Looking after your wellbeing: is your sexuality the missing link?

It gives me great pleasure to share the Intimate Conversation that I had with Jennie Verleg!

Jennie runs Hand-on Mindfulness workshops and describes her work as “art meets neuroscience.”

We discovered we have a mutual interest in the role of sexuality in wellbeing. And we were both super excited to have a chat about how sensuality, self-pleasuring and sexual experiences can help us look after our emotional and physical health and wellbeing.

[note: Jennie’s microphone was a bit quiet at the start of the video but you can hear her loud and clear once we get to 3 minutes]

Watch the video to hear more about:

  • Jennie’s journey from being paralysed in bed with Guillain-Barré syndrome to using art and mindfulness as a way to regain her wellbeing.
  • Why we’re both passionate about exploring sensuality and sexuality as a path to wellbeing.
  • Why we should normalise self-pleasure and make it an equally valid choice as attending an art class or taking a moment to meditate on the loo!
  • The science of pleasure and wellbeing – why it’s good for us and why it matters.
  • Why we are both on a mission to create more opportunities to explore sensuality and sexuality as a missing link in the wellbeing field.

You can find Jennie Verleg on LinkedIn here.

Would you like to add your voice to our conversations?

Click here to send me a private message and share your thoughts and questions.

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The first step on your journey with desire

Your body belongs to you.

Your emotions belong to you.

Your sexuality belongs to you.

And you get to choose who you want to share any (or all, or none) of these aspects of yourself with.

You get to choose to explore and enjoy your sexuality, on your own terms, regardless of what anyone else might expect, demand, or presume of you.

You are allowed to explore, evolve, express, and enjoy your sexual self – if you choose.

The only permission you need is from yourself.

This is a fundamental aspect of being a desire line walker.

We do not need to be a reflection of what – or who – other people expect us to be; we can each radiate who we truly are.

As we begin the Desire Lines Book Club this lunar month (16 October 2020), step 1 is allowing yourself to explore your sexual self.

This is how you begin your journey with desire.

Please follow me on Facebook or Instagram and use #UnboundBookClub to join in!

Are you in the mood?

Think back for a moment to a time when you felt horny…

Maybe you’d been reading or watching something erotic? Maybe someone had touched you (consensually) in a seductive way? Maybe you were going about your day-to-day business and suddenly became aware of a ‘tingle in your pants’ that reminded you that your body wanted some pleasure?

(Or maybe you’re finding it really hard right now to recall a time in recent memory when you felt that way?)

Horny’ might not be the word you would tend to use to describe how you feel (maybe you talk about being ‘in the mood’ or ‘hungry’ or something else) but it is a word that most adults can understand the meaning of. It’s part of our common language. And that’s why those feelings can be (fairly) easy to write about in erotica.

Equally, if I talk about ‘libido’ – although it can sound more formal and clinical than horny – you probably recognise that as relating to the urge or desire to have sex/sexual contact. Horny is playful. But we generally hear about libido in the context of it going missing, or being mismatched with a partner’s. Consequently, it’s often thought of as being unreliable or somehow problematic.

But did you know that feeling horny and having an active libido are only part of the picture when it comes to sexual desire?

They are the obvious, blatant aspects of something that goes way deeper and is way more elaborate and captivating than whether you’re ready to ‘get it on’ or not.

What happens if we talk about ‘sexual energy’ instead?

In some settings the term ‘sexual energy’ is bandied about freely, everyone nods in understanding: they know what it is, how to access it and what to do with it once they’ve tuned in to it.

I’ve been in those settings: usually facilitated groups and workshops where people have come together to explore ‘conscious sexuality’ – literally bringing their sexuality more into their conscious awareness rather than it being something that rumbles along in the background, with occasional spikes and peaks when they are in an actual sexual situation.

I’ve also worked with sexual energy in a one-to-one therapeutic environment. Using my sexual energy as a barometer to help me work intuitively with people who – for whatever reason – find it difficult to relax into and enjoy their sexuality.

But I’m very aware that reading the term ‘sexual energy’ as words on a screen doesn’t really mean anything unless you’ve had an embodied experience of it.

Feeling horny is one way we can feel our sexual energy in our body but there are many other ways too.

