Alyson Lanier, MA, CGT
I have spent the last 15 years in private practice helping people heal relationships with themselves and loved ones. I hold the equivalent of a PhD in adult attachment work and Gestalt therapy, and was a licensed professional counselor by the state of Colorado. More recently, I have been trained as a somatic sex educator.
Yes, I'm a trained psychotherapist who has specialized in relationships and intimacy for over 20 years now, but that's not what I really want to say here (you can go to my web page for that).
When I was 22 years old, I was given a vision of my path. That path focused on:
invoking, provoking, creating, and changing women’s culture.
What I saw, but didn’t understand at the time, is that our relationship to our bodies, our sexuality, and our pleasure is one of the easiest ways to really know ourselves. It is my fastest route to experiencing embodiment, safety, and engaging my power.
For 10 years I ran away from my vision because I was chicken. No one was going to give me permission to do this, and I was scared of the breadth of change I knew would abound from this work. I was scared of rocking the boat, of becoming an outspoken feminist, of becoming an activist. I was intimidated and shaken by others' versions of women's work that only contributed to the unhealthy culture. But underneath all those fears was my fear of betraying the covert agreements I had with the overculture to be a good girl/daughter/wife/mother/homemaker/fill-in-your-feminine-cultural-role here. On top of that, my first instinct was to tend to other’s pleasure and comfort. My own pleasure felt elusive, ever-changing, and confusing, so I avoided it, and I kept myself from being whole.
Then, at 37, I got pregnant. When I found out I was going to have a girl, I cried with overwhelm and concern. How could I bring a girl into a world where women don’t know how to be whole? How can I parent this girl into a different relationship with herself if I, and almost everyone I know, is still burying our heads in shame and fear of our own bodies, pleasure, and sexual freedom? The news that I was bringing another generation of woman into this world had me look around again and see the consequences of shying away from my vision, the consequences of shame, secrecy, avoidance, playing nice, and not rocking the boat. I thought, "If this is my behavior, and the behavior of every man, and woman I know, who will be my daughter’s mentor, wise elder, and council when she needs it? How can I possibly hold the larger vision of her own becoming, of her true wholeness, when I am not really doing my own work?"
My ass got kicked into giving a shit. I realized that my happiness, my freedom, and my daughter's life depended on it. I opened myself up to exploring, I found a dear friend who was doing this work and willing to mentor me, and I discovered that my body held a treasure-trove of pleasure. Experiencing my erotic embodiment helped me in ways that permitted me to let go of old paradigms and evolve into myself. This changed everything for me. No longer was I waiting for permission to be me; I felt more free, more sovereign. Each piece of this exploration helped put me back together to feel more whole, and I was finally coming into integrity with my own body, my wellness, and my vision for healthy women’s culture.
Fast forward seven years and I’m writing this to you, after working with countless men and women to help them arrive into their embodied wholeness. I'm so happy to work with people who are ready to give themselves permission to have the life that they never knew was possible.
And here I am today, inviting you into yourself like never before; inviting you to give a shit about yourself as if the world depended on it, because it does.
Alyssa Morin, CSB
I am a Certified Sexological Bodyworker and Somatic Sex Educator, a Circling facilitator and Zen practitioner. I've also done years-long deep dives into Women's communities and Soul work (in the lineage of the Animas Valley Institute and the School of Lost Borders).
A 140-hour training in somatic trauma, has brought awareness of trauma, attachment styles, nervous systems, and neurobiology into my work with sexuality.
NO ONE EVER TOLD ME THAT SEX WAS ABOUT PLEASURE.
Connection, yes. Making babies, got it. But pleasure? Fun? A way to express the many sides of myself, learn more about myself, a portal into altered states of consciousness? All of that was whitewashed away in ignorance fear, embarrassment, misunderstandings, and shame.
I'm not blaming anyone in particular for this; it is systemic, the water we swim in.
The journey to where I stand now, a Certified Sexological Bodyworker and Somatic Sex Educator, was a winding and meandering one. Undergraduate studies in college lead to a degree, taught me to think for myself, and revealed that most of the questions I was interested in asking would not be answered – perhaps could not even be asked – in the ivy covered halls of academia.
Twenty-two years spent in gymnastics facilities, as both athlete and coach, taught me much about the body, its mechanics, its beauty and grace. I learned of sacrifice and devotion, pain and frustration, triumph and failure, friendship and betrayal. I learned what humans need to relax into and trust another to catch them as they hurl their bodies through the air, while refining a capacity to look deeply into complexity and find and name the simple adjustment that can change everything.
Deep dives into the relational practice of Circling, Zen Meditation, and Women’s Culture and Community, along with medicine journeys and soul work, slowly peeled back layers to reveal the truth that had perhaps existed all along: Sex is my work.
As a kid and teenager, my sexual education consisted of, “wait until you’re married,” followed up with alarming information about STIs and the basics of reproduction. Nothing about pleasure or the complexities of intimate relationships. I felt profoundly alone when it came to sex and relationships, and totally mystified. I’d explored my own body enough to know what felt good, and I’d had a few lovers that had opened doors to new sexual pleasure for me, but I had a feeling more was possible if only I knew where to look – or touch.
Three years ago, a dear friend and mentor of mine began putting together a group of women – The Women’s Temple – to explore erotic arts together. We gathered monthly to not only talk about our sexuality, but to work hands on with one another, to witness one another, and to be in our pleasure together. The combination of information, community, and guidance transformed my sexuality, and my entire life.
I came out of that two-year experience deeply rooted in my body, connected to my pleasure, sensuality, and sexuality, able to communicate about sex with partners in new ways, and with some key resources and practices that continue to expand my sexuality to this day. I also came away with a deep capacity to meet the intensity of my life head on, to tend to my needs and desires, to metabolize grief, anger, and suffering, and with an unshakable trust in the world and my place in it.
Sex is my work, but it's about way more than that. It's about sex and pleasure as a doorway into knowing ourselves and the world. It's about bringing our sex out into the light and sharing it in safe and thoughtful ways in service of understanding, expanding, and healing all sides of it.
More than sex, my work is about seeing and being seen. It's about going into the dark, hidden, secret places in people's hearts, minds, and bodies, and bringing love, compassion, and care. I create space for people to welcome and experience all of themselves. To move into the grief and the pleasure, the heartbreak and the joy without hesitation.