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Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Berry’

Sex and Relationship Therapist, Sarah Berry Talks Shop, Kink & ‘What’s Normal’

It’s my pleasure to welcome Sarah Berry, good friend, sex and relationship therapist and all around fabulous person, to A Hopeful Romantic to talk about her work with us.

Sarah BerryKD: Sarah, when you and I first met, you were the editor of Forum Magazine, and you were also a very talented writer in your own right. During the time I’ve know you, you founded the Fannying Around Women’s Group and always had an understanding of what was lacking in the area of women’s sexual health and the information and sources of information that are available. Becoming a sex and relationship therapist was the logical next step for you. What was the biggest change for you?

SB: Thanks KD. I think learning to be myself was a challenge. As a journalist at events I had to be larger than life as I was competing with a lot of other journalists to get the column inches. That said, when I was interviewing people on a one to one basis, I was much happier and relaxed.

When I started training some years ago, I thought therapists had to be this blank canvas with no discernable personality. I stopped wearing colourful clothes and tried to be very serious. But I realised that being human was very important to the process and that the way I was in my journalist interviews was more the person I should be as a therapist, things fell into place.

Now I am a professional version of myself, which means I am not trying to be something I am not, so I can concentrate fully on the client. Rather than being stuffy, disconnected and serious, I am warm, empathetic and down to earth. The relationship I build with the client is a huge part of the process in person centred therapy, as is being genuine, congruent and transparent.

KD: Sarah, you recently said to me, and I quote, ‘I actually think while some (people who lead alternative lifestyles) are having the life of Riley others are confused while others assume all therapists wouldn’t understand alt lifestyles (and I hate the word alt like I hate the word vanilla).’ Could you comment on this statement and tell us how that has affected the direction your career as a sex and relationship therapist will take.

SB: The media is quick to sensationalise kinksters, assume they are all survivors of abuse or fear they are all wannabe criminals. So the kinksters defend themselves by pointing out how the BDSM scene is very well policed and their mantra of being safe, sane and consensual. So there is a “them and us” type situation.

The reality is some people have a great time, some are working out what they want, some are new to the scene, some are veterans, some are still learning, some spend their time spouting dogma about the “right way” to do things… You don’t need to label yourself as a kinkster to enjoy a spot of spanking, and you don’t have to relish pain in order to be kinky. Some kinksters have been abused and successfully use kink to work through their pain while others can harm themselves by reliving the trauma. It is complicated; things can go wrong and things can go right. I will be blogging about being kinky on my new website http://www.LondonKinkTherapist.co.uk.

Because of this difficult backdrop I try to listen to my clients and not make assumptions about what they do or how they think. Just because someone is into BDSM (which stands for bondage, discipline, dominance, submission and sadomasochism) it does not mean this is the cause of their problem. Sometimes people do use kink to harm themselves but it doesn’t mean they must eschew all kinky practices in order to have a healthy sex life. Each person, couple or group I see is different and we work out what they want and need together then we work out how to help them get there.

KD: Sarah, I know a little more about the journey that led you down the path to therapist than most people do, and it’s an amazing journey. Would you share some of it with our readers please.

SB: I think you’re meaning that I have overcome my own psychosexual issues. My struggle with vaginismus inspired me to start Fannying Around. But even though I have overcome it, I think sex is a journey for everyone – whether you choose to have it, can’t have it, are alone, have a permanent partner or enjoy a variety of partners at a time. I am always learning and open to new thoughts and ideas. If I wasn’t I think I would be a rather jaded therapist.

KD: Are there future plans for Fannying Around?

SB: I do really want to bring Fannying Around back. It was a wonderful forum and I learned a lot from the members. I will be sure to let you know.

KD: What was most difficult about your transition from editor/journo to sex and relationship therapist?

SB: I think it has actually gone pretty smoothly. I always cared about what I wrote and I had the luxury of writing for the people that I was covering – rather than being sensational. Now I am even more mindful of being inclusive of sexualities, genders and preferences which can be a bit tricky when giving quotes to heteronormative places that want you to fit into their neat way of thinking.

