Inner Personal Thoughts Of A Sexologist

Studying sexology

What the hell made you want to become a sexologist?! I get asked this regularly and it’s a very difficult question to answer simply. As a young women with hopes and dreams for my future, I could never have imagined that I would choose this path. It has been an interesting and fulfilling journey so far, with numerous factors leading to my choice to become somewhat of a “sexpert”.

A sexologist and sexpert
Image: Sexpert

In my former life before becoming a sexologist, I worked as a mental health nurse. Despite sounding vastly different, there are skills I learnt in this job that I will carry with me in my career as a sexologist, in fact skills that are transferable in every area of my life! I entered the mental health field as a new graduate with big desires to help others. People fascinate me and to offer my compassion and kindness to others in times of need felt like the right thing to do. Being a mental health nurse exposed me to an often isolated and somewhat condemned part of humanity, working with so many people who were in the midst of deep crisis. People who were so distressed they felt killing themselves was the only acceptable option. People who were so detached from their bodies and “reality” that they could not function in our world. People from all walks of life, at the extreme ends of a spectrum that we all fall on in one way or another.

Sexologist who talks about sexual problems
Image: Sexologist’s client

Initially, I felt privileged to be in a position where I could be a healing part of these people’s lives. I knew that so many others could not “handle” being around people in acute states of mental crisis so a part of me (ego probably) was proud of myself for stepping into this work. I would hear it all the time that it takes a certain kind of person to work in the mental health field and after experiencing it I know this to be absolutely true. Working in an environment with people in acute stages of mental illness causes you to be in hypervigilant state as a safety precaution. You are constantly watching over your back, on high alert in order to keep clients, staff and yourself safe from harm. This is not something that can be switched off just by walking out the door at the end of the day. We have this idea to “leave it at work” and forget about it when we go home however work is our life is it not? I found an attempt to separate the two led to more harm than good and realised that I wasn’t living authentically or in integrity working in this job.

My dreams for something different kept getting louder and louder. I realised that caring for others should not come at the expense of our own wellbeing or be driven by desires to help others for a sense of external validation. I believe to truly be in service in this world is to do the things that make us feel alive, following our desires towards what lights us up and gets us excited. For me, that had always been sex. Human sexuality has always fascinated me in so many ways. I have always been curious to understand why sex is such a massive part of our lives and not just used purely for procreation. Why are people sexually attracted to one person over another? Why is there an increase in people buying BDSM, kinks and fetish products? How can we be having more fulfilling sex in our lives? And why is there such shame and stigma around something so pleasurable and beautiful? These questions and a host more constantly had me intrigued so working in a field where I could explore sexuality was completely aligned with my passion and values.

Sexologist fixing sexual relationships
Image: Sexologist couples therapy

As well as my passion for learning about sex, I had found myself to be someone who people felt comfortable talking about their intimate lives with. I recall a moment years ago where a woman I knew shared with me a deeply personal story about her sex life with her husband, something she had never shared with anyone else before. Feeling the trust she felt in me to open up this way, I knew that I had something special to offer others. It warms my heart and makes me feel so grateful to be alive when I can create a space for people to feel confident and comfortable with their sexuality. I feel excited and full of joy knowing that the connection I have with my sexuality invites others to feel beautifully connected to their own. It truly is a gift knowing that I can play a part in creating a much needed sex-positive shift in our society, no matter how big or small that part may be. Sexual health has been a far too neglected area of our lives so to do this work is so important. I am new on my career path but hope that the topics I post about and the people who welcome my support in sessions benefit from what I have to offer. It feels like the beginning of an extremely fulfilling and enlivening career path, stay tuned for what’s to come…

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

4 Mysteries Of A Woman’s Mind Decoded

Men, are you desiring more sex and intimacy with your partner? Are you perplexed by how best to pleasure women? Are you confused by a woman’s emotions, wondering what you’re doing “wrong”? I speak to so many men, single and in relationships, who feel at a loss when it comes to being with women.