How to feel your sexual energy…

Imagine for a moment that you are just a body – just a physical object that can move around, can perform tasks, but doesn’t have any personality.

Now imagine adding into that body the bit that makes you uniquely you. It’s the bit that means you have preferences (chocolate ice cream or vanilla?). It’s the bit that makes you feel emotions (loving the ice cream or hating it?). And it’s the bit that compels you to do things purely for enjoyment, connection, and self-expression.

This is your life force energy. It’s what animates us. It’s what gives us a feeling of vitality and aliveness.

It’s my belief that this life force energy is essentially creative energy: we co-create our lives, with each person’s story having subtle and profound differences to the next.

This creative energy is also sexual energy: not just about creating ‘new life’ in the form of reproduction, but also creating sexual heat, pleasure, intimacy, and connection.

Creative energy and sexual energy co-exist in a virtuous cycle: our creative energy feeds into our sexual energy which feeds into our creative energy…and so on.

Which means: we can use our creative energy to tap into our sexual energy and vice versa.

Which also means: writing (creating) erotic stories is one way to play with our sexual energy.

Dancing (creating movements to music) is another way.

Visualising (creating pictures in our mind’s eye) is another way.

Playing dress-up (creating alter-egos and role play) is another way.

All ways that don’t require physical sexual contact with another person, matching libidos, or even the ‘tingle in your pants’ horny feeling.

And those are only a few examples.

Which is why I talk about sexual energy as being something expansive and accessible to each of us regardless of our relationship situation or where our libido is at.

I don’t know about you but, to me, that feels incredibly freeing and exciting. It gives me a sense of ownership of my sexual energy. It feels empowering. And it feels like something I want to explore and enjoy more.

How about you? 

Stay tuned for more creative sexuality opportunities coming soon!

Please sign up to hear more…(and get a Free Erotic Writing Guidebook!)

The kink, the woo, and the capsule wardrobe – an Intimate Conversation with Rebecca

I am absolutely thrilled to share my latest Intimate Conversation with you!

Rebecca is a friend I met through attending conscious sexuality events. Once identifying as bisexual, bicultural, and bilingual, she now calls herself a location-independent, lesbian, linguist.

In this intimate conversation, she generously shares some of her journey with desire and offers practical, real-life advice for anyone curious about exploring theirs.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • what intimacy is
  • playing with evolving and changing desire
  • kink and conscious sexuality: how to find places and people to play with (and what to do when you get there)
  • how to integrate sex and spirituality
  • feeling vulnerable
  • the sweet spot where being open and being discerning meet
  • and more!

Find Rebecca on social media: @SkorpionUK

Looking for more? Here’s an Intimate Conversation I had with Sue Sutherland of the Feel Institute.

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Shapeshifting through change

The last time I wrote about Shapeshifting, I was writing about my explorations and experiences of softening the edges of gender in my book Desire Lines:

“I don’t feel like a woman any more.  As a woman, there are constraints and expectations placed upon me: don’t take up too much space; don’t make too much noise; be aware of others around you (for your own safety and also in case you need to be of assistance to them). I can sense movement all around me but it has nothing to do with me. All I need to attend to is myself and the new shape I am becoming.”

This time I’m exploring a different kind of shapeshifting.

The sexual self I was no longer fits me. Like a snake outgrowing its skin, I need to shed the familiar in order to be clothed in the new. I feel more like a crab than a snake though. I feel vulnerable and soft as I step out of my shell. I’ve been wearing it for so many years – what will I find underneath?

My previous, gender-themed, shapeshifting explorations were facilitated by workshop leaders at conscious sexuality events.

The shapeshifting I’m experiencing now has a different catalyst: it’s known as ‘the change’ for a reason.

At 47 years old I’m somewhere in my perimenopausal journey. I don’t know if I’m still at the beginning, if I’ve made it to the middle, or if I’m nearing the end. All I know is that changes are happening that are beyond my control. Physical changes as my once predictable cycle stutters and storms. And emotional changes: I’m more anxious, I cry more readily, and I experience every feeling magnified by at least 10x.

And there are changes to my sexual self too. How could there not be given what’s happening in my body and soul?

