Coach wants grown-ups to embrace their sexuality and connect to their bodies
Transformation has been a big word for Jenny Ferry. Eight years ago, Ferry stepped — or rather, catapulted — into a quest she never knew she needed: to learn about sex. Soul sex.
Her wake-up moment came on Valentine’s Day, 2005 — the day her daughter was born. Despite being athletic all her life, Ferry says she was tangled in the delusions of professional life and 70-hour workweeks and had drifted away from the wisdom of being in her body. But, “you can’t not be embodied when giving birth.”
Then, everything accelerated. Ferry survived a near-fatal car crash (complete with short-term brain damage and PTSD), ended her marriage with a “rage-o-saur” husband and lost her home — and her life savings — in the aftermath.
“I took my daughter. I took a deep breath. I took the ravaged remains of my old life, and burned them,” she says.
That’s when something began to stir.
“I had been in an 11-year-long relationship that was really flat. It was a sexless marriage, and when I woke up to the fact that that was not what I wanted in my life, I really had to sit with that and think about what I wanted to do,” she says. “The amazing thing was that about three weeks out of that relationship, my sex woke up. And it was hungry. And it was looking for the buffet.”
Ferry wanted to indulge it, but had no idea where, in North American culture, a person could do that.
“There are so many of us, myself included, that have a sex life that looks like feast or famine. As we know, that’s not the best way to nourish ourselves,” she says. “I wanted to nourish myself, consciously.”
As a self-professed recovering academic, Ferry poured herself into books and “field research” to figure it out. Skip ahead eight years, and what she discovered has turned into a self-directed program and soon-to-be-published book on the subject — Soul Sex: contemplative, advanced sex education for grown-ups. And Ferry is bringing her work to Victoria for the third time on March 21.
“Soul Sex is about bringing mindfulness into every aspect of our daily lives; about living a life that’s in alignment with what we really want, a life that’s connected to our body,” says Ferry. “Grounded, real and in the present moment — and fully embodied as a sexual being.”
The program is designed as a three-hour workshop for singles and couples, though it’s likely not what you think. Ferry, who resides in Arizona and spends much of her time workshopping in the Pacific Northwest, is quick to assert that she is not a sex therapist or a marriage counsellor, there is no nudity and everything that happens in the three-hour workshop is completely PG.
However, through simple instruction, lively discussion and (PG-rated) interaction, participants will drop into their bodies, challenge their minds and live just a little farther outside the box than before. The goal: learning how to gently push your edges in a safe, judgment-free space, and understanding how to skillfully recognize how you respond to sexual energy.
“Most of us spend 99.9 per cent of our time in our heads, and that can go double during sex because of the way our society relates to it,” says Ferry. “Porn is often the main way we learn about sex . . . it’s dripping out of the pages of every magazine in the country. Yet we are scared stiff of our own sexuality, and there is nowhere that really teaches us what healthy, soulful sex looks like.”
That question is one that Ferry gets asked a lot: “What’s normal?” Her answer is always the same: whatever feels right to you. “If we can move out of our heads and into our bodies, we can all have a more soulful experience — even if you are having the best sex you’ve ever had, wouldn’t you like to make it better?”
The workshops are open to all interested, though Ferry suggests bringing three great starting tools: curiosity (an open mind), compassion (an open heart) and playfulness (an open body). And while the workshops focus on sex, the principles can be incorporated into all areas of life: learn to manage your energy, improve how you communicate and engage, increase your capacity for sensation and transform how you “show up” in the bedroom and in the world.
“The great thing is that none of this is rocket science,” says Ferry. “This is about creating a sacred container where you can feel safe to learn what is really right for you.” M
Join Intro To Soul Sex, Thurs., March 21, 6-9pm at 165 Cook. Tickets $30 until March 17, $40 after. Register at http://introvicmar.eventbrite.com.