Emily Merrell 0:04
Welcome to the sixth degree Podcast, the podcast where we grill our guests about the things that make them tick and find out how human connection plays a role in their life. I’m your host, Emily Merrill.
I’m your host, Emily Merrill. And today I am so excited to have my new friend Barbara Katz Nelson. She is a sex and love coach and the founder of the awareness muse. Barbara, welcome to the show.
Barbara Katsnelson 0:32
Hello, hello, hello, I am so happy to be here.
Emily Merrell 0:36
I’m so happy to be here. We were just chatting before, which always happens where we’re like, oh, my god, we’re almost halfway through our time together. And we should probably record this conversation rather than talk about it privately. But, Barbara, first and foremost, I love that you were you had mentioned before we hit record, you’re a born and raised New Yorker. Like how many people born and raised in New York, do
Barbara Katsnelson 1:01
you think are there?
Emily Merrell 1:02
Sorry, I don’t know. Like living there. Still?
Barbara Katsnelson 1:06
Not a lot. I mean, it’s funny. Most of my friends are born and raised New Yorkers, and they still we all still live here. We’re all like sprinkled all over the place. But I guess not a lot. You know. I mean, I don’t know from what I understand. A lot of people leave. So if you
Emily Merrell 1:21
were to leave, do you have a place where you’d want to leave to?
Barbara Katsnelson 1:24
Ideal? I mean, I think about it all the time, right now today. It’s like I’ve actually been thinking about it. I want to go out. I don’t necessarily want to do the Nomad thing. But I definitely want to go and be in like Bali for like a month or two. And ideally, like my life would be like, in America, I’d have a place in Santa Barbara. And then I would be in Europe, like half the year.
Emily Merrell 1:49
Wow. That sounds like a terrible life. What are you Santa Barbara? Yeah, no, I will definitely visit so let me know when you have all the residents up and running. i I swear I feel like every entrepreneur flocked to Bali during
Barbara Katsnelson 2:04
the pandemic. I know. I don’t know how that I like was like they get in there. Yeah, yeah, they, they the people down and I didn’t even know that you could actually get in there.
Emily Merrell 2:16
I guess you had to commit for a good amount of time, and really like, dedicate yourself to living in Bali. But I’m sure the colonies people were either very displeased or very pleased to have that. knows, I know. Well, so Barbara, you tell us a little bit about you. I know you went from a real estate agent to a pleasure, embodiment, and sex and love Coach,
Barbara Katsnelson 2:42
how did that happen? Okay, so I have always so I’ve been a real estate broker in New York for over 11 years now. But one, when I originally started real estate, I went into that because I was like, it was kind of a default thing. Like I didn’t know what else to do. My dad thought it was a good idea. So I was like, okay, the approval and then I can get like autonomy because I thought you can make up your own schedule, whatever, all lies. In calm, you’re taught it’s like if you want to be successful in real estate, there’s no I find me working 24/7 It’s high stakes really intense. There’s a lot of money, and it’s happening really fast. That’s moving around. It’s very stressful for people like psychologically. I mean, you just you bought right you recently bought so yeah, like, like, there’s like there’s even I mean, you could be Mother Teresa, and then there’s like something goes off, where it’s like, oh my god, the monster came out whenever, you know, like, I’ve worked with people that just that’s what happens. It’s just the transactions happen so quickly in New York, and the amount of money that is involved. It’s a lot for anyone to like, it’s usually their biggest purchase. So anyway, at the time, I was also introduced to coaching because I was suffering from incredible anxiety attacks. Like I couldn’t I couldn’t get on the subway. I was scared and that is not cool for a real estate broker in New York not to be able to get on the subway.
