, and loving heart. 

6. Men also need to feel safe

Often we talk about making women feel safe in order for them to open up sexually and emotionally.  Now, while this may be true, what isn’t fully addressed is the need for men to feel safe.  The reasons for this need are different between the sexes.  As mentioned in #5, the male underbelly is quite a vulnerable place, but it is also a beautiful one.  To help a man overcome his trauma and come into his sexual potential his masculinity must not be in jeopardy.  In my work with couples I help women learn how to do this.  What ways might you be able to make your partner feel safe? 

If you are a woman reading this I hope this has offered you some inspiring insight that can help you see men in a new light.  If you are a man reading this, I hope this has given you a sense of relief and perhaps the permission to examine your own trauma and sexual self. 

I am so excited for the next two blogs.  Without giving it away, I will be providing a treasure map of sorts and some tips to discovering one of your greatest loves.  As mentioned previously, the amazing Ben Rode will be concluding our series by providing tips on how to readjust your compass to get what you want.


Valerie Taormina is a certified somatic sex educator currently working in the greater Bay Area. Her focus is on expanding male sexuality and assisting men with overcoming sexual trauma and emotional blockage, but her essential purpose is to help both men and women develop a deep level of self love and fulfillment. She helps individuals from all backgrounds fall deeply in love with themselves, and reconnect with their bodies so that they might create their purpose, and live a life filled with sexual, intellectual, and emotional satisfaction. She does this through physical and energy related work, with the belief that sexual enlightenment can open up multiple pathways to lasting gratification in one’s life.

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