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10 questions the Covid-19 pandemic teaches us to ask that we should always have been asking about our Sexual Health

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When lives are on the line our priorities change and our senses and emotions heighten.

We are asked to take care of the delicate ecosystem that is our own physical body.


A real sexual education?


No-one teaches you how to navigate Tinder, one-night stands ,the fact your rational brain switches off when you get horny or how to tell someone you like that you have Herpes.

Here are 10 questions you might be asking in this Covid-era that you should always have been asking of your sexual partner/s.

1. When did you last get tested?

2. What were the results?

3. Who have you been in contact with since you were last given a clean bill of health?

4. What was their viral health status at the time you interacted with them?

5. Who else had they been in contact with between being tested and being with you?

6. What protection did they use?

7. What type of contact did you have with them and did it involve protection?

8. Who else will it affect if we get together?

9. What does it mean for us ongoing if we connect physically now?

10. What type of contact is safe and ok for us and what are our boundaries?

What do you need to know? Here’s the beginners guide on how to take ownership for your Sexual Heath.

Get to know your partners genitals and sexual history

Trust your body, your desire, your sense of smell and your intuition.

Things people often overlook:

Towards Sexual Health

From Self-criticism and Confusion to Sexual Wellness: Harness your Life-force Energy for Personal Growth and Leadership.

If you have ever taken an interest in who you are as a sexual being and felt confused, you are not alone. Let me explain why this is normal, how you’ve been impacted by the culture we inhabit and how acknowledging the ways your relationship to your sexually got confused and distorted opens a gateway to your personal transformation

Our sexual behaviour is a reflection of our psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing.

We live in an extremely complex and potentially stress-inducing world that serves to over-tax our biological system, take us out of contact with our bodies and constrain us in social structures that are not easily conducive to real intimacy.

We are rarely educated and supported to manage and process our own emotions or trauma. Often the only time we feel mobilised or justified to seek support is when our perceived dysfunctions reach a climax and either result in, or move us towards, the loss of a major attachment relationship. Alternatively the pain of our loneliness or relentless tirade of our self-criticism eventually drives a part of us to seek the possibility of change.

Our sexual behaviour is a reflection of our psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing.

Many of us are led to believe something is wrong with us because we’re not holding down a relationship, not having or wanting sex, having too much sex, or with the wrong people. Perhaps the type of sex we’re having is not good enough, or frequent enough, or parts of our body aren’t complying with what other parts of ourselves or others are desiring. Others of us turn a blind eye to even thinking about sex and detach from the painful reality that this critical component of our wellbeing is missing.

I’m not suggesting that we all need to be sexually active, with other people, on a regular basis to be well. I am suggesting that we take our sexual behaviour seriously as an indicator of our overall wellbeing and state of psychological integration.

“I am suggesting that a life disconnected from your own sexuality and from the application and expression of your own creative life-force energy is a life that holds you back from fulfilling your potential for a meaningful contribution of your personal and unique gifts in the world”

This article is written with the intention that you might understand a little more the way your sexual system could be operating and use that to inform decisions about your life and who it is you want to become.

It is my hope that by more frank and open conversations about sexuality we might re-educate ourselves on the critical topics of sexual and interpersonal development and more of us might feel empowered to integrate this vital life-force into ourselves and into the co-creation of sustainability outcomes and solutions for our planet, natural environment and social systems.

An introduction to multiplicity of mind: Understanding the Psyche and Eros Energy

What if I told you that all your feelings, compulsions, fantasies, avoidances, enthusiasm, curiosities and frustrations about sex are a response to your environment, your upbringing, your culture and family of origin and your uniquely perfected personal survival strategy for life?

Contrary to the popular belief that each of us is a single, consistently acting personality, and towards, but different to, many Spiritual traditions which recognise the non-dual nature of our existence and the existence of a Central God-Self around which the ego cheekily tries to get in the way, I’d like to present a different perspective. This perspective is taken from the work of Richard C Schwartz, founder of the evidence-based therapy known as “Internal Family Systems” which is finally gaining the traction and awareness it deserves in this challenged world.

Find out more about IFS here: Internal Family Systems Institute

The Internal Family Systems perspective offers that each person/psyche is made up of multiple “parts” vying for control of the person (organism), in a semi-organised way , in response to the needs of the organism and its internal and external environment.

In a perfect world, each of these parts would perform certain essential social and physical functions for the individual in their life: different parts coming on line at different ages. The management of the whole system is guided by a loving and ever present “Self”, our individuated aspect of the greater spiritual “god-Self” that has incarnated through our unique physical body.

