Rivera-Azad Sexual Healing Integration Model (RASHIM)

RASHIM is a demystifier of the world of sex and sexual relations. It contains more than three decades of combined experiences of Mx. Rivera and Mx. Azad, two intersectional sexuality educators who have dedicated their work to healing sexual trauma through sexual liberation. This is why Power sits at the heart of RASHIM to represent that every element of sexuality must be understood within the existing power relations, and that redistribution of power is essential to the work of sexual healing and liberation. 

The programs offered at The HEAL Project are based on RASHIM and explore different aspects of this model. A comprehensive professional training called, The Just Healing Training, focusing on RASHIM is currently under development. See a full list of our programs here. 


The Rivera-Azad Sexual Healing Integration Model (RASHIM) offers a roadmap for sexual healing that captures the past, present, and future of our sexual relations. RASHIM locates nine areas of sexuality navigation, referred to as Pillars. Each Pillar represents a unique step in human sexual evolution and contains experiences, ideas, feelings, and actions. The Pillars are contained within and are affected by our past, present, as well as imaginaries, that is our individual and collective histories, and cultures, and visions.

History, Culture, and Vision compose the Foundation of RASHIM. Our current relationship to human sexuality is built upon historic realities of reproduction, gender, and sex, especially as they pertain to marginalized communities (e.g. people with disabilities, people of color, poor people, labor migrants, refugees). Understanding systems of marginalization throughout history as well as their current manifestation in our culture is required in any discussion of who we are and how we relate to sex and relationships. Culture itself is an integral piece of how we shape our ideas and the kind of information we believe to be true. Lastly, without a vision we are bound to repeat past mistakes. Active visioning is necessary for productive engagement and creating a world without sexual violence.

The Orbit of Connection transforms the information discussed within Pillars and the Foundation into life skills. Relationships are what make us human. This includes our relationship with ourselves, our family, our community, and the state. Information alone cannot heal our individual and collective sexual wounds. It is within good connections and community involvement that we can apply our knowledge to heal and create change. These connection skills include empathy, accountability, compassion, boundary-setting and the like.

The outermost layer of RASHIM is the Cycle of Healing. This is where the ongoing and cyclical work of healing takes place. Trauma not only disturbs our connections, but it threatens our survival and takes away our sense of safety. Healing must begin with providing conditions of safety so that we can explore different possibilities for integrating with ourselves and others. In the process of exploration, we may be disappointed, heart-broken, triggered, or even re-traumatized. This is when acceptance is needed to facilitate a path back to safety.

Sexual healing is not a one-dimensional or an individual journey. As a society, we have a responsibility to collectively heal our sexual relations across our communities, institutions, and governing bodies. We must heal the fear-based and shame-based approaches to sex. Expanding our idea of sex beyond its heteronormative and reproductive aspects, we must focus on navigating sexual relations safely, intentionally, and powerfully.

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