Emily Merrell 4:18
I just can’t like I
Barbara Katsnelson 4:20
can’t get I can’t get anywhere right we’re My whole job is like running around from like, different neighborhoods to different neighborhood all day. So I ended up like I was on medications. It’s like a whole long story but bottom line like nothing they were working but I didn’t want to stay on them. So my sister had enrolled me into like this like life coaching seminar, I was like, I’ll try anything. And I went it like I fell in love. It was transformational coaching. I’ve never done anything. Someone I’ve done something similar but not exactly like that. They really, they push you they take you over the edge but they I mean at After like doing that program, I think that I was had control over the anxiety. It’s never gone away. But I got off medication, I was able to go on the subway, I, like my life changed. So I was like, oh my god, everyone has to do this. I love this, I want to do this. So I started coaching, and I had the real estate going on at the same time, the real estate is starting to blow up. I just couldn’t handle like the other. So I couldn’t handle both at the same time. Plus, like, I think coaching requires, like very clean energy that I couldn’t do with real estate. There’s like a lot of stress, a lot of chaos constantly. So I like let it go. But it was always something that I like thought about and was like, I need to do this. And my boyfriend was always like, you got to do it. And he was so supportive, my friends, and I was coaching on the side here and there. But it wasn’t official. And then a couple of years later, I got into, like, I felt like I was like a robot and real estate isn’t 20 477 days a week super successful. But I felt like that was my whole life. Like there was nothing else. And my boyfriend’s a real estate attorney. So it was really like this is all we talked about all we did. On the weekends I work it was just not and like I was like what’s happening to me, like I feel asexual. Like, the more I work, the more I hustled, the harder I hustled, the less sex drive I had, and I was like Is this like something that I didn’t understand what was going on and went to the doctor, like the gynecologist was like, Am I like what happened? Like, I know, women don’t talk about these things. Like what happened? Like, I’m like, I don’t want to have I don’t understand it because I used to want to have sex and I’m like, I don’t want to have sex anymore. And I was someone who like from childhood was more of a on the sexual side. So I didn’t realize like one day would just like go away, you know, in my 30s. Like, it didn’t make sense to me. So like, there was nothing medically wrong with me. And it was like all psychological and then I ended up taking the force with Mama Gina. No. Yeah. So that was like, that was like the next level in coaching for me, because that was like, Okay, it’s coaching, but plus this whole feminine, feminine aspect. Because when I did coaching when I was younger, earlier, which I thought was amazing. It was more like I would say masculine, but like, you know, masculine, and in our society, how he’s like, also considered like the neutral, right? Even though it’s through the patriarchal, masculine lens, it’s still like, oh, it’s universal, where it’s like not because in the coaching, where I realized this is like, yes, a lot of it is in the mindset and all of these things, but there’s a physical aspect to it too, which I very much believe it’s like, the healing comes through the body. And that’s what happened to me and like I turned back on again, in the monetary unit courses, and I was like, Oh my God, I am 24/7 in this patriarchal like business, and my body is completely turned off. Like it can’t do both. It can’t like turn on and feel sexy. And do business. Like not like New York law high transaction. It’s funny because a lot of people outside of real estate think Oh, it’s so sexy. Also, I’m like, No, it’s not. It’s like an incubator, like more, the higher the end deals all of the things the nicer the property. Yeah, you’ll go into a beautiful property for five seconds. You’ll feel like for dogs, it’ll be like, you know, like, it’s like real estate porn, but then you’re like, Okay, I have to sell it so you’re not like appreciating it like the buyer or the seller you are the intermediary you’re like I’m responsible for this. Yeah. Perfect. Yeah, exactly. I’m the pimp and I’m like, everything has to be perfect. And I it’s not it’s a different type of vibe. And it was a such a turn off for me. So then that I was like, Oh, I have to get back into this. And then like a year or two later was like COVID where the slowdown and the shutdown really allowed me to be like I could sit here and freak out because real estate was shut down. I was not allowed to work you get a $10,000 fine you lose your license. Or if you were doing anything in New York because it was COVID hit so bad here. I could sit at home and forget like the rest of my colleagues or I was like this is the time is now like you would have wanted this perfect. So I started like little by little getting back into like doing it and now I’m like up and running as I love it. So like not short so short story
Emily Merrell 9:43
but I loved I love the transition or I love how you talked about First off that you’re you had a problem that you needed solved and your sister saw solution for you and she really helped push you into that solution and that that planted an initial You’ll see that like coaching was okay, or coaching was transformative in solving a problem. And then fast forward multiple years you hadn’t really been coached. But then you had another problem. And you You knew that these are the tools that you could go back to, to uncover what the problem or what the solution is to set problem again. And that’s how you found mama Gina. And now fast forward, you’ve stepped away from real estate and you’re putting that energy and I love how you said the clean energy, like you need clean energy for for coaching, which I think is so true, it needs to be needs to be not contaminated by the the bullshit of the stress of the patriarchy and the the last piece of real estate. So how did you decide on sex and love? Besides it being a problem for yourself?
