We had the good fortune of connecting with Freya Graf and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Freya, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I’m in the business of empowering people through holistic sexuality education and coaching, and supporting women to heal through Yoni Mapping Therapy. Given that sexuality is an integral part of what makes up the bedrock of humanity, I feel strongly that this is a pretty darn important and special gift that I share with the world.
You can look at it from a tantric perspective – sexuality is the seat of creativity; sexual energy is creative, life force energy.
Or you can see it pragmatically and recognise that when it comes to sex, bodies, self love, self care, intimacy, connection, communication, orgasm and sexual expression/identity, EVERYONE HAS THEIR SHIT!
(I like to dabble in both these approaches or attitudes.)
I haven’t come across a single person who doesn’t have some degree or shame, trauma, negative conditioning, or form of struggle with their relationship to their sexuality and/or body.
Unfortunately, our culture is rife with disempowering and confusing messaging around sexuality, and the education that is routinely given (if at all!) is severely lacking at best, and downright damaging at worst.
My mission, and the purpose of my business, is to help support people to heal their issues around sex and their bodies, teach them communication and conscious relating skills, empower them with knowledge around these topics that is free of stigma and shame-driven misinformation, and provide them a safe and non-judgemental space to talk about all the things that have traditionally been kept in the shadows of taboo.
By offering this service to people, I believe that I have a larger impact on the world than one might realise at first glance!
To begin to heal such deep seated, multi-generational traumas, belief systems and oppression around sex is to heal humanity on a deep and uniquely intimate level.
I believe it is essential to a culture’s wellbeing.
To assist in breaking the vicious and long-standing cycles of shame by supporting and educating those who will, as parents, pass down to their children empowering, sex-positive attitudes, is one of the greatest joys for me. Not to mention the immediate positive impact it has on those individuals who I work with directly, and the ripple effect it has on their lives, relationships and loved ones.
I see the social impact of my work in my community and with my clients by the way people move differently in the world once we’ve address their sexual “stuff”, and their new sense of freedom, self love, and confidence.
To me, nothing is more rewarding than to watch people flourish from this place that I have played a part in helping create.
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is basically ME. I coach and educate people online about all things sexuality, and I work in person with clients as a Yoni Mapping Therapist.
I create online content that is informative, inspiring, and relatable to normalise talking about sex and bodies.
My sense of humour and irreverent playfulness while doing this work is something that I’m really proud of and I think sets me apart from so many others in this industry.
I feel like when it comes to professionals in the realm of sexuality and genitals, so often you’ve either got your super ‘straighty-one-eighty medical/clinical’ types, or your ‘om-shanti-shanti over-sexualised tantric/spiritual’ types…
Either way, it’s common for practitioners to take themselves too seriously and I believe that even though – perhaps even especially because – we’re often dealing with delicate and deep topics regarding sexuality it’s important to make it fun, applicable, and humorous. Because after all, sex is fun and funny! Or at least it can and should be!
I enjoy sitting in between these two ends of the spectrum and providing a really grounded, practical, relatable approach that I feel is more accessible and helpful to people in many cases.
This has been a journey personally because at the start of my career I assumed that I had to put on a persona to appear professional lest people didn’t take me seriously.
Being in an industry that is already fraught with judgement and stigma, I didn’t want to provide the haters with any more ammunition to discredit me as a practitioner or criticise the industry and modalities that I worked in.
Working in the field of sexuality and sex positivity leaves you vulnerable to a lot of judgement and assumptions from those with their own combos of shame, trauma, and conditioning around sex that feel triggered by what you do. This has been a struggle from the beginning – don’t even get me started on telling my own family what I was pursuing as a career!! – however, I’ve gotten increasingly resilient as I’ve gained confidence and experience as a practitioner. Seeing and hearing first hand accounts of how I’ve helped my clients has been hugely helpful in building this confidence and resilience.
Being visible (ie. exposed!) on social media terrified me, but after a few years of doing my thing publicly and experimenting with my social media voice, I’ve come to realise that it’s actually not important for me to be super squeaky clean and professional in order to maintain a good reputation and have clients trust me.