KD: What do you think keeps people from seeking out the help that’s readily available for them, the helpSarahBerry therapists like you provide?

SB: I think people assume you need to be experiencing real tragedy or be really “fucked up” in order to see a therapist. But everyone has stuff, and at different times this can affect our relationships, work and social lives more than others. To be in therapy doesn’t mean you are a victim. In fact I have a great respect for anyone who walks into my office.

Therapy can help you unpick a problem, work out solutions, help you improve communicating – especially if your arguments always follow the same pattern and neither one of you feels heard – or deal with unresolved issues or grief from the past.

Some people fear seeing a therapist will open a can of worms, maybe if they have experienced grief or do not want to disrupt a currently amicable relationship with a family member. But it is possible to deal with any disruption from past events by looking at what is happening in the here and now. If you do not want to relive the past you do not have to. You are in control at all times.

KD: Could you talk a little bit about ‘what’s normal’ from the standpoint of a therapist? I know this is something that is always a hot topic, and more than likely one of the main reasons people seek you out.

SB: I’m always hearing statements like: “I just want to be normal,” “I want a normal relationship,” “Our sex life isn’t normal. But the idea that there is a normal is massive misconception. Everyone is different. We all have different ideas of what good sex is or what we want from a relationship – if we want one at all. And what this idea of normal does is alienate anyone who feels they are normal; it creates freaks out of anyone who feels they don’t want a lot of sex, or who maybe has a fetish or who doesn’t want to be married. A “problem” is only a problem if it impedes your own sense of what you want, disrupts your work, social life or relationships and/or if you are causing harm to others. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to completely change yourself to fit in with the norm. It could be that you can find a new way to express yourself. Life would be boring if we were all the same, fancied the same people or had the same desires.

KD: What does the future hold for Sarah Berry, sex and relationship therapist?

SB: Well I will continue with my private practise and carry on learning about the world of sex and relationships. I would also like to do more group therapy and more writing.

KD: How can people get in touch with you?

SB: You can contact me through my website sarahberrytherapy.co.uk, via email at sarah@sarahberrytherapy.co.uk or call me on 07581 231313.

 

 

 

From the Daily Grind to Bump ‘n’ Grind

If you’re in the London area and want a unique experience to share with your special someone, an experience that will linger long after Valentine’s Day has come and gone, then be sure to check out “From The Daily Grind to Bump ‘n’ Grind”

One of my favourite people, the lovely Sarah Berry, is teaming up with one of my favourite places, Sh! Women’s Emporium to offer a fabulous new class for couples. “From The Daily Grind to Bump ‘n’ Grind” is a Sh! Valentines Special for couples. Sarah assures me, however, that the word ‘couples’ is used very loosely. The class is open to f*ck buddies, poly people, first dates, longterms, and … well you get the picture. As the lovely folks at Sh! say, the couples that play together stay together, so this very timely class is designed to help ‘couples’ turn off the daily grind and be more mindful during intimate times –  whether they like it quick, kinky, romantic…

Sarah Berry is qualified sex and relationship therapist and now runs a private practice (seeSarah Berry postunnamed
www.sarahberrytherapy.co.uk). So the class will be combining tricks from the therapist’s couch with saucy tips and exercises gleaned from Sarah’s 10 years of sex & relationship journalism.

The class is aimed at all sexualities and sexual preferences. Poly groups are also welcome. It will be held at Sh! Women’s Store Hoxton on Feb 11. Tickets are £50 per couple.

Venue: Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, 57 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6PB
Tel: 020 7613 5458

For more info and tickets visit:
http://www.sh-womenstore.com/Erotic+Classes/From-the-Daily-Grind-to-Bump-n-Grind.html

Please note: Tickets are not physically issued for this event. Instead, upon purchase, your name will be added to our guest list and you will receive confirmation by email.

