What advice does a sex and intimacy coach have for our relationships? Dr. Stormy sits down with Brogan, Lead Copywriter at afterglow, to answer all of your relationship questions on sex, intimacy, porn, and pleasure.
She offers one-to-one sex & relationship coaching and is the host of the Love Deep Lab podcast that brings sex, science and sacredness practices to people around the world. She has an online intimacy course launching soon, as well as a clean, organic lube with CBD and organic essential oils coming to market in September. Why? “Because it matters what you put in your yoni!”
Dr. Stormy’s wish for the future?
“I hope I’m learning and growing in the realm of intimacy to my last orgasmic breath”
Us too! Read the interview below and find out how to deal with mismatched libidos, create more intimacy in your relationship, use jealousy as a tool to understand yourself, create a self-love practice, and more.
More of a listener? Follow along with the audio interview.
How Dr. Stormy become a sex & intimacy coach
afterglow: Can you tell us about Dr. Stormy Love Deep Lab?
Dr. Stormy: Our goal is to be a one stop, intimacy shop. If I get to be something in my life I want to be a pleasure pusher for everyone because pleasure is our birthright.
afterglow: How did you discover your passion for sex & sexuality?
Dr. Stormy: I was in medical school getting my medical doctorate and I was taking classes in western sex therapy. At the time I was also married and we were in sex therapy together.
I loved what they were teaching, all of the science, neuroscience, anatomy of arousal, and yet I felt like there was something missing. You don’t know what you don’t know, but it just didn’t quite land in the way that I wanted it to or hoped it would. And so that feeling led me out of more traditional Western medicine.
I was in a mostly sexless marriage, sex was a huge struggle in our partnership, and I learned to adapt by turning off my sex drive and my sexuality. When we got divorced, I decided to recommit to my sexuality and my sexual journey. I began reading everything I could about tantra and sacred sexuality. I tried all different relationship paradigms and really explored everything in my 30s.
I felt that, besides being a mama to my kiddo, this was my point of being on this earth. I want to help everyone, but particularly couples, in this realm.
So at 42, I got certified as a sex and intimacy coach and became a member of the World Association of sex coaches and I’ve been doing that full time for the last three years.
Couples struggling with intimacy
afterglow: What is the main problem that couples present to you with?
Dr. Stormy: 85% of couples struggle with intimacy, including sexual intimacy. And that’s just reported couples, so I would say it’s actually closer to 95% of couples.
Everyone wants to have mind blowing sex but nobody wants to talk about it. So we come together in a relationship and we expect to have this amazing sex without bringing intention, attention and practice to it.
These couples really love, respect, and appreciate each other—they’re not couples out on dire straits—but their sex life feels boring or non existent. They’re in low sex or sexless partnerships and they become roommates.
The barrier is getting people to talk about it. I’m very honored to coach and teach online in this space because it is such a touchy subject, it touches all parts of our life. We are all sexual beings and we all literally came from sexual energy, there would be no human race without it. Yet it’s so it’s the only thing that I can think of that is so hyper repressed and we’re so hyper focused on all at the same time.
afterglow: What advice do you give to couples who are struggling with intimacy?
Dr. Stormy: It’s a hybrid. I love science and neuroscience so I look at things like patterns of arousal, anatomy of arousal, non concordance, turn on, eroticism, and how that all looks different in the male brain and the female brain.
But also it’s about aligning head, heart and sex. We are most powerful when we’re aligned with those three centers.
A lot of the work that I did earlier in my life as a mental health occupational therapist was focused on cognitive strategies. And then professionally and personally, I learnt how to bring it into the body, the heart, the sex and how to use the powerful energy of sex.
So the practices I recommend always oscillate between the head—asking, “what’s your story? What are your patterns?”—and then taking it down to the body, because the body can never lie.
Our minds trick us all the time but our bodies are always in truth, if we can pause and practice listening to them. And that’s a big if!
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Couples & porn: watching together & apart
afterglow: Do many couples come to you with questions around porn?
Dr. Stormy: Yes, absolutely. Directly or indirectly, very often.
There are studies that say six out of 10 Americans have used porn at some point. One in four people in the last 30 days and 5% of American men reported in the last week. It’s very commonly used.
I was just reading an interesting study from the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy that said 40% of couples watch porn together. It showed that the couples who don’t watch porn together, which is the majority, report decreased relationship satisfaction. Whereas the couples who watch porn together have a positive correlation with greater intimacy, higher levels of passion, and feeling more connected to their partner.
But for most people, if they’re watching porn, they’re watching separately. It becomes a thing of separateness in the relationship, versus togetherness. Most of what I’m teaching couples is how to lean in together particularly on subjects that are touchy like porn, masturbation, and fantasy. How do you use porn as a bridge to your partner rather than as a way to separate?
Porn has this “don’t ask, don’t tell” feeling to it, and that leaves a lot of room for assumption and misinterpretation. When we assume what our partner is thinking we’re almost always wrong. But we do it all the time.
You assume why your partner might be watching this sort of porn, rather than opening a dialogue with true curiosity. You can ask them, “what is it that turns you on about that? Why is that what you chose to watch?”. Then you need to be really open to working with your own shit that comes up around. What is triggering you? What does it bring up in you? And again, these are all opportunities for bridging in a relationship.
afterglow: What advice do you give to couples who want to watch porn together?
