22 Jul How We Practice w/ Corinne
Tracy: Hi Corinne, this interview is a chance for folks to get to know you better, and I thought it might be fun to ask you to talk about your email signature and all the different titles you list: “Yoga Therapist, Somatic Sex Educator, Wheel of Consent Certified Facilitator, and Priestess of High Pleasure”. Does that sound like a good place to start?
Corinne: Yes, that sounds great. Yoga has been part of my life for a long time. I remember doing my first class when I was 19, so 21 years ago. I practiced in all kinds of different ways, trying various teachers and classes. It wasn’t until I recognized how much healing I needed to do that I decided to dive in really deep, taking my teacher training in 2013. I loved my teachers and the program so much that I didn’t want to stop. I started taking 20 hours workshops which quickly accumulated into my 500 hour Advanced Teacher of Therapeutic Yoga certification. With a lot of extra effort over the following 5 years I completed the 1000 required for my certification as a Yoga Therapist.
It all started with my own healing journey. I wanted to be in my body. I wanted to spend as much time as possible being with other people who wanted to be in their bodies, I wanted to wear comfortable clothing, and listen to sacred music. I didn’t want to be out in the ‘real’ world any more with a ‘real’ job; I wanted to live in sacred space. That is what felt real to me.
Tracy: That’s an important perspective to consider- what’s more real than being in your body? Was it your healing journey that brought you to somatic sex education?
Corinne: Yes! I found my treasured teacher Caffyn Jesse in 2011 and did some amazing personal work with her, and in 2013, I realized there was so much more for me to do in my life, and I took the Sexological Bodywork training. I recognized that I wanted to align myself 100% with these teaching and the teachers I was meeting. It was so clear to me. We formed an association in 2014 and I was volunteering for everything; I was secretary, I was hosting, I was showing up at every opportunity. I was invited to be a part of the 2015 and 2016 trainings as a teaching assistant, excited to be present as sexological bodywork was expanding into somatic sex education. During that time I was offering private sessions to people, doing a blend of sexological bodywork, yoga therapy, and somatic sex education. In 2017, my beloved teachers invited me to become a partner and together we made the big shift from teaching sexological bodywork to the newly expanded somatic sex education training.
Tracy: Yes, a beautiful unfolding. Now tell us about the Wheel of Consent.
Corinne: Oh, yes! In 2011 in a session with Caffyn, they explained the Wheel of Consent to me. I remember standing there and I had tears running down my face. I couldn’t believe how simple and profound it was, and how much I got to learn about myself. I often say it was then, in my second session with Caffyn, all the lightbulbs and fireworks went off and I knew this was to be my path.
In the 2013 training, there wasn’t a big focus on the Wheel of Consent, and I looked to Caffyn, who was a TA at the time, and I remember saying, “Something is missing here. You need to step in!” And so some space was made and they introduced the 3-min game.
The Wheel of Consent became a foundational piece in all the different sessions I was offering. I studied first with Caffyn and attended Betty Martin’s Like a Pro training, and then Betty’s online ‘Teaching the Wheel of Consent to Groups’ and then finally her Teacher Certification Program. I have experienced working with the Wheel of Consent with 100’s of people as a foundational piece of my teaching, with all my friends, and all my lovers. Even on first dates I was drawing the Wheel on a napkin. I am proud to say that I was a part of the first cohort that Betty certified to teach the Wheel of Consent workshops. I want to note that Betty wants EVERYONE to teach the Wheel to their clients and in their workshops and offerings, but to call it the “Wheel of Consent” workshop, you must be certified through Betty’s training. I’m really excited to now be offering these workshops around the world.
Tracy: The Wheel of Consent is such a powerful piece of work.
Corinne: Yes! You were there in my Ottawa workshop!
Tracy: Yes I was there, and I have to say that deepening my understanding the Wheel has changed how I teach and informs all my relationships, even if I’m the only one in the relationship that knows about it.