 

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Filthy Mouths and Evil Tongues to Heat Up Hoxton

One of the unexpected surprises that has come from getting my work published and then doing everything I can to promote and make sure it gets as much attention as possible is public readings of excerpts of my work. What started out as a very timid attempt during my first reading when Violet Blue visited Sh! Hoxton to promote her Best Women’s Erotica 2010 became something I really like to do. Not only do I like to read my work out loud to others, but I love to listen when other people read theirs. That’s how I came in contact with the fabulously nasty group of women, who call themselves Filthy Mouths and Evil Tongues.

I’d been hearing rumours about these naughty ladies for a while, but had always just managed to miss their sassy, saucy performances until last December, when they were performing at Sh! Portobello. From the sublime to the sexy. From the raunchy to the hilarious. Every kind of filth and fun seemed to be the general goal of the performance of these lovelies. Some were clad in corsets and stockings, some were dressed like they had just come from a hard day at the office – being someone’s Boss. But they were all delightful. Here’s just a small taste of the line-up.

Molly Moore:

Molly is the author of Molly’s Daily Kiss, the UK’s most successful female sex blogger… if you look at numbers that is! I first popped my Filthy Mouths cherry at the end of last year and found that once I had got over my initial nerves I loved sharing my work with an audience who appeared to be loving every minute of my filth. Writing is a lonely task and one where we rarely get to see or hear the effect our work has on people, reading it aloud changes that and the audible gasp of the audience told me everything I needed to know about the piece I had written.

http://mollysdailykiss.com

Lady Grinning Soul:

Lady Grinning Soulhttp://ladygrinsoul.com/ and @LadyGrinSoul

Writer of smut, discusser of all things sex. My main concerns are high quality writing and fiction that aim to prove the validity of erotic fiction in the literary canon, and truth. My erotic fiction has a dark edge, and my articles are usually sparked by politics or social trends. I first read with Filthy Mouths and Evil Tongues at the January Erotic Meet and was thrilled to be asked to join the ladies again.

The Dragon King’s Daughter:

The Dragon Kings Daughter – Erotic Explorer, Freedom Fighter and Libertine. The Dragon Kings Daughter adventures into erotic literature to distract herself from the horrible reality of the late stage capitalist disaster in which we live. In an attempt to restore hope and happiness she indulges her most inappropriate musings to encourage stimulation and liberation and ….

www.thedragonkingsdaughter.com

Meg Philips:

Meg Philip is a lady truly gifted with the sixth sense for love, passion, fun, frolic and everything that’s purely naughty but nice.

Author of three books namely: Erotic Encounter, Love By Text & Just Being Friendly. Meg began writing from a daydream during a long lecture. She leaned her head, smiled, made a note, rushed home and Love By Text came to life!

Since then Meg has been on a unique journey and draws her inspiration from daily sights, her travels, those naughty but nice conversations she over hears and, those meet & greets.

So, if Meg ever leans her head & smiles around you, you may have just inspired her next piece. Be warned, she’s ever so nice but so very naughty… http://megphilipauthor.com/

Annie Player:

Author, Artist, Poet and Tease
Annie is an erotic poet and founder of Erotic Meet – where creative people come together. Her words bounce from the sweet and sensual to sheer pleasurable filth and have the ability to tease your imagination into opening up to your own unique sexual world. Gushing with rhythm and descriptive techniques, her words will literally leave you wet and panting for more. Find Annie at: www.missplayer.co.uk and join the creative community: eroticmeet.net

Mia Lee

Mia is a very bad girl who deserves to be used and abused in the manner in which she secretly and not so secretly craves. She started blogging about her experiences as a way to reconcile her thoughts and feelings as she begins her explorations in the big wide erotic world. She lays herself bare in what she writes with a raw honesty that will intrigue and arouse you. Mia is going deeper Down the Rabbit Hole and she wants you to follow.

Filthy Mouths and Evil Tongues Blurb:

Filthy Mouths And Evil Tongues is a celebration of the art of harlotry by fast and loose women whose refusal to bind their desires into acceptable social norms constitutes an act of revolution in and of itself. The musings contained herein represent only the whimsy of each of them and are in no way to be seen as representative of either the group or of women in general. Each and every woman is unique unto herself and the pleasures that they choose to indulge are as mulitudinous as the paradoxical facets of femminity itself.