This is completely understandable because, let’s face it, very few of us are taught how to develop and sustain healthy relationships with the opposite sex. We either mimic what our parents and peers do, hoping what works for them works for us or we look up to examples in the media to show us how to relate to others. Taking this approach, we could end up with a functional relationship if we’re lucky. However, more often than not, it spells disaster in our love lives.

Just like men, women are complex creatures whose behaviour may seem irrational or confusing at times. Even being a woman myself, I am often dumbfounded by the mystery and complexities of the feminine. Hot one moment, cold the next, on top of the world in the morning, ready to rip your head off in the evening. Like the weather, the feminine is unpredictable and ever changing.

Womens needs
Image: What do women want?

The feminine exists in every one of us regardless of gender, with this aspect present to certain extents in every individual. Some women live more in their feminine, while others live more in their masculine. The two exist simultaneously, dancing together in a back and forth play throughout our everyday lives.

I believe understanding what women desire comes down to is understanding the nature of the feminine and what it needs in order to feel safe and supported. There are several points below that, from my own experience are important for men to bring to their relationships in order to feel more connected to the women in their lives.

Get to know your own inner-feminine

The idea that a man embracing his feminine is emasculating could not be further from the truth. The men who have learnt to nurture and embody their inner feminine are some of the most powerful men I know. When we can embody both the masculine and feminine, we go about our lives knowing that we are whole and complete as we are. This eradicates a great deal of projection onto our partners to provide something for us that we believe we cannot give ourselves. Men can have greater understanding of women when they understand their own inner woman.

Feminine features of a man
Image: Inner feminine

Bring presence to your interactions with women

As a woman, there is nothing I appreciate and desire more than a man in full power and presence. Being present simply means when you’re with a woman, actually be with her. Maintaining eye contact, acknowledging what she’s saying, and allowing her to feel you there are just some of the ways to make it known that you are present. Presence makes the feminine feel safe and supported. It is also sexy AF!!

Don’t try to change a woman

Don’t shame her emotions and feelings. Show compassion and understanding for her and what she’s experiencing. When a man shames a woman’s emotions, he’s ultimately denying himself permission to feel those same emotions too.

Man angry at woman
Image: Angry man

Encourage your women to be there for herself so that she’s not dependant on you to be her “knight in shining armour”

This is a tricky one to master as you’re not wanting to disconnect from her or make her feel like you do not care about her. However, by encouraging her to support herself (which may mean her reaching out for support when it’s needed) you’re empowering her to be a sovereign being who has got her own back. Nothing compares to being with a woman who is empowered within herself. She is self-assured, self-loving and feels great to be around. Having trust in her that she can take care of herself will be the best thing for her. It is important to empower women.

Self love
Image: Mirror self love

Men, I encourage you to give yourself permission to be in a place of not knowing. Trying to keep it all together and pretend like you have it all figured out is exhausting to sustain for the long run. When you allow yourself to be in a place of not knowing, you welcome in the possibility of great changes. When you can come to terms with the fact that you don’t know how the hell to please a woman, you open up to learning how. You open yourself to a path of learning how to be a more embodied and loving partner, lover and man.

Any men out there looking to explore what it is to be a greater lover, partner and man should come along to The Masterful Lover workshop in Sydney, Australia in July.

*For simplicities sake, in this article I speak from a heteronormative perspective about women who have a dominant feminine nature and men who have a dominant masculine nature. These concepts can be adapted to any kind of relationship, whether same sex or opposite sex with a masculine woman and feminine man.

