Nurturing Female Sexual Wellness: A Journey of Empowerment and Healing
Sexual wellness is a crucial aspect of overall well-being that often goes unaddressed. In a world where sexuality is sometimes shrouded in mystery and misconceptions, Emily King, a somatic sex therapist and bodyworker based in Edinburgh, is breaking barriers and empowering women through her unique approach to therapy. LUVISS spent time chatting to Emily, delving into her inspiring journey, her unconventional methods, and learning how she is making a difference to the lives of women through her workshops and one-on-one sessions.
Getting Started: A Natural Interest in Sexuality
Emily's journey into the realm of sexual wellness began with a natural curiosity about human sexuality. During her academic studies in English Literature, she explored topics such as feminism, gender, and mental health, with her final thesis focusing on female-authored erotica. Following her studies, Emily decided to share some of her writing and research - “Anytime people asked about my research and I responded saying it was about erotica, they had many more questions or demanded to read it!” Intrigued by the response to her writing, Emily started sharing her insights regularly on her blog, "How to Arouse a Feminist."
As she continued her academic journey, delving into international development with a focus on mental health, gender-based violence, and the anthropology of sex and reproduction, Emily's passion for pleasure-based education grew. Her master's research project, advocating for feminist, pleasure-based sex education as a tool to combat violence against women and girls, became the catalyst for her therapeutic path. “I was already working with women who had complex trauma/C-PTSD and could see that there was something missing from their support. All of their options focused on talk-based methods of therapy, which were having little impact. I started researching alternative methods of therapy as I was frustrated - I knew there had to be another option”.
The Root Cause of Empowerment
Through her research, Emily discovered the power of somatic therapy, and after reading testimonials from clients and therapists alike, she knew it was the path she needed to take. Eager to make a difference in women's lives, she enrolled in The School of Conscious Touch and graduated as a somatic sex therapist.
Emily’s "Why": Empowering Women
For Emily, empowering women is a deeply personal mission. She aims to challenge the prevailing power dynamics surrounding women's awareness of their own bodies and sexuality.
“Women deserve so much. Within our culture there is a strange, perhaps subconscious, power dynamic that exists around our awareness of our bodies as women. Growing up I
always felt like men, even boys, knew things about my body and sexuality that I didn’t. They seemed to have access to aspects of my sexuality that I wasn’t granted access to. This sense of not knowing really perpetuates the belief that sexuality doesn’t belong to women, and that’s what I want to change”.
An Unconventional Approach: Somatic Bodywork
Emily's approach to therapy may be unconventional, but its impact is profound. With empathy and care, she engages in somatic bodywork, gently touching vaginas and vulvas in a non-sexual context. Emily explains, “People are always left a bit aghast when they realise that I touch people’s vaginas and vulvas in my bodywork practice. What they seem to find more confusing, however, is the fact that this isn’t sexual or erotic. I explain this by asking people to imagine a gynaecologist, except instead of medical check-ups, they’re emotional.” This form of touch allows clients to release emotions and trauma held within their bodies, promoting healing as well as overall pelvic health.
Clients describe these sessions as transformative, providing a newfound appreciation for their bodies and a sense of care rarely experienced before. “Often in my vulva & vaginal bodywork sessions my clients will cry, smile and laugh. They’ll feel a huge sense of relief at the non-sexual, nurturing context which they realise their body has been craving,” Emily details.
The Workshops: Empowering Women's Circles
Emily's workshops are primarily offered in the form of women's circles. One of her popular workshops, "Pussy Talk," offers an in-depth pleasure-anatomy session followed by a guide to practicing vulva/vaginal massage at home. The workshops foster curiosity, love, excitement, knowledge, and refuge, and attendees leave with newfound confidence and a deeper connection with their bodies.
Success Stories: The Power of Somatic Healing
While progress in somatic healing can be subtle, it is powerful. Emily's clients have reported recalling childhood trauma, processing emotions, and experiencing a sense of safety in their bodies between sessions. “The majority of my clients have said that between sessions they have had a recollection of childhood trauma, but that it wasn’t overwhelming, they simply recalled & let it be. When implicit memories are able to process in this safe way, it brings traumatic events to completion & allows the nervous system to recover, which then contributes to a greater sense of safety in the body.“
Takeaway: Listen to Your Body
One of the key takeaways from Emily's approach is to listen to your body. As Emily explains, “Your body communicates with you on a daily basis through sensations & emotions”. Emily suggests that, by noticing and acknowledging these signals, we can embark on a rewarding journey of self-discovery and healing.
Emily King's journey as a somatic sex therapist and bodyworker is a testament to the transformative power of pleasure-based education and somatic healing. LUVISS loves Emily’s dedication to empowering women, dismantling societal taboos, and creating safe spaces for exploration is an inspiration to all…
… and we asked Emily what she loves about LUVISS too! “I’m going to have to say how it looks. I don’t care if that sounds superficial! Yes the product itself is brilliant & is gentle & kind to my vulva, but the bottle is a turn on. There’s something very sexy about holding a weighted glass bottle in your hand, especially when it’s full of gorgeous lube.”