Barbara Katsnelson 10:48
Um, I just, first of all, I love working with women, they’re, you know, I love them. I’m a woman, you know, I relate, it’s relatable. I’m very interested in turned on, I’m very interested in policy, I’m very interested in the parts of our bodies that we have been taught to ignore, neglect and forget. And the more I get into it, the more the deeper I go into the work, the more I’m like, it’s because of these parts of our bodies are so powerful, and are so supportive for us that if we all started using them to their full potential, the patriarchy would fucking collapsed. I don’t, you know, it’s crazy. Like when I you know, I mean, in someone who’s already, as some as a mother you had, I mean, you I think most women who I speak to who are mothers, they really when, you know, the birthing process alone, I see a difference in all of my friends who have had that’s just an example of how powerful a woman just gets the hands and her power after that process. And it’s like, it’s transformative in itself and they’re like, that is something only womb owners only the owners really have the capability of experiencing.
Emily Merrell 12:15
I am Oh, sorry. I was gonna say a quick note on that. A lot of people with pregnancy will say like, you don’t get a trophy for having a baby. And when I’m especially if you have an unmedicated birth, a lot of people will be like, Oh, don’t get a trophy for it. So like, don’t be a hero. I ended up having an unmedicated birth and one of my girlfriends sent me a trophy. That said, I had an unmedicated birth and I thought that was the best gift, medicated unmedicated whatever, to send someone who, exactly what you just said, delivered and the push to a child out of their, their vagina.
Barbara Katsnelson 12:53
Beautiful thing, but like, there’s like see, like, I work with women who are even into the like that orgasmic like birthing process, right? Like, there’s like that whole movement. So it’s like, because, again, even the way we use our bodies to birth, life into the world, is highly patient through the patriarchal lens, right, like the way that all of that the medicine all of the the way that it’s done, even the lying down I mean, there’s so much our, the way our lives, when it comes to the female body is completely run by the patriarchal lens. So like, I think that’s why the sex and love relationship coaching, it’s like, ultimately, the women that I’m helping, yes, I’m supporting them in having the highest level relationships so that they can thrive in their relationships. So they can have like, epic sacks and like, you know, extraordinary love. But it really comes down to what happens is it’s your relationship with yourself. And a lot of that is dismantling the patriarchy. It’s not like I get into like, a session with someone or like, Okay, we’re gonna dismantle the patriarchy, but it’s a side effect. You know, and to me, it’s like, as a bonus, it’s like a big fuck you to patriarchy. And I think since I was a child, I was always like, lucky like it. I was always triggered, by like, misogyny and all of all of the things it’s like, I was always triggered by because like I said, I was when I was like, a teenager, like more sexual, and it was like that, like, Oh, you’re sweaty, because you’re like, you have a sexual energy. And it’s like, you don’t even know what’s going on. You know, you don’t even understand what’s happening. No one teaches us consent, which is like this is something that it’s so all of these things that we don’t think about in like, relation to one another, but you pack that in to a woman’s life of 25 years of like the misogyny the not teaching consent, all of the other things and and how I was like, incredible compound interest. And it shows up in all of their relationships, not just in their romantic relationships, but in work, how they show up with their employer and all of these things. And it’s like, you start to break it down and you start to, because what happens is, you disconnect from it, we’re taught to disconnect from our bodies. Because of that, even things like for example, the no consent, like we don’t know, consent is, our bodies aren’t ours, we don’t have sovereignty over our body. So it’s like, don’t dress like that, where this Don’t go, you know, like, all of these things are like, let you know, let that guy at the church hug you or whatever. I mean, the stories I’ve heard is crazy. Like, we’re like, No, I don’t want the stranger touching me. And it’s like, no Shut up, and like, let him hug you or let this person or like, even, you know, like, Oh, my mom’s friend got me like a new dress. And it would be like, Oh, get undressed in front