Create a safe space to explore your sexuality
with Nic Reveles
Nic Reveles, somatic sex educator and sexological bodyworker, has dedicated the past several years of his life to helping gay, bisexual and queer-identified men recover from the trauma imposed on their bodies by culture, church and family in a centuries’ old attempt to control sexuality and sexual expression.
“Coach Nic” developed Body Prayer to reclaim the Sacred for our Erotic Bodies. In his new profession – he was a reknown musician for more than two decades and then shifted careers to the Catholic priesthood before choosing sexological bodywork – he helps men learn to enjoy their bodies more, deepen their sacred body experience, and open up to the possibility of the erotic body. “You marry the ritual of the sacred with the erotic, the body and spirit, and it can be “really delicious,” he professes. Too many people feel shackled and don’t even know how to ask the questions about their sexual erotic being, he finds. It can be as simple as touching a hand, but touching for many brings feelings of shame and guilt. Nic helps clients understand how touch works, explore touching in ways never tried before, and learn to love the sacred experience.
During a Smart Sex, Smart Love podcast, Coach Nic talks about how men can feel safe and comfortable about their sexual erotic being.
JOE KORT 0:03
Welcome to Smart sex smart love, we’re talking about sex goes beyond the taboo and talking about love goes beyond the honeymoon. My guest today is Nick rivulis, also known as Coach Nick, a somatic sex educator and sex illogical body worker based in San Diego, California. He’s a prominent musician, pianist, composer and educator with a master’s in choral conducting and a doctorate in piano performance. Nick was an associate professor of music at the university level and Director of Music and pianist for the white oak Dance Project. And McHale Oh, I’m not gonna say his name right. barsha not, I said, Baryshnikov Baryshnikov for 20 years he was director of community engagement for San Diego opera from where he retired in 2018. And he is also a Roman Catholic priest for 16 years. Even though he resigned from the priestly ministry He continued to search for understanding and enlightenment in this important aspect of his life, which led him to the Body Electric school and to the vocation he now practices as a somatic sex educator, and sex illogical body worker. Today, he dedicates his time to working with gay, bi and queer identified men to help them recover from trauma imposed on our bodies by culture, church, and family in a centuries old attempt to control sexuality and sexual expression. He has developed body prayer to reclaim reclaim the sacred for our erotic bodies, which is what we will be talking about today. Welcome, Nick. Thank you. Good to see you. It’s great to see you too. So all right, the very first thing I know people are gonna want to ask and know is what is a somatic sex educator and a sex illogical body worker go?
Nic Reveles 1:51
Well, the profession if or a modality of somatic sex education,
is to create a safe enough space for people to explore their sexuality.
And it involves
Gosh, body work, breath work, elements of yoga, tantra, doubt, practices, exploration of touch.
a space where people feel comfortable, not just to ask questions, but to invite touch, to be able to touch.
it’s a very rewarding practice, as I as I’ve discovered in terms of even if even if I have just one session with a person opening up the possibility of their erotic body. Exploring, being erotic explorers, I think is a great way of putting it and opening up the possibilities of the erotic for for a person, of course, recognizing when you’re working with a partner. It’s an adult and mutual consent and all of that. But
I’ve discovered through this work that so many people are kind of shackled, and not able to even ask questions of themselves about how to deal with intimacy or how to explore themselves, erotically. So I think the best way of putting what we do as somatic sex educators and sex illogical body workers, is simply opening up those possibilities. So let me make it clear to my listeners, right, I’m a sex therapist. And as a sex therapist, we’d never touch our clients that’s not part of this. It’s a therapy experience. You’re only touched by the words that I use to help you go inside you as a psychological body worker, actually touch. Right, exactly. Now we follow a very strict code of ethics. Three, three basic things we remain clothed as practitioners at all times. When we’re touching genitals, we use medical grade gloves, and we don’t have sex with our clients. We’re not sexual surrogates. That’s a good point. Can you distinguish the two? Yeah, sexual surrogate works as I understand it works in partnership with a medical professional or with a with a sex therapist. And, and and will actually be intimate with a client. We don’t do that we the touch in somatic sex education and six illogical body work is one way practitioner to client not to weigh okay. That’s important to know. And yeah, so people, some people will understand this and be listening and others will be like, Whoa, wait a minute, what is he saying? So like, you actually touch their body touch the genital, you’ll actually sometimes even help them learn how to self pleasure, right? Exactly. Masturbation coaching is actually
Something that I’m doing a lot of, and have done a lot of during the pandemic, particularly because so many of us, particularly single gay man, have been in lockdown, or, you know, have been isolated, and so online, through various apps looking, you know, looking to learn how to enjoy their bodies more, and how to how to deepen that experience, broad net,
JOE KORT 5:25
that’s become kind of really an important part of my job. Yeah, it’s a really, and I know that this can be very important for clients who, who don’t have I mean, you can teach all you can teach, but sometimes some people don’t, especially if it’s been a trauma experience, or especially if they have, they’re aging, or they have physical limitations or whatever. Right. So you’re coming down? Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, I think it’s also important to add that before we engage in that touch within, within that
Nic Reveles 6:04
of a session in somatic sex education,
we all spend at least one, maybe two, maybe three sessions simply on touch, and the importance of touch, and just touching me touching a client’s hand and helping them to understand, and this is this is within, I have to cite Betty Martin and all her wonderful work about the wheel of consent.
