When people consult me about a sexual health problem that they are dealing with, there is often some issue arising out of some exploitative practice. At times this practice may be happening presently. In some conversation this exploitation took place some time ago and the person who is speaking with me is just starting to make sense of this.
People often read the the sexual health principle of ‘non-exploitation’ as ‘exploitation’. I think this may be due to a taken for granted notion about therapy that implies that we must talk about all of our hurt, pain and potentially, ways we have been exploited in the past in order to have a good therapy outcome – to the exclusion of some of our experiences of ‘non-exploitation’ or ways we may be working toward relationships that support ‘non-exploitation’. I like to think that helpful therapeutic conversations are a balance of the two, where sense can be made of both the ‘non-exploitation’ we experience as well as the ‘exploitation.’
How do you define exploitation?
How do you define non-exploitation?
When you think about ‘non-exploitation’ in terms of your sexual health, what thoughts and feelings does it evoke? What about when you think about ‘exploitation’?
I remain curious about the myriad ways that people come to fill their lives and relationships with non-exploitative practices, even when many of their past and current relationships have been based in exploitative practices.
I look forward to these challenging and rewarding conversations in hopes of discovering the ways that people cope with exploitation and foster and support non-exploitation in their relationships and sexual health.