 It is in honour of the bravery and diversity of the sensual journeys that women begin to undertake, in solidarity with the suffering of the women who suffer barbaric denial of their right to a sensual life and in celebration of the joy and liberty that is ours by right of being clothed in flesh that I have brought these wicked and wonderful women together to share and to shape our stories in the hope that our freedom become infectious and that one day all people every where will be enabled to revel in their own sexuality with out fear, shame or secrecy.

 

Whether it’s poetry or prose, the women of Filthy Mouths and Evil Tongues will either have you squirming in your seat, or falling out of it with laughter and quite possibly both.

These nasty women of words have kindly invited me into their ranks to share a bit of my own smut with the squirmers and the revelers. The event will be at Sh! Hoxton, Friday the 23rd of March. The fun begins at 6:30 with fizz and cakes, and the filth begins at 7:00. A nasty time will be had by all! So don’t miss out.

Learn more about Filthy Mouths and Evil Tongues on their website: http://filthymouthsandeviltongues.com/index.html

 

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Reading Slam and Launch Party — Twice the Celebration, Twice the Fun

How much fun can be crammed into one weekend? Well, I’m going to do my best to find out the last weekend in February, the 24th and 25th. And since fun is always best when it’s shared, I’m hoping you’ll help me find out as I do my best to double the celebration for the launch of Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of my paranormal Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy.

The Evolution of a Reading Slam

I’m very lucky to have lots of great writing friends in the UK, some who live in London, but many who live outside of London, all over the UK. Some of these fabulous friends are making me very happy by planning to come down to London for my launch party. That being the case, I wanted a way to let them know how much I appreciated their efforts. So, I thought up the idea of having a reading slam the night before the launch so that everyone could read if they wanted to and have a chance to promote and share their own work.

I was surprised and touched by the positive response to the idea, an idea which I actually found a little bit scary, as I’d never organized an event like a reading slam before. But everyone seemed so excited.

Then, a dear friend and sister writer suggested we make it into a charity event. My pulse rate went up, I bit off the rest of my nails, and when I finally stopped hyperventilating, I emailed the amazing Sarah Berry and put the idea to her. Sarah quickly calmed my panic attack and assured me that not only COULD we do a reading slam as a fundraiser for charity, but we SHOULD!

Viola! That’s how a simple reading slam evolved into the More Bang Reading Slam Fundraiser! Am I still scared? Yes! Am I still nervous? Yes! Am I excited and glad we’re doing it and all a flutter with anticipation? Yes, yes, yes!

More Bang Reading Slam Fund Raiser
24 February 2012
Sh! Portobello

To help celebrate the launch of her new novel, Body Temperature and Rising, K D Grace, with her fabulous co-sponsors, the Fannies Rule Groups headed up by amazing Sarah Berry present the More Bang Reading Slam (That’s short for more bang for your buck).

This evening of hot reading is very special because all proceeds will go to the Sexual Advice Association. There’ll be a charge of £5 for guests and participants, all for a good cause!

There’ll also be raffles and giveaways. There’ll be fizz and cupcakes. But mostly there’ll be lots of fun and lots of sexy readings from lots of sexy readers strutting their stuff and making the audience squirm deliciously in their seats.

Wanna read? Come prepared with five minutes worth of filth and fun. Warning, any attempt to read longer will result in a good spanking.

Wanna just listen and sip fizz? Come prepared for a good time. Warning, those not prepared for a good time may also be spanked at the digression of the management.

Fun for a good cause is the yummiest kind of fun. Come celebrate with us!

Friday 24th February at 6:30 at Sh! Portobello.

Cost £5

Launch Party

25 February 2012
Sh! Hoxton

You’re invited to celebrate with K D Grace at the launch party for her new novel, BODY TEMPERATURE AND RISING, the first book of the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy!

Blurb:
Can the power of lust overcome deadly intentions?
For American transplant, Marie Warren, a magical encounter on the Lakeland fells ends in sex with a charming ghost and the discovery that she has the ability to unleash demons and ghosts. Her powers bring her to a coven of witches who practice rare sex magic that allows ghosts access to pleasures of the flesh.