In reality, parts pick up “burdens” from life experiences, childhood developmental trauma, adult trauma or the ancestral line, that distort the healthy functioning of the individual. Burdened parts organise themselves to protect or hide vulnerable or unwanted parts of the personality (“exiles”), keeping them at bay with functional managerial aspects of the personality (“managers”) that seek to control the individual or those around them to prevent exposure of these vulnerable or unwanted parts to the outside world. When this control system fails and the exiled parts seek to emerge, more extreme aspects of the personality (“fire-fighters”) run in to numb or soothe or dissociate from the feelings, with little regard for the health of the individual or its relationships to others.

This distorted organisation creates a hierarchy of command where an individual experiences being at the whim of any number of parts of the system, all of which are frozen in time at an age younger than the individuals real age, and who carry extreme beliefs or emotions that cloud the lens of current reality. These parts then command control of the system, body and behaviours without any conscious awareness of the person they are commanding.

Most of us are living our lives day to day, organised and run by hard-working and often scared child aspects of ourselves who are trying to keep us safe in the best ways they know how.

You can imagine the implications of this for our relationships and our sexual expression!

What’s also important to understand is that each of our parts carries life-force energy (EROS) and is a vital part of a whole and complete system. When we are operating in consciousness, holistically, under the management of “Self”, we have access to lots of EROS energy, creativity, confidence, clarity and the capacity for connection. We can easily navigate the river of life with grace and courage in our choices.

However when we are fragmented, dissociated and split off from access to this internal source of leadership we are also unable to access this energy. The container for our life-force is leaky; lots of energy is spent suppressing vulnerable parts or repairing the damage from out of control fire-fighters. Manager work tireless to hold things together and we seek energy from others or give it away to others freely in exchange for feeling safe under their care and leadership.

A whole life can be lived on the drama of emotions and the games played out unconsciously in this internal world, and in relation to the internal world of others, without ever tapping into the true essence of your “Self” and its potential.

When we take care of our own systems we feel energised, creative, expressive, playful, calm, patient, and we might find an abundance of Eros energy seeking mobilisation, either towards creative projects and solutions or towards building connection and harmony with others and the natural world.

Why are we having Sex in the first place?

Aside from the obvious biological imperatives for procreation, Sex in our modern society serves a number of other key functions:

Sex is a way of feeling and expressing our POWER in a world where power often resides in the hands of the few.

Sex is a critical part of BONDING and ATTACHING in a key relationship, to a provider, or co-parent of a child, or to a person that supports our capacity to survive and thrive in the world, as well as expressing Love.

Sex gets us back in our BODIES and provides PLEASURE and PAIN RELIEF from the hormones and neurotransmitters released during physical touch and especially orgasm.

Sex MOVES ENERGY, mobilising our life-force and creativity, enabling processing of previously stuck emotions and supporting us to feel ourselves and our partners more deeply (when approached with consciousness and the avoidance of recreational drugs and alcohol).

Expressing our life-force through contact with our sexuality, whether in the act of sex or simply tapping into our erotic current whilst in nature or immersed in a piece of art or music, gets things moving, gets us back in our bodies, in present time and in connection with all of life and who we really are.

Understanding how different “Parts” of us can “Organise” around our Sexuality.

It’s important to realise that at our core “Self” we are inherently creative and available to connect with others, in the different ways that that expresses, and I’ll talk in the next sections a little about how our cultural environment and legacies distort our self perception. In addition, trauma and conditioning often result in further dissociation and force our parts to “hijack” aspects of our natural sexual expression for their own purposes.

Parts of our personality are driven by meeting our needs and keeping us safe, whether that’s in maintaining our relationships, holding down our jobs, taking care of our bodies or protecting ourselves from perceived threats in the outside world. Their intention is always positive, even if their behaviour is confusing, conflicting, or antisocial.

There are many parts of our personality that can mobilise or disconnect us from our sexual energy or sexual urges or ideas in perceived support of our survival.

For example, a part of us might intellectualise that it’s been a long time since we’ve had sex with a spouse and that it would be good practise to engage sexually to show them we care about them so thing keep running smoothly.

A part of us might tell us we want to have a casual, edgy sexual experience with someone we see sunbathing topless in the park, catalysing lusty fantasies of seducing strangers and feeling powerful or worthy of someone’s time and attention at a time when we, ourselves, are feeling isolated and disempowered.

Another part compulsively turns our attention to pornography in avoidance of the deep feelings of shame, and fears of rejection that arise when we consider sharing ourselves sexually with another person.

