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How Studying Sexological Bodywork Helped Me Recover From An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Written by: Ailsa Keppie, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


One might think that studying anything to do with sex is frivolous and definitely not to be included in any ‘serious’ therapeutic intervention, but I am here to tell you that studying sex was THE MOST IMPORTANT aspect of my healing journey!

I had just spent almost two decades of my life wearing a burka, looking after my four daughters and living as one of two wives with a Moroccan Muslim man. Sex was not a big part of my life and when it was, it played a very small part of my role as a ‘good’ wife. I had not explored my own pleasure since my early 20’s before I had converted to Islam and become pregnant with my first daughter. I would go on to have three more daughters in the next five years and for anyone who understands having kids, parenting is more than a full time job and usually does not leave much room for your sex life to flourish. This was on top of an already rocky relationship where my husband had distanced himself more and more from any real intimacy with me.

For this reason, when I got my divorce 18 years later, I emerged feeling like a horny teenager with no real outlet or understanding of my own desires. I had no idea how to date, flirting was a long lost skill and after covering up my body in front of all men for so long, I wondered how my body would look in lingerie again.

After spending a few frustrating months trying to learn on my own, I began a wider search looking for help with discovering my Erotic Self. I took a few online courses and began to have some confidence that things could still work for me and I became interested to learn more. One of the women I reached out to had begun her training as a Sexological Bodyworker before embarking on leading groups for women. She suggested I look into the training and I followed her advice.

I ended up finding the Institute of Somatic Sex Education in BC, Canada and with great trepidation began my studies of Intimacy and Sexology leading to my first in-person, weeklong immersion. It totally blew me away along with many of my hangups around my body and my perceived inability to be in a normal romantic relationship.

I remember one exercise we did around ‘taking’ our pleasure with another person (after agreeing on consensual boundaries). One of the other participants asked if he could play with my hair and as I agreed and allowed him to take pleasure in feeling my hair run through his fingers, I began to cry and couldn’t stop. It was such a beautiful feeling to have someone get pleasure through touching me, and it was an amazing feeling to fully allow the feeling in myself and not just numb out.

When it was my turn to take pleasure, I found my fingers had their own desires and I let them run lightly over my partner’s chest. Feeling the hair and the contours of his torso completely for my own pleasure and not out of any duty or feeling of ‘have to’, was so freeing. Suddenly I could feel my own wanting coming to the surface in many other ways.

The Sexological Bodywork training continued over three years and as I became more aware of myself and my own feelings and desires, I found my life changing in other ways. I became more confident, I advocated for higher pay in my workplace as a massage therapist. I managed my parenting role with more authority and less emotional breakdowns. Best of all, I began to relate to myself as a person, someone who deserved pleasure.

So now, when people ask me how I got to the place I am now, with my own business, four daughters in post-secondary education, a new and loving partner; I have to answer it was definitely the training in Sexology that tipped the balance. Of course, there is always more to the story and you can read about it here in my memoir entitled “By the Light of the Crescent Moon” available at Indigo Chapters, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

If you needed a gentle nudge in the direction of exploring your pleasure and sexuality, then consider this a personal invitation and permission. I can vouch for the results!

With pleasure,


Want to learn more from Ailsa? Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and visit her website.


Ailsa Keppie, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ailsa is a trained intimacy Educator and Somatic Therapist and has been working in hands-on bodywork, somatic coaching, and healing for over a decade. Ailsa Keppie brings aspects from her background in circus arts, physical theatre, music, dance, myofascial release, bioenergetic processes, archetypes, and spirituality to her work with clients. She is a published author of her compelling memoir entitled "By the Light of the Crescent Moon," which describes her incredible journey into Islam and polygamy and how it lead to her awakening and reclamation of her own Eros and power. Ailsa works with individuals, couples, and groups both online and in-person at her retreat center, Our Celtic Hearth, in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she resides with her current life partner.



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