Ancient grudges unfold, and Deacon, the demon Marie inadvertently unleashed, will stop at nothing to destroy everything the coven’s high priestess, Tara Stone, holds dear, including Marie, the charming ghost, Anderson, and sexy farmer, Tim Meriwether. Only the power unleashed by Marie and Tim’s lust can stop Deacon’s bloody rampage before the coven is torn apart and innocent people die. But is lust enough?

Come celebrate with witches and ghosts and all the very naughtiest people from far and wide. While the author promises no one will be turned into a newt, it is recommended that all guests come prepared for love spells and squirming in the seats, both of which, Sh! is well equipped to handle.

There’ll be fizz and cupcakes all served up in the fabulously sexy surrounds of Sh! Hoxton! Don’t miss the magic!

Where: Sh! Hoxton
When: Saturday 25th February 6:30 pm
No charge

 

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The Intrepid Sarah Berry Talks Writing and Other Outrageous Stuff

KD: My first introduction to you, Sarah, was back when you wrote for the now defunct Scarlet Magazine. I always looked forward to your ‘Berry Outrageous’ pieces because you were the reporter who personally explored the kink we all wanted to know more about, then told us the yummy details in a style that was both entertaining and informative. Since then I’ve known you as the editor of Forum Magazine and the founder of the wonderful women’s group, Fannying Around, and just all around cool chick. Having recently been thoroughly entertained by hearing you read an original work of Sarah Berry erotic fiction, A (getting) Biblical Tale, I was amazed by your versatility as a writer. Could I be so bold to ask for a brief history of Sarah Berry, the writer?

Sarah: Dear KD, the phone is off the hook, the Cava is bubbling and I’ve slipped into something uncomfortable. Fire away…

KD: Oooh! Sounds like the ideal set-up for a fab interview! Let me start by asking what do you like to write most?

Sarah: I delight in writing features that are informative, entertaining and saucy and have carved a name for myself writing reportage features for Scarlet as Berry Outrageous – a joy. There have been thousands of articles written on the likes of pony play, spanking and adult babies, but if you write openly about your own experiences it will always be unique.

KD: Tell us a little bit about your latest offering, Pete and Sarah’s Guide to Seasonal Sex, written with Peter Birch.

Sarah: I met Peter while editing Forum and a collaboration between us seemed like a no brainer. I am relatively young lady who delights in gentler sex play while Pete is a veteran of the sex scene whose deliciously pervy antics frequently lead cheeks (both upper and lower sets) to blush furiously. Our Seasonal Guide captures both our perspectives in a range of features, fiction and interviews, written around a seasonal theme. The Winter issue includes Burlesque queen Ditz Von Teese; Trans porn star Buck Angel; great ideas to raunch up 2012 with our new year’s revel-ations; kinksters who love sneezing, woolly tights and big knickers, sexy ways to keep warm and more. We’re just working on the spring issue – watch out for the bunnies!

KD: Sounds fab! And I’ll be looking forward to the bunnies in the next issue! You’ve written a lot about sex, Sarah, you’ve written investigative pieces, you’ve written blog pieces, you’ve edited magazines on the subject, and you write some pretty steamy erotica as well. Why sex? Why not food or politics or any number of other topics? And why such an enthusiastic ‘hands-on,’ so to speak, approach?

Sarah: Actually over my career I have written on a range of subjects from the latest developments in railways to living with Tourettes (I have it mildly and no I don’t swear – at least not without meaning it). I am currently contributing editor of a marine magazine!

However, the reason my sex writing is so prominent is maybe because people enjoy my unique perspective – indeed Pete says I could sell butt plus to Mary Whitehouse. I am open about the fact that I’ve suffered from a sexual dysfunction (more on that below) and, whether I am writing about amputee devotees or men who like to be kicked in the balls, I try not to sensationalise them. I strive to portray their point of view and offer helpful advice to any readers with similar passions. I encourage people to experiment if they want to but don’t try and shock those who don’t. As long as we’re safe sane, consensual and legal, I say each to their own.