We might never feel sexual and instead find ourselves increasingly distracted by this project or that thing that needs doing as our system works hard to distract us from dangerous sexual feelings that have previously resulted in our emotional or physical pain or violation, keeping human intimacy at safe distance and preferring the company of real animals or other people in denial of their inherent animal urges.

Parts could be seducing, independent, loyal, pleasure-seeking, pain seeking, power-seeking, nurturing, objectivising, addictive, needy, loving, masochistic, accommodating or bullying, and they are all motivated by the same drive to survive.

No matter how they express and what their actual impact is in our lives they are ultimately attempting to meet our conscious and unconscious needs best in the ways they know how.

When sexual feelings are mobilised they are often powerful and even sometimes overwhelming, and quickly highlight lack of integration and balance in our system.

When one part gets its needs met by taking control of the system, rather than allowing “Self” to lead the system in a conscious way, the other parts react and respond to how that impacts their experience of the world, and they might have quite a different perspective.

We can end up feeling in internal conflict or disharmony, or find ourselves in disharmony with the outside world and in our relationships as a result of our behaviours.

Cultural Implications on Sexuality

Society has distorted our relationship with sex to the point where it’s quite normal to experience strong and conflicting impulses inside ourselves, in response to strong and conflicting messages from the outside world. There is also often little or no safe space to discuss these inner conflicts, especially when they impact relationships with our loved ones or risk our sense of security or belonging in a key community. Even many therapists are so engrained in the same cultural hang-ups that their capacity to offer safe space for integration of sexuality-affecting parts becomes constrained and contorted.

Sexuality gets pushed deeper and deeper underground, people hide away more and more of their true essence, counter-culture groups identified around sexuality and gender issues emerge to create safe havens for healing and personal expression and our society becomes increasingly polarised around what’s “right” and “wrong”, “morally acceptable” or ”socially repugnant”.

We add layer upon layer of shame and fear in each subsequent generation as we continue to perpetuate the myths that our essential nature is dangerous and abhorrent and needs to be more deeply and tightly controlled.

Some of us work to take these layers off, whilst others push away those who dare to embody parts that express sexuality in the ways that we are yet unable to accept and integrate in ourselves.

I’d like us to start to work together to unwind legacy and cultural burdens around sexuality and begin to liberate ourselves into our full potential so we can take this vital energy and re-orient it towards the systems changes our world so desperately needs.

The Burdens of Materialism, Patriarchy, and Individualism.

Richard Schwartz in the recent book “Internal Family Systems, Second Addition” identified 4 major cultural burdens in the United States of America. Patriarchy, Individualism, Materialism and Racism. Although there are nuances to the American experience as a result of its history of occupational establishment, many of these burdens are also familiar and playing out across a number of other major Western Cultures, including in the UK and beyond. We will look at a few of these here, and I’m leaving our Racism, not because it’s not important, and because as a white-middle class woman in the UK it’s been less apparent in my personal story and I feel less able to speak to it and do it any justice.


A materialistic culture monetises everything, including the value of sexuality and sexual energy, and in so doing, turns the female body, from a sacred vessel for the creation of life, to a purchasable object for sexual gratification. It also places male value firmly in their capacity to acquire wealth, money and power and in their capacity to therefore acquire the best women, bypassing a support system for their vulnerability, emotionality and right to deep, intimate and loving connection with others.

We become obsessed with our bodies and how we look, whilst being unable to feel them. We sit for hours and days at desks or focussing on our digital devices, with all our energy concentrated in our heads and none in our Pelvis. We loose our capacity to sense and intuit, valuing thinking over feeling and orienting too large a proportion of our time and energy to navigating the complexities of the outside world and data/information/choice overloads, whilst simultaneously loosing the connection to our inner and natural landscapes: promoting disease, mental health degradation and environmental harm. Stress impacts our bodies and our sexuality and we tend towards shut down and avoidance, or addiction for self-soothing and pain relief.