I swing dramatically between ravenous hunger – almost to the point of pain – for intimate sexual touch, and thirsting only for gentle affection – to be held, for a space in someone’s arms that I can retreat into.

My desire for kink fluctuates more wildly than I have ever known: I alternately crave it and recoil from it.

It feels like it would be too easy to pack my sexuality away in a box labeled “attic”. If I did, perhaps I’d unpack it again sometime, happy to see it and clothe myself in it once more, like a once-loved party frock. But what if I forgot about it and the box stayed sealed up and dusty, any remnants of my sexual self eventually fraying and perishing over time?

Even in the midst of the perimenopause, even in the midst of a pandemic, I can’t (and won’t) let my sexuality wither.

I’ve been deliberately looking for ways to stay connected to my sexual self and to make space for the new version of it that is emerging.

I’ve started looking at old photos: searching for who I was before I began to shed this skin. They help me to appreciate and understand other changes my sexual self has been through – and survived. Physical changes as my body gained and lost weight, got sick, had surgery. Emotional changes as relationships ended and began. The times when I felt wild and adventurous. And those when circumstances dictated I was solid and stable.

I’ve also started having conversations with others about all different aspects of living as sexual beings. These Intimate Conversations light me up, remind me – again – of who I was, who I am, and who I might be yet to become.

And I’ve given myself permission to write again. Sometimes just for me and my journal, sometimes a heart-exposing letter to a loved one, and sometimes here – offering my softshell skin to others as a way to be witnessed and to share that none of us need to go through this alone.

Would you like more of me in your inbox? Please sign up so we can stay connected:

What is intimacy? (and other good questions!)

One of my long-held ambitions has been to create a space where we can have open, heartfelt, and honest conversations about desire, intimacy, and how we each experience and express our unique sexual selves.

I wanted to make space for curiosity-piquing questions and deliciously deep-diving answers.

And I wanted to talk with people who could help me to broaden my perspectives and deepen my understanding.

I am thrilled to share the first in this series of videos on intimacy and desire with you!

My first guest is sex educator, bodyworker, and guide, Sue Sutherland of The Feel Institute.

We talk about:

  • What is intimacy?
  • How do I stay in connection with you without losing myself?
  • The delicious delight of sharing what’s special to each of us.
  • Permission to feel what we’re feeling.
  • The importance of asking yourself ‘what are you hungry for’?
  • Paying attention to your body to help locate your desires.
  • Speaking the unspeakable.
  • Expressing your desires and finding ways to bring what’s on your inside, out.

Find out more about Sue and The Feel Institute here.

The Presence of Absence

CONTENT NOTE: this post contains erotic and explicit writing

When you are inside me, exerting your pressure millimetre by millimetre until I stretch impossibly to accommodate the entirety of you, every other experience and yearning is pushed out of my being, and there is only that moment of knowing-you-knowing-me in this deep intimacy.

I can wish for that moment to last for an eternity, to forget there is any more to my life than this – than you. But –

the moment ends.

You depart and I contract. No longer the unfathomable vastness of a universe, now a mere ant on the earth’s surface, a speck of dust in your eye that elicits a single tear before you wipe me away.

I exist in this all – or nothing – state.


I login to another plane. My heart leaps. My cunt awakens. Would you meet me there?


The appointment is set. And I do my hair and I pee a dozen times and I wait for the flicker and the tone that tell me we are connected. At last.

You are there! I can see you. I can hear you. But my body strains, confused: I cannot smell you; you don’t reach out to touch me. I am floundering in this middle-of-nowhere presence of your absence. Pixelated promises offer empty disconnection.

It’s me, you shout, I’m here. Can’t you see me? Can you hear me?

And I do and I can and it is not enough.

Not enough.

Not enough.

The call ends and I cry.


I close my eyes and I summon up the memory of the last time we were actually together. The exquisite presence of your presence. When you were inside me, exerting your pressure millimetre by millimetre. 


I wrote this piece as a way to express my yearning and my disappointment. Digital platforms attempt to trick our minds into believing we are together – but our bodies tell us, undeniably, we are not.

Would you like to explore and express your desires using the written word? I can help. Click here to find out more.

