“I can’t speak highly enough of Jem Ayres.
She is gifted, honest, skilled and is a living example of how pleasure can be generated inside oneself and then shared out there in the world.”
Jem is a certified Sex Geek – A Sexological Bodyworker, Tantra practitioner and teacher, a workshop facilitator, public speaker and Orgasmic Embodiment coach. She has over 10 years experience in the field of self-development through the body which at one point included running a burlesque company. Jem runs The Empowered Woman’s Book Club, and was co-founder of Brighton Talks Sex. Healing herself from stage 4 cancer with everything and anything that worked means Jem is alive to tell her story of the Healing Power of Orgasm through both personal and professional experience. Multi-talented and creative she is passionate about helping people to connect with themselves through the body, fine-tuning into the subtleties of our life force, using sexual energy to fuel all areas of life.
What my clients say about me
It took four long years from finally recognising I needed help to reclaim my sexuality to actually getting any support that worked. I was desperately searching but with no real idea where to look, nor even what or who I was looking for. Four lonely, painful years…
I talked with my well-meaning mum, my Doctor (who gave me some very bad, uneducated advice ‘as a woman’), several counsellors… none of their advice scratched the surface. I thought I was broken and I thought that I was alone in feeling this way. Even the ‘experts’ couldn’t fix me; nor even seemed comfortable discussing sex.
So here I am providing Sex Coaching over twelve years later and you can imagine how important it is for me to offer advice that is well informed, clear, and most of all useful. I’ve made it my mission to learn everything your GP doesn’t know, your lover doesn’t know and sex workers don’t know! My trauma-informed work brings a shame-free approach to embracing sexuality. There’s nothing I love more than taking sexuality out of the uneducated, embarrassed and unconscious shadows.
My clients regularly come to me feeling just as ‘broken’ and usually having had as difficult a time finding suitable support. I watch the heaviness drop from them as we start working together; light coming back into faces within a session or two as hope rekindles. My clients feel heard, understood and provided with space to talk in a very real and grounded way about their relationship to their bodies, their pleasure and their sex. They go away armed with refreshing and practical solutions, embodiment practices and homework. And nothing brings me more joy than facilitating that shift!
At some point a friend suggested a Tantra weekend might help me. Despite knowing nothing of Tantric philosophy or practice, I rocked up there as if guided by something, and felt tearful as soon as I walked through the door. I’d been hiding from my feelings – emotional and physical – for so long, that to come to such an open and authentic space felt overwhelming. I cried all weekend. But something worked! That first Tantra weekend shifted more for me than four years of counselling.
The idea that I could have a great connection with my body and sex life still felt light years away; but something in me had changed. I felt happier, more confident and I liked the person I was becoming a bit more. So I kept going back… and the more I did, the more my trust in myself grew. I stretched out of my comfort zone – going self-employed and birthing a new and hugely successful business overnight. Despite having zero prior business experience I was suddenly loving my work and life and making a hell of a lot more money while I was at it! I also noticed I was attracting great people into my life and making better choices when it came to romantic and sexual partners.
Then one day: boom! A couple of years into my Tantra journey I suddenly realised I was multi-orgasmic, and actually had been for a while. Despite the growth elsewhere, my relationship with pleasure and orgasm was so distorted by old experiences and beliefs that I hadn’t even noticed these new, richer sensations creeping in – until they were too powerful to ignore. I’d gone from non-orgasmic to full-bodied bliss states!
I started my Tantric journey in 2011 and now live a tantric lifestyle with my partner. We try to bring consciousness into everything we do and offer. More recently, I completed my diploma to deepen my learning in Tantric Philosophy. However for me the heart of Tantra is always in the living of it, not in the certificates.
Sexological Bodywork was the next natural step in my professional journey. I wanted to be able to offer the kind of deep healing I had experienced: mental, physical, emotional AND sexual. Sexological Bodywork brought the science to my knowledge base. I was able to weave teachings on the nervous system, fascia intelligence and scar remediation in with more spiritual approaches, making ancient practices very current, accessible and workable for modern day challenges.
