Interview with Dr Shannon Chavez
Hi Dr Chavez, thanks for taking the time for us to get to know you better. So tell us, what made you decide that you wanted to be a sex therapist?
I believe sex is one of the most fascinating and diverse topics that exists and affects every single human being. I also learned from very early on that sex caused the most pain and pleasure in one’s life. There are so many mixed messages about how much one should know about sex, how to behave sexually, and when and how it’s acceptable to be sexual. Sex is how we all got here and becoming empowered and informed around sexuality can change someone’s life forever. I knew I wanted to be a part of this change and to help bring awareness to the importance of sexual health to overall health and well-being. My mission as a sex therapist is to break down the barriers that hold individuals and couples back from experiencing their full sexual potential, help resolve sexual concerns that cause distress and pain, and encourage sexual self-exploration and discovery at any age.
So what exactly is the mind-body approach which your work focuses upon and how does it translate to the variety of programmes that you offer?
The mind-body approach that I use incorporates the connection between our thoughts, values, and beliefs around sexuality to our sexual functioning in the body. This approach looks at the brain as our biggest sex organ and how understanding our sexuality helps to alleviate problems we may experience in sexual expression. I use techniques of mindfulness, somatic experiencing, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and sex therapy to create an integrated treatment modality for different sexual concerns. My goal in using a mind-body approach is to give each client a sense of control over how their body functions and to reduce stress, anxiety, and trauma that gets locked up in the body and becomes a barrier to sexual satisfaction. At the end of my work with clients, it is my hope that they feel more sexually empowered, reconnected, and informed.
Is the Big ‘O’ something that’s crucial for sexual success?
Every person’s experience to orgasm varies and it is not a crucial factor in experiencing sexual pleasure. My goal for every client is to learn to give and receive pleasure. I want my clients to experience sex as a whole-bodied experience and to not get lost in the focus on performance or the outcome. Orgasm is a reflex and learned response that can be incorporated into treatment for specific sexual concerns, if indicated.
What’s the most important sex tip you can share with our readers?
The first relationship you should work on is the one with yourself. Get to know your body, how it works, and what your needs are. This is crucial before you can share and communicate sexual desires with a partner.
Self-stimulation is also important for sexual health. Break down your taboos about “masturbation” and know that self-stimulation has mental and physical benefits and can improve sexual self-esteem and confidence. Give yourself the pleasure you deserve!
In your opinion, what’s the most game changing sex toy on the market today?
I am a big fan of the We Vibe 4. It works great for direct clitoral stimulation, has a new design that can stimulate the internal clitoral shaft, or G-spot, and can be a couple’s device that allows for penetration—with a remote. It has a comfortable fit and is made from 100% medical-grade silicone. Great form, design, and fun for individual or couples play.
One last question before we close off, how do you define sexy?
Sexy is all about attitude. I like to think about the word as “sex-e” or “sex educated”. The more we know about sex, the better we feel about our sexuality and sexual expression. Becoming sexually educated and informed creates sex-positive attitudes that can improve confidence, appeal, and awareness.
All images courtesy of Dr. Shannon Chavez
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