Heart in Sexuality - An article about PHI

Heart in Sexuality™

Uniting the masculine and feminine within the Self and your intimate relationships

Article by Dirk Marivoet, MSc. and Mag. Elisabeth Renner


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PHIorangePelvic Heart Integration® (PHI - also Heart in Sexuality™)  is an extension of Postural Integration® (PI) and Energetic Integration® (EI) and like PI and EI it integrates deep tissue hands-on work, combined with breathwork, energy work, trauma release, Gestalt, and psychodrama (or ‘bodymind drama’). Jack W. Painter, PhD1, creator of PI, EI and PHI, pioneered “pelvic release” work with the genitals and pelvic-floor in the 1970’s as part of “advanced PI” and this work proved to be much more complex and sophisticated than any other work around. His close relationship with Margo Anand and his collaboration with Willem Poppeliers in the 1980s resulted in a potent cross fertilization of their scientific and professional work, leading to the development of PHI in the 1990s.

Transforming Patterns of Sexual Frustration from the Past

Much of the focus of PHI is on the restoration of the natural energy flow of life (sexual) energy. The integrity of the energy flow between the heart and the genitals receives special attention. Before the natural energy flow of the child was cut by limited, not comprehending or frustrated parents, his heart and his genitals were part of a current of unified orgastic vibrant energy, characterized by innocence, curiosity and joyful excitement. PHI process work involves learning to recognize how we have cut off this flow and how our acquired gender identities support or undermine our actual sexual relationships, and how our past and current relationship patterns are linked to our sexual blocks. In a PHI workshop or training these things are not merely discussed, but are felt in the whole body as participants are supported in recreating an inner triangle between mother, father and child.  We can begin to become more aware of how when our sexual cravings come to the surface with force, a part of us tries to cut off the experience. The chest and heart may pull back because of our memory of past pain, or the belly may contract in order to separate physical excitement from emotional disappointment. The healing process clearly extends backward into time, as old family dynamics are helped to be transformed into new yet unimagined possibilities.

Getting the Masculine and Feminine Together

By focusing our attention on the dynamics of the masculine and feminine within our own bodies, we give ourselves leverage to effect change much more effectively than when we try to change others and blame them for not being sufficient. We also discover how our characteristic breathing patterns, thoughts, emotions, and body armor block the free flow of our life force and inhibit our capacity for sensual pleasure and orgasmic release. In PHI, we begin by looking at masculine and feminine as an expression of the breath – the feminine is the inhale, the masculine is the exhale. The feminine is about taking in, receiving, filling ourselves up. It’s energetic flow is from the genitals to the heart and from there towards the world (the other).

The masculine is releasing and letting go, it is about erectness, solidity, attuning and penetration. It’s energetic flow is from the heart to the genitals and from there towards the world (the other).

The masculine and feminine energies in the body also have a directional or cyclic flow : the feminine movement from the pelvis to the heart is complemented by the masculine movement from the heart to the genitals.  When the masculine and the feminine forces come into contact and eventually merge, whether within one’s own body or in connection with another, sexual pleasure and excitement results, eventually culminating in full body orgasm if the natural flow is unimpeded. But this internal flow, as well as the circuit formed when two individuals come together, loses its integrity when a person’s internal connection between heart and the genitals is severed.


As we explore and work with each other during the workshop, we discover these old patterns in our bodies but also find what our bodies long for, what our masculine and feminine sides really want. When our bodies begin to harmonize the aspirations of these two sides, when our inner mother and father support the sexuality of our inner child, we are loving ourselves, creating a strong flow between the pelvis and heart, rather than only looking outside ourselves for love.

We re-script our inner triangle to support both healthier relationships and greater sexual fulfillment. By allowing and supporting the masculine heart-pelvic flow within both inner parents; by embracing the feminine pelvic-heart flow within both inner parents, and thus in ourselves, we can recapture childhood innocence, curiosity and excitement at each stage of our lives.This inside integration gives a sensual constancy to our love and permits us to share love with others without losing ourselves. We see how love exists as part of our inner experience during the presence or absence of the lover.

To feel part of a continuing cycle of genital and heart energy through the generations

In PHI we have an opportunity to look at how our growing and changing bodies express sexuality in childhood, adolescence, maturity and old age; how our character is formed and reformed throughout our lives. When we have begun to physically and emotionally feel the connection between the genitals and heart, we have allowed our inner parents to be present. At this moment we realize that they have the same aspirations as our real parents and their parents, however much these longings may not have been fulfilled or remained unconscious. We realize that we are part of a continuing concrete, physical flow of genital and heart energy, which our children and their children can further fulfill.