I discovered how subtle and slow, but hugely profound this work is. How, when we stop trying to ‘do’, and simply listen to how the body responds to places, people and touch, we can learn a phenomenal amount about ourselves. We start to understand our automatic responses, and what pushes our boundaries. When we continually override our body’s intelligence and find ourselves in experiences which stress the body – we tend to generate tensions that become held. The body may shut down sensation in these places as a protection mechanism. This not only happens through big life trauma, but also the consistent repetition of everyday choices that put others’ needs and pleasure before our own. Sexological Bodywork offers processes that support us to reprogramme our mind and repattern our body out of unhealthy habits; and potential for so much more sensation, vitality and pleasure as a result.
Trauma informed practice
I soon discovered that working in sexuality means working with people who have experienced trauma, and how crucial it is to be well informed in trauma as a therapist.
Trauma comes up even in those who don’t identify with having experienced abuse. Most of us have grown up and live amidst social and cultural contexts full of fear, repression and misinformation around sex and sexuality. So much of this can be internalized as shame and feelings of unworthiness. Many of us have experienced conditions and events during our lives that have challenged our nervous systems, sometimes significantly. Sex and intimacy – involving as they do vulnerability, and opening ourselves up – can easily lead to trauma or trigger past trauma responses, when we don’t feel safe and our boundaries are transgressed (even on subtle levels).
Fortunately sex and intimacy can be where we can heal and transform trauma too. Through my work and Trauma Awareness Training I have come to understand how important it is to attune to and work carefully with trauma responses as they arise for clients. When we work with the body we often find we need to go a lot slower than we think we do. Working in a trauma-informed way ensures our body knows on a deep level that we are safe at every step, so we can learn to navigate intimate experiences in an empowered and embodied way.
After 5 years of Tantra I was given what felt like the ultimate test; the turning point in my life…
After doctors discovered a substantial tumour in my brain, and then more tumours around my body, I was diagnosed with Advanced Melanoma in 2015. I was offered treatment with only a 10% chance of even stabilizing my condition, plus palliative care, so I was left with little choice but to reach for my own tool kit. I’d heard about miraculous healings using sexual energy years before, and I knew I had nothing to lose.
Having become pretty skilled at quieting my inner-dialogue enough to be able to listen to my body’s wisdom; I started to breathe. Deep into my belly, like Tantra had taught me. Staying focussed on my breath rather than the crazy-making thoughts of my mind… allowing it to flow freely through my body to help it to function at the highest level for me. In challenging situations we tend to shorten or hold our breath, which generates anxiety in our body. This leads to us neither being able to calm the mind nor listen to the body. By utilizing my Orgasmic Lifeforce I was able to breathe deeply, expand, and move and flow with my body rather than contracting around my worries and fearing my body.
Listening to our body often goes against what our mind tells us. Our mind can easily focus on the danger and promote shame and fear. It tells us to work hard, to worry often, that there is never enough time and ‘who do you think you are to make time for your pleasure?’ Tantra taught me to quieten my critical mind and listen to my body. The mind reacts from fear, the body responds to pleasure.
Through harnessing my lifeforce energy, cannabis oil, dietary changes and detoxing – alongside conventional medicine – I was free from Cancer six months after my advanced diagnosis.
As I started my personal Tantra journey, I also started teaching Burlesque dance classes. Tantra gave me the confidence to become self-employed and my business boomed. I ran it for five years, and over that time myself and my team of tutors taught Burlesque to over 2,000 women.
I used Burlesque as a tool for the empowering work of self-love. We provided a safe, judgement-free space – offering absolute acceptance of everything women brought to the class, and zero fear of any shaming around their bodies or sexual expression. This really worked!!!
Women grew, beamed and blossomed through the Burlesque process. I saw the powerful correlation between women dropping the shame around their bodies and unique sexual expression, and showing up and achieving in other areas of their life. I saw these women birth new businesses, sprout new projects, leave unsatisfactory relationships and take the jump to start again; rebirthing themselves. It was phenomenal to witness this unfolding before my eyes, and on such a grand scale.
By the time Cancer came into my life, my time with the Burlesque business felt complete. I was delighted to sell it on to people who were just as passionate about the business as I had been.