I’ve been delighted to discover that my raw, silly, uncut and irreverent rude-girl personality can actually come out in authentic ways to my following and they love me even more for it!
I’m learning that not everyone is going to be picking up what you’re putting down no matter what, but that if you show up in the world and online in a way that is the most uniquely yourself, those that are your true people can find you. It’s those special people who appreciate your flavour – so much more than a generic audience that you’ve collected through keeping your content as palatable and broadly beige as possible!
And you know what, it’s bloody rewarding AF to be putting yourself out there in a way that you feel truly represents the essence of YOU and getting loads of enthusiastic support and encouragement back from people!
I can’t even tell you how awesome it feels to be able to help and support people with something as big and potentially scary as SEX (and all that can go with that, eg. sexual trauma, body image issues, masturbation, orgasm, shame & guilt, etc) and hear from them that they only came to me because they felt like they could relate to me, that I was approachable, and that I felt safe because of the way I talk or the content I create.
So I’m proud and excited about that.
Something else I’ve found challenging over the years (and still do on occasion!) is the inner battle with imposter syndrome.
I know most people can relate to this. The struggle is real! Especially in an industry where I feel there is such scrutiny and where we are already fighting an uphill battle against the patriarchal influences and stigma that come with anything sex related, it’s easy to slip into self doubt and imposter syndrome.
It’s a perpetual journey of self work and I don’t believe there is a quick fix for this sort of thing that plagues so many of us and targets self worth. This shit runs deep, ya know?!
I am committed to doing continual work on myself personally. That’s how I got into the field I’m in, after all – sexuality being such a massive area of fear, shame, and trauma for me until I begun working on it for myself years ago.
So I know that this makes me a better practitioner because I can relate to my clients on a human-to-flawed-human level!
Regarding the business side of things, I haven’t had an easy time of it and it has often felt like a long slog that gets me nowhere fast! I am discovering that in today’s times, in such a niche line of work that is so emotionally charged for many, I need to basically become a low key celebrity or “person of influence” on social media in order to get noticed and reach an audience in order to help people with my work.
Not many people have even heard of what I do, let alone search for it on Google regularly to find those services, so a big part of my work in building the business has been spreading the word about the modalities that I practice, and trying to build an audience from scratch.
With the ‘powers that be’ controlling social media and censoring anything to do with sex, sex educators and sex-positive activists like me have a hard time getting anywhere on those platforms. The algorithm shows a pointed disdain for my educational, sex-positive content, and new regulations are coming in all the time that make it even harder for my account or content to get seen or discovered. So this is something that I, and many others like me, grapple with daily. Marketing not being my strong point, and not wanting to compromise on the authenticity of what I’m sharing to conform to the oppressive algorithms is something I’m still trying to figure out how to navigate in a way that can help my business thrive.
Watch this space!
All in all though, challenges of a sexuality-based business aside, I absolutely adore what I do and am excited for what lies in the future and where I will take it.
I currently offer Yoni Mapping Therapy which I’ll still keep doing, but am now focusing more and more on my online offerings – especially in light of the Covid sitch, this has become a pressing priority!
My coaching packages are something I’m passionate about as it allows me to work with someone over a few months to level up their sex life and give them the sex education that they never got in school and that I believe everyone is entitled to.
My Blog is a fun source of really great, thought-provoking, relatable, and educational content, and I’ve been putting more energy towards creating videos and featuring on podcasts and websites such as this one to spread the good word about Holistic Sexuality.
Then my latest projects include planning retreats and workshops, and some online courses that I’m beginning to create to make this work even more accessible to more people!
I mean, who knows how long these might be in the pipeline, but I know they’ll be fun AND push me to grow and step out of my comfort zone.
And that’s what I find the most challenging, but also the most valuable thing about running your own business, really!
It’s always forcing you – or inviting you to anyway – level up!
Pretty cool stuff.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There’s an amazing book that I have been known to call my bible: ‘Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom’ by Dr. Christiane Northrup. MD. It’s an amazing mixture of western medicine, science, spirituality and functional medicine with regards to female sexuality and the body.
Xander Sanbrook Noah Snell Hannah Marko