The Queer Sensualist, aka Oli Lipski is a researcher, writer and editor who has specialised in areas around bisexuality and sex tech. Today, she provides sensual intimacy coaching sessions to those seeking a more fulfilling sex and love life. Through the lens of queer theory and sensual embodiment, she offers a unique reframing of what sex and relationships are, and could be for you. 

How did you get into sensual intimacy coaching?

I came out as bisexual very young, when I was in my teens. It was a really difficult time for me. I was sleeping with girls and boys and I quickly noticed that the world saw me differently, and I couldn’t understand the amount of shame that there was around sex and pleasure. There was bi-phobia, queer-phobia, slut-shaming, and we’re not taught how to deal with any of these things. I felt so alone. Then I went to university and realised that I could study the history of bisexuality, and it was amazing to see that other people had experienced the same thing as me.

So at university I was studying and researching a lot of things to do with sexuality. Then I started working with a vibrator company in the sex tech industry and I’ve worked in various roles for sex-positive companies since then, doing freelance journalism amongst other things!

At one point, I received some sex coaching myself and I found it really mind-blowing. I grew and learnt so much, so I decided that I wanted to help others in the way that I was helped.

Today, in my sensual intimacy coaching, I deal with issues around sexuality, relationships, intimacy and helping people have a fulfilling love life.

 

 

My mission is to inspire people to be more sensual with their intimacy and to question their understanding of sex and relationships. In my intimacy coaching want to people to get back in touch with their bodies- we often get stuck in our heads, but the body holds so much wisdom.

 

 

What’s your mission?

My mission is to inspire people to be more sensual with their intimacy and to question their understanding of sex and relationships. In my intimacy coaching I want to people to get back in touch with their bodies- we often get stuck in our heads, but the body holds so much wisdom. I would eventually love to build some sort of community within the sensual world. It makes me really happy to share the things I’ve learnt, and to learn myself.

 

 

 

I call myself a sensual intimacy coach because I work with the senses, meaning not just the 5 senses but what’s going on inside our bodies too- the emotional senses.

 

 

How did researching sex and sensuality compare to coaching it?

A lot of the research was very cognitive and about working to change the system as a whole.  Working with people one-on-one is more holistic. It’s less ‘in the head’. The head stuff is important, but I found for me personally that the holistic stuff and the bodywork was the most helpful and transformative. I call myself a sensual intimacy coach because I work with the senses, meaning not just the 5 senses but what’s going on inside our bodies too- the emotional senses.

 

Sensual intimacy coaching: meet The Queer Sensualist
Meet The Queer Sensualist, aka Oli Lipski.

 

 

How do you approach your coaching?

My approach varies with each client. The body stuff doesn’t work with everybody. Some people just need conversation- they’ve never even had a space to simply talk about sex and pleasure, so sometimes that’s enough alone.

There’s a really great theory for sex therapists dealing with clients called the PLISSIT Model. It’s basically the different stages of helping them through their issues.

The first stage is ‘Permission’ and this is the initial step, where we give the person permission to talk about their sexual issues.

The next stages are ‘limited information’, ‘specific suggestions’ and finally the last stage which is ‘intensive therapy’ (see photo below for examples). It’s been found that the most commonly transformative stage for clients is the first one- simply talking about all of their issues.

It is always so amazing to me to see this in my clients. Someone can come to me unable to have ever had an orgasm, and after a couple of sessions of just talking about sex, they can orgasm! It’s because there’s so much shame and stigma around sex, meaning many people haven’t had a safe space to discuss it before.

 

The PLISSIT Model. Photo source: psychiatryadvisor.com.

 

Examples of The PLISSIT Model.
Examples of The PLISSIT Model. Photo source: MDEdge.com

 

 

What does your sensory coaching look like?

Normally once we’ve had some conversations about what’s going on mentally- we can do the sensory stuff. Many people don’t feel safe in their own bodies, so I have certain methods that focus on the 5 senses. This helps them focus on the present and feel more grounded and in touch with their bodies.

I encourage them to listen to their body, asking themselves what their body is telling them- maybe they need to rest, maybe they need to sleep, maybe they need to let anger out. When we don’t listen to our bodies, it can have a huge impact on how we behave in the bedroom and in our relationships in general.

