|Healing Sex is a revolutionary project mixing documentary style drama with education and mind/body exercises. The film follows a diverse cast of women and men healing from past sexual abuse. We witness their path to a more pleasurable and healthy sex life as they struggle to find peace, healing, and real intimacy.|
Staci Haines draws upon her extensive experience as a workshop leader, somatic practitioner, and author/educator to guide you toward the healing you deserve. This movie enables you to work out the normal, post-traumatic survival reactions-fight, flight and freeze-that may affect your ongoing intimate relationships, and walks you step by step through a holistic path to healing.
You will learn:
- How to be present during sex.
- How to experience pleasure and safety at the same time.
- How to re-learn boundaries, consent, and mutual connection.
- Define your sexual pleasure based upon what you enjoy and desire, not on your past hurt.
Healing Sex opens the path to more intimacy and satisfaction for you and your partner.
- Behind The Scenes Featurette
- Extended Scenes
- Bonus Mind/Body Exercise
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Cast and Crew Bios
- Exclusive Allison Anders Interview --The Director of Things Behind The Sun, Mi Vida Loca, and Gas Food Lodging
- Conversation with Susie Bright
--America's Premier Voice of Sexual Politics and Editor of Best American Erotica Series
Tristan Taormino, The Village Voice
Sarah Edelstein, American Sexuality Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 1
Bonnie Cehovet, Author
Lori Selke, On Our Backs, January 2005 issue
Pucker Up- Village Voice
by Tristan Taormino
Healing Sex Staci Haines's revolutionary film reassures sexual-abuse survivors
"Do you think most porn stars [or prostitutes or strippers or lesbians or bisexual women or people who do s/m or non-monogamous people] were sexually abused?" I get that question a lot. The implication is that there must be some dark, dysfunctional, violent reason why "these people" do what they do or are who they are. My answer is simple: In the United States, there are more women who've experienced some form of trauma around sex-childhood sexual abuse, incest, rape, coercion, sexual harassment-than there are women who have not. (And there are plenty of men who've been abused as well.) Are there sex workers, queers, and leatherfolk who've been sexually abused? Yes, but the percentage of these folks who've been assaulted is no higher than that of lawyers, bank tellers, or teachers. With people whose sexual identities and practices fall outside the norm, it's often assumed that they are acting out their past trauma, which gives us only one model of a sexually active sex-abuse survivor: She or he is kinky, self-destructive, or just fucked-up.
Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted. Over 60 million adults in the United States are survivors of child sexual abuse; according to estimates, one in six boys and one in three girls are abused before they turn 18. Add to that the figures on adult sexual assault-one out of six women and three out of a hundred men are victims of rape or attempted rape-and you'd conclude that the number of people impacted by sexual abuse is outrageous. While the amount of discussion, visibility, and activism around these issues has increased dramatically, there is still a dominant image of survivors as victims of terrible pain who need to work through the emotional and psychological issues. There seems to be one piece of the puzzle missing, one thing not spoken about: sexual healing. There are very few resources for people who want to explore healing their sexual selves and lives.
Staci Haines is the author of the bestselling book The Survivor's Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse. For nearly 20 years she has been organizing around and educating people about sexual abuse and how to recover from it through Somatics, a holistic approach through work on the mind, body, and spirit.
"During trauma there are predictable and intelligent automatic responses aimed at our survival," Haines told me. "These live on in the body, long after the experience is over. The body generalizes the experience and its reaction as a means to increase the chances of survival. Then we end up with symptoms and 'habits' from trauma that are automatic, hard to consciously control, and do not let us have the life and sexuality we want." Haines has developed techniques to retrain the body and mind to have more choices and reactions, which she shares in her book, lectures, and private practice, and now on a new DVD called Healing Sex: The Complete Guide to Sexual Wholeness ($42.95) wwww.healingsexthemovie.com
"Healing trauma, rather than avoiding or managing it, is possible through a holistic approach," says Haines. "Many people try to 'understand' what happened to them, or 'put it behind them,' but to truly feel at home and safe inside yourself again takes healing the experience from your body, mind, and emotions." The DVD features an interactive workshop led by Haines, testimonials from actual abuse survivors, and staged, documentary-style dramatic vignettes of women, men, and couples facing their own sexual abuse and attempting to heal. Haines gave actors character histories, based on the thousands of real people, including her clients, that she has talked to over the years; then the scenes were all improvised.
