Scarlet Ladies: the story so far

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The idea of Scarlet Ladies was born one cold winter’s day in a coffee shop. It began as nothing more than a little meetup group where women would be able to go to feel great about themselves. We have come a long way since then.

At first, we planned to host monthly workshops covering all types of female needs. But Sarah and I, the cofounders, both recognised that whilst feminism is great at empowering women in most aspects of their life, female sexuality is still too often ignored or classed as not that important. Women are still being judged and shamed for the sexual decisions they make, and that’s why we founded a feminist company that focuses predominantly on female sexual empowerment. To make changes, we believe that we need to work on ourselves as women, and that’s why Scarlet Ladies is a female-only membership club. As Sarah always says: “A woman who is confident in the bedroom is confident in the boardroom.” We believe in empowering women in all aspects of their lives.

Fast forward nearly two years, and we are so much more than our little meetup group. Our mission has grown, and Scarlet Ladies now empowers and connects women around the world. Our community is open to all, regardless of your sexual orientation or preference. We always say it is about how you like it, not who you like it with. We believe that by destigmatising the conversation around female sexuality, we help women grow in confidence, love their bodies and live boldly in all aspects of life, without fear or shame.

Whilst sex is a juicy and hot topic for a lot of companies that host ‘sex talks’, we feel there is so much more to it than that. Sex is a basic need for ALL humans and by suppressing that part of ourselves we are ultimately suppressing a key part of our life. Sex for many women is complicated by trauma, sexual abuse, our own judgments as well as society’s judgements. So it is no wonder that so many women struggle when it comes to their sexuality.

We believe in the power of sharing ideas and experiences to change perceptions around female sexuality. We host a range of events based on our FIERCE values of Freedom, Inspiration, Esteem, Respect, Courage and Enjoyment to empower women sexually. By creating a safe and confidential space where women can speak authentically, share experiences and inspiration, we are building a community of women who are self confident and mutually supportive. For us there is no right or wrong when it comes to female sexuality, and our talks range from monogamy to polygamy, self love to body confidence, Tantra to kink … it’s everything from vanilla, to swinging from the chandeliers. Our community is diverse. Scarlet Ladies come in all shapes and sizes, representing different cultural backgrounds and experiences, from experts to ‘ordinary’ women. They are drawn together by the desire to share, open up, talk and learn about their sexuality.

We have a variety of events for every woman: whatever your level of confidence or experience:

Talk of the Town

When it comes to women’s sexuality, what is “normal”? And why is it so hard to talk about it?

Our panel discussions bring together real women to talk openly about key topics that affect women everywhere. We believe that every woman has the right to feel “normal” when it comes to her body and her sexuality. Talk of the Town events bring together women from different backgrounds, including professional therapists, sex workers and ‘ordinary’ women, for no-holds-barred conversations that empower real women to share opinions and experiences in an environment that is safe and supportive. Every month, we lift the lid on a different aspect of female sexuality, breaking down the barriers of stigma and shame.  

F.I.E.R.C.E TALKS

Our FIERCE Talks change attitudes and change lives. Guided by our founding values of Freedom, Inspiration, Esteem, Respect, Courage and Enjoyment, FIERCE Talks challenge prejudices around female sexuality head-on. Every month we bring you a FIERCE woman to inspire and educate you by sharing her ideas, knowledge and experience on a topic relating to female sexuality. We believe in the power of talking to help women stand together to challenge negative attitudes, and transform the lives of women from all walks of life.

Off the record

For curious Scarlet Ladies who want to explore their sexuality further, our members-only ‘Off the Record’ events give you the unique chance to experience the best of London’s x-rated sex-positive events and locations in the safety of a supportive group. Dip your toe in the water of new places or new experiences, in a setting that is fully confidential and in the company of likeminded explorers. Previous events include Killing Kittens 10th birthday and Club Femdom.

Scarlet Social

Exclusively for members and special guests, Scarlet Social is London’s most exclusive mid-week girls night out for sex-positive women. Our conversations are chilled-out, easy-going and confidential, so you can ask for advice, share experiences, or just relax with a drink or two and enjoy the company of some amazing women. We’ll begin with a facilitated introduction to get the conversation started, and from there it’s up to you: talk and listen, share as much or as little as you like and go home feeling refreshed, empowered, and glowing with positive energy. Together, we can normalise the conversation around female sexuality.

So whether you’re motivated by our mission to support other women, you’re on a journey of personal development or you just want to shout YES to everything that we stand for, Scarlet Ladies welcomes you.

 

Behind the scenes at #ITalkSex photoshoot

If you have been following us for the past 2 weeks you may have noticed the #ITalkSex campaign call outs. We had about 5 days to get 10 women to apply for our upcoming campaign. We wanted as many women from different backgrounds to apply sharing their reasons why they talk sex. We can say we had more than enough, so thank you to all the ladies that applied.

