We spoke with Asti Maree about what led her to delve into sexual empowerment, how the idea of sex and body image has changed, and the most common sex-themed questions she receives from women every day.
Can you tell us a bit about your story and what led you to delve into sexual empowerment?
My sexuality has been where I have felt the most insecure and also where I have sourced most of my power. It really has been my biggest teacher. In my teen years and early twenties I based all of my worth around my sexuality. I led with my sexuality and used it as a tool to keep the love of my partners. If they were happy, I was happy. I had no idea what my personal sexual needs, desires and boundaries were let alone having the confidence to communicate them. I'm naturally a bubbly, open and flirty woman, but this often triggered other women and I was repeatedly being slut-shamed. I had completely lost myself in the fear of juggling feeling 'too much' and not enough all at the same time.
My first step towards reclaiming my sexuality and becoming a self-validating woman was through pole dancing. Pole dancing quickly led me into what turned out to be a 9-year stripping career and multiple national showgirl titles. I went from being so insecure in my body that I despised getting changed in front of my boyfriend, to dancing naked on stages all around Australia. The other women I met in the industry gave me the permission to own, celebrate and explore my sexuality like never before.
I was always fascinated by how women would relate to me after explaining to them what I did for work. I would be met with complete admiration and judgement all at the same time. Like 'tell me more', but also 'I can't believe you do that, ew'. After time what I realised was that they were just relating to me in the same way that they have been taught to relate to their own sexuality: desire met with shame. The same 'too much' vs not enough dance I had been manoeuvring in my late teens. It was this that made me realise just how disconnected the majority of women are from their sexuality. I then made it my mission to give other women what stripping gave me but in a much more supportive, safe and loving container. Using a combination of ancient spiritual practices and modern logic psychology, I now guide women to reclaiming their sexuality and reclaiming their lives, free from shame and oozing with pleasure!
What exactly is a sexual empowerment expert?
I guide women to release anything that is not in alignment with their innate sexuality e.g. trauma, cultural conditioning and heavy emotions like shame, disgust and fear, which allows them to create their own narratives around sex and being a woman; narratives that are in alignment with love, freedom and pleasure. Most people think as a sexual empowerment coach I support women to have juicier sex and more powerful orgasms, which yes, is true (and we love that), but it goes so much deeper. With our sexuality being such a core, innate piece of being a woman, I have seen over and over again that when women do the work to heal and reclaim this powerful piece of themselves they claim a sense of pleasure, confidence and freedom in every area of their lives. They feel a sense of wholeness which leads to a deeper sense of self-worth overall. It changes everything!
What is the main purpose and vision for the type of content you put out there? And can you tell us a bit about your book Pleasure Codes as well as your podcast Turned On And On Purpose?
My number one intention and purpose around the content I put out is permission. Permission was such a huge piece in my own journey. As I mentioned, being surrounded by sexually empowered women is what awoke my own sexual, sensual and feminine power. I believe in showing up on Instagram as the embodiment of my work, showing women what is available in my presence and energy. I share everything and anything; there is no topic that is taboo in my community and through my way of shamelessly and unapologetically speaking on sexuality I offer women a sense of 'if she can do that, I can do it too'.
I released a book called Pleasure Codes: 33 Powerful Tips To Enhance And Heighten Your Orgasmic Potential. It's funny, I never actually planned to write a book. Being a sexuality coach I am always asked for orgasm tips so one day I just started writing them down. I initially thought it was going to be a blog but it flowed out of me and turned into my very first book. What I love about it is it explains and offers tips around orgasm from both energetic and psychological angles. I felt good printing it as a book as I do have courses that cover orgasm tips but I wanted to have something available at a lower price range. I think pleasure should be available for everyone.
Turned On And On Purpose is a podcast that I co-host with my best friend and business partner Brittney Vangestel. It's also a funny story about how that started. I asked her if she wanted to start a podcast with me and she had been planning to ask me the same thing that day. It's funny what happens when you work in pleasure. Everything comes together with so much ease. Turned On And On Purpose is where pleasure, sensuality and the feminine meets business. We both run multi six-figure companies by following what feels good rather than the 'shoulds' placed on us by society. Goodbye 9-5! We teach other women in business how to move away from the 'hustle and grind' culture so they can scale their business in pleasure and ease, which leads to true long-lasting contentment and fulfilment. Not long after starting the podcast, we opened ‘The Turned On CEO' – a six-month business coaching mastermind and the women in there are kicking some serious goals including tripling their incomes.
