Ruth Ramsay IG Live on sex

What intimacy coach Ruth Ramsay has taught us about sex in 2021

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We sat down for an eye-opening chat with sex coach and course creator Ruth Ramsay…

This week we lost our Instagram Live virginity and it’s apt that we had Ruth Ramsay holding our hands. In case you haven’t come across her (oh god, the puns are just too easy), Ruth is a sex and intimacy coach who creates a safe space for couples and individuals to improve or even transform their sexual lives. 


As we explained to Ruth, when we first launched Discoco and put an appeal out for great course creators, we could only dream that we’d get to feature programmes as unique, juicy and important as hers, so we’re thrilled to have her on board. True to form, her chat was full of gems. If you’ve got 40 minutes spare you can head to our Instagram page to watch the whole thing, but if you’re in a bit of a TLDW mood (“too long didn’t watch”? Is that a thing?), here are a few of her nuggets of wisdom…


On sex as a reflection of other parts of life…

“What happens in the bedroom or in our erotic lives is often a bit of a mirror for what happens outside of them, so by doing what we need to do to improve the quality of our intimate lives, and by becoming more in touch with what we want and need, both in the big picture but also moment by moment, we can become better communicators and listeners. All the stuff that improves our sexual lives makes our lives outside the bedroom so much better as well. If we can speak up and ask for what we want in bed, most people find it easier to do it elsewhere too.”


On bringing back people’s confidence…


“You can tell when someone’s having good sex. Sometimes I’ll ask clients to think back to a time when they were having great sex – and most people can think of a time even if it was only fleeting – and then think through to how they showed up in the wider world then, how were they were as a family member, a work colleague, a boss, a housemate, a friend, or in their community – and how much they enjoyed non-sexual pleasure in life too. Generally they say everything was better – they looked after themselves in terms of self-care and everything felt better – so then I ask them if it’s worth putting the time and effort into their sexual life now to return to that state. Of course it is but until we sit and consciously think about it, it’s all too easy to push it to the bottom of the to do list.”


On getting both halves of a couple on board for sex coaching…


“With straight couples, it’s usually the woman who’s interested first. One of the ways in which the Passion8 programme and course has come about is through the fact that women are more up for the idea of actually talking with me. Often the partners are up for the journey and excited by the concept of improving or reviving their sex life, but they don’t want to actually talk to anyone directly about it. They do want to know what a woman thinks about it all but they don’t want to actually have that conversation. This is why, with the course, which is 8 weeks long, the live bit is delivered webinar-style rather than over Zoom, so they’re not on screen and don’t have to share anything. I do have a Q&A box so people can ask questions but others can’t see them – so you can take the entire course without other participants even knowing you’re there, which is often very appealing, particularly for guys. They can email me too, and I like to ask for people’s top takeaways from each module, so I can then share those – anonymously – with other participants. One of the benefits is that with sex people often feel “I thought it was just me” so sharing other people’s experiences often shows this isn’t the case.”


On the kinds of people she works with…


“People tend to come to me when there’s some kind of turning point in their life. It might be that they’re newly single, or something has changed – for example, I have a lot of clients whose kids have grown up, so suddenly a couple will realise it’s just them at home now, which is an amazing opportunity, but they don’t know where to start. Women can get very shy around that age, when you’ve been a mother figure and not had that raw passion for potentially 18 years or more, so it’s an opportunity to enter a new phase in a relationship and make the most of it. Also around this stage women often have more time and more disposable income to invest in something like coaching. That said, I worked with a wonderful couple with a 5 month old baby and their motivation was different – they had grown up in households where there was love but not much demonstrative physical affection or passion, and they wanted their daughter to grow up in a household where she saw it as normal and demanded it from a partner in the future. I thought it was amazing they were thinking 20+ years ahead and investing in their daughter’s life.”


On sex post-pandemic…


“People have very diverse feelings coming out of lockdown – some are excitedly counting down the minutes to social engagements, others are dreading it due to anxieties around restrictions lifting – and that’s reflected in people’s sexual lives too, whether you’re single or in a couple. I believe it presents an opportunity to pause and look at the sexual life you were having, and asking if that’s a pattern you want to continue with. It’s time for a reset. It’s more obvious for people who are single and potentially starting to date again, but it applies to couples too, especially if they’ve been feeling cooped up. Just having that bit of distance from each other, seeing your partner across a room, in a social situation and recognising they’re a separate being, can give you quite a thrill and remind you why you’re attracted to them. It’s a whole new landscape and a chance to think about what you’re comfortable with. All the old patterns of how you might behave on a date can now be questioned – do you want someone to kiss you on the cheek when you meet them or have you actually never been comfortable with this? We’d been living sexually, and in the bigger picture, according to quite well-entrenched scripts of behaviour, but this is a chance to question as individuals what we want, what we’re happy with and whether the old ways of doing things ever suited us.”


On consent…


“We’ve all been on a learning journey over the past 18 months when it comes to privilege and consent, with thinking how we relate to each other, how our behaviour is interpreted, what consent means, different levels of consent, so if we’re coming back to dating we’ve got a new language and new awareness we didn’t have before. It’s a great opportunity to put everything we’ve learned into practice and step out exactly as we choose to.”


On why coaching isn’t a substitute for counselling… 


“With sex coaching, I try to be very clear – if on a discovery call with a potential new client, it comes up that they’re having big problems in their relationship that they want to fix via their sex life, I direct them towards therapy or counselling. For someone to be in an ideal place for coaching, they need to be in a place mentally where they can take active steps towards a positive future. If something’s holding them back – it could be unresolved trauma from the past, or something like a partner having an affair they can’t get over – they tend not to end up in the coaching space.”


On the shift online opening up a whole new world of self-discovery…


“Something which has been interesting is the explosion in online sex events. For instance, I was recently invited to a “pussy play party” for people with vulvas who identified as women to talk privately about how they felt about their vulvas, what they liked doing, how they liked to masturbate, their favourite lingerie etc, and I thought this was quite wonderful and such an opportunity for people to connect in a way they couldn’t before. Women often haven’t seen other women’s vulvas – or if they’ve seen them in porn it’s not very representative of the general population – so it’s a great opportunity. There are also now some great Instagram accounts, like Vulva Casting and Pleasure Portraits, featuring vulva art. I had one client who really disliked her vulva but she ended up sending a photograph to one of these artists – they did a watercolour painting of it and put it on Instagram, and she’s now so proud and can see that she is beautiful, which would never have been possible before.”


Ruth’s Passion8 Programme runs for 8 weeks and starts on Thursday 3rd June: you can find out lots more about it and book your spot here

Plus! Sign up to the Discoco newsletter here for a 10% discount. 


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