Last September, shortly after a breakup, I met sex and relationship coach Sophie Bekkering at a retreat. When I asked her about what she did and how she got there, it was like she was telling my own story — but with a very happy ending.

She spent much of her early sex life unable to orgasm with a partner, then after studying tantra, she realized she could not only orgasm with partners, but actually orgasm through intercourse and experience all different kinds of orgasms and pleasure.

I also had a history of difficulty orgasming with a partner, and though my most recent ex had made me orgasm, he was the only partner to do so. After our breakup, I was nervous nobody else could. I had also never experienced any kind of orgasm other than a clitoral one.

I felt inspired as Bekkering told me how we all have the capacity in us; we just need to remove layers of shame, trauma, and conditioning. After that, I knew I had to work with her.

In addition to having a master’s in psychology, Bekkering trained with the Tantric Institute for Integrated Sexuality, which was created by sex and relationship coach Layla Martin, and the International School of Temple Arts, which also has a spiritual focus.

Sex coaches come in all different forms, some not at all informed by tantra or spirituality, so my experience by no means represents every sex coaching experience out there, but it’s one approach.

What Is Working With a Sex Coach Like?

I signed up for a four-month program with Bekkering that included a call every other week. Between our calls, she gave me audio recordings for guided exercises to do, and we talked over Slack about how the practices, as well as my general sex and love life, were going.

During our first call, Bekkering asked me about my goals, which were twofold: to feel more confident and in control when I was dating, and to orgasm with whichever partners I wanted whenever I wanted. She had me visualize what each of these things would be like so that they’d start to feel real to me. “Tinder is my playground, and the guys on it are my boy toys,” I remember saying.

Then, she gave me two practices to help me achieve what I wanted:

  1. The “honey pot,” where I visualized honey containing all the qualities I wanted being poured over each of my sexual organs.
  2. The breast massage, where I massaged my breasts with coconut oil each night.

The practices sounded kind of woo-woo, but after doing the honeypot exercise just once, I felt more sexual and alive than I had in a long time. It was like I could feel the sexual energy coursing through my pelvis. I walked with extra energy, swaying my hips with each step.

The breast massage was even more powerful. I began to feel more sensation in my breasts than I ever had. I’d even start to get little orgasm-like contractions in my vagina when I touched them.

Read: 5 Tips for Finding That Elusive 'Nipplegasm'

After the following week’s call, Bekkering had me get a jade egg and do an exercise where I squeezed my pelvic muscles around it. Again, it sounded woo-woo, but it worked. I felt flooded with sexual energy after I took it out, and then I orgasmed in my sleep!

She also gave me a “de-armoring” practice, where I gently pressed a crystal dildo over various parts of my vagina and imagined removing different emotions I was storing. Tuning in to this light, concentrated touch taught me to really feel and savor every sensation in my genitals. I stopped feeling the need for highly intense pressure when I masturbated.

Read: How to Have an Orgasm With a Partner

The Outcome

My vision of Tinder as my playground came to fruition, and I started dating and hooking up with multiple people shortly after Bekkering and I began working together. To my surprise and relief, I was able to orgasm with all of them.

I was so much more turned on and in my body, it felt almost as if I were on the precipice of an orgasm practically all the time. When I became sexual, the orgasms just flowed naturally.

In fact, I was more responsive to all kinds of touch than I’d ever been. I began to go crazy when partners just played with my breasts. I was super wet and begging for it by the time they penetrated me.

It felt so good to actually receive the touch my partners were giving me, to be able to fully appreciate them, to be in the moment with them. I no longer fantasized so much during sex; I was present enough that what was happening there and then could turn me on. I hadn’t felt that way since I was a teenager; I’d become desensitized and gotten into my mind over the years.

Read: What It Means If You Fantasize During Sex

Working With a Sex Coach Is About More Than Just Sex

Not everything we did was about sex, though. We also did exercises around releasing anger, accepting myself, and manifesting the love life I wanted. Through our conversations, I learned to embrace sides of myself I’d been repressing, without realizing that repression was holding me back from being my full self in relationships.

Instead of feeling ashamed when I became enraged, for example, I saw the rage as part of a persona that Bekkering and I dubbed my “inner lioness,” and I strived to embody that strength and power in my everyday life.

I was skeptical at first about whether working with a sex coach would be worth the money or the time. However, nothing could be worth more to me than the ability to actually become present in my body — to feel every sensation, and have no part of myself pushed down into the shadows. Because of that, I can not just feel more pleasure, but also truly connect with my partners.

In my quest to orgasm with a partner and achieve my other sexual goals, that’s actually what I’d been searching for: true connection.