Author: Stephanie Curtis. BA Nursing. Grad Dip Sexology

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

5 Self Loving Ways To Warm Up This Winter

Cuddling with a winter lover

Winter is somewhat of a difficult time of year for me. I feel almost selfish discussing this topic knowing that friends in parts of the world such as Sweden and Germany would scoff hearing me complain about 12 degree Celsius days. Nonetheless, once the mercury drops below 20 degrees, I cannot help but turn into a winey, whingey, depressed shadow of a human. So, before I go into a deep dark hole of despair brought on by the cold weather, I feel it is a healthy step to take to focus on the positives of this time of year. Here’s my list of winter pros that I searched high and low to come up with:

Sleep and more specifically sleep next to someone

Sleeping and sleeping next to someone is much more enjoyable in these cold dreary months. Gone are the days of my single life and never have I been more grateful to go to bed with a beautiful man every night as I do now. As you could imagine, sharing your bed with a man in those hot summer months is only good for one thing. Attempting to snuggle and sleep close to one another is a sticky, sweaty nightmare! With the arrival of these cold days, I can’t wait to get close to him if only so my frozen feet defrost. Provided he doesn’t steal the blankets in the middle of the night, winter nights are blissful these days.

Couples sex during winter
Image: Couples sex

More opportunities for sex and intimacy

Times otherwise spent going to the beach and having a beer at the pub are now occupied by snuggling up next to the fire with a glass of red. Romantic right? When the cold draws you away from outdoor activities, see it as an opportunity to get cuddled up in bed, warm up with your favourite sex toys that you haven’t used in a while or whip out the rope with your partner for some bondage next to the fire. Try out some bondage roleplay ideas for the bedroom to. It is sure to heat things up inside and is a sexy way to keep yourself entertained for an afternoon.

Talking about sex and winter
Image: Sex and intimacy

Self-love and inquiry

Winter is a great time to be getting to know yourself by retreating inward. Withdrawing from the world is necessary every once and a while, with quiet time on our own a way of coming back to ourselves. Our busy lifestyles mean that we rarely take an opportunity to check in with ourselves and what matters to us. Winter time is a great time to go inward and give ourselves some much needed tender loving care. Having a bath, getting a massage, journaling, reflecting on our dreams and desires or even just being still are perfect experiences to give ourselves this time of the year.

Better sex with winter food
Image: Winter food

Eating delicious foods

My appetite seems to sky rocket in winter so nourishing myself with warm and scrumptious meals in winter is the ultimate in self-care. My justification of eating a whole heap more in the cold months of the year is that the amount of shivering I do has to burn some extra calories. Am I right?! Some people may see having a larger appetite as a bad thing but I see it as an excuse to stay in and cook myself something incredible to eat. Treat yo’self I say!

Using yoga for better sex
Image: Slowing down with yoga

Slowing the f**k down

Slowing down for me in winter means saying no to social engagements I’m not a hell yes to. It means doing some light stretching or yoga instead of climbing a mountain. Finding a healthy balance for yin and yang energy in my life is important, with winter a very yin time for me. Yin energy is all about the feminine and diving into this can be very healing for the feminine parts of me that I may have neglected in my faster paced, doing masculine energy. We need healthy balance in our lives otherwise our overall health and wellbeing can be affected.

As you may or may not notice, I’m really beginning to dig the bottom of the barrel now for some pros of winter-especially because I’m shivering from the draft and my chocolate has run out. For this reason, the best thing I can come up with for these cold months is to escape!! Winter is a perfect time of year for a tropical getaway to a location where swimming at the beach isn’t a near-death sentence. For years, I did what I could to get myself to Asia or Europe for a holiday just to avoid waking up in a place where my breath can’t be seen fogging out of my mouth and it was fantastic.

Sex in the cold winter seasons
Image: Worldwide winter sex

I’ve almost forgotten what it is like to be in such weather hence my attempts at consoling myself by writing this article. With nothing to do but stick it out, I think I’ll just spend the remainder of winter time snuggled up inside next to the fire, drinking wine, getting tied up and journaling. Doesn’t sound like the worst way to spend two months if you think about it? See you on the other side… who knows you might even buy naughty bondage restraints and ropes this winter!

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

My Celibacy Journey – A Born Again Virgin

Virgin Mary orgasming

Continued from part 2: 3 Incredible People Who Overcame Their Sexual Struggles

I am coming up to 9 weeks of my celibacy journey and felt it was about time I shared another update on how the experience has been for me. I have been experiencing so much emotionally within this journey and with so much happening, it is often difficult to put into words. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster thus far and I expect when it is over and I begin integrating the lessons learnt, it will continue to be a turbulent ride.

