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ARAS - Where It All Started


SEX, is a trait that determines an individual's reproductive function, yet why sex is being treated differently between the two sexes? Why do we still accept the idea that sex is more for a man than it is for a woman? Why is sex so taboo? With all these questions in mind, this blog unravels our humble beginning.

Are attractive couples the only ones who can have a great sex life? Is sex really that complicated to the extent that all we can do is just struggle or choose not to be involved in it? The answer is, NO. Bad sex can happen to anyone, be it they are attractive or not. However, since sex is seen as a taboo occurrence, there is limited education available readily. Abstinence and fear-based teaching was very much the core of sex education in our local setting until recent months.

Why not Sex AND Intimacy?

Great relationships and sex can exist for all relationship types and sexual preferences. However, negative feelings like fear, guilt and shame get in the way for most of us. They erect a huge barrier in connecting with our partner(s) during intimacy. Pornography worsens the situation through dramatisation and over-sexualisation of the entire sex act, resulting in the wrong impression of what sex really is. Poor knowledge, lack of real connection, and personal inhibitions are the key reasons for bad sex, not how physically attractive we are.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states “reproduction” as a fundamental basic need whereas “intimate relationships” as an intermediary need. So, in today’s world and age, what do we really need? Can a great relationship lead us to self-actualization? How can we get people to see intimacy as beyond the sexual act itself? What will make relationships meaningful? What is love? How not to get hurt in a relationship? What is a deep connection? How to find a soulmate? What is a conscious relationship? How to make a relationship successful?

“That’s Enough!” the voice in my head shouted. Too many questions, too little done to get to the answers. In the past decade as a coach, I have heard countless stories of how people struggle with finding pleasure in the bedroom. Passion vanishes within a short period of a relationship. Sex became an obligation just to make the other party happy. Connection (if any) occurs only through text messages. People believing that sheer good looks will find them love. Fears of being hurt and rejected held people back in relationships. It appears that being in a state of love over a prolonged period of time has become an impossible task.

Furthermore, in a 2017 study which surveyed more than 52,000 individuals in the US, it was found that 95% of heterosexual men usually-always orgasmed when sexually intimate compared to only 65% of heterosexual women. This again is seen in a similar survey done in China. More than 55,000 individuals were surveyed. Orgasms occur for men about 80% of the time compared to 55% for women. The huge gap in pleasure across cultures is a result of a poor understanding of how intimacy actually works. The great news is, that something can be done to close this gap, to bring about a more meaningful and in-depth connection for anyone. Women faking orgasms to protect the esteem of their male counterparts can be a phenomenon of the yesteryears.

Changing one narrative at a time through conversations has become too slow an approach for me as a solo coach. It is torturous to see people not understanding love, not experiencing love, not bathing in love when there is plenty to go around. A significant number of relationships have dwindled to be about meeting expectations, winning a conquest, satisfying societal needs, proving self-worth etc. The local divorce rates which have risen steadily from 5,314 cases in 1999 to 7,623 in 2019 is a very telling sign.

ARAS - Time to make a change.

Intimacy coaching started off as a hobby as I figured it was the perfect way to bring together my knowledge in medicine and coaching. However, as time went by, I am awakened by the call for more. Through coaching, I have helped couples work through their infidelity challenges, couples with children regain their passion, first-time couples figure their way out in the bedroom etc. A particular couple touched my heart deeply when they finally managed to make love happen again after losing an unborn child. I was glad my training as a palliative care physician helped me guide the couple to overcome their grief thereby allowing the connection and trust to be built again. Individuals came to me to overcome their fear of love, their concerns if their sexual preferences were normal and how to find love. Not everyone I worked with had a fairy tale-type happy ending. What was important was seeing how my clients overcame their challenges and made empowered choices for a better life.

The current services and products available are limited in solving the problems I am hearing from the ground. Starting the Academy of Relationship and Sex was the way for me to expand what I can offer, to bring together professionals and people who are passionate about this work onto the same platform. I envisioned that we can make a bigger dent with our collaborative efforts.

In the Academy, we provide evidence-based knowledge so that our clients are learning the right things. Through blending behavioural science together with emotional empathy, we want people to learn how to connect heart to heart in the chaos of today’s technological advancement. We are here to understand that need to be intimate is inherent but not a task that was in-built in all of us. We are committed to taking our clients through a journey where love can be experienced in its purest form without condition and judgement. And together, this can indeed be a journey of self-actualization.

XOXO, On behalf of ARAS Team,

Dr. Angela Tan

Masters in Medicine (S’pore)

Fellowship of European Society of Sexual Medicine

Professional Certified Coach, ICF

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