In less than 2 weeks we had to do a casting call, select the women, organise the shoot day, photographers, hair and makeup. For the ladies who were not selected for the shoot they were invited to join us on the day for a video interview, creatives and fun.

We partnered with Boudoir  photographers Faby and Carlo for the shoot as they are passionate about empowering women to see the beauty in themselves through sensitively captured images that are elegant, unique and personal. The photoshoot was held at 23 Paul Street for its gorgeousness, ethics, being our home and they fitted our campaign brief of changing perceptions.

What is the campaign #ITalkSex about

‘The #ITalkSex Campaign brings together women from every walk of life. We are united by our belief that by talking openly about what we need, how we feel or what we’ve gone through, we are helping women everywhere to find the confidence and empowerment to accept and love themselves for who they really are.‘ More details to come about how you can get involved.

The photoshoot is the first and probably most fun part of the campaign. This was  a 2 day shoot and we can say it definitely was emotional, fun and empowering.  There were tears, laughter and every emotion between and we all had so much fun.

Here are highlights of the photoshoot concept:

  • to illustrate that there are ‘two sides’ to every woman, and that this is totally normal
  • to show that the ‘sexual’ women and the ‘everyday’ women are the very same person, and that both women are always present inside
  • to challenge preconceptions about what ‘sort’ of women talk or think about sex: we want to normalise our conversations by showing that sex is universal
  • to emphasise the contrast between the setting and pose (both of which will be boudoir-style) and the ‘everyday’ side of the women, expressed through their clothes and presentation

 

The day comprised of 3 different sections;

  1. The photoshoot
  2. The Polaroid Selfie and creative on why they talk sex.
  3. #ITalkSex video interview.

 

The dressing room

The hub, where we had nibbles, bubbles, a whole lot of makeup, clothes and laughter.  We played card games, LoveHoney’s “Kinky Confessions”. Did I mention we laughed?

The photoshoot

The photoshoot was held at our Home, The Reserve, which boasts two rooms.  The red room aka the green room where ladies can prep themselves and have some me time before the shoot if they wish. They also used this room to take their Polaroid selfies and creatives on why they talk sex. See how amazing Faby and Carlo are with one of our ladies.

Here is Rachel’s

 

The #ITalkSex video interviews

As this campaign is all about womens voices we of course had to give the ladies an opportunity to speak and share their reasons for taking part in the campaign. As we will be releasing the videos at the campaign launch, we thought to give you a sneak peak of some sample stills.

 

Overall, our aim at the photoshoot was to pamper and treat our ladies who have put themselves forward for what we hope will be an eye opening and thought provoking campaign. We hope we achieved it and thank you again to all the ladies who took part in the shoot and video interviews. Stay tuned for more news on the campaign and how you can get involved.

Next we will be sharing why #ITalkSex is so important and how you can get involved.

Why we need to understand Super Orgasm. Or any kind of orgasm for that matter…

Finally, the time has come: the Super Orgasm has landed.

Back in October 2016, Scarlet Ladies’ own Jannette was involved in scientific research into multiple orgasms for a Channel 4 documentary – and last night it finally aired. It made compelling viewing. Not just because of its findings, which are important, but because I know what was going on behind the scenes as that documentary was made. I witnessed at first hand the emotional hardships, trials and tribulations that Jannette experienced as she subjected herself to the tests that we saw her undergo on TV last night.

Firstly, Jannette is massively claustrophobic. This means that she is irrationally scared of enclosed spaces. Yet one of the tests took place inside an MRI scanner: a small tunnel she had to lie in. It gets worse: she also had to wear a restrictive face mask, and her head was clipped to the bed to prevent movement. I am not scared of tight spaces but goodness me, I would not have liked to be in that situation. And don’t forget that she also had to “perform” in this situation – the research required that she should masturbate and achieve not only one, but multiple orgasms. I can barely manage one in the comfort of my bedroom …

Claustrophobia was not the only thing that made it tough for Jannette to participate in the Super Orgasm documentary. Like all of us, is not an island. She has friends and family around her, and some of them were less than supportive. Coming from a tight-knit African Christian background, she has had to put up with a lot of judgement and disapproval.

“Gosh, that sounds hard. So why did she do it?” you might ask. And it is a fair question. But you see, this study is so very important for women everywhere, because it takes us into genuinely uncharted territory in terms of our understanding of the sexual experience of women everywhere. There simply has never been a study like it. Did you know that the entire structure of the clitoris was only discovered in 2009? Two thousand and fucking nine! WTF!!!