KD: I’d buy butt plugs from you, Hon!  If you had to choose a topic other than sex to write about, what would it be?

Sarah: In the future I hope to write more women’s lifestyle pieces.

KD: What do you think was your finest moment, as a writer (so far, of course)?

There’s been lots of proud moments but I think the most important one was the first time I wrote about vaginismus. This is a sexual dysfunction where my brain told my pelvic muscles to clamp up. In my teens sex was impossible, in my 20s it was traumatic, then in my early 30s, unpredictable. It’s only with my current fella that I know I can have sex whenever we both feel like it.

By the time I was 28 I’d had a couple of sex features published and I decided that, if I was going to be a sex journalist, I wanted to tell it how it was, warts n all (I mean this metaphorically, luckily I’ve never had genital warts).

But I felt like I was taking a huge risk. Most of my friends had no idea about the condition, and I was so worried the media world would think I wasn’t qualified to write about sex. So I downed two bottles of wine and wrote a Voice of Experience feature for Scarlet, explaining my struggle with this condition. I read the feature to two ex boyfriends. They both asked me if I was sure then commended my braveness. The next morning, hungover, I edited it for drunken typos then sent it in.

I needn’t have worried: Sarah Hedley the Scarlet editor, loved the article and awarded me with the accolade of “Contributor of the month.” A year later she gave me a column in the magazine!

Countering the shame around sex problems is the basis of my groups. The Open Forum is a support group for women with stubborn nethers, in Fannying Around we discuss the good, bad and interesting about our special places and in Private Pictures we draw them. Find out more at www.fanniesrule.com.

KD: Wow! You’ve had an amazing journey, and one that I’m sure is a real encouragement to a lot of people. What would you love to write about that you haven’t?

Sarah: I am hoping to do a lot more campaigning about how the medical profession views sexual problems. Like me, many of the women have been told to, “Just relax,” while many men are palmed off with Viagra. GPs should be more open to referring patients to therapists. Also, I went to a vulvodynia conference the other day. This is an umbrella term for women who suffer from an unexplained chronic pain in their nethers. I will be pitching features about this in the new year. My dream, once I’ve qualified as a sex therapist, is to get a gig as an agony aunt!

KD: What advice would you give to young writers or people aspiring to a writing career?

Sarah: Be honest, be original and, if you’re writing about sex, seriously consider using a pseudonym.

KD: What was the most fun piece you’ve ever written?

Sarah: Gosh… there’s been so many. I think the London Naked Bike Ride was special. I had to swallow all my worries about being chunky and just get on with it. It was so bloody liberating. And when I threw a flier explaining the cause of the ride to a load of builders, they fell on it like I was Angelina Jolie. I highly recommend you give it a go!

KD:  Wow! I might consider riding a bike naked if it got me treated like Angelina Jolie. What was the most unusual piece you’ve ever written?

Sarah: Definitely the big toy challenge where I put the world’s biggest sex toys up a very mild tempered chap called PUMA (which stands for Put It Up My Arse). The finale ended up with me drildoing him with a bumpy toy that that was over two feet long, stuck on the end of Woolworths’ drill. When he prolapsed I almost puked!

KD: What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in sex writing right now?

Sarah: The fact that it’s so easy to blog means that anyone can be a writer – of course that means there’s a lot of crap and offensive diatribes to wade through. Also the nature of social networking means we can bring our messages to a wider audience. I’ve had some very touching emails for kinksters and vaginismus sufferers thanking me for helping them to not feel so alone.

KD: What does the future hold for Sarah Berry, the writer?

Sarah: I’m planning on penning more erotica and a book offering advice on getting laid. Plus there will be the spring issue of Pete & Sarah’s Guide to Seasonal Sex and more exciting fanny projects on www.fanniesrule.com. I hope you’ll all be along for the ride xxx

KD: I wouldn’t miss it, Sarah! Thanks for being my guest. Happy New Year, and I’ll very much be looking forward to lots of great pieces from Sarah Berry in 2012!

Pete and Sarah’s Guide to Seasonal Sex is available to download from Amazon and iTunes.
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© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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