A Patriarchal culture requires both sexism and misogyny, in order to sustain itself. Cornell Philosophy Professor Kate Manne argues, in a recent interview on Vos on the 7th March this year, that “one way of looking it is as that we have these patriarchal social structures, bastions of male privilege where a dominant man might feel entitled to (and often receive) feminine care and attention from women. I think of misogyny and sexism as working hand in hand to uphold those social relations. Sexism is an ideology that says, “These arrangements just make sense. Women are just more caring, or nurturing, or empathetic“, which is only true if you prime people by getting them to identify with their gender. So sexism is the ideology that supports patriarchal social relations, but misogyny enforces it when there’s a threat of that system going away”

We enforce monogamy with social norms, fail to educate sexual awareness and health management regimes that facilitate alternative and more fluid sexual relational structures and accept that our preferred structure comes hand in hand with infidelity, prolific inherent rates of STI infection, divorce and a lack of personal ownership for one’s relationship to ones’ own life force. (Please note I am not advocating any life choice as better than any other, simply highlighting that a “one size fits all” strategy, doesn’t fit everyone and that monogamy, whilst looking like a cultural choice that empowers women, is actually one that actually disempowers women in favour of ensuring all men, including those with less power, still have access to females. Find out more about this controversial viewpoint in this video, courtesy of WomenLovePower founder Ayesha K. Faines: Why Monogamy is for broke men (Youtube)


An individualistic culture can create unrealistic expectations and broken families, destroy social support structures and leave people isolated and expecting that life should be manageable on their own, when we are in fact designed to operative collectively and collaboratively.

It’s a natural arising in time where there are too many people and land, food and resources become stretched. The drive for increased personal power is a natural drive for survival and it comes at a cost to our capacity to share and to belong.

The “every man for himself” approach to life, especially when combined with strong drives for personal and economic growth” acts to destroy landscapes, dominate nature and permeate the lives of many with deep feelings of shame and inadequacy as they fail to reach the riches and status held by the few.

Dr Lissa Rankin, in her 2016 TEDx Fargo Talk (Watch here) drew attention to loneliness as the Number 1 Public Health Issue Doctors aren’t talking about. Loneliness is a pervasive issue in our society with far reaching health consequences, and perpetuated by the Cultural Burden of Individualism

By shaming the feminine side of ourselves that connects and works as a social creature, in favour of the masculine drive to provide and separate, we loose the skills essential for relational intimacy and then often fail to raise our children in the safe, loving connected, multi-gendered, multi-generational environments that support healthy integration of life-force energy and sexuality, which really starts to come on line for most children at around age 5, after a healthy developmental and individuation process preceding that.

How our culture contorts gendered sexual expression

We breed a culture of women who give themselves away sexually, undervalue themselves, over accommodate others at risk to their own physical health and psychological wellbeing, shut off their life-force energy, shame other women who, against the grain, manage to stay connected, and masculinise and desensitise their own bodies in order to stay safe and navigate an atmosphere that is literally toxic to their inherent nature.

Eating disorders and body dysmorphia are an epidemic. Medium levels of Anxiety and depression are considered a social norm. Diseases of excessive caregiving; cancers, arthritis, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, diabetes, become a standard for many women from middle age onwards.

Far too few women can be present in their bodies sufficiently to truly enjoy sex and orgasm and sexuality is a topic with the potential to flood the body with shame and cause dissociation in survivors of trauma, religious upbringings or co-dependent relationships. 

We breed a culture of men who struggle to feel and emote, who intellectualise themselves out of their bodies, whose potent sexual drives get suppressed and made-wrong until they explode out sideways, thus proving the fearful projections accurate, or who live in fear and contraction, who relate more easily to digital devices and pornography than to real women, whose bodies fail to function sexually due to stress and performance pressures and who are expected to know what to do with a woman’s body when she doesn’t even know what to do with it herself.

Suicide rates are high for young men and our men are dying of heart-attacks decades too young after a life-time of being cutting off from their vulnerability. Stress-induced illness is high. Levels of emotional intelligence are concerningly low and sex often happens through biologically driven imperatives between the brain and the penis with little engagement with the rest of the body and those parts the with capacity for real intimacy and connection. And of course I’m generalising.

Neither gender is taught to communicate with each other about the challenges arising due to the cultural distortions that are impacting our sexual experience and identity.

Either gender is prone to numbing with alcohol, recreational drugs, smoking, over-working, over-exercising, over eating, binge tv-watching, sex addiction, shopping, the list goes on.

We also do little to nothing to support those individuals who chose to step outside culture norms and drop traditional gender or sexual identities in an attempt to experience themselves as greater than the norms and identities enforced upon them. We become scared of those who question what we don’t question.

So how do we step into greater consciousness with our Relationship to our Sexuality?

Cultivating the path to Self leadership, that ultimately provides you the opportunity to break out of a sexual self experience and self perception filled with shame, confusion and potential a shut-down of the potency your own life-force, is a multi-pronged approach. I suggest below a few suggestions to start you on the path, knowing can trust yourself to follow any threads that speak directly to you.