Corinne: Of course it does! I’m offering a workshop in Brooklyn, New York in August that has already sold out and has a waiting list – so we are considering offering it again in November or February. I’m offering a series of Introductory 3-hour sessions in Victoria this fall, and offering a two-day training in Victoria in December, and looking at more locations including Toronto for 2020.
Tracy: That’s wonderful. It’s a life-changing concept, I’m glad more people are getting the opportunity to learn about it. So, High Priestess of Pleasure, where did that title come from?
Corinne <laugh> It’s actually a nickname that was given to me, or a title that was bestowed upon me by my dear friend and SSE colleague Katie Spataro in Seattle. We were and still are peer support to each other, and a few years ago she said to me, “You know Corinne, I’ve always perceived you as a Priestess of High Pleasure.” And I was like, “Oh wow, that really landed with me”. For years I created ritual in my temple space for people to really explore and expand into their pleasure. I was moving from a period of time when I was experiencing chronic pain and stuck in the pain cycle- in pain, expecting pain, creating more pain. One day a naturopath said to me, “It’s really important to notice the moments you don’t have pain and put your attention there.” I took that advice and expanded upon it, not just noticing moments of no pain, but really focusing my life on being oriented to pleasure. And you know what happened, Tracy?
Tracy: I do <laugh>
Corinne: <laugh>Yes! People were giving me the title of Priestess of High Pleasure. I still have arthritis in my neck. Sometimes it bothers me and causes me grief, but for the most part, every day I wake up so happy, so grateful and so aware of how my body feels good, of the fabric of the sheets against my skin, the softness of my pillow, the sounds of the birds singing – I feel like I am in the embodiment of pleasure in my life now.
Tracy: All I can do is take a deep breath, that’s so beautiful.
Tracy and Corinne: <deep breath>
Tracy; Are there any other titles that you would like to add to this list?
Corinne: I’m also a Mother, and this is the most important role that I play in my life. The tools and techniques of self-regulation that I have learned through my practice of yoga therapy feel like they are landing in my child. He is so aware of how to pause, to take a deep breath, how to have a big emotion and then move his body to get it out. The consent piece, he is growing up so steeped in this awareness of bodily autonomy- you gotta ask, you gotta listen to your body and other bodies. He’s going to be a teacher himself, even if he doesn’t know it. I feel really honoured that I get to guide the next generation in this really precious, short moment in time.
Tracy: I’m thinking about how when we are raising our kids we can only teach them what we know. They can only learn from what’s around them, and of course your son is absorbing all the things you are learning and teaching, lucky kid! I think that’s what we’re doing in this work, we’re offering this teaching that is not just about sex, it’s about life and relationship and bodies and communication and intimacy and everything.
Corinne. Mmhmm. I also identify as a Lover. A lover of humans. I’ve learned how to be more boundaried and full of care when people are introduced to this level of chemistry that I can feel with lots of people, but for some folks it’s a more rare experience. I’ve learned how to be more masterful with my ability to be in lovership with people. I really believe it’s one of my gifts, to inspire and to show people what’s possible.
Tracy: Aaah, nice.
Corinne: I’ve thought of something else too, that’s kind of a big deal. I’m also the President of the Somatic Sex Educators Association.
Tracy: Yes! It IS a big deal!
Corinne: I have done so much work with this association in the last couple years. It’s a labour of love; it’s one of the ways I express my lovership to this world and to this profession, through my commitment to bringing more connection between our practitioners, creating more security within the network and more awareness to the general public about what somatic sex education. These are some of my missions in this work.
Tracy: It is a gift to the world- in the association, as well as in the training the Institute offers, we are creating new culture. Do you want to talk about the culture you want to help create and see in the world?
Corinne: I envision a world where all the various parts of ourselves are welcome, where there is not this need, that so many of us feel, to keep parts hidden, where we can really welcome all the parts of ourselves. I like to imagine a culture where mistakes are celebrated as an opportunity to learn and grow, and that we can call each other in to a place of joyful accountability when hurtful words are said or actions have unintended impact; inviting each other in from a place of love and connection, and holding each other in the discomfort of learning.
