SAR, the Sexual Attitude Reassessment, is a professional sensitivity training designed to help sex coaches inquire into their values, attitudes, and beliefs (VAB) about human sexual behavior. Typically when we talk about SAR at SCU, we focus on the necessity and benefits of this training for our students. Today, I’m going to pull back the curtain and share a little bit about what SAR is like for a SAR facilitator in the hopes that it piques curiosity in your own day-to-day experience and helps you appreciate the mini-SAR moments that happen around you!
Generally, when Dr. Agata Loewe-Kurilla, my co-facilitator, and I talk about our SAR, people think it’s all porn all the time, that we’ve seen everything under the sun, and that the purpose is to shock our participants. This isn’t really the case and, in fact, we are also always learning!
It is fair to guess that Dr. Agata and I have seen a lot. Because it’s true; we have! It’s par for the course when you are curating media related to sexuality. But that does not mean that we’ve seen everything there is. People are incredibly creative and will try things that we’ve never imagined—until we see it.
As a sexologist, some of my favorite moments involve unexpected learning. New fetishes, meeting someone who is interested in something I’ve heard about but haven’t seen, and varied perspectives on what it means to be a sexual being in the world all expand my own horizons of awareness and appreciation.
A Little SAR Every Day
I recently attended a BDSM-related conference where many participants were interested in cigar fetishes. Although I’ve been aware of cigar fetishes for some time, I had never experienced this, witnessed it live, or even met someone who wanted to talk about it. This conference was my lucky moment!
During one of the breaks, I met a submissive who enthusiastically shared with me about their fetish, how they practice, why they love it… all the delicious details. It was incredible! For 10 minutes, I was able to look at this fetish through their eyes, feel their excitement, and share a moment of cigar-related joy in conversation. For me, it was a mini-SAR.
Another mini-SAR moment that happens regularly is when someone asks a question about something specific—and I need to do a little bit of research to answer it! These questions often come from journalists looking for a quote for an article, but they can come from friends and clients, as well.
Many questions can be answered generally. For example, a popular inquiry is “do people really do x?” My answer is often a cheerful “yep!” Other questions need a little more nuance and insight. In these cases, I am happy to let the person asking know that I need to learn a little bit more, while also affirming that the thing they’re asking about is something that people do (remember, the number one question we get as sex coaches is “am I normal?”).
These questions can open up a delicious thread of research and the opportunity to learn about another aspect of human sexuality that I wasn’t aware of or didn’t fully understand before. Often, these questions bring me into contact with people who are interested in the behavior in question, and I get to learn directly from them.
Keeping Your SAR Perspective
These mini-SARs are available to us all the time. It doesn’t take much to find or become aware of them, aside from curiosity and the willingness to explore a new perspective, plus respect and appreciation for the individuals who are getting vulnerable and sharing with you.
It is wonderful when you meet someone who wants to talk with you about their interests and experiences, but you can also expand your horizons independently. You can read books, articles, and blogs about sexuality written by people who have sexual identities or expressions that are different from yours. Social media can be a font of information but, of course, one that needs to be filtered for content that is authentic and useful for your learning.
SAR is all about exploring your VAB so that you can expand your appreciation of human sexuality and your ability to talk about an increasing variety of identities, expressions, and behaviors. Allow yourself to be challenged and give yourself permission to try on new ideas—you might find you’ve outgrown some that you’ve held for a long time! If you’re interested, try a new experience and see if it is pleasurable for you. Obviously, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want, or force anything on your partner—consent is alway essential! But if you are curious, why not?
Each mini SAR moment you have expands your capacity to guide your clients on their own journeys to sexual pleasure, wellness, and joy.
You can have mini-SAR moments all the time. However, a regular SAR is a professional training that is required by many training and certification organizations, including Sex Coach U, because of its transformational power.
If you’re ready to explore and expand your own sensitivity and knowledge about the wide, wonderful, and incredibly varied world of sexuality so that you can be a more compassionate and effective sexuality professional, join us for our next virtual SAR. Click here for more info.