With a cast that's truly diverse-in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, age, class, and sexual orientation-this film makes the most intensely private and complex issues public. It also features male sex-abuse survivors, a reality seldom portrayed in media. We see survivors' memories being triggered during sex, and observe them in the process of healing after trauma, and relearning and reclaiming pleasure. We watch people struggle to understand one another and walk a path of healing together. The video resonates with real human voices and experiences, and gives viewers actual tools to begin to change their lives. Haines manages to bring together the language, mission, and strategies of two communities that don't generally talk to one another: the survivor world and the sex-positive world. Smart, compassionate, fiercely articulate, and engaging, she is our guide, teacher, and healer, the center of the film's universe, and a remarkable visionary.
Healing Sex is co-produced and distributed by S.I.R. Video www.sirvideo.com, a lesbian-owned independent porn company that's never ventured into non-explicit territory (the film is very PG). "We have a mission to educate as well as entertain. Yes, this is a departure from our other movies. We have taken a step back to help change the very groundwork of sex," says S.I.R. co-owner Jackie Strano. Her partner, Shar Rednour, agrees: "People have flat-out said to me, 'I can't handle any more victim shit.' When they hear rape or incest, people want to distance themselves from the very thought. What's so amazing about Staci and her message is that she acknowledges bad stuff can happen to you and you are still a sexual being, someone who wants or needs love, intimacy, and to be able to feel yourself and the world. Sexual trauma does not take away your right to be sexual."
The production was entirely self-funded and a portion of proceeds from sales will go to Generation Five generationfive.org, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to end the sexual abuse of children within five generations (Haines is founder and executive director).
"I hope that people can find themselves in the film, that something that is generally hidden and isolated—people's sexual healing or struggles with sex-gets seen and revealed as normal," says Haines. "I want viewers to get a live experience or sense that they are more powerful than what happened to them. Sex and pleasure are good and do not need to be defined by sexual abuse for the rest of their lives." The last words that appear on the screen in the film are simple yet will speak volumes to survivors and their loved ones: "Healing & Pleasure Are Possible."
Sexual Healing: The long road after abuse
American Sexuality Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 1
By Sarah Edelstein
The classic ballad "Sexual Healing" may inspire visions of swooning romance, but for many survivors of sexual abuse, sexual healing evokes a much more complex set of emotions. Healing Sex: The Complete Guide to Sexual Wholeness, a new DVD by Staci Haines, eloquently explores the repercussions of such abuse and the steps one can take toward healing.
Our society rarely handles sexuality in general, in a frank and positive manner. Adding betrayal, violence, shame, and fear to the discussion only complicates matters. Yet, into this picture steps Haines with her message, "You are more powerful than what happened to you." With a sex-positive approach and therapeutic expertise, Haines brings hope to those faced with the often overwhelming challenge of healing sexually after abuse.
Haines is the author of the acclaimed book The Survivors Guide to Sex. She brings fifteen years of experience as a sex educator and mind/body therapy practitioner to her work with survivors. She also survived childhood sexual abuse. Her experiences motivated her to help others to heal, so that they can make a life of their own choosing, rather than live one determined by harmful and traumatic experiences. Haines' Healing Sex DVD proves an excellent resource for this intensely difficult but deeply rewarding journey.
