“How did you get to be a sex coach?!” is a question I hear a lot. I prefer ‘erotic emowerment coach’, but that tends to get blank looks at first, so I’ve learnt to lead with the attention-grabbing ‘sex coach’. When I begin my reply with, “well, I was a striptease artist for 12 years…” a whole lot of fresh questions get asked! Let me explain how it happened.
Back in the early Noughties I was working as a fashion journalist in London, when I saw an advert for the new London School Of Striptease. I’d had a fantasy of being a stripper since I’d been little (I don’t know how I had learnt what a stripper was; maybe a combination of scenes from James Bond films), so signed up for lessons, not realising how drastically my life was about to change…
I’d always been shy – the kind of girl who would not change in a communal changing room – but found I loved stripping and had a talent for it. Those early classes led me to a 12-year career as a stripper, performing in and around London, running events, modelling, and teaching. I used my media experience to write about the industry, busting the myth that strippers were all desperate abused women with no other options. I had found myself instead surrounded by the strongest and most inspiring women I had ever met.
Early on, I was nominated in the Stripper Of The Year category at the Erotic Awards, an event raising money and awareness for Outsiders, a charity dedicated to the erotic rights of people with disabilities. That was the start of my involvement in this cause which eventually led to me winning an Award recognising my years of campaigning, volunteering and fundraising.
I was struck how dancing for someone with a disability felt no different to dancing for anyone else. I’d connect with their inner erotic spirit, invite it out to play, and we’d create a beautiful energetic exchange between us. It was the same in relation to age – the erotic spirit of a frail 80 year old could be just as strong, vibrant and fun to engage with as that of an athletic 20-something. Gender also didn’t seem rigid – as a cis hetro woman, I could dance for someone who also identified as such, yet we could have a wonderful erotic experience.
In these interactions, both I and my audience were uplifted and enriched. It wasn’t a power game, it wasn’t exploitative, it wasn’t damaging – it felt nourishing for the soul. Across all my audience types, erotic spirit seemed to be something different to their outward personality… Someone quiet and deferential may be dominant and fiery in their erotic self, someone strongly conventional may be very alternative. I experienced the wonderful diversity of human erotic spirit.
I phased out of the industry when I met my soulmate, leaving the city to be with him, moving to a tiny village and becoming a stepmum. My focus became creating a happy stepfamily and I set up business as a fitness trainer. But once my stepkids had left home, I allowed myself to feel how I wasn’t fulfilled by this work as I had been with dancing. I felt drawn to life coaching and studied for a diploma in Transformational Coaching.
The decision to make sex and eroticism my niche came about thanks to an acquaintance asking me to coach her around her sex life. “I can’t think of anyone else I would be comfortable talking to: I know you won’t judge me, you won’t be shocked by anything and you won’t slut-shame me for my desires.” In our session, I instinctively used the same presence I had used as a performer, to invite her erotic spirit out into the open. My coaching business was born.
My clients describe how in sessions with me they feel fully ‘seen’ for the first time erotically, safe to be themselves and explore in a way they may never have before. Just as when I was dancing, I am struck by how different our erotic self may be to our outer presentation and how wonderfully diverse we all are. Presentations of acceptable sexuality in culture and the media show only a tiny slice of what’s out there… limiting people’s experience of themselves and what is possible for them. Through coaching, one’s erotic world can blossom, enriching the rest of one’s life.
I initially hadn’t been sure to what degree to revive my dancing past and bring it into my coaching but I’ve realised my experiences over those years are integral to my skillset now. This includes teaching striptease, a physical experience that can really help shift blocks which talking may not reach.
I also see how so many lessons I learnt as a stripper, on and off the stage, tie in with coaching methods and exercises.
I am delighted to be the new columnist for Sonder & Beam. In coming months I will be sharing stories from my stripping past and linking them to coaching exercises for you to do at home.
I look forward to revealing it all!
You can contact Ruth via The Directory page.
Check out her special Kickstart Your Erotic Transformation package for S&B members here.