Do you think the current dialogue that we have around sex, as a society, is having a negative impact on our individual experiences? (in that we’re very focused on the orgasm/ comparing our experiences with that of TV/film and porn or just not talking about it openly in our social groups).
So far we have failed to teach anything beyond risk aversive or reproductive sex in education, and we leave people to rely on media images. No longer are young people heading to the bookshelf, pulling out the dictionary flipping to “s” and looking up the word sex. They’re turning to google, to the internet, to porn and this has become their new sex ed. There are many damaging and false images portrayed in mainstream / hardcore porn and media: there’s no negotiation of consent or protection, it is normal for people to orgasm from intercourse alone, women are the object in fantasies, there’s a construction of desired body shapes and censored / photoshopped genitals, no hair or mess or menstrual blood. Where in “reallife” sex there is potential to be more innovative, more creative, more exciting, more surprising than porn will ever be. It’s important to have more open and real conversations about sex and sexuality as it can be transformational not only for an individual but for society.
Sex has been thrust into the limelight recently. We’re in a time where sex is spoken about: #metoo, the orgasm gap, nonbinary sex education, speaking out so sexuality won’t be defined by bad experiences. We are meeting and reclaiming what sex means, what great sex means. In this time of brave truth telling, and whilst we have a platform it’s important we need more than just freedom from harassment and abuse, we need pleasure in relationships with ourselves and others. It begins with integrating it into our dialogue and education so people feel equipped to make informed choices.
What has been one of the most common sexual misconceptions that you’ve come across during your time as a sex educator?
There are two
- Sex = penetration
The narrative of sex begins with erection and ends in ejaculation. Along with this many believe that women climax from penetration alone. But actually, only a minority can. One landmark study found that when masturbating, 95 percent of women reach orgasm easily and within minutes. Four minutes!!! Was the average time. Another study found that when women pleasure themselves, almost 99 percent stimulate their clitoris at some point. Why do we still associate sex with penetration?
If sex = penetration that excludes a whole group of people who don’t have sex in that way. For example, how is a lesbian couple to know when they’ve had sex? How are people who don’t like things inside them to know? Or someone who’s experienced assault and doesn’t want to acknowledge it as their first time?
What if you could say you’ve had sex once you’ve had an enthusiastically consensual, highly pleasurable desired experience, that may or may not end in climax..
- “Is it normal that …”
This question is the root of questions I hear every day “is it weird that I want to *** with ***”, “my body doesnt *** when I ****”
If everyone is willing and enthusiastic about being there, there is consent, no unwanted pain, and everyone is free to leave whenever they want, you are allowed to do anything you want. There is no normal sex.
Can you share a misconception that you held about sex prior to your studies?
I have thought both of the above.
What are some of your top tips to encourage more mindful sex?
- Be curious and listen to your body
- Focus your attention through your senses (not just touch)
- Observe thoughts without being attached to them
- Bring attention to how and where you feel sexual
- Be patient and kind to your body, make it an experience not a performance
- Practice! What you practice grows stronger, by practicing embodied understanding of sex,
pleasure and consent, your sensual self will also grow
What could someone expect from one of your sex and intimacy sessions?
Every session is different, some common expectations are:
- express, ask for and receive pleasure
- develop a heightened sense of sensation in their body through breath and movement
- let go of shame and have healthy relationships
- apply mindfulness in sex, sensation and pleasure
- have great sex
- learn the art of mindful touch
- understand turn ons, turn offs and why
- deepen connections with others
- learn sexual anatomy and the anatomy of pleasure
- be guided by desires
- understand the role of consent and impact on pleasure
- map out pleasure points in their body
What is your approach or style of therapy and why should people come and see you?
I have been trained in direct experiential learning and a clientcentred approach which aims to educate and support people to become more aware of their bodies, sex and sexuality.
The sessions are guided by me, but led by the experience, concerns, ideas, goals, identities, desire of those who come to for a session. I help people get back into their bodies, who have been out of touch for so long. We explore the modalities of sound, sensation, breath, movement, touch and mindfulness to understand true desires.