  1. Start paying more attention to multiplicity in your Sexual experiences: Allow yourself to begin to separate yourself from your sexual experience and track the parts of yourself that are playing out. Who is initiating or responding, who is involved in creating the experience, who is having a good time and who isn’t, who is feeling what afterwards, who isn’t getting heard, who is holding back. Start to experience yourself as multiple and get curious about your own system. Do you feel integrated? What’s working and not working for you in your capacity to express fully through your body. Can you even allow yourself that that could be possible? What would that look like?
  2. Start listening to the quieter voices: Pick one or more parts of yourself that you notice, even a “1-liner” self-critical voice or part that says “I didn’t like that” that gets ignored and take a moment to sit down with them and give them a little more space to tell you about their experience or what they are afraid might happen if they didn’t speak up or act in the way they do. Approach with gentleness and curiosity only, never a desire to change or get rid of a part or it won’t open up to you. Remember its intentions are good, even if its behaviour is unhelpful. Get to know it. Update it on your current age. Build relationship. Understand what it needs. Give space to feel and work through your suppressed emotions and get support or educate yourself if you don’t know how to do that. IFS therapy (below) is a great step).
  3. Get Therapeutic Support: If you step into the path of personal sexual development and are committed to growing your potential and/or improving your sexual experience then make sure you are not doing it alone. Relational ruptures cause our self-dissociation and relationships support our repair. It’s very hard to fix what we’ve been denying in ourselves by ourselves in the early stages of healing. A good IFS therapist (AIT is also great) will support you to build a relationship with yourself that facilitates healing and more long term resilience and self-sufficiency, which you’ll need on your path to greatness and self acceptance.
  4. Pick the Right Partner: Be really discerning who you are having sex with and why. Sex builds attachment and attaching to someone who continually re-triggers your trauma or locks you into old relational patterns will not serve you. Look for someone who is available, responsive and emotionally attuned to you before committing. Know that when you have sex you’ll be under an Oxytocin high for several days which will have you not thinking straight about that person, and know that when you ejaculate or orgasm during sex you’re sharing and exchanging subtle body energy like thoughts and feelings and it will be harder to differentiate yourself from the other. Take care of yourself and sexually partner with people who care about you and who have proven trust, wherever possible. If you are finding yourself really struggling and in inner conflict with some part of your life it’s possible you’ve denied a part of you that wants to be seen and integrated and it’s important to discover if the relationships you’ve chosen for yourself can support that part of you when it returns. Sometimes we chose relationships that keep parts of us safely locked away. Be aware the implications of looking inwards on the relational structures we’ve built our lives around.

Where next?

Patricia Rich, Internal Family Systems (IFS) Trainer and Therapist describes Self-led sex as Spacious, Savouring, Sensual, Satisfying, Sensitive and Safe, and in my experience the more of this type of sex is experienced the more vulnerable parts come up to be seen and an inner dance of self leadership and growth unfolds.

I’ve still got a long personal journey with really deepening my understanding of Self-led sex and the potential for personal transformation and there may be many others out there who understand this much better than I do.

For now what I find really important is that we’re having conversations about these topics and taking the time to prioritise ourselves and our bodies and our sexual experiences as a vessel for transforming our culture and how we relate to the world.

Understanding the art form of how to pace the unfolding depth of intimacy and creativity possible in our lives and unpicking who we’ve been told we ought to be requires deep work, time, attention and lots of emotional and relational processing as we build resilience and inner harmony

Where the balance point lies where we can fully embrace our parts, including those that are still burdened and wounded whilst stepping into a full and expansive expression of ourselves in our lives I am still to feel fully in my body and look forward to the visceral experience of that level of embodied integration one day on this path.

In the meantime, I’m not advocating a large counter-culture movement around sexual liberation like we saw in the 60’s. Rebellion isn’t integration.

I am advocating self awareness, personal development, self compassion and the openness to the possibility that we can create massive change in the outside world by simple and profound changes in our internal energetic systems that serve to unlock our potential, our creativity, our capacity for sexual mobilisation, interpersonal connection and personal power.

I invite you to fall in love with all parts of yourself and come together to realise yourself as the change-maker that you are. 

With Care and Respect to all parts of you, those on the surface and those yet to be discovered

Emma K Harper


I am passionate about Healthy Sexual Expression, as a critical component of good overall health.