Stormy: Communication, communication and more communication.
Communication isn’t something that we practice very often. But it’s a skill and a practice. We can commit to it as part of our relationship and as part of our intimacy with our partner.
Ask your partner, “what’s your relationship with porn?” and create a safe space for your partner to share their response with you. These are not easy conversations, they can bring up shit for both people—shame, repression, fear of being judged—but you really have an opportunity to create a bridge. It doesn’t mean you have to like the porn your partner is watching or like that they watch it. It just means you’re having communication and you’re understanding your partner’s sexuality more deeply.
afterglow: Why do you think some people find it hard to understand why, or become upset that their partner watches porn? Is it jealousy?
Dr. Stormy: A lot of the female clients I work with say, “well I don’t like what he’s watching, I don’t look like that. He’s watching a blonde woman with big boobs and I’m brunette with small boobs. I feel like he’s attracted to that and not me.”
A lot of body image issues come up.
I think a big piece of it is our own insecurities in our relationship. And also, what’s your love language? If it’s affirmation, then your partner has a chance to affirm you and say “I find that attractive but that doesn’t mean I find you less attractive” or “I watch porn with larger people, but I really find your thinness attractive”, whatever it might be. There’s a way to have it be a bridge.
It’s an opportunity to self reflect, self confront, share with your partner. When I was in therapy, I was told that everything you do in your partnership either brings you closer together or separates you.
So is porn something that is separating the two of you or something that’s aligning you?
It doesn’t mean you have to watch it together if you don’t want to.
Jealousy is a very common and very acceptable emotion. but it’s banned. Instead of saying “I shouldn’t be jealous” or “I should be a more confident person”, just notice the jealousy. Where do I feel the jealousy in my body and what is it showing me? What is it teaching me?
Is it because I’m not having enough sex with my partner or because I’m not having the sex I want with my partner? Jealousy can be an invitation to connect and to communicate.
Couples with mismatched libidos
afterglow: What advice do you give to couples where one partner has a lower libido than the other?
Dr. Stormy: This is a very common thing that people come to me for. And there’s an assumption that—if we’re talking about a hetero couple—it’s going to be the man who wants more sex in the partnership. Interestingly enough, in my experience it’s the opposite. But let’s stop looking at who wants more and who wants less, and instead look at, there’s a gap and how do we bridge the gap?
The one who is wanting more sex will make will make some compromises and the one who is wanting less sex will make some compromises. Now you’re in a relationship.
Libido is not a set point. It changes throughout our day and lifespan, it changes based on age, hormones, medication and all these things.
For the person with the lower libido it’s often about them not feeling connected to their body and their turn ons. So one of the practices for these people is to create eroticism that isnt sexual. One of my own practices is to feel desire and eroticism throughout my whole day—and I’m not having sex all day long! So how do you tap into the energy of eroticism? How do you feel your turn ons?
Then for the one wanting more sex it’s to broaden their definition of sex. We are very myopic in our definition of sex as penetration. So how do we practice and cultivate sexy time that is much broader than intercourse.
And it’s about prioritizing your intimacy. If your car is making a weird noise, you’re not gonna ignore it for too long for fear that the engine is gonna drop off. Yet our “sex car” will be making lots of noise, or maybe it’s quiet and tucked in the side of the garage, yet we don’t invest intention, attention, time, or financial investment. Read a book, take a course, hire a coach, go see a therapist, there’s so much that you can do that’s about putting intention and attention on your sex and intimacy. That is by far the first and most important step, and the hardest step.
Finding eroticism in everyday life
afterglow: How do you find eroticism in your everyday life?
Dr. Stormy: Start with things that feel good to you. Notice things like the sunshine on your face, a lovely sip of wine, or how good you feel after a workout. Put your attention to what feels good to you.
You’re literally retraining your brain to notice and take in pleasure. You’ll raise your pleasure ceiling as you start to become aware of and allow in more pleasure. And that translates into the bedroom too.
What happens in life shows up in the bedroom and what happens in the bedroom shows up in life. We do not have sex in a vacuum.
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afterglow: At afterglow we are all about everyday sexual awakenings, what was your most recent sexual awakening?
Dr. Stormy: My most recent one was learning how to develop masturbation to self pleasure and self pleasure to making love to myself. Learning to make fabulous love to myself was life and sex changing.
It has made me a better person, a better mother, a better lover, a better partner.
About Dr. Stormy
Dr. Stormy’s medical and OT degrees provide her with an amazing depth and appreciation for the brain and body. Her background allows her to weave in the cerebral with the somatic in a way that connects the brain, body and heart.
Her own journey began over 14 years ago with Tantra, breathwork, meditation, yoga and therapy. This practice has helped her move from toxic relationships, wavering self-esteem and disconnection from her body to deep connection with body, brain, heart and sensuality.
She is ever growing, evolving and further cultivating her own practice on the daily to connect with her clients and their successes every step of the way.
60% of women are dissatisfied with their sex lives. We’re on a mission to change that
What if you didn’t have to search to find a body that looks like yours, a sex act that turns you on, or a guided exercise that helps you tell your partner exactly what you’ve been craving?
What if YOUR pleasure came first?