Wellbeing Mentor Stacey O’Gorman on Masculinity, Burnout and the Sex Recession

Stacey O’Gorman was one of those women who, from the outside, ‘had it all’.

The glamorous London life, a thriving baking business, a great marriage – it was the stuff of dreams.

But the Kiwi entrepreneur’s ‘work-hard play-hard’ life started to catch up with her, and with a debilitating hormonal imbalance to boot, Stacey found the life she’d built was starting to turn in on her.

Stacey O’Gorman

Depressed and exhausted with severe anxiety and a lack of libido, Stacey’s marriage began to collapse and she realised this wasn’t the life she wanted anymore.

After an ‘aha’ moment walking to her London bakery one day, she decided enough was enough and resolved change, well pretty much everything. She sold her business, ended her marriage, travelled the world and moved back home to become a women’s wellbeing mentor, helping other ladies through the same issues she battled through herself.

Now Stacey, who appears on the first episode of Bumble and The Twenties Club’s podcast series What We Call Love, helps women with everything with relating to dropping into their bodies, finding their purpose, questioning anything around pleasure or sexuality, and how to slow down the mind – and she has some thoughts on all of the above!

Hey Stacey! Let’s start by chatting about what you spoke about in What We Call Love – the idea of a sex recession. What is that?

It’s basically a term coined by an article in The Atlantic, and it refers to the fact that millennials -men and women – just aren’t has having as much sex as the generations before them.

As a wellbeing coach, why do you think this is? 

I’m finding with my clients that it’s mostly due to low libido, burnout and living in a culture of hyper masculinity. Plus, we’re also living in a world where we’re doing so much online now, and especially with everything happening with Covid-19, we’re not having as much face to face interaction and it’s really lessening our face to face interactions, which is quite sad.

Even with the online dating, people are messaging but there’s not necessarily an end result with that, people are just lonely and they don’t follow through with a face to face meet up. And if you do, a lot of people are disappointed with the interaction with someone you’ve only texted!

I guess there are some things that are good about the statistic, right? That women are more empowered to say no, we’re being much more deliberate with whom we decide to sleep with – but it’s a negative when the reasons behind it are things like a lack of confidence or not being able to enjoy sex, right?

Yeah, I feel like in terms of women being inundated with choice and being able to say no, that new mentality, a lot of that comes from our society where we have high expectations of relationships now. They just need to be healthy expectations. What I mean by that is that an unhealthy expectation might be ‘there’s never going to be any conflict in our relationship’ or ‘we’re going to meet all of each other’s needs’ or ‘you’re always going to make me feel happy’.

All of those are very unrealistic expectations, whereas a realistic one would be ‘sometimes we’re going to struggle’ or ‘our relationship will always require us to put in the work’. I think that the problem is that we expect the best of the best, and when we don’t get that, we assume it’s wrong. Actually, no one is really looking at their shit!

So it’s like we’re looking for perfection in our relationships, knowing deep down that it doesn’t really exist. Are we just justifying or already making an excuse for when it fails?

Exactly that!

Ok now I might know why I’m single!

Oh, so am I – I’m divorced!

Your story is actually really inspirational – you suffered from massive burnout when living in London which eventually led you to quit your job, divorce your husband and change your entire life direction, which is amazing. A lot of women – for various reasons – will be going through big life changes right now. Do you have any advice for women who are going through similar things?

The thing that really helped me was figuring out what wasn’t in alignment for me anymore. And how I did that was seeking help from outside of just my friends and family, and people that knew me. I read books, I got therapy and coaching. Getting an outsider’s perspective is always the first thing that I recommend. Once we start looking inward, we start to realise what lights us up, and it’s hard to figure that out if you can’t filter through the old shit.

Was there a book in particular that helped?

Yeah – I was going through wild health issues with endometriosis at the time too, and it was specific to that – WomanCode, it was an audiobook to start to heal myself naturally. The ground-breaking moment in that was when it started talking about how women in today’s society are living in a very masculine way, and that we’ve losing some of our femininity, which was a lightbulb moment for me.

Yes, let’s talk about the masculine v feminine balance – they have to co-exist right? But is it that we’ve been encouraged as women to be more ‘masculine’ than we should be?

It’s been an interesting journey with that. I feel that I was so deeply in my unhealthy masculinity – competitive, cold and distant, resistant towards love – that I wanted to run away as far as I could from that.

So, I dived so deeply into what I perceived to be healthy feminine – flowy, playful, creative, all of the things that I neglected. But I pushed my masculinity to the side, to the point where my health was better but I wasn’t getting anything done, which is where the healthy masculinity comes in – being goal orientated, present, actually productive.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on integrating healthy masculinity with healthy femininity and trying to being a balance of both, so I can still be in this beautiful fluid state, but also getting shit done.


What We Call Love available to download in all good podcast apps

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