As an IFS informed Sex Educator, Psychosexual Somatics® Therapist and Sexual Empowerment Coach, I am a strong advocate for open and transparent conversations about sex. My work is to support conscious, sexual adults to re-educate themselves about sex and take their sexual and interpersonal development to the next level. Sexual aspects of ourselves become split off or blocked by shame and fear due to the nature of our culture or personal trauma and I champion the creation of spaces which support reintegration of these critical aspects of ourselves for a more connected life.

Learning healthier ways of intimate relating supports deeper inter and intra personal connection and safer sex for everyone. For a trauma-informed approach to healthy sexual relating, Discover your Sexuality, Integrity, Freedom at





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5 things I learned about Sexual Empowerment by going to a Sex Party

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Picture the scene, it’s around 11pm on a Wednesday evening at a swanky Caberet club in London, the show comes to a close and the Killing Kittens MC announces that phase 2 of the evenings activities will commence; “The playroom can be found to the left of the bar and everybody please enjoy your evening, and each other”, or something to that effect.

This isn’t my first Sex Club experience.

My first was in San Francisco in the Spring of 2016 when I impulsively followed through on an invitation from coach-surfing host I was staying with to accompany him, as a friend and wing woman, to an underground club in the city where the swingers hung out. He’d been before and had had a great time and he needed a woman on his arm to get in the door. He was happy to foot the entrance fee.

I was excited, and terrified. I felt like a rebel adventurer, braving new territories and leading myself forward into deeper sexual liberation. As a single, sexually unsatisfied woman, the idea of meeting a handsome stranger and having a “no strings attached” rendezvous felt empowering and enticing. I had visions of 3 men all showering me with sexual attention at the same time, a hot kiss with a beautiful woman, perhaps my first threesome with another couple.

After making my chaperone swear in front the entire household that he wouldn’t hit on me and that we could leave if I felt uncomfortable, even after being there just 5 mins, I put on my black dress and red lipstick, popped some condoms in my purse and stepped out into the unknown.

The evening was an utter disaster. I was fresh meat in a sausage factory. Hit on left, right and centre by unattractive, overly forward men who seemed quite disinterested in getting to know me or who I was as a person. I started to become quite scared. I needed more time and space to take things in and feel into my body. I initially took solace with a couple of older, motherly-looking women who took me under their wings to calm me, before promptly propositioning me for 4-way sex with their mutual playmate, who was apparently quite the star of the swingers scene locally, well endowed and in his 60’s. They even invited me to come and stay with them and attend the sex parties they held for the local swingers community. I felt scared, confused and objectivised.

Once I regained composure, and said a polite “no” I went to find my Chaperone to ask to leave. Instead of taking me home, having not had much success with the ladies, he hit on me relentlessly, and eventually almost forced me to accompany him into the sex room so he could masturbate watching others have sex before he would allow me leave.

I walked into the sex room, in my underwear (as was the maximum allowable clothing in that space) felt the eyes of 100 sexually hungry men and women on me, panicked, then promptly regained my self-respect and left.

I hid at the bar with a couple of nice and new-to-sex-parties, equally confused psychologists for the rest of the evening, watching a human caterpillar of people having sex and performing BDSM acts on each other in the bar, suppressing my terror by overeating the free snacks and desperately pleeing internally and externally that this couple wouldn’t also suddenly hit on me before my Chaperone finished his self-pleasure/voyeurism and felt ready to take me home. They didn’t. Phew.

You might be surprised that I attempted another sex party in London last month after this experience, and somewhat so was I. However I was calmed and soothed by the “women lead” policy at Killing Kittens* that ensures that only women could do the propositioning. That felt inherently safer. The clientele were vetted, and above all, this was an organisation I’d been invited to teach for (in their sex educational arm) and so it felt appropriate to better understand my audience.

*Killing Kittens is a Sex Positive Organisation set-up to support emerging women’s sexual empowerment through managed experiential events, adult education (for men and women) and social forums for making friends and connections.

Here began Sex Party take 2!

Rather than narrate my experience, I’ll get straight to the point of what I learned from this much safer, classier experience in adult play space.

1. Sex Parties aren’t really about sex: they are about play, development and personal expression.

There are few spaces these days where you can go and play as a grow up. Gone are the days of throwing off our shoes and dancing in the mud for all but the most liberated of us. Most avenues for personal development are confined to reading materials, therapy sessions, workshops or courses and, although we can take our partners to tango on a Wednesday night, there are few spaces where one can go to explore how it feels to make love in public, to feel into the complexities of sharing ones partner with another, or simply to explore, as a single women, what it’s like to boldly own one’s sexuality in a room of friends and strangers.