Help them understand what it means to give to receive, to take, and to allow touch, and the various levels of touch that, that we can simply understand, just by virtue of the fact that we’re human. And we have these wonderful sensors in our body, you know, all over our body and our skin, that are that are receptors of touch, and what touch means. So before I go anywhere, near the genitals of a person or the torso, or put them on the table for body work, there’s a lot of work that happens prior to that. And I know you said you work with gay men, and
JOE KORT 7:16
I was gonna ask you if you work with trans men, too, because I haven’t had the opportunity to do that yet. We’re trained for it, obviously, but no, I haven’t had any trans clients as yet. And you help men and with their anal, you know, feelings, too, and help them get comfortable with that. Absolutely, if that’s what they that’s what they desire, if that’s what they request. Yeah. So actually, just as a side note, one of the most really exciting experiences and learnings that I experienced in my training as a somatic sex educator, was learning external, anal massage. So not prostate massage, but simply external anal massage, which can be really delicious, whether you’re doing it to yourself or doing it for a client or a partner.
Nic Reveles 8:09
Just you know, explosions of understanding and pleasure and depths of intimacy and and and erotic information. There’s so much available there. And it’s just been this area of taboo and area of shame. Forever. And I find men are usually uncomfortable with it. Even gay men who are bottoms are not particularly available to this external anal massage thing. They just like, what’s that? Yeah, no clue what that what the possibilities are there. And once you open that up for somebody, somebody, it’s it’s really wonderful.
JOE KORT 8:57
I’ve just learned something I had no idea I would think about him would love all the aspects in and out of anal, but it’s interesting to hear you say that they have they have not explored the external, they’re uncomfortable.
No, it’s only all about getting in and getting to the prospect and the prostate. But no, there’s a lot to be learned before you get there. And even simply lingering there for you know, a good substantial amount of time can be really delicious.
Doesn’t this come from the sounds to me like body electric work like rosebud? Is this something called Rosebud stimulation?
It absolutely is Body Electric. We’ve got so much in our profession to thank Joseph Kramer, who was the founder of Body Electric and who actually ended up being my field mentor for my graduation from the certificate program in SSC. He founded Body Electric in the early 80s When I happened to be in New York, getting my doctorate in piano performance I read about his work in the New York native, which was the LGBT newspaper of the time. And I thought, oh my god, that’s so exciting. What this guy is doing in response to the Men’s Health Crisis. And since then it’s grew as the grown into an incredible resource for sexuality for sex practices, for the erotic for intimacy. It’s, it’s, it’s a, it’s a wonderful resource, just a wonderful resource. And that’s where I got started, I just went to a couple of those basic weekends. And then I went to a weekend that Joseph himself gave called erotic rituals for daily life. And being an ex priest, a former priest, the word ritual sort of popped out at me and I thought, oh, I want to sign up for that weekend. And I went, and at the end of the of the weekend, I went up to Joseph and I said, Joseph, I’m retiring in about five years, I want to do what you do. And that’s what’s, that’s what started at all, it was such a powerful weekend of understanding that you can, you can marry the ritual, and the sacred with erotic pleasure, with the erotic and it broke down that false Western dichotomy between body and spirit, I realized, in that experience that you cannot have a spiritual experience outside of your body. There is there is no split. I mean, for centuries, Western culture, not just church, but Western cultures has lived under this shadow of body is bad, and spirit is good. Yeah, yeah. I grew up with that. And finally realizing, Oh, my God, no, I have incredible spiritual access through my pleasure. And I’ve discovered that that’s a key to overcoming the trauma. And the shaming and the blaming that church, Western culture and family lay on us, particularly those of us who have the bodies of gay bi and trans and queer men.
