A convent-educated woman who spent a decade climbing the corporate ladder says she’s gained even greater success as a sexologist and orgasm coach.
Liverpool lass Caroline D’Arcy has been dubbed the “real life Samantha Jones” after fellow Scouser Kim Cattrall’s sex-mad character in TV’s Sex and the City due to her dramatic career change.
The 38-year-old trained as a health and safety sales manager, however had an “epiphany” and decided on a career change after she was introduced to BDSM (bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism) by a former boyfriend.
Caroline, who now lives in Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, with her creative director partner, Salim, 34, said: “It just opened up my eyes and it was the first time I didn’t feel like an outsider when it came to sex.
“What I loved so much about that subculture was so much of it was educational.”
Caroline began to explore BDSM practices and even attended events to learn how to carry out different acts safely.
This included a workshop on shibari, or Japanese rope bondage, in 2014.
Then, when her relationship ended in 2015 and, coincidentally, her life entered a turbulent patch, she found herself needing a completely new start.
She added: “I just had this year where I had a complete life 180-degree turn.
“I was selling my property on the Wirral, which I’d been renting out, I was dissatisfied at work, sad that my relationship had broken down – and I was exploring the BDSM world as a single person.
“I’d even had an accident on a skiing holiday.
“Everything really was going wrong. It wasn’t a fun year at all.”
At around the same time, a friend introduced Caroline to a podcast called Sex Nerd Sandra that changed her life.
She continued: “I’d always been fascinated by sex and human connection. I went to an all-girls Catholic convent school and the information on sex was so limited.
“In my early thirties, I’d had a lot of different boyfriends – I was the ‘Samantha Jones’ of the group and my friends were always laughing around the dinner table as I was talking about sex.
“A friend recommended me a podcast called Sex Nerd Sandra, featuring a sex educator who used to work in an LA sex shop, Pleasure Chest, and it was like my world opened up.”
After selling her property, she had a “chunk of money” for the first time in her life, so decided to take the plunge and explore a new career in sex coaching.
While it was a huge change from her earlier career path, which saw her shine at school, obtain a degree in product design from the University of Central Lancashire and land a good job, “ticking all the boxes,” she said learning about sex had not been offered to her as an option.
She said: “I always had this fascination with all things to do with sex, but I grew up Catholic-educated and as a woman society gives you these messages that sex is dangerous, wrong and dirty.
“At my career advice meeting, aged 17, being a sexologist wasn’t something that was on the table.”
Instead, Caroline excelled in corporate management, working as a health and safety sales specialist – and in her early thirties was headhunted for a job which saw her travelling the country, delivering training sessions, specialising in water systems.
But, while her CV seemed to paint her as a success story, she secretly felt disconnected and uninspired.
And when, after a serious relationship from age 18 to 26, she then met the man who was interested in BDSM, her outlook completely changed.
Throwing caution to the wind after her house sale, Caroline booked a trip to Los Angeles, California, US, inspired by her favourite sex podcaster Sandra Daugherty’s previous job.
She said: “It all started with a trip to LA in August 2016. I did some life coaching out there and was telling people, ‘I’m going to be a sex coach.’ Their reactions were really positive.
“I visited Pleasure Chest in West Hollywood and did their workshop on Spanking 101.”
With her training background, teaching health and safety procedures, Caroline had a lightbulb moment.
“I wanted to experience what it was like to be taught about these things in a really open way,” she said.
“And I suddenly thought, ‘I used to train people in health and safety – I can teach this, this is fun!’”
She rounded off her trip by meeting with a rope artist, who had worked on Hollywood films and with pop star Lady Gaga.
On returning to the UK, in December 2016, Caroline quit her job and immediately signed up for a course on somatic, or body-focused sexology, which qualified her as a sexological bodyworker, starting in January 2017.
The course began with a module on orgasmic yoga, with an hour to two hours a day session teaching participants how to spread their “sexual energy” through their bodies in a set routine, similar to a yogic sun salutation.
Caroline said: “I practice yoga and I like to orgasm – so it seemed right up my street and taught me to understand the power of taking charge of your sexuality.
“Positive sexual experiences can rewire your brain’s neural pathways with confidence in the same way that negative experiences can create trauma.
“It’s all about acknowledging the power of feminine energy. I always say to people, I can’t work with you if you’re scared of touching yourself and giving yourself pleasure.”
She graduated from the course in September 2017 and was determined to use her newfound knowledge to create a new life for herself – and inspire women to get what they needed out of sex.
In autumn 2017, she founded her business, Inti-Mate – an online coaching firm teaching techniques for self-pleasure and sex.
Carline now offers coaching sessions to women and couples. She provides courses with video and audio directions for participants to practice orgasmic yoga – and ultimately achieve better, more satisfying sex.
However, her special interest is in helping women to reconnect with themselves sexually.
She said: “My business is all online – as people are most comfortable talking about their most intimate moments in the familiarity of their own homes.
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“I am fully qualified to coach participants through orgasm in a live setting – but the video and audio route makes it more comfortable for them.
“I help women – and couples – to have better sex and orgasms, because I know the power of pleasure in changing your life.”
It’s been a success, with Inti-Mate now in its fourth year. Caroline has also already exceeded the salary she earned at her old company.
“I had this goal in mind of making more money from the business than I was before,” she said.
“I realise now it was a very masculine, ego-driven goal – but I did achieve it.”
And happily, Caroline’s sex-pertise has also boosted her own satisfaction in the bedroom.
Since meeting her partner Salim on a Zoom call with friends during the first UK lockdown in spring 2020, she has not looked back.
“Our first date was walking around Richmond Park – completely sober – for three hours,” she said.
“We’re now buying a home together in St Margaret’s in west London and Salim is fascinated by what I do.”