Tracy: It’s funny, or not, how our culture has got so backwards about this. When babies fall down, we don’t say, “Get up you little dummy, what’s wrong with you?” Rather, we hug them and encourage them to continue trying. Somewhere very soon after this time, compassion for our learning disappears and is replaced with this sense of wrongness. It’s so backwards -we can’t know what we know until we know it.
Tracy: So what does a day in the life of Corinne look like these days? How are you practicing?
Corinne: Every day is different. I closed my private practice because of the success of the Institute. I did private sessions for about 5 years, and as the training was quickly growing, I realized I needed to focus on our students. These days, I get to support students of the professional training from all over the world as they complete assignments, and then five or six times a year I co-host and co-facilitate a week long intensive for course 2 or course 4. I love traveling to teach the Wheel of Consent and I’ve had requests for some of my other workshops. I’ve created an online course for my yoga for sexual health which will hopefully launch later this year.
Tracy: I’m hearing that over the last couple of years you have transitioned from working with individuals to teaching and supporting groups. Do you think this trend will continue? What might be next for you?
Corinne: I’m so happy right now, and with all the work we’ve done in the last few years. I feel like I just want to be content for a little while. I have all kinds of ideas, so many ideas for things that I want to do, courses and presentations I want to create, places I want to travel to, conferences I want to attend, and in this moment, I also just want to be right here.
Tracy: Yes. It’s that whole excitement and enjoyment thing. It’s good to have both.
Corinne: <laugh> exactly
Tracy: It’s a beautiful place to be, content where you are and eager for more in the future. What about the future of Somatic Sex Education in Canada and the world. How do you see that unfolding?
Corinne: I am very excited about the quality of people and the vast variety of people coming from so many different walks of life who are attending our professional training. What this means to me is that the next generation of somatic sex education is going to be so hot! <laugh> Professional, educated, experienced sexy people who will weave their unique skills and personalities with the content we’ve taught them and bring it all to their diverse home communities. I had this really wonderful, welcoming experience presenting at the University of Guelph Sexuality Conference this summer. With these feelings, I am imaging that somatic sex education will continue to become more mainstream, with more people practicing in more places, and more medical professionals aware enough about SSE that they will be referring their clients to see us.
Tracy: And that’s already happening. I imagine in ten years SSE will be where acupuncture was not too long ago, you had to go looking for it and now it is available in every physiotherapy clinic and covered by many insurance plans.
Corinne: Yes, it’s so great to imagine this!
Tracy: And in terms of the Institute, what would you like future students of somatic sex education to know?
Corinne: All of you is welcome!! All the reasons why you think you cannot or should not <be a somatic sex educator> might actually be the gem, or the reason, or the unique dimension of you that makes it so valuable for you to be a part of this community.
Tracy: Wonderful words, thank you. Is there anything else you’d like to share before we close?
Corinne: I want to acknowledge Joseph Kramer for the important work he did in establishing sexological bodywork and creating the foundation for somatic sex education today, which includes and expands upon this original body of work.
Tracy: Thank you for that. It’s great to pause and acknowledge the teachers who came before us. To recognize how these foundational ideas of embodiment and prioritizing pleasure have met with neuroscience and social justice and trauma awareness to expand into the into the Somatic Sex Education certification program offered by the ISSS that is being recognized worldwide.
Corinne: It’s good to acknowledge our roots as we grow.
Corinne currently resides on the traditional and unceded territory of the Lukwangen speaking, Coast Salish first nations peoples, colonially known as Victoria BC. She lives, loves and teaches in Victoria, and around the world. You can find out about her upcoming workshops and trainings on her website www.corinnediachuk.com
Tracy is a lover, dreamer, student, teacher, Somatic Sex Educator, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and the Creative Admin for the ISSS. She lives and plays along the Ottawa River on the traditional lands of the Algonquin, Anishinabek and Huron-Wendat peoples. www.tracymontgomery.ca