Summer Lovin’

CONTENT NOTE: this post contains erotic and explicit writing

“Ice cream!” Lydia ran to the front door the second she heard the chimes of the ice cream van approaching the house.

I picked up my purse and we went outside. It was the last day of the summer holidays and I’d promised to treat her to a cone with a wafer and chocolate sauce. She’d been poised all afternoon, listening as the tune from the van got closer and closer. It had finally arrived on our street.

I didn’t make a habit of visiting the ice cream van, if I had I would have known about the cute butch behind the counter and I would have made sure I was looking a bit more presentable when I’d arrived with one hand holding onto my purse and the other holding onto a very excited and bouncy little girl.

We got there before any of the other children on the street; Lydia threw herself at the side of the van, trying to see the multi-coloured bottles of syrupy sauce lined up on the counter. The ice cream woman smiled at her, “What can I get you?”

“A double cone with wafer and chocolate sauce and raspberry sauce and sprinkles!” I tapped Lydia on the shoulder. “Please,” she added.

“Wow! That’s a lot to go on one ice cream,” the woman behind the counter told her. Then looking at me, “Is that alright with your mum?”

“She’s not my mum!” Lydia laughed. “She’s Auntie Jackie and she said I can have whatever I want because it’s the last day of the holidays and I’ve been a good girl all week.”

“It’s fine,” I added, “you can go full out with the sauce and sprinkles. Her parents are picking her up soon so they can deal with the sugar rush.”

She chuckled as she loaded the cone with ice cream, sauce and sprinkles, stuck in two wafers and then, just for good measure, a chocolate stick. Lydia took her prize in both hands and went to sit on the doorstep, concentrating her full attention on every lick.

The woman was smiling at me. “Anything for you?”

“No, I’m fine thanks. How much for that monster ice cream?”

“On the house.”



“Well, if you’re sure… thank you.”

“My pleasure,” she winked as I moved aside for the next customer.

I went to sit beside Lydia, watching the woman hand out her ices, and the parents and children handing over their payment.

We were still sitting there when she’d finished serving and she gave us a small wave as she moved back into the cab and drove off, the chimes from the van announcing her impending arrival on the next street.


I breathed a sigh of relief once Lydia had been collected and was on her way back home. My brother and his wife were tanned from their week of sailing and full of grateful thanks that I’d been able to look after their child – even if she was now complaining of tummy ache. I was grateful to get my house back to myself and pour a large glass of chilled wine.

I’d just sat down in the back garden when I heard a noisy engine stop outside the house. There was something familiar about the chug chug of the motor; it ran on for a few seconds and then cut out. My doorbell rang. Sighing, I put down my wine and went to answer it.

The woman from the ice cream van was standing on my doorstep, the front of her t-shirt soaked through with glistening, white goo.

“I’m really sorry to bother you. I hope you don’t mind. I was refilling the ice cream maker and managed to spill the whole lot down me. I’ve got a clean top,” she waved another t-shirt at me, “but I’d really appreciate being able to wash some of this off.” She gestured towards the sticky mess and I could see that it had spilled onto the front of her jeans too. “Would you mind if I use your bathroom?”

“Of course, come in, come in. It’s just at the top of the stairs.”

“Thanks, you’re a gem.”

I stepped aside and she bounded up the stairs, two at a time. I couldn’t help but appreciate her arse as she moved.

I retrieved my wine from the garden and waited in the kitchen while she cleaned up. She reappeared five minutes later, looking clean and fresh in her new t-shirt but still with a stain on the front of her jeans. She caught me looking at her crotch, “Hopefully no one will notice when I’m behind the counter,” she laughed.

“Would you like a drink?” I didn’t want her to go back to her van yet. She was totally my type: short, neat hair; bright sparkling eyes; a smile constantly playing at the edges of her mouth; dressed simply in a white t-shirt and blue jeans with a pair of roughed-up baseball boots sticking out from frayed hems. She was fairly flat on top and had a nice rounded arse.  It had been a while since I’d been so instantly attracted to someone and I didn’t want her waving goodbye again too soon.

“That would be great, thanks.” She glanced at the wine glass in my hand, “I’m driving though, so best make it something soft.” She held my gaze.

