COMPANION

Sex

F. M. Alexander

Sir George Trevelyan’s diary entry of Wednesday 27 January 1937 records Alexander talking about sex:

Many of the failures in marriage, F. M. contends, are due to the failure on the part of the man to inhibit and hold back. In response to his excitement he stiffens, therefore often enough preventing the connection and response from a sensitive woman, and, again, he often finishes far too soon for her satisfaction because there is no adequate control. CCC [constructive conscious control] and the ability not to tense himself should in no way modify his strength of feeling or sense of pleasure, and by giving her more chance of feeling should again bring a further response in himself. Thus a knowledge of use should not only make the man a better lover but will make the sexual processes, menstruation and childbirth incomparably easier for the woman.[1]

Trevor Allen Davies in a question refers to Marjory Barlow said that Alexander felt strongly about the importance of sex.[2]

First generation teachers

Dr Wilfred Barlow dedicated a chapter to the many benefits of the Alexander Technique to sex in his The Alexander Principle (1973),[3] possibly representing the most general discussion to date.

Research

Chloe Stallibrass’s research project on understanding the impact of use on sexuality, ‘Sexuality and the Alexander Technique’, was based on interviews with 21 students and 7 teachers of the Alexander Technique, in 1990.[4]

Chloe Stallibrass published a supplement to ‘Sexuality and the Alexander Technique’ which deals exclusively with issues around sexuality which can arise within teacher training; it was based on the same set of interviews but is restricted to matters relating to training.[5]

Stallibrass’s research was reported in STATNews (1993) by Malcolm Williamson.[6]

Articles

  • ‘Let’s talk about sex’ by Keith Silvester discusses four areas: 1. why the Technique might enhance sexual experience; 2. the controversial nature of touch that is intimate; 3. the management of sexuality in professional practice; 4. the experiences of ‘inhibition’ and ‘non-doing’ in particular types of sexual practice.[7]
  • The 1996 Direction ‘Sexuality’ issue contains the following articles:
  • ‘We are sexless, not!’ by Nicola Hanefeld; on the subject of sex being consciously or unconsciously part of lessons, and of her own experience of being abused by a stranger as a 15 year old.[8]
  • ‘Sex and love addicts’ by Joan Diamond on recovering through S.L.A.A. (Sex and Love Addicts Anomymous).[9]
  • ‘Sexuality? Whose?’ by Colleen Heenan; on how gay and lesbian Alexander teachers are ignored or subject to homophobia, on equal opportunities policies, and on coming out.[10]
  • ‘There’s more between the hips than meets the hands’ by Kathleen Hannan argues that sensuality and sexuality does not just happen in relationship, but is part of our whole, and that it is empowering to know that we are sensual-sexual beings unto ourselves.[11]
  • ‘Boys on bikes’ by Gentian Rahtz on the experience of teaching a pupil where mutual sexual attraction was occurring, and distinguishing between ‘authentic touch’ and ‘deep touch’.[12]
  • ‘A survey of sex’ by Chloe Stallibrass contains quotations, thoughts and conclusions from the author’s survey (see above).[13]
  • ‘Ethical issues of sexual contact between teacher and pupil’ Mary Cox interviewed by Jamie McDowell, Wendy Bonington; on transference, exploitation, boundaries between teacher and pupil.[14]

Books

  • Judith Stransky, in her book, presents three case histories of how the Technique benefited people’s sex life.[15]
  • The book, Perfect Poise, Perfect Life by Noel Kingsley has a chapter on sex appeal.[16]

See also Psychology, Sexual abuse.

References

[1] ‘The Diary of Sir George Trevelyan 1936–38’ in The Philosopher's Stone edited by Jean M. O. Fischer (Mouritz, 1998), entry ‘Wednesday 27 January 1937’, p. 81.
[2] An Examined Life by Marjory Barlow, Trevor Allen Davies (Mornum Time Press, 2002), p. 73.
[3] ‘The psycho-mechanics of sex’ in The Alexander Principle by Wilfred Barlow (Gollancz, 1973), p. 115–32.
[4] ‘Sexuality and the Alexander Technique’ by Chloe Stallibrass (Starlight Press, 1993), booklet.
[5] ‘Issues around sexuality in Alexander teacher training’ by Chloe Stallibrass (Starlight Press, 1993), booklet.
[6] ‘The Alexander Technique and our changing experience of sexuality’ by Malcolm Williamson in STATNews vol. 4, no. 6 edited by Malcolm Williamson (STAT, June 1993), p. 12.
[7] ‘Let’s talk about sex’ by Keith Silvester in Connected Perspectives edited by Claire Rennie, Tanya Shoop, Kamal Thapen (HITE, 2015), pp. 123–33.
[8] ‘We are sexless, not!’ by Nicola Hanefeld in Direction vol. 2, no. 4 edited by Jeremy Chance (Fyncot Pty Ltd., 1996), pp. 14–15.
[9] ‘Sex and love addicts’ by Joan Diamond in Direction vol. 2, no. 4 edited by Jeremy Chance (Fyncot Pty Ltd., 1996), pp. 19–21.
[10]  ‘Sexuality? Whose?’ by Colleen Heenan in Direction vol. 2, no. 4 edited by Jeremy Chance (Fyncot Pty Ltd., 1996), pp. 26–29.
[11] ‘There’s more between the hips than meets the hands’ by Kathleen Hannan in Direction vol. 2, no. 4 edited by Jeremy Chance (Fyncot Pty Ltd., 1996), pp. 30–32.
[12] ‘Boys on bikes’ by Gentian Rahtz in Direction vol. 2, no. 4 edited by Jeremy Chance (Fyncot Pty Ltd., 1996), pp. 6–7.
[13] ‘A survey of sex’ by Chloe Stallibrass in Direction vol. 2, no. 4 edited by Jeremy Chance (Fyncot Pty Ltd., 1996), pp. 11–13.
[14] ‘Ethical issues of sexual contact between teacher and pupil’ Mary Cox interviewed by Jamie McDowell, Wendy Bonington in Direction vol. 2, no. 4 edited by Jeremy Chance (Fyncot Pty Ltd., 1996), pp. 8–10.
[15] The Alexander Technique – Joy in the Life of Your Body by Judith Stransky and Robert B. Stone (Beaufort Books, 1981), pp. 46–48.
[16] Perfect Poise, Perfect Life by Noel Kingsley (Hodder Mobius, 2005), pp. 176–93.