Creating New Levels of Excitement and Pleasure

A PHI workshop typically begins with some playful warm up exercises which also teach about the energy meridians and the balancing of yin and yang energies. This is followed by work with the “energetic cycle” — The discovery of your past, present and future sexual force is done with the body. With touch, breathwork, movement, role play, active imagination and bodywork, you will take awareness of how you can bring your body in your sexual, love and spiritual life.

We will explore how our sexual awareness is contained in our deep body tissues and in our breath. One will be helped to awaken one’s desire and sense of freedom and encouraged to explore, at one’s own rhythm, a variety of ways of breathing which can lead to new levels of excitement. Riding waves of charging and discharging energy, one will discover the power of expressing any accumulated or forbidden charge. By letting this energy be free and complete, one can open old blocks and cultivate streaming currents of warm pleasure. We experience physical opening and the connection between the heart and genitals. The work with breathing and the bodywork will be used to release the energies and to simultaneously restructure the pelvic segment (pelvic-floor, buttocks, psoas,…), the diaphragm and rib cage. Regardless of your level of experience, we will help you learn how to maintain your sexual unity and dare to reveal yourself. Soft or deep contact with skin, tissue, muscle and bone helps open every part of the body and allows any desire, any fantasy to be welcome in the flesh.

Dirk and Elisabeth - long time practitioners and trainers of PHI - teach and demonstrate; participants practice on each other, and then share about what they experienced. The theory behind the work is delicately intertwined with what is experienced.

Work with the cycle at it’s different stages is repeated over and over throughout the workshop as building blocks for a Pelvic Heart Integration session. Following our guidance, you will be working on untangling the ancestral lines of sexual/spiritual transmission. Symbolically integrating the ideal parents of your inner sexual child, participants will find a powerful and tender source; as participant you will reconnect to an inexhaustible source that binds you to genital desires and aspirations of the heart of your parents as well as their parents, regardless of whether their real sexuality was incomplete or unfulfilled. This is the spiritual groundwork for a grounded, unified and sustainable, love and sexuality.

Before all we’re our own lover, in love with our own body. When the male and female parts are harmonized in us, we can more easily feel, touch and be in joy while sharing the joy of another person. We can look at and love someone else without fear of losing him or lose something inside of us.

This inner joy – physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual – is complete and cannot be destroyed, whatever the reaction of the other. And this inner joy, this body ecstasy that radiates from our core, allows us to experience a deep encounter with those who also found their inner joy.

There exists a masculine and a feminine direction in the energy movement between the heart and the genitals.

What will you learn?

In a PHI introductory workshop you have an opportunity both to do your own work and to begin acquiring skills as a practitioner. You will learn:

  • How your body holds both masculine and feminine energy and how to embrace both sides
  • How to use the breath to access new levels of excitement with or without a partner
  • How to identify characteristic patterns and blocks to the free flow of orgasmic energy and how these blocks are related to body types and personality (character) types.
  • How to identify the origin of these sexual blocks and how to release them on physical, energetic, and emotional levels
  • How to free yourself from old, dysfunctional patterns and become a mature, self-validating individual
  • How to use pelvic-heart bodywork to release trauma and to increase orgasmic pleasure


  1. JACK W. PAINTER (1933-2010), a former professor at the University of Miami and a pioneer of the Human Potential Movement in the 1960s, was one of those rare beings who was equally good at practicing and teaching his methods of Bodymind Integration. Jack developed a style of holistic bodywork called Postural Integration® (PI) which is now used by hundreds of practitioners worldwide, followed by Energetic Integration® (EI) and Pelvic Heart Integration® (PHI), which is taught as independent methods by certified trainers.
  2. DIRK MARIVOET is a registered Psychotherapist, Trainer and Supervisor for Pelvic-Heart Integration®, Postural Integration® & Energetic Integration® – Senior International Teacher and Supervisor for Core-Energetics®. Loves the Fire, lives in Belgium. Dirk is Chair of The Core Science Foundation and Chief Editor of the International Journal of Bodymind Integration. He served at the Medical Faculty of Leuven University between 1984 and 1994 and before becoming the founder of The International Institute of Bodymind Integration in Ghent (B).
  3. ELISABETH RENNER is a registered Psychotherapist, Trainer and Supervisor for Pelvic-Heart Integration®, Postural Integration® & Energetic Integration®. Loves the Water, lives in Graz.


Elisabeth Renner (A), Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist & Dirk Marivoet (B), Psychotherapist, PT, PMT, CCEP, Trainers and supervisors of Pelvic-Heart Integration®