I truly believe that everything is connected and where you are feeling stuck in one area of life is a reflection of blocks in other areas e.g. A woman's ability to surrender, open and receiving pleasure during sex determines her ability to receive clients, sales and money. Pleasure increases self-worth and self-worth increases results.
Who's your target audience and why?
Women aged 25-40. I used to 'niche' down my audience but I don't believe in doing that anymore. Every woman has had her sexuality pulled out of alignment in one way or another through the conditioning she has endured. I also believe that all women deserve to feel like a sexy, confident and self-assured goddess in dating, relationships, sex and life. It's more like a soul connection type thing; I believe the women that are meant to work with me will find me.
How, would you say, has the the idea of sex and body image changed over the last few years?
Great question! It's changing very slowly but I've seen some great changes for sure. I love that slowly as a society we are letting go of the shame we once heavily held around our sexuality. People are speaking up more about gender, sexual orientation, sexual desires, even STIs. People are meeting their sexuality with more acceptance now. Body image ideals change every few years, it's actually crazy! I feel that today is the first time in late history that we have begun to celebrate our uniqueness and what makes us different. I love seeing brands using a variety of women, all different shapes, sizes and ethnicities. Curvy, skinny, top-heavy, big booty, it's all welcome baby, and it's all beautiful!
We still have a long way to go but we are on the right track.
Social media is such a great platform for people to speak out and normalise sexuality and bodies, but as we all know it's also a place drowning in posed bods, unrealistic photoshopped images and highlight reels. If you want to live in a reality that's sex and body positive, you have to create it. Unfollow people that make you feel bad about yourself. Follow accounts that make you feel good. Social media impacts us more than we know.
What brands do you work with?
Two brands that I love, use (daily) and support are My Moonbox and Fitcover. My Moonbox is a three-month subscription of goodies designed to support healthy hormones and periods. This is so important and in alignment with what I do because of how hormones directly impact our sexual desire and libido. And my fav makeup brand Fitcover is makeup designed to be sweat-proof in the gym – I wear it every day. It also helps while filming in front of my ring light (it can get a bit hot and shiny in front of that). Not only is the makeup amazing and natural, but the whole brand is focused on empowering women to feel confident. I'm all about it.
What are the most common sex-themed questions you receive from women? And any other interesting stories you can share?
The most common questions are:
How can I learn to orgasm without a vibrator? Is it possible for every woman to squirt? How do I get out of my head during sex?
I think one of the most amazing experiences in my career was when I held an in-person workshop a couple of years ago. It was actually at a business event so it was unusual that I was there speaking on sexual empowerment, however, I had a large turnout. I took the women through a practice guiding them out of their overthinking minds (they were all business owners and I find a lot of women in corporate have these blocks due to the 'hustle and grind' culture they’re emerged in). I guided them back into their bodies, their feminine and their sensuality, back into a state of being. One of the women messaged me the next day to let me know she had her first orgasm in seven years. But get this, she had it driving home from the event and had to pull over on the highway. I was in tears! It just goes to show the permission to slow down and gentle guidance to connect with your body changes everything.
Do you have any plans for this year?
I have no plans set in stone. The beginning of this year has been a bumpy one for me in my personal life after losing my brother in January. In saying that, it has been really beautiful and eye-opening to be able to fully surrender, step back from my business, focus on self-care and still have a steady stream of income coming in through my online courses and products. This has inspired me even more to empower women who wish to work for themselves to begin building their dream biz. My business has offered so much in terms of financial freedom through the good and the bad times. I've built an even more intimate and trusting relationship with money which has inspired me to create an online money mindset course (watch this space). I also envision more in-person events and hope to do an Australian tour hosting events and workshops teaching all things pleasure and orgasm.
If you were a ____ you would be a _____:
A flower: I would be a rose because I'm classy, elegant and live a life full of romance.
A TV show: I would be Sex And The City because I'm all about removing the stigma around sex and celebrating women who unapologetically express themselves and their desires.
An iconic woman: I would be Audrey Hepburn. I use a timeless beauty that uplifts and inspires the women around me.
A colour: I would be red because I'm bold, powerful, driven and love love.
A desert: I would be a sticky date pudding because you can never get enough.
A song: I would be Can't Hold Us Down by Christina Aguilera. I'll forever love this song. I'm all about empowering women.
A cocktail: I would be a spicy margarita… I wasn't born to be plain and palatable.