“Something soft?” I repeated. “Me?”

She stepped towards me and ran the back of her fingers over my cheek. “Mmm, soft,” she murmured. Her fingers carried on moving, stroking down the side of my neck and then across my cleavage.

I put my wine glass down on the counter and brought my hands onto her hips, drawing her closer to me. She cupped my face in both her hands and kissed me. She tasted of ice cream.

Her kiss grew more insistent and her hands tightened around my jaw. I pushed my thigh between hers and ground it hard up against her. Her legs squeezed around me. She pulled back from the kiss and let go of my face. “I want more of you, Jackie.”

The sound of my name shocked me. I’d been lost in the fantasy of a hot encounter with a stranger but now I was all too aware that I wasn’t a stranger to her: she knew my name and where I lived. What did I know about her? Only that she drove an ice cream van! I hadn’t even stopped to ask her name.

She sensed my unease and stepped away slightly. “Is something wrong? Is this not what you want?”

I picked up my wine glass to take a drink. Was I already a bit tipsy? Was that why I’d come on to her the way I did? No, the glass was still nearly full.

It had been a long time since my body had told my head what to do. And yet the slick sensation of my wet pussy lips was unmistakable. My body wanted this. My body wanted more of her. Her naked skin against mine. Her tongue in my mouth. Her fingers in my cunt.

“I can leave if you want.”

“No. It’s just that… I don’t even know your name.”

“Kim. My name’s Kim. Do you want me to leave? It’s okay if you do.”

“I want you to stay.”



“Do you want me to slow down?”

“No. I want… I want…”

“Tell me.”

“I want you to lick me like an ice cream.” I blushed. I sounded like something out of a budget porn movie.

Kim laughed. “With sauce and sprinkles?” She stepped back towards me and gently placed her lips on mine. Her tongue barely entered my mouth, teasing me, making me think even more about how it would feel lightly flicking over my clit.

Her hands blindly undid the buttons on my jeans and I pushed the fabric down over my hips. My underwear followed and I managed to step out of them without breaking contact with her delicate kisses.

My body was in full control now. My body told my mind what to do next: guide Kim’s hand to my cunt. Let there be no mistaking my willingness and how much I wanted this.

“Let me lick you.” Kim manoeuvered me onto the kitchen counter and lowered her head. Her tongue was smooth and silky like whipped ice cream, and made me shiver even though it burned hot. She fingered me while she licked. Slow, sensuous moves – just right for the balmy summer’s evening.

I closed my eyes. My body remembered this.

My body remembered the pleasure of sweetness.

My body remembered the building heat and desire.

And my body remembered what came next.


Have you explored your fantasies lately? How about writing your own sexy story? My free book is here for you if you fancy giving it a go!

Time Piece; Time Peace

I have fractured time

Taken it apart into a billion little pieces

And scattered them into the winds.

Where once I could chronicle

the beginning

the middle

the end  

Now time is everywhere and nowhere.

Now there will never be a ‘right time’

And we will never ‘run out of time’.

It had to be done:

The tick tock of days passing  



Tested my sanity

And my patience.

When? When? When?

Not now. Not now. Not now.

So I took time apart

Deconstructed the regimented cogs

And made yesterday a tomorrow

And tomorrow a today

And never always

And some day a certainty.

I dwell in the spaces of fractured time

Remembering: we have already met.

[photo credit]

Intimacy During Isolation

An alternative way of thinking about intimacy that isn’t reliant on bumping genitals or swopping saliva…

Two years ago my best friend and I learned a new form of intimacy. She had just been diagnosed with cancer; I lived in another country but made the promise to be with her for every week following her chemotherapy sessions.

The word ‘intimacy’ is generally associated with sex. In fact, it’s even used as a euphemism for it. Because of this, we often think of intimacy as being reserved for our sexual relationships: they ­are the people we get to know intimately, genitals and all. Except it’s not always ‘all’. Sometimes the only thing we really know about our sexual partners is how they like their genitals touched (and sometimes we don’t even know that). If we do the work in the relationship – you know, the communicating, listening, and understanding-each-other work – we may also get to intimately know their beliefs, their values, and their heart. But it’s not guaranteed. It’s all too easy to assume you know the person who is lying naked beside you and whose body was just joined with yours. But even that depends on whether the sex was a performance – being the person you think they want you to be – or came from a place of true, mutual self-expression.