Yeah. And you talk about the trauma of growing up this way. And what that does to our bodies. Can you say a little more about that specifically to the gay by and queer men?
Yeah, um, and it’s, it’s in the air. You know, it’s, it’s, in fact, just to reflect on my own religious upbringing. My religious upbringing was fairly benign. I didn’t experience any overt abuse, sexual or physical or otherwise, I don’t remember the nuns slapping my hands. And, you know, blaming me for this and that. It was it was fairly easy and comfortable, and friendly. And yet, I still carried shame about sex, particularly about masturbation. I think it came from the euphemism that priests used at least when I grew up in the 50s. For masturbation, the euphemism was self abuse. And if you think about that, if you just think about that, what damage that phrase can do to you, if that becomes the euphemism for something that gives you so much pleasure? So yeah, I deal with people who have been actually terribly abused. But other folks like me, who haven’t necessarily experienced abuse, and yet still experienced the shame that church and culture put out there. And I think I think it’s particularly endemic here in the United States with our puritanical background. You know, it’s it’s just, it’s still and it just blows me away that it still feels like taboo to bring anything up sexual in a conversation to talk about sex to talk about intimacy. You’re you’re working with a minefield, and it seems so difficult and something that should be so natural for us. Yeah.
The negative, right, yeah, but if it’s negative. Now, one thing I do say for the LGBT community as we grow up, I’ve always said this since the 80s, with covert cultural sexual abuse, I call it covert meaning you may have never been touched, but just the culture of it’s not okay to know that you’re heterosexual or that you’re anything but heterosexual. It’s not okay to have same sex pleasure. All of that, to me contributes just part of the shame.
Yeah, that’s an absolutely wonderful way to put it. And that’s exactly what I what I deal with, I think primarily, in my practice, yeah.
Wow. And why only men why not women do work with?
Well, it’s funny. You should ask. I’m sorry. trained to work with women. And in fact, all of my, all of my colleagues, all of my fellow students in the training program were women. So I had a lot of experience on on women’s bodies and touching women and inter interacting with women. I just didn’t feel like it was my mission. It’s not that I’m uncomfortable with women’s bodies. I’m certainly more knowledgeable about men’s bodies, being queer myself, and being out for so many years. And I also felt that at least here in San Diego, and I happen to live at the center of the gay community in Hillcrest that there was a there was a greater need for aging gay men, particularly dealing with issues of getting older. And and not having the body that they wanted. Seeing, seeing erotic possibilities, perhaps be fleeting, and not as present to them as before, I just felt drawn to, to a kind of mission to just help men to help that community. Sure. And it’s, it’s been it’s been very fulfilling a very satisfying work. Certainly for me and the clients I have, it seems to me that there’s been a lot of growth with them. And that that’s exciting. To see. Yeah.
And talk about your technique. The My, what is it my body prayer technique, what is
the body prayer technique is based on Mindful self compassion practices, which has grown up in the last few years through the mindfulness community. And what was that the basis of it was reclaiming the words of church, the words of faith and even the rituals of church and faith for our erotic bodies. So it’s essentially a body meditation that starts with a mindfulness body scan, or a mindful body scan, and, and leading to the genitals into the anal area. And actually using words like holy and sacred, little affirmations, for instance, like I might say, when hovering over a man’s genitals, say something to the effect of my, my caucus, wholly, my, my genitals are sacred. I thank them for the pleasure that they’ve given me over the years, I think my stomach, I thank my nipples for the pleasure they give me I thank my heart for the openness that’s there, you know, those kinds of compassionate affirmations I find, just go go a far away, I think in helping people accept their bodies, see them indeed, as holy, there’s nothing, there’s nothing more sacred about my heart, than about my car, without my anus, right. Um, and, and so it’s an attempt to sort of erase all of that and reclaim those words for ourselves for our what I like to say what I like to call our erotic bodies. Now, it takes preparation. For some folks, especially those who’ve been overtly traumatized in any way. You got to make sure that you’re not using words that are going to trigger them and re traumatize them. So you know, in my intake interviews with folks that are that are coming to me for body prayer, I make sure that, you know, we’re avoiding words like that. And something very simple that I would never have thought of before my training, using the words that they themselves use for the parts of their of their genitals. Yeah, they may use the word dick. Yeah, rather than caulk, which is my preferred so I know that’s something that I’ll find out in a good
point. I’ve always hated the word COC it’s not sexual to me at all. I like Dick Right? So you know, it doesn’t fit for me to call it a COC cuz I don’t I don’t look at him and look at him that way.