of everyone and throw the dress time, we want to see what it looks like. And it’s like, no, I’m not, you know, it’s like, Don’t worry, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. But it’s like, I’m not comfortable. You know, none of that was respected, none of that it was like we’re gonna do and tell you what to do with your body. And then that kind of thing creates this disconnect from our bodies, because we don’t know how to be in our body, we don’t know how to take care of our body properly, no one taught us. And the best thing to do with that discomfort is like almost like a form of disassociation, because we’re like, clearly I’m in my body, but I don’t have control over it. And that is a really big deal when it comes to like, showing up in like your relationship and like a sexual way or for and then we can’t I mean, we weren’t even getting to trauma. You know, I, I spent a lot of time this past year, and like I’m getting certified and trauma informed coaching when it comes to this stuff. And that’s a whole I mean, that’s just another whole level. And we all have, you know, you grew up in patriarchy, there is some form of trauma, I don’t care if you’ve never had like, the physical abuse, there’s trauma that you have, just like even like, comparing yourself to other women’s bodies and how like, maybe you don’t like measure up, there’s just so much trauma, like big T little T trauma, that again, it shows up in the relationship. Maybe in the beginning, maybe in the middle, maybe like later on, it starts to show up. And we don’t know what to do with that. And a lot of times again, like I could have just like continued on in real estate and been like, okay, yes, I’m just never gonna have sex again. Like, I’m just gonna be asexual and really successful in my business, like, you know, like, it’s 2022, we get to have both, I got to be successful in business, I love what I do. And my body gets to experience like high levels of pleasure. So that’s basically the answer. Like, the question is, like, there’s all pleasure is like, a spectrum. And that’s what I learned. It wasn’t like, Okay, there’s one form of pleasure. And like, I also no one had ever taught me like, I didn’t know what like my clit looked like. And I was like, 30. Like, I didn’t like the stuff I didn’t know that I could have an extended massive orgasm with, I had no idea what that was. I was like, Wait, what is that? Like? What, like hanging orgasm for an hour? When like, I didn’t know these things, like were real that they existed. And it’s like, you know, to answer your question, like, why pleasure, like why sex because it’s like, when you start to teach a woman what she could do with her body, because most of us have not been taught that like sex ed, my, the extent of my sexual ed course was like, I’m a fallopian tube, like that was like, I don’t even know what that even has to do with pleasure. But that was it was like a 30 minute class in junior high, and like, you know, the banana with the condoms. And that was it. You know, it’s like, I mean, which I personally, if it was up to me, kids would be taught every year sex, and it’s why we’re here. It’s what got us here. It should be part of our lives, it should be made normal, it should be made like not taboo. We’ve all at some point, even if you’re asexual and you’re not intersex, you had to you are a product of it. So we should be taught it. It shouldn’t be part of its like food. And the fact that it’s not it’s like I think what’s happening now not just like with me, but with all of these, like feminine coaches and leaders and all the things are very much starting to understand like, Wait, ah, this whole part of me like I’m not from the neck up. I don’t like live like there’s all of this happening here. And actually, it’s to my benefit in life. If I want to have an extraordinary life I want to thrive in my life is to really like learn how to use this operate and connect to it. Because I mean, I, like this is the pleasure stuff like this is it like you are able to have so much pleasure, way more pleasure than like somebody with a male body with the male genitalia. And
Emily Merrell 20:12
the patriarchy is in place. Probably. It’s just
Barbara Katsnelson 20:15
like, there’s just so much. I mean, I’m so curious about that to the history and stuff, because you used to be like, Man, you were like, you know, worship to women. Even like, I read, like a while back in November, where but like, even the reason why, like the heart is red. Because when a woman would bleed, and it would, you know, they didn’t have like, tampons back in the day, it would create a hardship go into her thighs. Like, really?