 

 

I think of sex as a big broad umbrella. Heteronormativity has created the idea that sex is simply this penis-in-vagina penetration for a few minutes. But what about the spectrum of pleasure and all of the senses that can be involved?

 

Are your clients varied?

Yes, I work with individuals but also I do couples sensual intimacy coaching. The youngest client has been 21 and my oldest has been in their early 60s. There’s normally different symptoms between my clients but the cause is usually very similar. The common theme is feelings of shame. But the symptoms can be struggling with orgasms, struggling with meeting other people, struggling with their partners or themselves, issues around communication.

Sex is such a minefield and we’re not really taught anything about it. It’s fascinating to talk to people about these things, because it’s a learning experience for me also- sometimes I see something in a way I never had thought about before. It’s a collaborative experience.

Has being bisexual informed your coaching?

For sure, as it was a big part of my origin story. Even with my straight clients, I can see that they suffer from how heteronormativity has dominated what we view ‘sex’ to consist of. I call myself a sensual intimacy coach because I think of sex as a big broad umbrella. Heteronormativity has created the idea that sex is simply this penis-in-vagina penetration for a few minutes. But what about the spectrum of pleasure and all of the senses that can be involved? And being more in tune with what we like and what we don’t like and being able to communicate that. I think a lot of my work is about querying what sex really is.

 

 

The Queer Sensualist, providing sensual intimacy coaching sessions
The Queer Sensualist.

 

What’s a common misconception about sensual intimacy coaching?

One time, this very drunk middle aged man asked me what I did for a living, and when I told him, he came back with ‘So you just teach people where to put it’. I think people view sex coaching as more explicit than it is. Some sex coaches do engage with sexual touch, which I think is incredible, and I have needed to have bodywork coaching myself for my healing journey in the past. However, not every coach offers sexual touch- my approach is building on skills you can take into the bedroom but there’s no sexual engagement.

Being compassionate and gentle is the answer. Being gentle with yourself.  It’s about the parasympathetic nervous system- which is a network of nerves in your body that put you in a state of calm: relaxing, resting, digesting. As humans, we’re often in ‘I need to fix’ mode, but when we manage to go into a state of calm, that is often when the answers will come to you anyway.

What’s your favourite thing about sensual intimacy coaching?

The joy that clients share. Whilst some sessions can be really tough, when we manage to get past that, there can be this feeling of elation and pure joy. Hearing people put what we discuss into practice and they come to the next session and say something like ‘I had an orgasm for the first time ever!’ is wonderful. There’s many different little celebrations like that, and they fill up my heart.

 

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt on this journey?

Being compassionate and gentle is the answer. Being gentle with yourself.  It’s about the parasympathetic nervous system- which is a network of nerves in your body that put you in a state of calm: relaxing, resting, digesting. As humans, we’re often in ‘I need to fix’ mode, but when we manage to go into a state of calm, that is often when the answers will come to you anyway. But it takes practice and guidance to know how to get into that state more often.

I spent years not trusting myself and feeling very lost. The biggest shift has always been when I’ve slowed down. You can’t go wrong with slowing down in every situation.

 

I wish we didn’t have to rely so much on sex-negative social media platforms to get clients. I wish there was a referral network or something similar. It would be nice for us all to support each other and help find clients together.

 

Advice for people looking for a sensual coach?

This is a growing industry, take your time to find the right thing for you. Don’t give up if you try once and feel it doesn’t work. It’s not a given that you will immediately find the right person for you, and the right type of help. There’s therapists, coaches, bodyworkers, and they’re all totally different things. So take your time with it until you find the thing that really clicks.

 

What could be improved about the intimacy coaching industry right now?

I just had my Instagram removed a few weeks ago. I wish we didn’t have to rely so much on sex-negative social media platforms to get clients. I wish there was a referral network or something similar. It would be nice for us all to support each other and help find clients together. The capitalist world often pits people against each other, but it would be cool for us all to work together.

 

Follow The Queer Sensualist on Instagram.

Join Sensuali today for more sensual intimacy coaching experiences. 

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Iso

Iso

Author

Iso is a writer and filmmaker based in East London. She is passionate about all things erotic and leads a sexy, shame-free life in hope that she can inspire others to do the same. Originally from a Northern seaside town, she is naturally drawn to the best things in life: candyfloss, trashy karaoke bars and heart-shaped sunglasses.


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