The orgasm rollercoaster journey
Image: Orgasm rollercoaster

To recap what my journey has consisted of in the case you didn’t read my previous article, I have gone 9 weeks without penetrative sex and 7 weeks without oral sex, masturbation/mutual masturbation or any kind of genital to genital contact. All this whilst being in a loving and passionate relationship. Prior to this, I can’t recall a time since I discovered my sexuality where I went more than a week without masturbation or sex. 3 more weeks of this and I am finished!

One of the biggest lessons I have received from this experience is that sexuality and sexual energy is not something to take for granted. When we’re in the midst of playing out our unhealthy attachments to sex, we are often blindsided to the fact that sexuality is sacred. Every sensation, each ripple of pleasure through our bodies, every stroke and every thrust is a divine gift. In a typical hard and fast approach to sex, we miss out on all the tiny little parts of it that make up the whole experience. We are not fully present to the whole experience therefore we cannot receive and feel it all completely. I have really felt a strong desire to bring greater respect, presence and honouring of my sexuality to my experiences with myself and others.

Couples celibacy journey
Image: Couples intimate relationship

Reclaiming my Virgin has been a big lesson from this experience

Sounds a bit strange right? Let me explain…I had this incredibly bizarre moment last week of not being able to recall what it is like to have an orgasm or to have intercourse. I have forgotten how sex feels and there was something almost magical about this. I told my partner that I feel like a virgin again and it turns out there was a lot in this once I unpacked it.

We have come to understand Virgin to mean a woman or man who has not had penetrative sexual intercourse however the word took on a different meaning once upon a time. Virgin used to be a word to describe a free, untied and independent woman – A woman whose sexuality was her own. Over time, we have connected Virgin to purity and absence of penetrative sex. We often lose our connection to being a virgin once we have sex however I feel this archetypal energy can be accessed regardless of the presence of a hymen.

Do you remember your first orgasm? That first experience of exquisite bliss that compares to nothing else you’ve ever experienced? How can we come back to the place of experiencing sensuality and sexuality as if it was our first time? How can we claim our sovereignty as an independent and complete person whose sexuality is not anyone else’s but ours? This to me is what reclaiming our Virgin is all about.

Another great lesson I have learnt throughout this journey has been the importance of having a connection on different levels with our intimate partners. As sex has been off the cards with my partner, it has made me look at all the other ways we can feel intimate and connected with each other. This has meant making time for massage and sensual touch which is so important regardless of having sex with each other. It has also meant lots of platonic play and fun, many deep intellectual conversations and also a great deal of time on our own to process the emotions and feelings this journey is bringing up for us both. Sex is SO important for us but it is not the only thing necessary in an intimate relationship.

A celibate journey
Image: Couple being together

Finally and most importantly, I have experienced a sense of who I am without being an outwardly sexual being. There is no avoiding the fact that I love sex and enjoy sexual pleasure in my life however I know that this does not make up all of who I am. Working as sexologist (and in the sex industry in any capacity) there feels enormous pressure to have it all together “sexually speaking”. I have felt the perceived expectations to be having great sex all the time otherwise I have felt like a bit of a fraud. This journey has really highlighted the fact that our sexuality is an evolving and naturally fluctuating aspect of ourselves. There will be peaks of orgasmic bliss accompanied with bouts of low desire and sexual satisfaction. There will be times where we may be called to be celibate and other times where being sexually intimate with multiple people may be serving us best. These fluctuations are completely normal and need to be supported!!

This journey has been incredible in so many ways and I am excited to see what continues to unfold from here. Stay tuned…

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

4 Ways To Fight Old School Sex Views

Sex and anger management

I recently came across a YouTube video of a woman discussing gender fluidity and the controversy of a subgroup of people wearing a different bracelet every day to indicate which gender they identify with that day. The intention behind wearing the bracelet was to let the people in their lives know what gender they should refer to that person and she was debating why this was a bad idea.

