Victoria has a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from University College London, a Masters in Cognitive Psychology from University College London and she is currently completing her PhD research at RMIT University on holistic sexual rehabilitation after prostate cancer removal surgery (prostatectomy).
Her research and consultation practice follow these principles :
- Everyone deserves the right to accurate, up to date, evidence based education regarding physical intimacy and relationships - especially when physiological/lifestyle changes impact sexual and relationship health and quality. This is so that they can live their best possible life and achieve best possible personal health and wellbeing.
- Everyone deserves the right to judgment free conversations about their sexuality. What constitutes 'sex' and 'intimacy' is unique to every individual. Physical intimacy is understood here to describe consensual acts that give a person a sense of intimacy, sexual expression, pleasure and/or connection.
- Ideas and beliefs about sexuality, intimacy and relationships are shaped by many variables including upbringing, religion, messages from the media, the opinions of our social groups. Historically, physical intimacy as an act of pleasure and connection was stigmatised and shunned. These reasons were politically motivated. We now have mounting evidence that physical intimacy and overall relationship health are significant indicators of overall health and happiness. It is nobody's fault that addressing sexuality and intimacy can feel uncomfortable and challenging at times. We are a bi-product of our environment and history.
Victoria regularly gives talks and workshops on how to discuss and address sexuality challenges to healthcare professionals. Audiences have included The Australian Physiotherapy Association, World Prostate Cancer Congress, Independence Australia, and The Continence Foundation. Please email to enquire about Victoria giving a workshop or talk at your clinic or conference.
The World's First Sex-related Design Studio in a University Setting (at RMIT University)
Industrial Design is a discipline dedicated to practical real world problem solving. It therefore seemed logical to apply this discipline to the understanding and challenges around physical intimacy.
In 2015, Victoria co-founded "the Future Sex Studio", the World's first intimacy-related design course, at RMIT University, with Dr. Judith Glover. This course has been featured in The Age, The Herald Sun and on The BBC.
Why are you passionate about helping people with challenges related to physical intimacy?
I am passionate about applying problem solving methodology to complex human needs that are uniquely sensitive, uncomfortable, universal and important.
We have the knowledge that our sense of identity, self-confidence and health are tied to the physical intimacy we share with other humans and ourselves. This is a fundamental need - as fundamental as food and shelter.
But stigma derived from historical circumstance keeps us from the education and resources needed to fulfill this need.
I am doing PHD research to understand where this stigma comes from and break the barriers down so that more people can lead richer, more connected, confident lives.
"If I have an appointment with you, do you ask me to do anything sexual?"
This is one of the most asked questions of anyone working in a sex-related therapeutic fields- and it's a good question to ask! This is an unregulated industry with a lot of different approaches. My approach is similar to a nutritionist or financial advisor. I ask questions in order to understand who you are, what you want your life to look like, and we devise strategies together to achieve that.
To spell it out : Yes, you keep your kit on. No, there's no touching whatsoever.
I cannot stress enough (and my liability insurance is more than happy that I do) that absolutely no sexual activities or nudity take place during my appointments.
"You keep saying the word 'physical intimacy' ... we are talking about sex at the end of the day, right?"
Yes, and no.
'Sex' can be a misleading word.
It means a lot of different things, to a lot of different people.
Typically in Western culture we imagine a penetrative act focused on the genitals. However, if we view 'sex' as anything that elicits a combination of closeness, connection, passion, pleasure, relaxation, confidence, presence, orgasm and/or intimacy, then there are infinite ways to find routes (/"roots") to get to them.
I use the term 'physical intimacy' to focus attention back on the experience rather than the specific act.
"I feel quite a lot of shame about sex, I don't even talk about it with my friends. What should I expect from having these conversations with you"
It is easy for me to say a throw away line like 'sexual wellbeing is no different to other areas of holistic health such as diet and fitness'. However, the reality is that sexuality is unique. It tends to be attached to feelings such as shame, degradation and even guilt. This is due to a long history of sexual repression fueled by sexism, classism and religious motives. It is not an indication that sex is unhealthy or 'bad' for you or others in any way. Like I will keep saying until it's turned into a ringtone:
As long as sexual activities are consensual for all parties involved - then it's healthy, no matter what it looks like.
If you are feeling like you 'shouldn't care this much about something as silly as sex' or that 'it's not right to talk carefree about taboo topics like masturbation' that is perfectly normal given our society. However, I encourage you to challenge the thinking that leads to those feelings.