And, and I can’t use the anatomical words. They make me absolutely crazy. Being it drives me nuts. I just can’t go there. And if that’s what they use, I’ll go. Right, right.
I think it’s great. How do you filter out because I’m thinking you know, you’ve heard of the fetish, or the kink Cm n m clothed men, naked men. In other words, there’s a turn on to be naked around clothes people. So when you said I stay dressed, but they don’t. How do you filter out somebody who just wants to come in and fulfill that fetish
Oh, wow, Thanks, Joe.
Never had that or thought of that. Yeah,
no, actually, and it hasn’t been part of my experience. I can see how that might be a turn on for somebody, I, I really haven’t expired. I have to say I,
the first time I ever saw anything like this, I’ll never forget it. My mother had played girls, I was it was in the 70s. And there were naked men serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres to close women. And it was wildly hot. To me, it was really hot, even though there were women in it, you know, it didn’t matter. But the men were naked. And then later, I realized there’s a name for it. And then there are websites for gay men, close man and naked men,
Wyatt, I’m gonna have to explore this. I had no idea that sexual,
you know, it’s that you could just be not even touching each other just being just talking in that way. So yeah, you. And I don’t know that you would filter that out anyways, maybe? Is that something you offer? For someone that has that fetish? Or would that be a no, no, in your field?
Wow, that’s a great question. I’m not sure. I’d really have to think about that. Joe. I mean, You’ve stumped me. I, I wouldn’t want to feed into the Fetish I think I’d have to be. I know, you know, I think I just go back to basics and be very, very clear about what this is that you’re doing. And one of the first actually, the very first thing I do when a client comes into my studio, is talk about intention. Intentional sex is the most erotic sex and an intentional somatic sex session, I think is is really filled with erotic possibilities. And so I find it really, really important to ask the question, even if we’ve never approached the word intention before, if this guy’s just came come cold, you know, without an intake interview, I’ll sit him down and ask, What’s your intention? And sometimes that really just blows people away. They don’t know how to answer. But I, you know, I press them. Why are you here? What is your intent? What do you want? What do you really desire? And once we get down to the basics of that, I think most fetishes you know, fall away. We certainly see that one as being you know, no longer inactivity
between you, you may not fall away from there, between us
that once once we start working, yeah, so yeah, yeah.
And so what is what would you call a mindful erotic practice? Is that what you already talked about?
No. Mindful, erotic practice is exactly that any erotic practice that you bring mindfulness to, or I could, I could substitute the word intention. But for us in the somatic sex education community, it’s about having some kind of daily or as often as we can practice of, of approaching our body in an erotic way, simply to make ourselves constantly aware that we’ve got erotic bodies. So it might be masturbation. It might simply be touching of something. Joseph Kramer teaches caulk cuddling, for instance, after I get out of the shower, you know, getting some some body lotion, not oil, not lube, because those would tell my body that I’m you know, gonna finish body lotion and simply cuddling my cock for two or three minutes. It’s, it’s, you know, not not to even the point of erection, but just loving, honoring, showing respect, that I would call a very simple mindful erotic practice breathing into it, noticing what sensations come up, you know all of the basics of mindfulness, just applying them to erotic touch. Sometimes, waking up in the morning, I’ve got my left hand on my heart, and my right hand under my genitals in my perineum, and simply breathing into that what I call that sacred corridor, opens up the conversation between my heart and my genitals, that I always want to be open as a very tantric technique. And breathing into that for five or 10 minutes. That’s a simple, mindful, erotic practice. So I mean, it can be a lot of things and it can be described in many different ways, but very simply, it’s about touching, breathing, noticing, erotically.
I love this. This is I hope this invites people to want to learn more, how can they learn more about you and find you and contact you.
My website is mindful pleasure practice.com mindful pleasure practice.com. And that is also on Instagram. And I’m getting clients and followers. So somebody, somebody is going there, which is exciting. It’s working out really, really well despite the pandemic, of I even have some in person clients, which is working out really, really well. So all the safety protocols, obviously, but But yeah,
yeah. And I hope they find you through this podcast, too. I really, Nick, I want to thank you for joining me today on smart sex smart love. And you can hear more of my podcasts at Smart sex smart love calm, or you can also follow me on Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram and Facebook at Dr. Joe court, Dr. J O E k o r t. I hope you enjoyed today’s podcast and we’ll see you next time.