Masters and Johnson

Since Masters and Johnson’s groundbreaking study transforming our view of human sexuality and female orgasmic capacity in the 60s, nothing much has happened to advance our understanding of the sexual experience of women. And that is a problem. On one level, it means that many women are being denied the pleasure, satisfaction and associated health benefits of orgasm. When combined with the societal stigma that still attaches to female sexuality, however, it becomes even more concerning: it means that when women do experience sexual difficulties and pluck up the courage to talk to their doctors, they are all too often sent home from the surgery with potential underlying health issues undiagnosed.

In the research for this little blog post I came across a shocking study that found that pain in women is routinely taken less seriously by doctors than pain suffered by men. The study suggests this may be because doctors make unfounded assumptions that female patients are more irrational and emotional than men, and consequently dismiss their pain more readily. This kind of sexist stereotyping becomes all the more shocking when we note that, in fact, women have a higher pain threshold than men. We need it, after all: we go through childbirth. You may have seen those funny YouTube videos of blokes being put through a taste of what period pain feels like and they almost pass out, while most women would just pause, take a deep breath and continue to go about their day.

Mainstream perceptions of the female sexual experience are just as unenlightened. I just came across an article written by a doctor that states, “’Coming’ isn’t that easy, if you’re a woman. Nearly all men can climax without difficulty, but women just aren’t built that way.” Not ‘built that way’? Really? May I remind you that, unlike men, women have an entire organ that has no known function other than pleasure. Yes, I am talking about the clitoris. We have a whole organ whose sole purpose is pleasure! So yes, we are built to experience pleasure: and what’s more, we have every right to unlock our own potential to do so. Just as we would want and expect any other part of our body to perform its natural function, so there is no sin or shame in embracing the pleasure that our bodies are designed to deliver for us.

Participating in the Super Orgasm documentary was not easy for Jannette: but it was important. Because by doing so, she has helped bring the conversation around the female sexual experience into the mainstream. She has helped create a platform from which we can build and advance our understanding of the female body and its potential for pleasure. And only when we can understand and accept women as complete, living, breathing, sexual beings, can we build a world where every woman enjoys the right to feel at home in her own skin.

So ladies, in conclusion, I am going to leave you with the message Jannette has been trying to drum into me for the last two years: MASTURBATE! The benefits are plentiful:

  1. You get better at what you practice. If you want to play in the orgasm symphony, you better learn how to play your violin. With frequent practice, your brain “learns” how to respond to stimulus: it’s all about “neuroplasticity” – the forever changing and adapting nature of our brain
  2. Masturbation will help you to better acquaint yourself with your body: and that means better sex for you and your partner. The better you understand what works for you, the better you can help your partner to understand what gets your rocks off. And as much fun as the orgasm will be for you, it’ll be pleasurable for them, too.
  3. You are more likely to know when something is just simply wrong with you. If you know your body well and it suddenly or progressively does not respond as it usually does, you will be better able to explain the changes to your doctor – and being able to do so with confidence means you will be more likely to be taken seriously and get treated appropriately rather than being sent away with a “you just need to relax your mind” diagnosis.

 

**Disclaimer: If you have experienced rape or sexual violence, you may struggle with having sexual contact, even if it is on your own. I have been there. Masturbation can be a great way to re-acquaint yourself with your sexuality, but do also make sure that you seek appropriate help. Your GP can advise you and arrange counselling for you.

Why oversharing is good for female sexuality

Ladies: we do ourselves a disservice by keeping our sexual thoughts and experiences to ourselves. Being on TV, starting Scarlet Ladies  and talking about my sex life openly isn’t because I am some nutty feminist who is angry at the world. I am just an ordinary black 28 year old  woman wanting to feel normal about my sexuality, because I think every woman has the right to feel that way.

If you have ever read anything I have written on the Scarlet Ladies blog or if you attended any of our Talk of the Town panel events you will know that I am, shall we say, pretty open when I talk about sex. And there’s a reason for that.

I believe that sharing and talking openly is the key to changing perceptions: and I believe that changing perceptions is exactly what every woman and man must do when it comes to female sexuality. If you are a news-savvy person (unlike me) you may have seen that I volunteered myself and my vulva for the Channel 4 documentary, “The Super Orgasm” which will air on Thursday 13th at 10pm. You will find me under my bed on Thursday night, basically dying of awkwardness: but the reason why I chose to traumatise my vulva for Channel 4 was to open up a conversation that I think is important.

Since co-founding Scarlet Ladies, I have shared the my own orgasm story countless times, and it basically always ends on the same note: that I like to masturbate. Like, a lot. I believe that masturbation is the key reason for what the documentary describes as my ‘happier sex life’ and ‘super orgasmic’ brain. My new Scarlet Ladies nickname has become The Masturbation Evangelist: I’m very passionate about the importance of masturbating for a happier sexual ‘you’.

