229: Overcoming Purity Culture with Esther Hooley

229: Overcoming Purity Culture with Esther Hooley

In this episode of Better Sex, host Jessa Zimmerman talks with Esther Hooley to address the impacts of purity culture on individuals and their sexuality. They explore how purity culture influences sexual scripts, the resulting shame, and how one can begin to heal and embrace their true sexuality. Esther discusses her book, ‘Embracing Erotic Wholeness,’ and how curiosity and reframing spirituality can assist in overcoming the detrimental effects of purity culture.

00:00 Introduction
00:45 Guest Introduction and Topic Overview
01:15 Esther’s Background
03:09 Defining Purity Culture
02:28 Impacts of Purity Culture
10:15 Shame and Sexuality
08:25 Disconnect and Reconnection
19:47 Reframing Sexual and Spiritual Beliefs
24:36 Closing Remarks Want to share your personal story on our podcast? This can be done anonymously! Just email us at info@intimacywithease.com

Dr. Hooley has been a clinician for over a decade and is currently a licensed psychologist in Waco, Texas. She specializes in sex therapy, trauma recovery, eating concerns, and spirituality concerns. She is currently in private practice working with people across the U.S. seeking healing. She recently published her first book entitled “Embracing Erotic Wholeness: From Shame to Curiosity” which focuses on embodied healing after living through purity culture.

#171 – God wants us to have pleasure – Rachel Alba

#171 – God wants us to have pleasure – Rachel Alba

Listen to “171: God Wants Us to Have Pleasure – Rachel Alba”

God Wants Us To Have Pleasure 

Our topic today is about getting closer to God through pleasure. I’m talking to Rachel Alba, who is a sex coach for people raised in Christian traditions that are struggling with shame or negativity around sex, and are at a point in their lives where they’re willing to take that on and try to transform that into something positive. 

She shares her personal story of her journey around this, and a lot about the idea of faith development. And opening up to new ideas about sex and then how to explore that and reduce the kind of shame response that people can have.  

Rachel works as a sex coach specifically for people who are coming from Christian backgrounds. And she got into that specifically because she was raised Roman Catholic and was led to believe sex is a space for us to really come back to the Garden of Eden and very much experience union with each other, union with the divine, even a fuller union with ourselves at the same time. And that’s a really positive viewpoint that Rachel was exposed to in her particular parish, this sense that sex is really good and pleasure is really good. And we can experience God’s grace through those things. 

Sex, Pleasure, Shame, and Christianity 

Our discussion dives deep into the history of attitudes surrounding sex, pleasure and shame within Christianity. And how so many people come from a place of spirituality. One of the first things Rachel does, is to remind people is that shame is actually a positive thing, which can sound a bit crazy. 

But she points out that our initial shame response is actually meant to protect us. So, it’s positive in the sense where it was meant to protect us. And a lot of times what happens is we just didn’t ever actually like grow out of that shame response that we had around sexuality.  

God created your body for pleasure.  

Rachel says that God didn’t give us nerve endings simply because we need them to be able to like, feel textures on trees. She believes God gave us pleasure and the ability to experience pleasure, because God wants us to experience pleasure. 

About Rachel 

Rachel is a certified Clinical Sexologist and holds a Masters of Arts in Theology and Ministry from Boston College.  She comes to Clinical Sexology (sex coaching) with a decade of experience as a massage therapist and extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology.   Her work combines:  developmental spirituality, sexology & anatomy, sex-positive theology, and mindful sensuality to help clients from Christian backgrounds let go of any lingering sexual shame, experience more pleasure, grow in their communication and sexual skills, all while deepening their spirituality.  Other things I love are:  sangria, playing piano and singing, and the 1970’s film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. 

Links and Resources: 

Instagram – @rachel.alba.coaching 

Website  https://www.sexwithspirit.com 
[Where you can find a Free Three Keys to Releasing Sexual Shame miniclass] 

Sex-Positive Christian Feminists‬ Podcast with Rachel Alba & Lurie Kimmerle – https://podcasts.apple.com/si/podcast/sex-positive-christian-feminists/id1549622305 

More info and resources:
How Big a Problem is Your Sex Life? Quiz – https://www.sexlifequiz.com
Access the Free webinar: How to make sex easy and fun for both of you: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Secret Podcast for the Higher Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/hdppodcast
Secret Podcast for the Lower Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/ldppodcast
#168 – Moving Past Shame – Tilly Storm

#168 – Moving Past Shame – Tilly Storm

Listen to “168: Moving Past Shame – Tilly Storm”

Moving Past Shame 

Today’s conversation surrounds sexual shame and negativity and how that leads to a loss of desire and pleasure in sex. Tilly Storm, a sexual coach, helps such women whose desire has been lost due to the burden of shame and negativity around pleasure. She is here today to share her knowledge on how to reclaim your sexuality, get familiar with your own body, and experience pleasure like never before. 

How did you get started? 

Tilly grew up in the suburbs of Louisiana in a conservative, religious environment with shame around her body and sexuality was hanging over her. It lasted until she gave birth at the age of 23 when she realized everything she was taught about her body, sex and pleasure was utter nonsense. She then set out to help other women rediscover their sexuality that was lost after giving birth. Some courses she offers are sexual relationship coaching, ancient tantric wisdom, and Taoist practices. Lacey started her journey as a sex coach by first working on reclaiming her sexuality and body and by losing the shame and guilt she was taught. 

Where does sex-negativity stem from? 