For me, there was nothing arousing about being in a space of couples, triplets and strangers enjoying each other’s genitals as a post dinner snack or place to grind against for light relief. I wasn’t overcome by the same desire for exhibitionism or the merging of energies with a mysterious hot older man or pin-up couple. However I was touched and moved at the child-like wonder in the eyes of the adults in the space, by the supportive and nurturing connections occurring between the women in the ladies toilets and the looks of delight, lust and genuine care between exploring partners.

The experience opened my mind to the possibilities of Sex parties, held in safe environments, as spaces to rediscover some of the adolescent curiosity lost in a world where social and financial survival requires us to grow up and get serious really fast.

2. In our culture, we’ve split off and kept hidden our sexuality from other aspects of our social lives and this perpetuates a culture of shame around our sexuality.

It was fascinating to me to see how strangely normal and un-triggering it was for me to see couples and strangers connecting sexually over a dining table. Looking around the space some people were drinking, some were dancing, some were chatting and laughing and some were fucking.

There was a way in which it felt quite integrative to have sexual acts occurring in the same space as normal adult activities without it being made a big deal or making anyone uncomfortable. It reminded me somewhat or a scene from a 13th Century pub with men drinking, musicians playing and buxom working girls entertaining their clients at the table to earn a few pence to buy bread for their children and having a rather good time in the process. Not that the women at Killing Kittens were prostitutes, they 20, 30, 40, 50 some-things dressed to impress and having an adventurous and growthful night out with their girlfriends, partners or fuck buddies.

I’d like to make clear at this point that I’m not advocating going down on your partner at the next dinner party you go to, or even bringing up the topic of going to a sex party with your friends, I’m not even advocating going to a sex party and I’m not sure I’d go again simply as there are other ways I prefer to spend my time, however I can’t help but open myself to some sadness that such a thing as simply as social sexual play has been made so very wrong and is kept so very secret and behind closed doors.

It’s no wonder sex has gone so far off the rails for many men and women, with everyone trying to work out what to do, on their own, inspired only by pornography and a few dirty stories they got told when then were 15, or that first lover who “showed them the ropes” and potentially trapped them forever after into thinking that defined sex.

Sex is normal. Healthy adults do it, healthy kids explore feelings of pleasure and sensations in their bodies and the world might be a better place if we weren’t all so scared of that fact.

3. You can be beautiful and still be very insecure. Sexual confidence comes from the inside

One thing I had been concerned about was the attractiveness vetting at Killing Kittens Parties. It felt both reassuring to one part of me and judgemental and unkind to another. However, what I found on the day was a good mixture of normal people, slim, attractive, toned, overweight, curvy, tall, short, exotic, unattractive, they were all there. They were also all kind and respectful of everyone else’s boundaries. In fact the only time I had a small freeze response and chose to move away from someone was after I sat a bit too close to an outgoing and vibrant women who perhaps mistook my proximity for a come-on (rather than lack of table space) and got a little vocally and touch friendlier that I was ready for at the start of the evening. I sat a little further away and she immediately respected my distancing and left me alone.

Sat watching the Cabaret show I couldn’t help but ogle the men and women passing to use the toilets or go to the bar. It was like Tinder live and a hook for that part of me that likes to people-watch and play “who do I actually find attractive and why”. Interesting, I found the women much more attractive than the men and was very impressed at the outfits they had pulled together and the ways they were presenting themselves.

What was then fascinating to me, later in the ladies toilets, was to see how many of these beautiful, vibrant women, despite their brave facades and adventurous natures, were actually a ball of insecurity about their appearances once they left the limelight of the club lights and got into the safety of other women looking in mirrors and also wondering if their fishnet tights left a roll of unwanted hip fat on display.

It was something that has been very apparent to me in various stages of my own development that at my most insecure I was the most traditionally and outwardly perfect, and that my most stunningly perfect and beautiful friends were the ones who liked themselves the least. Back in the days when you wouldn’t find me without my make-up, hair extensions, false eyelashes and high heels, within me swirled a vortex of self-disgust. Nowadays you’ll be lucky if I’ve brushed my hair and I’m carrying around 1 stone more than I’d ever had thought was socially acceptable and yet I’ve never before been able to hold and work with so much sexual charge in my body with such self confidence and pleasure.

The biggest step for me from moving to average sex to really good sex has been about coming back into my body and into love with myself

It was somehow reassuring to me to be with these brave and beautiful women, and to know they still carried the same insecurities about their appearance that I had, and that they, and I, looked fabulous, even with (especially with) a roll of soft and juicy feminine hip fat.

