I became a somatic sex coach and Certified Sexological Bodyworker through my long-standing interest in the ‘joy potential’ of human sexuality. I have always been drawn to the idea that sex could profoundly enrich people’s lives – and that we could make sex better than the commodified version that is packaged and sold back to us.
How it all began
For many years, I worked at a sex shop focused on women’s pleasure. It was an extraordinary privilege to support women, and people in relationships – to find the toys they wanted to explore with, or the erotic books they wanted to read, or the outfits they wanted to craft for themselves and their lovers. It was also a place of ideas to us 'sex geek' staff. I loved every minute of it, and left only in order to reduce my working hours when I became a parent.
I also wrote (and had published) erotica with *actual character development*, and in which everyone had a great time. I wrote about all sorts of connections between people – ‘straight’ and ‘queer’. My writing eventually led me to the area of conscious sexuality, when I was asked to read one of my stories at a Sacred Pleasures workshop for exploring erotic fantasy. I readily agreed, but was nervous to attend such a thing, unsure of what to expect. What I found was a safely-held space in which participants (with clothes on) engaged in talking and sensory exercises with one another to explore the concept of fantasy and its place in our lives. The highlight for me was an exercise in which I relayed to the group a fellow participant’s fantasy, told as though it were my own. As I shared it, I felt bodily that it was happening and when I opened my eyes, I saw a transfixed circle of listeners. For someone very accustomed to erotic storytelling, I had experienced a new level of connection with the audience. I again had that feeling that there was more to be found, as though gently pushing those boundaries out meant over time that I gained more ground in my own capacity for pleasure and body awareness.
Discovering Sexological Bodywork
After subsequently dipping my toe in other workshop experiences, I made a leap in 2011 to do a weekend workshop, learning from Joseph Kramer PhD. Joseph is the creator of an approach called Sexological Bodywork, which he founded in San Francisco in the 1990s. As an atheist and a female who doesn't feel a fit with the defined category of 'woman', conscious sexuality traditions hadn’t gelled with me; most had spiritual roots and seemed very binary in their approach to gender. Sexological Bodywork is different. It is practical, it doesn’t get in to ideological gender divisions, and it relies on scientific evidence, where evidence exists. It includes teaching on neuroplasticity – about changing habits and expanding erotic possibilities through repeated practice over time. Despite being orgasmic already, that weekend I experienced my first full body orgasm. It was like…that moment on a fairground ride where you just let go and let the experience rush through you. Extraordinary.
After floating home from that weekend, I immediately signed up for the distance learning of the full course materials, and studied and practiced for two years. I developed my own practice and I practiced on others. I learned that the solo practices were an effective method of cultivating somatic mindfulness that I could then take with me in to my interactions with others – in partnered sex and in all aspects of day-to-day living. I found I became calmer and more centred. Of course, this wasn’t a panacea to all life’s ills, but it was a set of practices that brought benefit to all areas of my life, not just the sexual realm. I could share some remarkable headlines here of what I have experienced since, but they would be a distraction – the gold of the practices is the moment-to-moment connection and sense of wellbeing that infuses my life far more than ever before. I wanted to bring that learning to others.
When the certification course was offered in the UK in 2014, I immediately signed up to what was a demanding six-month programme of training. I certified in October 2014, with over 200 hours of practice under my belt. I have since trained in advanced facilitation of consent and modes of touch with the exemplary teacher, Dr Betty Martin. Teaching self-awareness around touch and effective communication about boundaries is foundational to my work.
I have also completed Barbara Carrellas’s excellent Urban Tantra programme and trained in Hawaiian-style conscious touch, and body anatomy and physiology. Though already trained in scar tissue remediation, in 2016 I completed intensive further training with Ellen Heed to deepen my offering to people whose bodies carry scar tissue.
I am a professional member of the Association of Somatic and Integrative Sexologists, and have regular professional supervision. I engage in at least one additional training per year for continued professional development. In 2017, this is Deej Juventin's Introductory Certificate in Embodied Counselling, a two-day workshop with trauma expert Dr Bessel van der Kolk, and Caffyn Jesse's and Katie Sarra's trauma training for bodywork professionals.
I have built a practice in London, joyfully teaching people ways to expand their bliss, cultivate mindfulness, and address impediments to their full sexual expression. It is a privilege and an honour to support people in their journeys towards greater embodiment and erotic joy...