The queen herself - Michelle Kasey! A year ago I started following Michelle on Instagram, getting super intrigued with her coaching and education around sexuality. Lockdown hit and I was ready to enrol into her group programme - what a freaking journey it was: learning and unlearning about your body, sensuality, traumas and triggers, relationship to sex. SO MUCH JUICINESS there!
In this interview, she shares her journey and how she started with this line of work, check out the video or written format below and get TWO TIPS from her at the very end 💖
I feel that the first time I kind of decided what I wanted to do was when I decided that I wanted to be an accountant. Alongside that I also wanted to be a politician. Until I started pole dancing and then realized that any dreams I had of being a politician would probably not come into fruition [laughs]. But my guiding star through all that was just “what would impress my parents?”, if I was being honest. I remember thinking that my dad would be proud of me if I was an accountant.
So my parents are a huge reason for what I do today. I’d say that their relationship, their pained marriage - where I had to be a young mom to my mum, really young, and had to mediate for them often - is one of the reasons that I had so much fear around attaching to other people and coming into relationships of my own. I was terrified of being married, of being a mum, who I perceived to be so trapped “you're a mum, you have kids, you get trapped in this marriage” is the way that I had witnessed my mom's life. And I didn't want that for myself. I thought “How can I do all that I can, to have healthier relationships?"
So what sparked me to go into pole dancing was an incident when I was out in the clubs just partying in town with a bunch of girlfriends when I was 19. There was no one else in the club and so the dancers let me have a shot on the pole and I was just jamming with them when one of them said to me - you should do a pole dancing class you'd be really good - and I thought what's pole dancing? Is that even a thing?
At this time I was incredibly reserved and the idea of pole dancing, especially when I had that level of taboo, at that time, was a really huge thing. It was something I knew that my boyfriend at the time would really “disapprove of” and have judgment around. I knew my family would be shocked about it. I still remember making the call to the studio from my car and feeling one of the most intimidating yet powerful acts of liberation.
The reason I came to do it is because I was just really so afraid of my own body, so afraid of my sexuality, so afraid of taking up space, was super afraid of being seen, afraid of the idea of being on stage.
The reason I stayed and made such a thing of it was because it just continued to offer me so much healing. The pole dancing industry has such a powerful sisterhood, and of course it's not just women that are in that space, but seeing women come together around this common will to free their bodies, free their sensual self-expression was just magical.
It's such a broad spectrum of things which is something I love about my job. And actually what's interesting is consistently people come into my practice and a month into it they'll say to me “Michelle, never in my life would I have thought that we would be inquiring into the things that we're inquiring into, as part of my journey of sexual liberation. I thought that we would be learning some practical tips or how to change the way I was doing sex or self-pleasuring” and, yes, that can sometimes be a part of it but because our experience of sexuality is so holistic and is tied into so many different pieces, so often I'm not actually talking about sex in my sessions.
So you know people will come to me with blocks to orgasm or perhaps they've never had an orgasm or perhaps they want to try different types of orgasm and want to have that as part of their experience. People will come with say, their past relationship or current relationship to porn has really inhibited their ability to be in their body and connect with a partner in the present moment. People come with sexual trauma and feeling their body is so tight and numb or even have pelvic pain that has resulted from that or other things. People will come with so many layers around their heart and they're immensely afraid to take those down, to trust and open up.
I do a lot of attachment work with couples who are just unsure how to communicate, they have a really unsafe container for communication, an unsafe container for authentic sexual exploration. Sometimes people even come to me on the very brink of breakup. I've worked with couples who are just about to start the separation process and then they've said “well, let's just give this a shot” and so it comes from people really struggling, people feeling some heavy blocks are in the way, to people feeling that they're not in a place of survival but they're in a place of their baseline and they really just have curiosity, they want to step more fully into their desires, their power.
My sexuality and the way I perceive my sexuality is that it's such an important and integral part of us and it's not all of us. When I think of the way people might perceive me sometimes, perhaps people see me as being over-identified with my sexuality or that my entire life is about sexuality and that's just not my truth. That's an important part of my wholeness, it's something that I value so much, it's something that enriches every single aspect of my being, not just in terms of sex but in terms of the way in which I relate to sexuality, pleasure, aliveness as a whole.
So often people feel the call, but they feel the resistance. What the invitation of connecting more deeply with your sexuality is revealing to you is that there's something up for your healing, something up for your integration or something for you to step into. I just invite people to use that as a compass to go towards that, even if it's as an experiment and just see what one might find. What I see with all of my clients is that something miraculous happens when you find what your sexuality, authentically looks like and feels like to you. So I think it's really important to recognise that. Yeah, not everyone has the privilege of doing this but many of us do and so how do we want to choose to relate to that and how can we do the work as part of the collective liberation, as part of raising the vibe together? How can we show up to shift the experience of those more marginalised than us and do it from pleasure, do it from ease.
So I think that something I really want to see is more of a balance between what comes across based on fears, such as “prevent STIs, don't get pregnant” and all of the stuff that naturally makes us contract around sex. It really feeds into a kind of narrative that sex is dirty, sex is dangerous. I don't think that there's no value in that education, obviously, it's just that it’s not balanced. Where are our young people also getting messages around how sex is pleasurable or that sex is generative? I really feel like we need to to be having that education and I think we are immensely afraid of talking about pleasure as adults and so there's understandably so many blocks around then, having that conversation with young people. I think we fear that they're going to take that and run and lose themselves to dirty dirty pleasure [laughs]. But I also understand why that feels like a conversation that is not without risk and understand why schools are really afraid of facilitating that aspect of education. So when parents ask me, I say well have that conversation with your children yourself, whilst we're figuring all of this out.