Healing Sex is a well acted, documentary-style drama that follows several stories of men and women who are healing from past sexual abuse. The characters come from different ethnic, class, gender, sexual-orientation and relationship backgrounds, emphasizing the widespread nature of this problem. Interviews with real survivors heighten the intensity of the DVD. Haines explains the normal post-traumatic stress reactions of fight, flight, and freeze, which often continue to impact the survivor's sexuality. Utilizing somatics, a mind/body therapy that can be effective in working through trauma, Haines illustrates techniques for releasing trauma and exploring new ways of defining oneself. Through this work survivors are able to make choices based on their own desires, a vital aspect of healing.
"Part of what we need to re-learn is pleasure, all the way from physical or sexual pleasure, to just having ease and hope and joy in life," explains Haines. Often this has been left out of sexual abuse recovery work, yet it is essential. The need for connection and intimacy informs our humanity. For those who have suffered violations in this realm, sexual expression begets inner battles as well as opportunities for transformation.
The visual impact of showing people grappling with the repercussions of sexual abuse is remarkably powerful. The look of someone checking out during sex; the confusion of a partner who wonders "Is it me?"; the pain of feeling bad about something that is supposed to feel good—these experiences are so seldom explored onscreen. For the majority of viewers who have experienced sexual abuse or know someone who is a survivor, these images are a revelation. Finally we can talk about sexual abuse and healing, see these experiences reflected, and do something about it.
Healing Sex: The Complete Guide to Sexual Wholeness provides abundant education, guidance, and inspiration for sexual healing. Viewers are left stunned by the magnitude of the problem, but also uplifted by the resilience of the human spirit and the promise of healing.
Healing Sex: The Complete Guide To Sexual Wholeness
by Bonnie Cehovet
author: Staci Haines
directed by: Shar Rednour
co-produced by S.I.R. Productions, 2004
When I was asked if I would review this DVD, I was not sure that I had the knowledge, or the background, to do it justice. However, I do focus on personal empowerment with my clients, through my work as a Reiki healer and a Tarot counselor. Any healing modality, if effective, deals with the emotions left over from issues both recent and past, that are stored in the body. As healers/counselors, we need to know how to help our clients. The focus of Healing Sex is the mind/body connection, and practices that we can place into our lives to help us center ourselves and be the best people that we can be, including in our sexual lives. It is done as a documentary style drama, through the storyline of several different people.
The fact that I was not sure if the people were actors, or were telling their own stories, shows you how well done this video is! (They are indeed actors, and the stories were scripted to present certain scenarios of abuse. The scenes themselves were only loosely scripted. The result is a story that flows, makes you laugh, makes you cry, and lets you know that you are not alone. I say this from the perspective of one who has not experienced sexual abuse per se, but who has seen friends and loved ones struggle with their sexuality ... and been there a bit myself.)
Staci Haines is herself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She has been in the field of somatics and mind/body healing since 1987, is the author of The Survivors Guide To Sex (Cleis 1999), acts as a trainer in the field of Somatics (specializing in trauma), has a private practice which involves working somatically with social leaders, and has lectured at numerous institutions, including Oberlin College, Smith College, UC Berkeley and Stanford University on issues of child sexual abuse and social change, the impact of healing and trauma, somatics and trauma recovery, and issues of sexual health. She is founder and Executive Director of "Generation Five", a non-profit organization whose mission is to end childhood abuse within five generations.
The numbers on childhood sexual abuse are staggering: one out of every three girls, and one out of every six boys will be sexually abused in their childhood. It impacts their whole lives - the memory of that abuse stays with them, haunts them, and colors their every thought and action. Staci's message is loud and clear: you are more powerful than what happened to you! You can live in the present, you can be connected to your own emotions, and to the people around you. You can have a connection to life and to spirituality (and sexuality).
Healing Sex is the first (and so far only) video dealing with men and women, from diverse backgrounds, healing from many different types of sexual abuse. This is not an explicit video - it is not offensive in any manner. Staci deals in a very direct manner with the results of the abuse, and helps people release the energy that their bodies are holding and allow themselves to heal. Our bodies remember more than we are ever aware of, and, when triggered, these memories come back to haunt us. The event that harmed us never leaves us until we deal with it directly.