Now I honestly couldn’t get into the video as I was distracted by the thought that there are so many people out there quick to make comment on why someone does something they don’t agree with or why a certain way is good or bad. Our culture has become so analytical about the way others live their lives which I believe takes away from the daunting and sometimes painful task of looking at ourselves and why we harbour judgements towards others in the first place. I believe that the amount of negative energy we invest into other people-either in the form of blame, anger, shaming, being jealous of or just being cruel towards-could at times be an attempt at offloading the negativity we put onto ourselves.

Difficult sexual lifestyle discussions
Image: Confrontational discussions

I am realistic enough to know that we cannot make our judgements of others disappear. In fact, being judgmental is a trait that once served humans – It was our ability to judge a situation that kept us alive (e.g. Is that lion walking 100 metres away going to run over and kill me?!).  I do however believe if we are to become more loving and compassionate human beings, it’s important to be aware of the judgements we have in regard to how other people choose to express themselves and know how we can ourselves live in integrity without condemning others for their ways.

How to navigate difficult conversations

I completed a Sexual Attitudes Reassessment intensive week for my Sexology degree which was a process of observing and assessing the judgements, opinions and biases we hold towards ourselves and others in a sexological context. Our lecturer told me something so simple yet so profound that changed my approach to all my interactions with others, especially when discussing controversial topics that trigger emotions. He said instead of telling or lecturing, instead of trying hard to make someone see something another way, instead of condemning them for their beliefs and judgements, approach the interaction with a genuine sense of curiosity. Ask them questions about why they feel a certain way about something. Be curious about getting to know the deeper reason behind their opinions.

Sexual attitudes reassessment
Image: Angry confrontation

It seems so easy but to put this into practice takes a great deal of self-awareness and a commitment to avoid emotional reaction. It’s so easy to project your emotions onto someone when they say something that makes us angry, confused or upset because it’s often the only way we know how to behave. To step away from reacting from that place and to dig deep into where they are coming from makes way for greater connection and greater understanding of others in the world. From this place, we practice empathy and compassion for others.

I want to put this into an example so you can understand this more clearly in context. Imagine you are in a conversation with a new friend about legalising gay marriage in Australia and they say something along the lines of “I don’t think they should be allowed. I just don’t understand gays, it’s not natural.” (I have heard this).

Showing empathy and compassion
Image: Practicing empathy and compassion

Depending on your own beliefs and values, reading this alone is likely to trigger an emotional response. It is easy to get angry or upset with that person if you believe in the right to marry for all people regardless of their sexuality and that any sexual preference is acceptable. Yet how you approach this conversation can mean the difference between that person retreating further into their opinion or changing it to a more accepting and less judgmental opinion. With a sense of curiosity, it may involve asking that person why they think that homosexuality is “not natural” or what it is about homosexual people getting married that they don’t like the idea of.

Often people carry outdated ways of thinking throughout their lives from the conditioning of parents, teachers and governments without giving much thought into what is true for them. (Believe it or not, there used to be ads on television warning young people of homosexuals as they were a danger to young children). Just by asking these questions you may be a catalyst for that person expanding their awareness and changing their opinions.

Integrity and courage quote
Image: Integrity quote

There are some points I feel are important to consider when having a conversation with someone whose opinion you do not agree with:

Ask questions

Questions lead to exploration of oneself and just by asking them, you trigger a curiosity and greater self-awareness for that person

See it as an opportunity to grow not a confrontation

A conversation with someone that has a different opinion than you is a perfect chance to practice compassion, open mindedness and acceptance for others. It doesn’t need to turn into a s**tfight!

Be kind. Understand that you are in no way perfect

Uphold your boundaries and avoid conforming to their way of thinking in order to people please yet be sure to maintain an open mind.

Don’t waste energy trying to change people

People are going to live their lives exactly how they desire, all you can do is stay true to yourself and practise love and compassion for others.

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.