Emily Merrell 20:43
Is that why they call her? Yeah, that’s
Barbara Katsnelson 20:45
why the heart is red. Nobody knew that the heart was red, they didn’t have like, I mean, again, back in the day, they didn’t have it wasn’t like X rays. This is like, the see time. There’s a lot of art, there’s a lot of art. This is like before, religion was as big as it was. There’s a lot of artwork that depicts it denotes these things. And like, you know, historians have like, really spent a lot of time putting it together. And it’s all the like, when we were still in tribes, that really explains all of this and how I it’s, it’s curious, like when it all changed. But I mean, you take like someone like Cleopatra, for example, who was you know, I mean, like the stories of how she got to what she did, and this was like what women were doing, and they were like running world. And then all of a sudden, I think men realized like that they could revise and they could, you know, impregnate us and keep us at home. And like, all of the sexual violence started in ceiling. And then here we are, stay like we live in a sexually violent world, which also is another reason why our mothers or other, you know, women in our lives, never taught us these things. They didn’t know these things, because it wasn’t safe for us to pass it down. Because there was, you know, the second I think, largest, like massacre was a women just from like, you know, witches, whatever they call it like the Salem witch trials. Like, not even just the Salem witch trials as a worldwide, like, if you were someone who like went into the forest in the woods, and like you did stuff with herbs or whatnot. Like, if you were doing something that was considered like a little bit, you know, out of the norm, whatever the norm was, you could like you, you’re dead, you know, so it was like that. I mean, and that’s the trauma, we still carry in our wounds, that’s a generational trauma that still is passed down. And it’s like, you know, sometimes I’ll work with someone, and it’s like, they’re afraid to make a sound when they’re in bed. And that’s not, you know, like, yes, it could be because you were taught to be quiet when you were a child, but there’s like serious trauma there. And that has to do with like, it was really scary to you know, use your body use your voice in that way. Because if it were any attention to you invent death, and that’s deeply ingrained in our DNA. And so, to me, there’s a spiritual component that I work on with my clients is that I’m not only supporting them in like, again, their current relationship. But I’m also supporting, you know, the big or the collective mission, which is like, we’re starting to D layer like shed these layers of the sphere, the survival of like, not being in our bodies not being able to enjoy our bodies to the full extent. I think, yeah,
Emily Merrell 23:33
I think you nailed so many, so many amazing points. And I love that your clients have the resource for someone like you who really sounds like gets to the root of their problem, but also pushes them a little bit out of their comfort zone and access their guide for learning the things that weren’t taught to them in school or weren’t taught to them through parents. You also mentioned religion and I don’t know if you experienced this, but I found my being Jewish, like there was a little bit more pro sexual pro my own sexuality and my family versus my girlfriends who were Catholic. It was like, For shame. You know, the shame though in Game of Thrones kind of thing. And so I do think it depends on the tribe that we grew up with, to and the parents or the the peers that we’re surrounded with
Barbara Katsnelson 24:24
100% I mean, the religion is a big deal and like it varies from client to client that like I knew it like the Catholic or Christian definitely very intense like the Senate, the there’s a lot of like mind control there. Which also is over the body as well, like, if you like it’s there. It’s deeply rooted. But Well, mine is interesting, because, you know, my parents were Russian immigrants. So, like, I mean, it’s like it’s, you know, it’s like all of the unspoken. Nobody spoke about sex in my life in my like our household And yes, we did like the Russian Jewish still, like my parents came from a place, you know, they grew up in communism. So religion wasn’t allowed, right. So you weren’t allowed to be Jewish. So that was a shame. So that was like a whole other, you know, bag of beliefs that I had to deal with and uncover and all of the things but when it comes to sex, what was interesting is like my mother, like hyper sexualized me meaning like, she was buying me like Lucy A’s when I was like, 12 or 13. But then it would be like, don’t be sloth a witch, like, what’s the message there? I don’t like, you know, like, it was like, they wanted me to be sexy, but not to, like, go near boys or have any and like, what all of that stuff wasn’t talked about. You know, and it’s just like, I remember I had it like a doll like a porcelain doll when I was young, and like, the, like a virgin, just like, I used to watch MTV on like, crazy. And I was alone a lot when I was kid. And I would like put the veil on and I would pretend I was like, Madonna, like a virgin. I had no idea what I was doing. I would like pretend like I was hard. And like, I was like that, you know, I would do all of these things. And my mom would be like, Oh, cute. I mean, my mom was also mentally ill, it’s a whole different. But like, again, like this, like the messages and the unspoken like the nonverbal communication about sexuality was so ah, like, even though you know, it was different than like the Catholic Christian. Like Muslim Indian, like whoever like Sikh Punjabi, like whoever I was friends with had very different, very different kinds of like, lessons about sex again, verbal and nonverbal. And, but like it was, it was just like, I wouldn’t say that. They were like, oh, yeah, sex is like a free thing. And like, my parents, by no means were hippies. No, like, I think there might have been, you know, here and there, like, a Jewish friend who had a parent who was American who was hippie, and they might have been like, a little bit more like, okay, you know, had the talk of like, the condom, and that was it. But that was it. Nobody’s parents talk to them about like, sexuality or even masturbating. Right. And so to me, it’s just so important. That’s what it all comes back to like, is your self pleasure practice with yourself because that is another huge component that is missed in our society, especially when it comes to women like men are encouraged, right, man, like, they watch the porn, all that stuff. Like, they joke around it. Like I remember being in high school guys to joke around and like, into like college and things like that women, like we never talked about, it never talked about masturbating. And like, even the word I like, don’t even like because the etymology of the word means to touch yourself and shame.
