Ruby, you are a “sex educator”. Tell us more about it. What exactly do you do?
As a sex educator, I talk to people of all ages about sex, with the aim of getting everyone more comfortable and excited about their sexual lives. I work for the UK’s leading Sexual Health charity for young people, where I work directly with young people as well as train professionals about how to be more inclusive and sex positive, and I also run workshops for adults on a whole range of topics. I’m particularly passionate about educating people about pleasure, sex toys, and porn.
I’ve spoken at events such as the Women of the World Festival, and as well as appearing on podcasts and radio including Come Curious, LBC Radio and BBC4 Woman’s Hour. I work with sex toy brands to promote sexual pleasure and make people feel open to exploring their desires safely and with self-awareness. And I co-facilitate the body positive life drawing class Body Love Sketch Club with my naked business partner Rosy Pendlebaby, where participants are invited to pose (nude or clothed) as well as draw from other people’s bodies, in order to celebrate nudity in a non-sexual way. Basically, I talk about sex and nudity a lot!
What is your mission – especially for women?
I’m on a mission to help eradicate the shame we often carry when it comes to our sexual selves; whether that be linked to your body, kinks, pleasure, or sexual trauma, so that people can celebrate themselves, become more educated, and have happy and fulfilling sexual lives. I want people to feel proud of their sexual pleasure!
How would you define “sexual wellbeing“?
For me, sexual wellbeing means having the knowledge and confidence to make informed and empowering choices around your sexual health. It’s when your sex life has a positive impact on other aspects of your life, including your mental health. We are culturally very focussed on improving our wellbeing, and yet can struggle to see our sexual selves as a part of this greater wellbeing. I’m proud to be working hard to make people more aware of their sexual wellbeing, and to help people see the value in investing time to improve it.
Sexual wellbeing and self-love: How strong are these two things connected?
For lots of people, sexual pleasure is an essential part of sexual wellbeing. What I call solo sex (ie masturbation) can be an incredibly important part of self-love. Solo sex can come in many forms; all bodies experience touch in different ways, and it’s important to know what it is you like and are interested in exploring solo or with a partner. As well as being immensely pleasurable and having health benefits, it can be helpful to be familiar with your own body before being sexual with a partner – that way you’re able to express what it is you like to someone else with confidence.
However, for some people sexual pleasure/self-love is not something they want to engage in, which is completely ok. Regardless of your desires, having an awareness and being able to communicate what you do and don’t want to do sexually is a vital part of sexual wellbeing.
In February, Womanizer isn’t celebrating Valentines day, but a whole “Me Month“: We want to empower people all over the world, to fall in love with themselves: Do you have some tips for more Self-Love (and more sexual wellbeing?)
I love the idea of a ‘Me Month’! How about 2019 can be the ‘Me Year’?! My tips to increase your self-love:
- Write a love letter to yourself. It might sound cheesy, but we are so quick to judge ourselves, and it can be an empowering exercise to shower yourself with the love and compliments we usually save for others. You know yourself better than anyone else does; acknowledging the things that make you feel good about yourself is a nice way to celebrate being the wonderful person you are.
- Listen to your body – what does it need/want? We spend so much of our lives running around, it can be a real treat to take some time out of a busy day to really focus on what your body is craving right now. Whether that’s a nap, some delicious food, or an even more delicious wank, celebrate the fact that you’re treating your body to the thing that it’s craving.
- If it’s warm/you have decent heating in your home, spend some time with yourself nude and try to enjoy and embrace your naked body in a non-sexual context.
- When it comes to solo sex, make an effort to change things up a little – we can get a little habitual when it comes to solo pleasure and it’s nice to mix things up. Whether it’s investing in a new toy, watching, reading, or listening to something erotic (I recommend the audioporn found on literotica.com), or challenging yourself with a new sexual ‘project’ like exploring multiple orgasms, edging, or anal play, there’s always a new way for you to make solo sex a thrilling experience full of self-love.
Do you truly love yourself? And if yes: How did you develop the love to yourself?
Fuck yeah I love myself! It wasn’t an easy or straightforward journey, but I’m proud to be at a place where I have a lot of self-love and appreciation for the person I am.
A big part of self love is recognising you’re never going to love absolutely everything about you – if you’re expecting that then you’re setting yourself up for failure. What’s important is to cultivate the sense of being kind to yourself. We’re taught to be our own worst critic, and it’s so not helpful. Over the last few years I’ve made an effort to train myself to be my own cheerleader, looking at myself with more acceptance and love. The more I told myself that I am powerful and beautiful, the more I started to believe it. And on the days when I don’t feel my best, I don’t beat myself up about it, because I know there will be a time in the not-so-distant future when I start to feel positive about myself again.
I also make an effort to not take myself too seriously – particularly when it comes to my body. Yes I have bits of my body that wobble and stretch and look weird from certain angles, but I also have a relatively healthy body that enables me to do literally all the things I want to do in my life! In the journey I took to accepting and loving my body, it wasn’t my body that changed, it was my attitude.
On instagram you are celebrating nudity – which is amazing. What do you think: Where is the border between nudity, to spread the message of body positivity and nudity, just to get more followers?
Culturally we have a weird relationship with nudity. There’s a lot of it online, and female bodies can often be commoditised to sell products/get followers, but there are also so many people online who use nudity as a form of empowerment. I’m lucky that my social media feeds are full of like-minded sex positive people who post things that are inclusive and celebratory, which can include images of themselves nude. Unfortunately sites like Instagram have started to crack down hard on my community, with a lot of pages being removed over recent months due to ‘indecency’, which seems like a thin guise for sex negativity.
I don’t see my naked body as radical; it’s an important part of me and something I love to show. I make sure that the images I post are authentic, and also I get naked a lot in my life in general (through Body Love Sketch Club life drawing classes), so for me it’s no big deal. It’s nice to see the support I get and to hear that my small actions inspire people who follow me to shower their own bodies with more love.
What are your personal “goals“ for the future?
I am thrilled to be part of the sex positive community. And I look forward to continuing that in the future. I’d like to reach a wider audience so I can shout louder about the things I’m passionate about, and to encourage people to be more inclusive when it comes to sex positivity, ensuring they include people of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities, ages and abilities in the conversation. This starts with lobbying the UK Government to ensure the new RSE guidelines for schools are more inclusive, particularly in terms of making sex education relevant to and inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community.
My main personal goal is surviving the winter so I can spend another summer roaming around in the nude!
Author: Frieda Hintze
Copyright: Briony Mitchel