Yes, sex can be an incredibly intimate act. But what happens when sex is taken off the table?

Not since the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s have we had such an abrupt disruption to our sex lives. (It is worth noting that, although medical advances in the treatment of HIV have been great, nearly a million people die of the virus each year: our sex lives should still be cognisant of the risk.) One of the key differences between the health guidance relating to HIV and that relating to the COVID-19 coronavirus is that we now find ourselves socially isolated from all physical contact: during lockdown, if you don’t already live with a partner, or if you live with a partner who is symptomatic, opportunities for hugging, kissing, and sex, have been taken away.

What does this have to do with my friend and me?

Well, I want to offer you an alternative way of thinking about intimacy and, in doing so, suggest that we use this period of social isolation to deepen our connections in ways that aren’t reliant on bumping genitals or swopping saliva.

I found my best friend when we both nine years old. Only three years later, my family moved away, and we became penpals-by-necessity. Fast forward another ten years and we were living a mere 50 miles apart. But only for a short while: she then moved over 3000 miles away. We continued to stay in touch by letter, and then email, but the gaps in between got longer and our knowledge of each other’s lives became increasingly less current.

By the time she was diagnosed with cancer, the distance between us had narrowed to the present 400 miles: too far for a day trip, and certainly too great a distance to support her through her treatment. So I travelled, for a week at a time, to help with laundry, cooking, and companionship. Suddenly we found ourselves with all this time and no outside distractions. We had shared history from childhood but, now in our forties, we didn’t fully know each other as adults.

Over the next few months, we told each other the stories of our lives from the intervening years. The heartbreaks. The dreams. The moments of despair. And those of renewed hope. We reminisced about our childhoods, and I discovered she remembered so much more about that time than I did and could tell me things about my younger self that I had long forgotten.

Story by story, we became fully-formed characters in our own lives, and in each others.

Also during this time, when she was too ill or too tired to talk, I wrote. The first draft of my memoir – Desire Lines – took shape from an armchair in her lounge, and occasionally a table in a café when we just needed a bit of space from each other. My stories brought me to a deeper place of self-knowing and understanding, as well as giving me practice at being seen by others: one definition of intimacy is “into me, you see”.

By the end of her treatment, there was a new level of intimacy to our friendship. We had seen each other at our lowest (I had a particularly harsh bladder infection during one of my visits; she hadn’t had anyone clear up her vomit since she was a child). But, more importantly, we knew more of the stories that made up the tapestry of each other’s lives.

During this time of COVID-19 and the crucial need for physical distancing, I invite you to share your stories with your loved ones, and to ask them to share theirs with you too. Friends, family, and lovers all have their own stories, and you are one thread that weaves into their tapestry – as they weave into yours.

I know my friend so much better now, but I, like many others, didn’t get to see my mum on Mother’s Day. She’s over 70 and I realise I know so little about her – she’s never told me her stories. My partner and I live together and have 20 years of shared stories, but there is still space to deepen our relationship and to be surprised by facets of her that haven’t featured in our life together. And I have other friends who I cannot currently visit but can call on the phone or video. Once we have each had an opportunity to express our current anxieties and uncertainties about life in the time of coronavirus, there is time for us to talk; time to tell our stories.

An invitation:

Invite someone you know to share a story-telling session with you. Let them know you want to get to know them better and to deepen your knowledge of each other. Ask for their consent to have this kind of conversation, and then take turns at sharing.

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your stories with another person at this time (because, we are all dealing with the current changes to our lives in our own ways, and intimacy with another may not feel do-able or wanted at this time) you can alternatively deepen your self-intimacy by journaling and writing your stories, for your eyes only.

Some suggested story prompts:

  • What did you most love to do as a child? How does that feature in your life now, if at all? How do you feel about that?
  • Who have you loved? What has that love been like?
  • Ten years ago, what did you think your life would look like now? What’s happened in those intervening years to shape where you are now? Do you have any regrets? What have been the highlights?
  • What is your secret passion in life?