Emily Merrell 27:54
I didn’t realize that. That’s what it meant. Yeah, so
Barbara Katsnelson 27:56
it’s like that even that word is like, because when you’re talking about masturbation anyway, I mean, from our generation, hopefully not in the next generations, it was a bad thing, right? Like estimation was not like a promoted thing, which to me, like, ideally, the woman that I’m working with, and, you know, hopefully, I’ll be able to impact larger and larger communities is that they’re going back to their communities, and they’re going back to their daughters and their sons and whoever, and it’s spilling over this idea of the, the, like, even just like the beginning of sexual activity should only be with yourself. This is a tough haul, this is sacred, your body is so sacred. And like, if you don’t want your daughter having sex, everyone, when they’re she’s like, 1314, or whatever, start telling her about really learning how to sell pleasure, because she’s going to become very picky with who she’s gonna let touch her body, if she starts to really understand what kind of pleasure she could experience, right? Like, if I knew the levels of pleasure that I could experience, I would have never made the poor choices that I had, when I would have been like, I don’t know what you’re doing, be that, you know, like, my idea of like, a success. Successful sexual experience was like, Oh, he came? Yeah, it was all about him. Exactly. I had not like so it’s like, you imagine, you get to 32. And you’re like, I don’t even care to have, you know, so many women are like, I don’t even care about having sex. And it’s like, no, it’s not that you don’t care. But so it’s like 1000s, hundreds of 1000s of years of us like being taught not to care. You’re just like, alright, I put my hands up, like whatever there’s like, I guess I’ll focus on everything else the house, the kids that, you know, my job, all these other things, and I’ll forget about pleasure completely. Because I don’t even like sexiness like no, you’re not It’s not that you don’t like sex. You’ve only had one type of sex. It’s like vanilla. Yeah. I didn’t know other flavors even existed. You exactly the I don’t know that I don’t know. Yeah. And it’s like, oh my God and your partner doesn’t know. And that’s the other thing. I always say this to people like, nobody is born good. It’s like, this is not it’s an education, you know, it’s an education for all of us. And the most important person that needs to get educated, is you, you need to educate yourself, because then you can then shout, share with your partner, because our bodies all differently, you know, like people, like, you think like, oh my God, he’s such a good lover, or like these, like, what makes it good. Like, there’s no way just because somebody else hadn’t had good experience with someone doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a great experience with another person, because what I enjoy is gonna be different than what you enjoy, right? So I need to, I need to understand what that is. And I need to be able to articulate it in a way that they’re going to understand it, so that they could bring me the level of pleasure, you know, and there’s also like, that’s like a dance too, because there’s a lot of feelings involved. And that’s like a lot, you know, that can get very emotional and tricky and sticky. So you want to do it in like a flirty, like fun way, where it actually like, inspires your lover to, you know, want to give you more pleasure versus get offended. Like, that’s a whole other, you know, that’s a whole other podcast in itself, and the conversations to be having outside of the bedroom in order to have really thriving sexual experiences in the bedroom. Um, there’s just, there’s so much that we again, it was totally lost than us. And it’s like, it’s time we’re living lives, we’re living longer lives, we’re working longer days, we need to have pleasure. And I’m like, every day, not all day, every day. But that like that sound from the reals or the tiktoks. Like every day, not all day, every day.