HerStory Number 12 - Caroline D'Arcy, Inti-mate
Welcome to episode number 12 of HerStory! This week, I am chatting to Caroline D’Arcy, Founder of Inti-Mate. I’m not going to lie. Caroline has long been a girl crush of mine, and on my vision board of someone I’d love to connect with. So when I got chatting to a new friend, and it turned out she works with Caroline - I fan-girled. Hard.
So let’s get started….Caroline, please introduce yourself and what you do:
Hey! I’m Caroline D’Arcy, in my not so humble opinion, I have the best job in the entire world!
I am Sexual Empowerment Coach, Public Speaker and Founder of Inti-Mate.co - the home of pleasure infused sex education for women.
This means I spend every day helping women feel empowered by their sex lives.
I am not going to lie, I might have to agree with you about the best job in the world title, and pretty unique. What did you do before?
I spent a decade in Sales and Marketing for Health and Safety Consultancies; high viz, hard hats and stilettos. Couldn’t be much further than where I am now! Well, apart from the stilettos, oh and there are a few safety considerations.
So, worlds apart then! What made you take such a huge leap?
I knew I was going to be some sort of sex educator from the moment I listened to an awesome podcast called Sex Nerd Sandra. I realised there where people out there helping adults not just deal with sexual issues, but learning to have the most amount of fun and pleasure as possible without feeling embarrassed or ashamed.
I had no idea what it was going to look like, but after the worst year of my life (including a horrific break up, my ‘successful on paper’ job turning into a nightmare and finally a skiing accident which led to depression) I sold my house and flew to California to attend Matthew Hussey’s retreat in San Diego. I then spent some time in LA attending workshops and meeting incredible sex educators, within three months I had quit the job and started training as a Somatic Sex Coach.
What a flipping journey! I LOVE how that one podcast hit you like lightening about your calling; inspiration really can strike anywhere! (definitely going to have to check out that podcast! 😉 And dropping everything to un-apologetically follow that passion is seriously impressive. I adore that level of commitment and guts! Sometimes the bad times can really help us make those all other nothing decisions.
It sounds like a pretty epic job you’ve crafted for yourself. What would you say is the best bit?
Oh my god, just one?? That initial lean-in with a new client when they say ‘I’ve never told anyone that before’ and the lightness, release of shame and fear which has been holding them back dissipates.
This fear of whatever you are holding onto - from thinking you have a low libido, or there is something wrong with them for loving sex or that they are having an affair with a woman – doesn’t just affect you in your relationships, but that energy keeps you small and fearful in all areas of your life. Releasing this changes your life. It’s truly magical to hold space for.
WOW. That is huge! And so powerful! You must have so many incredible intimate (pardon the pun) moments with your clients, and see so many life-changing transformations. What would you say your proudest moment so far is?
The first time I spoke on stage as a Sexual Empowerment Coach was at a mental health event for 300 people. I was terrified. You know that ego driven self-deprecation; ‘what were people going to think of me?’
But within minutes starting to talk, I’d connected to hundreds of faces and by the end I had women coming up to me in tears, realising that the there is nothing wrong with them, Relate councilors asking for advice, women who’d been abused asking question about rebuilding connection with their new partners. There were tears and hugs. It was then I realised how important this work is, how my own fears and self-doubt were not important enough to stand in my way.
I’m welling up hearing about this! Sexual energy is hugely powerful, and not only stigmatised, but just not even talked about. From my own experiences, I know how powerful it is to understand and what a huge effect it has had on my own mental health.
I can imagine such a taboo subject and personal coaching comes with quite a few hurdles. What’s a big struggle you've had to overcome?
My biggest struggle is choosing daily to embody and promote how important it is for women to feel empowered and connected to their sexuality, while living in the ‘Sex sells yet you’re a slut if you like it’ culture which is still so prevalent today.
A lack of good quality, pleasure infused sex education, with the backdrop of 1000s of years where women have been silenced, shamed, tortured and murdered for our sexuality means I still hear a voice deep inside that ranges from ‘They’ll think you’re cheap, slutty and no one will ever love you because of what you do’ to ‘This is not safe’.
Instead of believing it and staying small, I understand this is subconscious wiring from the environment I live in, and it’s why I work hard to cultivate safer spaces like my IM Woman Facebook Group.
Tackling any sort of ingrained societal mindset shift is so flipping tough and definitely doesn’t come without resistance. I think, as women with voices and a certain level of privilege, it’s our duty to strive and fight as much as we can for the women who can’t, aren’t able or need permission to just be. It’s incredible what blossom from a woman just being given the right space to breathe and explore safely - something I am HUGELY passionate about.
If another woman came to you, thinking about following in your footsteps or going self employed, what would your advice be to them?
Find your tribe. Make sure you have people in your life that hold you at your highest, who see your potential even when you can’t AND are doing something similar to you, preferably people further ahead.
You’re a combination of the five people you spend the most time with; if those people aren’t in your arena they will not get it. By stepping out on your own you are challenging everything we have been taught: grow up, go to school, university, get a job, work your ass off (for someone else to get rich), buy a house, get in debt then pay it off and retire.
This is the life model that most people choose, even if they’re not exactly happy, it feels safe. If you’re doing something different that challenges that, even with the best intentions, people who aren’t in the arena will pull you back.
OOOOSH! I LOVE that, and something I can certainly testify to. It’s a little like Brene Brown’s quote about not taking advice from the people in the arena fighting with you, but standing on the sidelines.
OK, now, looking back, what advice do you wish you'd had at the start of your journey?
Awesome advice I head recently is hold your cards close to your chest, you don’t have to share everything with everyone, as not everyone will ‘get it’ and you’ll waste so much time and energy proving that you are right, when you can use that energy into creating your purpose.
That is incredible advice! I definitely used to be someone who broadcast anything and everything at the earliest sniff of something happening. Not sure if it’s maturity or confidence or something else, but I’ve learnt to sit tight on things until I’m really ready to broadcast for a bigger impact. I very much used to count my chucks before they’d hatched only to have a big mental health dip if it all fell apart before something had its proper opportunity.
Final question. What is a song that fires you up for the day you’d like to add to my HerStory playlist?
Ooooh, so many. I love something to strut to like Radio Gaga or something drippingly sexy like Crush by Garbage. (Listen to the playlist HERE)
Thank you so much Caroline! It’s been such a pleasure chatting to you! 😉