How are you different to other practitioners?
Sex and intimacy is a vital part of who we are as living beings, but it’s not typically addressed in other therapies. For so long people have been aware of diet and exercise, and it is only now that investing in sexual identity is understood as investing in your wellbeing.
I listen, observe, educate, guide, and then work with the individual to create a real life practice that can be easily implemented into their life.
What makes you no bullshit?
You can’t bullshit embodied pleasure. Profound healing comes from feeling good, by this I mean a full body ‘Yes this feels good!’
Everyone has the capacity to experience some kind of pleasure in their life, nobullshit.
I work with and celebrate people of all identities, backgrounds, ages, experiences, sexual interests, passions and tailor the work to them. A no bullshit, no one is the same approach, we’ll work together in a session and explore the best option for the individual.
How do you manage your own health?
I dedicate time to my own practice, therapy and healing. I do the work because it feels good, but also so I can be present for the people I work with. I seek pleasure everyday (and rarely feel guilty about it!) A sweaty yoga class, skinny dipping, moving to music, a good kiss, road trips, riding my bike downhill, lighting a candle, wine at dinner with nowhere to be, climbing a tree, sipping on a fresh coconut.
I don’t see it as ‘managing’ though, I see it as finding balance. I maintain balance by doing something and finding time to appreciate it. If I can remember to breathe consciously, eat mindfully, laugh wholeheartedly and remain aware of how I’m feeling, I know I’m living in balance.
What can people expect if they are going to therapy?
A renewed understanding of who they are, what they want, what they need and then how to put it into action, ask for it and enjoy receiving it. A session is a powerful and interesting dive into sensuality, sexuality and the practice of creating more pleasure. People can expect to discover the role of mindfulness in enhancing sex and sensation, all the while understanding their own anatomy of pleasure.
What are you top tips for self-care?
Practice self care without a goal, practice often and seek pleasure in self-care.
Why did you become a sex educator?
As I was growing into my body I wanted more than the practicalriskaversiveeducation that taught: sex is bad, sex is scary. I wanted to learn about pleasure, anatomy, attraction, arousal, consent, identity, connection, touch… I wanted to learn it all.
Completely dissatisfied by my own sex education, I turned to my friends, sealed sections in magazines, google and my own sexual experiences to learn more, some of this was useful, most was not. With a strong desire to change the way we speak about sex and empower people to own their sex and sexuality, I decided to become a sex educator. I quit my 95 job and started studying again, with this radical career change also came a shift in my own capacity for pleasure and awareness of my body, I learnt how good I could feel, and this translated to all aspects and relationships in my life not just sexual ones.
My initial interest as a young person has become something much more. I see this work as an essential part of our development and a way to become more connected with ourselves and others. I see it as a time for people to reclaim their bodies because we’ve felt out of touch for far too long.
Owning my sensuality has made me feel powerful, and has taught me a lot about my boundaries and what really turns me on – I hope to do the same for people I work with. I strive to be a part of the current sexual revolution and want to see sensuality become normal, acceptable, beneficial and accessible to all.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Trust your gut, you’re the only one who can know what you want and need.
Why is it important to connect to our bodies?
Our body tells us things, when we are connected to our body, we have a greater awareness of what we need and want. In the past year I’ve noticed more people exploring sexual empowerment – and yearning for it, it’s a sensual momentum, a survival instinct to get more connected with our bodies and environment. There’s now an inherent human desire to be more embodied.
Engaging in open conversations around sex and sexuality can be transformative not only for an individual but for society. By having these open conversations, we are transforming ourselves and others.
How can mindfulness help with connection and intimacy?
It’s everything! Not only for intimacy with others, but also with ourselves. When we connect mindfully, we also feel more, bringing attention to how it feels
What advice would you give to those looking to reconnect with themselves and their sensuality?
Explore that inquisition and roll with the momentum. If you’re looking to reconnect, its your body telling you that you want and need it.