Let’s talk about sex – taking the taboo out the bedroom!

Read more about Nicki here

A religious young woman dedicated to sex education before marriage and a lawyer turned sex-coach helping people achieve their “pleasure potential”, Galya Falkson and Nicki Brivik believe that a healthy sex life starts with communication.

“My mother was very open in the way she educated us about sex and body changes” say Falkson, a sex and intimacy coach. “Whenever we had any sort of questions, she would always answer thoroughly, and as we grew older, she would add more information in a beautiful way.”

Falkson slowly developed a passion for sharing this knowledge by educating others. “As I grew older, I could see how much miseducation there was” she says. After she got married Falkson became a kallah (bridal) teacher, but soon identified the additional need for extensive sex education before and after marriage.

Seeking to broaden her knowledge, she became a certified love, sex, intimacy and relationship expert getting her qualification from a United States-ased university and becoming a professional member of the South Africa Sexual Health Association.

“there’s a fine balance when it comes to Judiasm because there are so many misunderstandings and taboos around the subject” she says. “People don’t know what questions they are allowed to ask, and they worry that if they’re even having those questions, there’s something worng with them. Studying was very eye opening for me and I wanted to share the knowledge I gained.”

Falkson started an lnstagram page which shares
advice, sex education resources, and the ability to ask questions anonymously. It has steadily grown to more than 8100 local and international followers. She believes her platform is the best way to connect to young adults, in addition to my private practice.

“My clients come from different age groups, says Falkson. Most single people who come to me want to understand more about their bodies, sexuality, sexual health, and relationships, and some want to understand what it means to be a religious person with these feelings. I help them recognise whether something is holding them back from achieving their goal in creating the relationship they desire, and to give them the sex education they deserve.”

Falkson advocates healthy and ongoing educational talks with children about sex, body image, body changes, respect, and consent, in an age appropriate manner. She is working on a guide to empower parents to do this.

Post-marriage, Falkson helps couples navigate sexual and relationship problems, body image issues, specific postpartum-related issues, and any dysfunction that may arise through to menopause. ” Often couples come to me and say they have all these sexual issues, and it’s just a lack of education,” she says. “Sometimes all I do is give them the skills to communicate a little basic sex ed,and all the issues fall away.”

Intimacy and sex aren’t the same thing, she says. Aligning the two is about that emotional connection, which comes with the kind of vulnerability and empathy that most people forget or don’t know is important

Sex should be a holy, beautiful experience, Falkson argues. The Torah calls it “the mitzvah” We want to focus on giving people the best possible education so that when they go into marriage, into a sexual relationship, they feel confident and empowered to have an intimate, pleasure-filled experience that is spiritually and physically connecting.”

Regarding the inevitable judgement she faces in the community about the work she does, Falkson shares the hundreds of success stories she’s helped facilitate. She has the full support of her family and her husband, who is a rabbi himself. “Though some rabbis are against me, a lot support me” she says. “I send people a lot of these amazing rabbonim in our community, who are down to earth and connected to today’s generation”

“We need to break the stigma” she says. “The Torah itself speaks about sex, so I believe what I’m doing is right. To own your sexuality, to understand who you are as a sexual being, and to have a space where its safe and healthy to express that with your spouse, is empowering”

Sex coach Nicki Brivik agrees. “I want to liberate the conversation around sex” she says. “Its important in a relationship because it’s what keeps alive that sense of excitement, pleasure and adventure that we sought in the beginning. Yet, there’s so much shame, and many people are unable to talk about sex. Even among couples who have been married for years, there’s real discomfort.

A qualified attorney who started her own law practice specialising in personal injury law, Brivik eventually left to to become a full-time mom. Upon returning to the work she loved, she realised she needed a change. “I couldn’t go for that ‘fight, fight, fight’ when I was enveloped in love all day” she says. Having informally assisted people to tackle sexual challenges, Brivik realised she could use these skills to fulfil her passion for helping others.

She therefore qualified as an internationally accredited integral practitioner coach, and applied that modality to her sex coaching practice. “I chose coaching as opposed to therapy because its intuitive forward looking, fast-paced and goal orientated” she says. “I see my clients every two weeks and give them homework, and you can see the changes so quickly which feeds my soul.

People often get mired in myths that can shroud sexual expression and fulfilment, she says. “We all have our own unique sexual roadmap, and I’m trying to help people traverse that and “sexplore” themselves and their partners again.” she continues, “Often, creating your ideal sexual life is just about communication”

Knowing that your challenges and desires are normal can make a massive difference.

Brivik helps people to allow arousal to flourish, whether they have deep-seated issues or are simply looking to spice things up. “Even if you’re very fit, you can learn something from going to a fitness coach” she says by way of example.” “Like anything, you don’t want to stop working at it.”

She also sells sex toys, helping people to navigate an area that can sometimes be overwhelming but is ultimately liberating. “Why limit yourself?” she says. “We learn about sex, but not about pleasure” she says. “That’s the problem.”

A mother of three, Brivik says her children are proud of her. “My 18-year old daughter helps me with my instagram reels. Initially she worried about it, but she’s seen how passionate I am about my work and how people respond. I can’t go anywhere without people opening up to me. My superpower is that I’m able to talk about sex so comfortably and openly. As long as it’s safe and consensual, whatever you’re doing is ok. Don’t shame yourself, revel in it, and bring it into your life – it adds so much colour and joy.”