4. Sexually Empowered women don’t need to express their sexuality through the sexual act.

The most inspiring moments for me of the whole evening had nothing to do with the sex party. No sexual acts witnessed left me moved to tears, no overheard moans of pleasure left me longing for connection, even watching the guy having the threesome take really good care of his and his partners’ sexual health with the most rapid condom changes and partner swapping I’ve ever witnessed, didn’t send me into a frenzy of applause (although seriously! Good job that guy!)

What was most moving to me were the Cabaret entertainers. Aerial dancers, performance artists and Jazz singers, the stage was lit up with powerful women, deeply in their bodies and personal sexual expression. They were strong, muscular, agile, flexible, bold and self-assured. Nothing showy, just raw self connection and expression of their natural and hard earned talents. I was in awe. I want to be THOSE women.

For me attending a sex party didn’t inspire me to have more sex, it inspired me to want to own my existing sexual/creative power (Eros) and express myself more.

I wondered if, to be a sexuality teacher and professional, I ought to be open to Sex Club Sex, Kink, Polyamory, or having eyebrow orgasms every time I brush my fringe out my eyes. Instead I realised I’m precisely on the right path by being more and more my true self. I’m happier cheerleading on the women in the bathrooms and explaining women’s sexual empowerment to the bouncer on the door of the playroom than I m having a quickly with a hot guy in a suit jacket and no pants.

May I one day be that women who loves my body enough to let it sing and dance freely, on a stage (physical or metaphorical) in a way that inspires other people to let their light really shine.

5. Running around in lingerie is a great way to remember yourself as a sexual being.

I am not one for underwear. In fact having spent several years on a deeply spiritual path trying not to become a full time hippie or naked woodland elf and to keep my feet on the ground, underwear has rather become a thing of the past. As has trying to look nice for other people, fashion, or any kind of hair styling other than my infamous “straight off the beach” look.

That said, donning my friends sexy black lingerie, thigh high boots, a kimono and too much make up (ok forget the latter part that didn’t work for my sense of feeling like myself, although did provide a good protective mask), I felt really bloody sexy. And the sexiness was all mine.

Going to the sex party, looking this hot, and knowing I didn’t need to give it away to anyone but myself, I got to really enjoy myself that evening. I was stroking the softness of my own skin and fabrics, running around without my Kimono and enjoy the looks and appreciation from men and women watching me strutting past in my sexual confidence. I think at one point I even danced around topless for a bit and pole danced against a structural pillar in pure enjoyment of being freely in my own body in a public place.

The only time I normally get this sensation is with a lover or partner, or in the baths at Esalen, California, the moonlight or sunlight bathing my naked skin in the warm waters. It’s liberating to be sexually alive in public.

It’s even inspired me to go and buy some lingerie of my own, for myself, to enjoy myself in on a special romantic “me-time” evening.

Sexuality, after all, isn’t about sex. It’s about the erotic charge that pulses through our body, transforming every cell of our being with pleasure and purpose. It’s easy to experience through good partner sex and that’s just one of a myriad of ways we get to explore who we really are.

So would I recommend you to go to a Sex Party?

I am now a teacher for Killing Kittens and I am a pioneer in women’s sexual empowerment. I am not an advocate for Sex Parties. Attending one needs to be taken seriously

As a single or partnered woman it could be fun to go with a friend with clear boundaries for yourselves and a moderation of alcohol consumption for personal safety and integrity.

For a couple, go if you feel up for it, really solid together, are good communicators and able to discuss all potential eventualities; agreeing boundaries and ways to self-regulate in advance of stepping into the highly charged environment. Having an intention for the experience is also always helpful, as is sobriety.

For single men, if you want to go with a friend, great, just make sure you honour her boundaries and safety, and your own, use protection if you find yourself engaging and please go with an intention of exploration and with a curious nature; without any agenda or expectations that might lead you to lead with your penis, rather than your heart, and accidently scare any women with a past history of trauma, like me.

Would I go again? Who knows. I think I’d be happier just lounging or dancing around at home in my new lingerie.

If you are a women interested in developing your sexual expression and allowing your sexuality in as a healthy, integrated part of your life, please find me at for Psychosexual Somatics Therapy

Join my mailing list here for details of upcoming events and programmes such as my Killing Kittens workshop: Sex with strangers, navigating sex and dating

or please sign up for my 6 Month Women’s Sexual Expression Programme.

With Love


Emma K Harper

Psychosexual Somatics® Therapist, Speaker, Teacher, Writer, Dancer, Musician.

Discover Your Sexuality, Integrity, Freedom @

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