Really, it started for me with pole dancing. Coming into pole - it offered me so much - and then I really noticed that I wasn't really getting to the root of what I deeply wanted to change and that the way I was experiencing sex, the way I was experiencing orgasm, the disassociation that was happening to my body and noticed how many people were coming into pole dancing looking for that same liberation and needing something deeper. So really from there, I just started seeing what is even out there to shift all of this and in my curious adventures started to write a blog which was called billybomb.com at the time and it felt so edgy for me. It used to be my burlesque name and my tagline was “the sex positive showgirl” [laughs]. So I had that blog for a few years and it was really just for me at that time, just the space to practice normalizing this for myself. At that time I was really afraid of saying the word “pussy” and you know there was just so much there. So I just decided to start writing about what I was researching and through that I was exposed to more and more of what was out there.
I just randomly, one day, decided to sign up for a year-long training around sexuality and it was one of those things that really wasn't at all this mind-based process. I wasn't sitting down and thinking you know how this would unfold. It was just this magnetic force towards this thing that made no sense to anyone else that I was explaining this to. I just did it and just knew it was one of those other big turning points.
All of this was happening whilst I was doing my corporate career and was just giving myself permission to experiment with what I thought I could best offer. Until this point I had been teaching pole dancing workshops for many many years and naturally had, before I had even gone into any of this formally, my movement-based workshops had always been geared towards authentic movement, to really dropping into your body and not just performing what sexy looks like but you're dancing from what sensuality feels like.
I started by just taking all of this deep-end, trauma healing, somatic experience based work into my movement-based workshops and then started with pro bono clients for a long time just practicing so much. I did hundreds and hundreds of practicums to really just feel into this. It was a long time of just doing one-on-one sessions with just women for the first year and then I started to study more on conscious relating, couples work, slowly expanding and then over the years I've added group programs, programs for couples.
It was really hard for me, one - because I had to connect with all of my self-trust, for I had very little support from the people around me in this decision. This made no sense to anyone except my partner Chris, who has always been my fierce cheerleader and trusts my own intuition so so much in a way that's been so helpful for me to build that trust with myself. And I'd never seen anyone else go on this journey before me! I really carried into this, this knowing, that I was never going to return to corporate. I said I can't go back, yes it's an option but I knew in my soul that I would never be able to go back and then I was like “well if this doesn't work out, what do I do?” [laughs]. I just had to trust that I would figure it out.
I feel so comfortable in sharing that. I have such a human experience. I have a massive imposter syndrome. Yes, I have changed my relationship to that part of me over the years but I absolutely have days where I'm getting stuck in comparison on social media, when I feel I haven't grown fast enough or I'm not doing my sexuality practice enough or you know my relationship should be here or just all of this pressure. I think it's so important for all of us to be more and more forthcoming about breaking down these illusions of perfection or any one person having it all figured out, because I think what's cool is my relationship to my sexuality has drastically changed over time. It's something I'm so proud of because the work really paid off for me and I’ve guided so many people on that journey but there's nothing exceptional about me. I think it's so cool to just lead with that.
I think at some point, like maybe this will be an alternative universe thing, but I feel - my pussy tells me that - this will be an evolution of my work. I'm fascinated with childbirth, even though at this point I don't feel called to actually have children myself. I really want to become a doula, at some stage. I think my older self will move into that space. I think birth is fascinating and is quite otherworldly in so many ways. So there's that.
I also really want to be a writer so that's a really big goal of mine is to have written many books over the course of my life. I really want to begin on that journey by writing my first book this year that will just be for practice. I'll probably just give it to everyone for free in my subscription list or something.
Small steps that people can take… I think a really accessible one that I love to share as often as I can is really starting with your relationship to pleasure in your day-to-day. A question that I personally ask myself as often as I can is how can I make this five percent more pleasurable, how can I bring a little more ease, a little more yumminess into my body whilst I am writing an email? How can I go and massage my hands before I go onto a client session and so I think when we change our relationship to pleasure holistically that can be a really nice “dip your toes in the water” access point for people that absolutely informs our experience of pleasure and the realm of sexuality as well.
I'm really obsessed with slowing down in relationship to sex and pleasure. And I think this is one of the biggest blocks that we come up against is that it’s a lot harder, if not impossible, to experience pleasure when we are in this fast state, this stressed state. Because of the world in which we live in, the vast majority of us experience this as a baseline and then we ask ourselves “well why is it hard for me to drop into my body during sex, why can't I let go?”. It's because the body is in this long-held state of survival mode and I think a beautiful inquiry is well what's your relationship to slowing down? What might it look like to slow down the way that you masturbate, what might it look like to slow down your breath and your physical touch, to not just “bust one out” in five minutes but to say how can I take 10 minutes or 15 minutes or 20 minutes or whatever that expansion looks like for you? Does that change the way I experience my body? Often what people feel like in that process is, “when I slow down it forces me to acknowledge how much stress and anxiety I'm feeling in my body” which is why often we then switch to “I'm just going to go back to porn or I'm just going to go back to the highest vibration on my vibrator because that helps me to just like get to the goal, get to the orgasm and then feel relieved, I’ve ticked that box off” or whatever.
As I name all of those pieces I'm reminded of how complex it is to actually slow down, how it's a muscle that we build.