But here’s the catch: we ladies might masturbate all day, achieving millions of orgasms if we’re lucky. Yet very often, we feel like crap for doing it. Because regardless of how sex positive you are, we are all still affected with the shame and stigma that society has enforced on us.

Through Scarlet Ladies, I have heard from a plethora of women with all different types of sexual experiences, including anorgasmic women (those who can’t achieve orgasm); women who struggle with their own perceptions of masturbation – and of course, evangelists like me. Hearing their range of stories has led me to my own epiphany (sorta): we all need to talk more about sex.

There’s no shortage of experts out there, telling us what is and is not “normal” for women – but with so much conflicting advice and expertise going round about what to expect from our bodies, we can begin to feel like Dorothy in the storm. Experts are brilliant at informing us on the facts, but we as normal women have a lot to deal with when it comes to making peace with our bodies.

Which brings me to my point. Let us talk and overshare.

I was recently asked for the one piece of advice I would give to women everywhere, to help normalise positive sexual experiences for all of us. My answer is to talk to your friends openly about sex. What are friends there for if you cannot overshare? Your friend may be the “my masturbation is my own business” type of friend; you may have never heard her breathe the word sex, but that doesn’t matter. Because as women, we all experience the same concerns and insecurities: maybe in different volumes; but the general consensus is that “if you go through it, I go through it”. I can not count the amount of ‘me too’ conversations I have had, be it on the Talk Of The Town or with my friends. So, even if your friend doesn’t respond well to your sharing, do not take it personally: that is probably just because her own insecurities are creeping out. By sharing your experience, you have planted the seed of openness – so there is a pretty high chance the next time she feels a concern about her own sexual experience, she will most likely turn to you and so the conversation starts.

Now imagine this wild thought: if all of these tiny and personal conversations like yours were happening all over the world, how much change might happen for women’s sexuality and our perceptions of it? Women like you and me might just begin to feel normal about ourselves – because rather than spreading myths and lies, we will in fact be spreading ideas experiences and thoughts.
Women: our biggest problem is the oppression of our society, but our worst enemy is silence, which breeds judgement, shame and stigma.

5 Reasons to Start Every Day With a Lemon Ginger Zinger

Is one of your new year resolutions to be healthier? Are you maybe putting yourself through a hunger pain and headache stricken couple of weeks of detox?

In that case you might be very happy to know that there is a very simple way to keep your body’s detoxing systems running at full efficiency all year round. The lovely Gemma of Yattire Yoga is sharing her number 1 detox secret and 5 reasons why we should all have it – The Lemon Ginger Zinger:

 

The body is a natural detoxifier, keep your January fresh and simple with a Lemon Ginger Zinger each day.

Here’s 5 reasons why you need look no further for your January cleanse.

1 Kick start your lymphatic system

Warm water is more stimulating than cool. It immediately starts the hydration process. Lemon water stimulates the lymphatic system to remove toxins held in the colon and bladder over night. Adding ginger helps speed up the waste process, reducing the development of cancer cells & polyps.

2 Lemon water alkalises the body

Our bodies work better when they are more alkaline. Cancerous cells tend to bread in an acidic state. Unfortunately, many of our daily personal care items & general environment force us to be more acidic, breading illness and disease. An alkaline state reduces inflammation which can lead to auto immune diseases and illnesses such as arthritis.

3 Allow your skin to glow

Lemon ginger water is an amazing anti ageing tool. Rich in vitamin C&D, riboflavin (great for tissue repair) and minerals like calcium, phosphorous and magnesium (great for bones & stimulating collagen). Acidic bodies stop the skin from glowing.

4 Great for digestion

Ginger is anti inflammatory and mucous dissolving. Grains cause both inflammation and mucous growth in digestion & respiratory systems. Both are full of health enzymes, together they stimulate proper digestion. Ginger helps protein digest and eliminates toxins brought by food in the colon.

5 Great for weight loss

People who are more alkaline lose weight more efficiently. There are lots of reasons for this; the main reason is the reduction of sugars and grains. These cause insulin spikes which promote glycogen being stored as fat . People with chronic inflammation hold weight in both fat & water. Lemon is a natural diuretic it stimulates digestion by waking up the bile production in the liver. The combination of lemon and ginger boosts the body’s natural ability to detox. All you need is:

A mug of hot water 

1/2 an inch of grated ginger – Lasts longer when kept in the freezer (top tip)

Half a squeezed lemon – for sweetness add honey (or Agave nectar if you are vegan)

Try for a month and feel your body energise and your skin glow!

Sending you love and light this January

Yattire Yoga – Yoga for you

Join us on the 16th of January for a delicious morning yoga flow class, from 07:00-08:00 at the Klinik, Devonshire Row, London, just 2 minutes walk from Liverpool Street station. The class is designed to set you up for your working day, finishing up with one of these bad boys.

Places are limited. You can book your place here.