Through the story-lines of the couples (and singles) in the video (you would never know they were actors!), we are gifted with exercises that will center us, allow us to tune in to ourselves, and heal. Each person takes a very active part in their healing through the exercises offered here. Staci presents a six-stage healing process that allows the person to stay in the present, experience their emotions, and then reconnect with the idea of sensual pleasure (and reconnect with their partners).
These six stages are:
- Safety - protecting yourself, setting boundaries
- Embodiment - accepting that your body is a safe place to be, and learning how to "feel"
- Healing through the body - this is the step of working through the past trauma, facing the emotions and getting past them through the use of touching and breathing exercises.
- Healing through the body - this is the step of working through the past trauma, facing the emotions and getting past them through the use of touching and breathing exercises.
- Connections - staying in touch with your partner, communicating your needs, and seeing your partner as "safe", as opposed to seeing them as a perpetrator.
- Sexual Wholeness - defining where you learned about sex, what you learned about it, and what your biases may be. This is also where each person takes an active part in educating themselves on positive sexuality - whatever that may be for them.
- Practicing Wellness - emphasis here is placed on the thought that this is a process, and that part of the process is keeping in touch with the three elements of a healthy sexuality: self-pleasuring, self-discovery, and dedicating time to yourself and your partner.
Healing Sex is more than just another DVD. Because of the manner in which it is set up, it actually taught me to use my DVD player with a little more finesse than I usually do. And ... I found out that in some DVD packaging the DVD will not lift out of the box until you press the button in the center! (I consider myself quite lucky not to have broken the DVD in attempting to remove it from its packaging!)
The main menu has more options that just a "go" button. There are five divisions that each offer wonderful material:
- How To Watch This Movie - Staci gives a nice introduction here to the somatic method, and asks viewers to be active participants by doing the following: approaching the movie with an attitude of curiosity; allowing yourself to really feel your emotional reactions throughout the film; being responsive to your own needs (if a portion of the film is too much to handle, turn it off, walk away, and come back to it another time; or fast forward through portions that are upsetting - the choice is yours!); treat the material presented here as a practice, something to be put to use in your life, rather than as sterile information to stuff into your mind and then ignore.
- Play Movie - (self explanatory!)
- Scene Selection (literally selecting individual scenes to view)
- Special Features - The following special features are offered:
- Interview with Allison Anders (independent film-maker)
- Conversation With Susie Bright (voice of sexual politics in America)
- Bonus Mind/Body Exercise (body scanning)
- Extended Scenes
- Behind The Scenes
- Cast/Crew Bios
- Subtitles - Subtitles are available in either English or Spanish
I see this video as a wonderful tool of healing and empowerment. It is a resource readily available for group or individual work, is non-threatening, and presents a definite game plan for individual or partner growth. Emphasis is placed on setting and honoring boundaries, mutual consent, staying in the present and connecting, and redefining your relationships for what they offer in the present, not in terms of what has happened in the past, or the hurts of the past. There is 112 minutes of video, with an additional two hours of extra exercises, footage and interviews with Susie Bright (a well known sexual activist) and Allison Anders. If you are a sexual abuse survivor, or are working in this area, this video is a "must have"!
On Our Backs Review: Healing Sex, January 2005 issue
by Lori Selke
Somatics instructor Staci Haines, author of the landmark self-help book The Survivor's Guide to Sex, is a goddess. She's got a no-victims, no-bullshit approach to healing sexual trauma that addresses the body as well as the mind and that has helped hundreds of people already. Pair her with the savvy video gals at SIR Productions and watch a miracle unfold. The video format allows Haines to demonstrate her embodied exercises and present vignettes that explore the interpersonal dynamics of trauma and healing for both survivors and their partners. Some of the diverse cast are actors (though they're so convincing in their portrayals, it's easy to forget that fact), and some are real-life survivors telling their own stories. Most how-to sex tapes are well-meaning, but suffer from an excess of earnestness; this one never talks down or simplifies complex experiences. Quite simply, this video has the potential to be life-changing.