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On Friday, July 8th, at The Westin Bayshore hotel in downtown Vancouver, Simply Beautiful and Evalina Beauty will be presenting the Bloom Inspiration Summit. Bloom features an extraordinary lineup of brilliant women speakers—including an intimate conversation with award-winning Canadian entertainer and bestselling author Jann Arden.
Topics will include everything from grief to joy, sleep to intimacy, home organization and how to reach your potential, plus much more.
We’ll be catching up with the speakers to find out what they’ll be discussing in their presentations.
As a registered psychologist and director of the West Coast Centre for Sex Therapy, Dr. Carolin Klein has spent more than a decade working with people struggling with every kind of sexual concern, and is driven to help you feel less alone by making quality psychology services accessible and inclusive.
Dr. Klein talks about intimacy, sex and sexuality, and how to open our hearts to ourselves.
RJ: Why is talking opening about sexuality important?
CK: Because when we don’t, we end up with shame, fear, sadness and insecurities about sex. There is nothing in life, where not talking about it makes it better. And if we consider sexuality an important part of intimacy, and intimacy is defined as close familiarity, then how can we build that close familiarity if we aren’t actually familiar with what we and our partners want and feel when it comes to sex?
RJ: How do you encourage people/partners to open up about how they’re feeling?
CK: By treating sex like everything else, and by talking about it just as directly. And by normalizing that while the intricacies of how we might like to touch and be touched, or what kinds of physical acts we might like, will vary from person to person, the underlying feelings, wishes and desires driving those specific interests are all the same: to feel connected (to ourselves and to others); to feel wanted; to feel accepted; to feel pleasure; to feel alive.
RJ: How important is sexuality in relation to one’s mental health and how does mental health affect intimacy?
CK: For some, sexuality is critically important to heath and well-being. For others, it plays only a small role. However, a universal truth is that when people don’t feel good about their sexuality or their sexual relationships, then it has a big impact on mental health. Because it’s not then just about sex: it’s about shame, guilt, loneliness, fear and self-doubt. And those things will always have a huge impact on our mental health.
And to answer the second part of your question, our mental health is easily mirrored in our sex lives. When we don’t have good mental health, we don’t have good sex. Because no amount of “good touch” can override a mind filled with anxiety, grief, shame or self-judgment.
RJ: How can women accept their sexual selves?
CK: It’s definitely not easy in a world that constantly shames both women and sex. But a key to acceptance is first acting like we accept our sexual selves, even when we don’t. Because our beliefs follow our actions. In other words, we need to start by noticing all the ways in which we may be practicing non-acceptance (hiding and shaming our bodies; holding back from saying what we want, think, and feel; talking to ourselves in critical and harmful ways; doing sexual things we don’t actually want to do because we believe we “should” like those things; etc.). And then we need to be courageous and act opposite.
I hope that those attending the Bloom Inspiration Summit will recognize that, through their attendance, they are actually working on self-acceptance. Because we will be acting opposite to the social “norm” that shames sex and our sexual selves by talking openly and bluntly about sex.
RJ: How does curiosity affect sexuality?CK: If there is one skill or attitude that has more power to transform your sex life than any other, it’s being curious. Because curiosity means that, instead of approaching with fear, judgment and self-doubt, you approach with openness and eagerness to know and learn. Which is, undoubtedly, the most amazing way to move through this world, whether we are talking about sex or anything else.
RJ: Do you have any tips on how to improve sexual self-esteem? CK: Start by talking openly and boldly about sex. As Brené Brown’s amazing research has shown, to raise our self-esteem, we need to be vulnerable. And in line with the previous question, we also need to be curious. Finally, I strongly recommend finding partners who are also brave, so you can be open and curious together.
RJ: If you could give just one piece of advice about discovering your sexuality, what would it be?
CK: Don’t listen to the fearful voice in your head: whatever you discover about your sexual self, it’s completely normal, and it says nothing about your character, your worthiness or your lovability.
RJ: Who or what inspires you every day?
CK: There are so many people who inspire me, and in fact the list seems to grow every day, so maybe I will answer what inspires me, instead. And that’s the desire to be a better version of myself tomorrow than I am today, and to role-model kindness and tolerance for my daughter.
RJ: What risk would you take if you knew you could not fail?
CK: Freely singing and dancing in public whenever a great song comes on.
RJ: Describe your passion/what you promote/live by in three words.
CK: Ahhh! I can’t do it in three words. But my answer in five words is: Help people feel they matter.
RJ: What lights your fire?
CK: New ideas; new experiences; new opportunities. In other words, when someone or something helps me to see the world in a different way. I’m someone who easily gravitates to the familiar and comfortable. But whenever I try new things, or am exposed to new ideas and experiences, it invariably motivates me and I become passionate about something new.
Want to hear more from Dr. Carolin Klein? Get your tickets to the Bloom Inspirational Summit here.