Sex negativity can show up in both men and women. Tilly says a lot of her clients relate to her story of developing shame around sexuality while growing up in a conservative and religious environment. She says being ridden with guilt and shame registers as trauma to which people give out a hypo-response or a hyper-response. While women respond by shutting down and losing the desire to have sex, men respond by developing an addiction to sex and porn. 

Tilly says sex-negativity can also stem out of the fear of STDs, STIs, and unwanted pregnancy. Our culture also conditions us to feel shameful and guilty of becoming pregnant young or contracting an STD or even for harboring controversial desires and eroticism. What people find desirable and erotic are so limited normalized that everything that sounds too foreign than usual is associated with shame. 

What opened up your beliefs? 

Tilly’s time of giving birth brought her closer to understanding her body’s potential and capability. She said it started with realizing that there was nothing inherently wrong with her body. After going through a stage of body image distortion, she found the right mind to look at her herself. Jade egg practice helped lift her shame and guilt around sexuality and pleasure. It’s a practice where you take an egg-shaped stone made out of jade and use it internally to do squeezes, releases, and breath work practices. Tilly says, “It’s yoga for your vagina”. It helps you to connect with your body and what’s down there. 

Is there a timeline to be rid of sexual shame? 

She points out that it takes time to get rid of all that shame and to “undo the narratives you were taught”. It also takes time to process that and get it out of your body. Sexual problems cannot be fixed just through talking because, as Tilly says, sexual problems don’t just stem from thinking. They’re deeply rooted and if you want to do things differently, along with insight you have to experience things differently by working on your body. 

How to get out of your head & away from sex-negative thoughts? 

Tilly starts by helping her clients with transformational breath work, where she uses the gentle trauma release method to release tension and trauma from their bodies. She guides them to feel unstuck and to open up. The next step is to “rewrite your sexual narrative”. She makes her clients write down scenarios of what would happen if they grew up in a sex-positive environment. They write it down, record it and listen to it for 10 days straight. While she acknowledges it’s a challenging process, she offers a solution to entangle it piece by piece. 

She talks about inner child dynamics where it’s vital to work on trauma encountered by your inner child. She warns that the inner child when left unaddressed surfaces as a triggered response to your partner in your relationship. She also shares about mother-father dynamics and presses the importance of questioning how their beliefs you adopted are affecting your sexuality. 

How to expand your pleasure? 

The first step to expand your pleasure is to get out of your head and Lacey suggests Jade egg practice to slow down your thoughts and connect with your pleasure points. She says there are more pleasure points in your pelvic floor than what we know, and we can explore them by taking our time every day by touching ourselves, through Jade egg, breath work, and self-guided self-pleasure practices. That’s how you get in the habit of making the transition and being connected with your body. 

What’s an indication that you reached your goals? 

Tilly’s clients reach their vaginal goals in 6 or under 6 months. They start out having little breakthroughs in week 6 or 7. They reach a place of empowerment by letting go of shame and guilt around weeks 8 to 10. Tilly points out that there’s always a new level of pleasure to be achieved and we truly don’t realize the pleasure capacity of our bodies. She also offers communication and connection practices for couples and partners to rebuild their intimacy. 


Tilly Storm is a holistic sex, love & relationship coach for women who want to reconnect with their bodies to feel desire and pleasure. She is also the producer of The Multiorgasmic Mama Podcast. 

She is a certified coach, Tantra, jade egg, and sexuality teacher, who uses deep transformational tools and techniques based in modern coaching modalities, and ancient tantric wisdom and Taoist practices to help women reconnect with their sensuality after becoming mothers, rebuild their intimacy with their partners and achieve ultimate pleasure! 

Resources and links: 

Website: ​https://www.tillystorm.com/ 

Podcast: ​https://www.themultiorgasmicmama.com/podcast

Facebook: ​https://www.facebook.com/laceybroussardrocks

Instagram: ​https://instagram.com/tilly.storm 

More info and resources:
How Big a Problem is Your Sex Life? Quiz – https://www.sexlifequiz.com
Access the Free webinar: How to make sex easy and fun for both of you: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass
Secret Podcast for the Higher Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/hdppodcast
Secret Podcast for the Lower Desire Partner: https://www.intimacywithease.com/ldppodcast
#46: Dr. Tina Sellers – Sex, God, and the Conservative Church

#46: Dr. Tina Sellers – Sex, God, and the Conservative Church

Listen to “#46: Dr. Tina Sellers – Sex, God, and the Conservative Church”

Overcoming Sexual Shame

In her work, Sellers places considerable emphasis on reversing sexual shame in her clients’ and readers’ minds. Growing up in a sexually-open environment, with parents who were very transparent about sexual function, health, and education, Tina learned the importance of communication over the suppression of sexual fact. And by extension, she is a vocal opponent of abstinence-only techniques which are ineffective and detrimental to the overall sexual wellbeing of all who are involved.

Tina also likes to probe the depths of religious history to offer broader perspectives on how sexuality and religion can function symbiotically instead of antagonistically.

Without further ado, much more is expounded upon within the episode. It is an absolutely phenomenal experience, navigated by an equally phenomenal guest. Enjoy! (more…)

#15: [Personal Story] Alli – Sexual Trauma

#15: [Personal Story] Alli – Sexual Trauma

Listen to “#15: [Personal Story] Alli – Sexual Trauma”

Triumph after sexual trauma
This is the first in a new series of episodes where I will be talking to real people sharing real stories.

On this episode, I am joined by Alli, a recovering overachiever who has learned to let go of society’s expectations and step into alignment with her true self. (more…)

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