Irene Fehr, Sex & Intimacy Coach for Committed Couples
Irene Fehr, MA, CPCC, Certified Sex & Intimacy Coach, helps couples make love and sex work in long-term relationships and bring sex and passion into sexless ones.
Determined to dispel myths about why sex dies in long-term monogamous relationships that cause heartache and broken dreams, Irene’s views have been featured all around the world in HuffPost, Cosmopolitan, Shape, Refinery29, ScaryMommy, EliteDaily and Bustle. She is no stranger to her clients’ issues, having recovered from the all-too-common story of ‘happy marriage turned sexless’ when she lost her libido — all before turning 30.
Tammy: What were you put on this Earth to do? In other words, what’s your life’s purpose?
Irene: As a child I dreamt about falling in love and making love — and aside from detours along the way that took me in the opposite direction, this has been my life purpose and now my work. I love love — the intimacy of it, the pleasure of making love, the challenges of finding and keeping it.
The most pivotal experiences that led me to become an intimacy warrior was my own experience of losing my libido and ending up in a sexless marriage and divorce all before I was 30. It was truly devastating — and it put me on a path of understanding what happens to women’s libido in a long-term relationships and getting the education, practice and tools to help loving couples avoid the unnecessary and painful mistakes that I went through.
I get to help people fall deeper in love and make sex an expression of that deep love for each other by practicing daring intimacy.
The Role of Work
Tammy: What role does your work play in your life? How does it embody your values?
Irene: My work is literally 100% me – openness, curiosity, compassion, passion, intelligence, love and relating vulnerably, and intimacy. I have always been a teacher, so it’s also the teaching and all the geeky stuff of systems thinking and psychology. And most importantly, it’s being a leader and role model, showing what is possible when you choose to dare intimacy yourself and show up authentically in the world.
I literally get to play all day and grow, as opposed to doing “work.” In my previous corporate career, I used to feel so underused, as if I was only using 5% of who I am. Today it’s the opposite: I feel like I am being challenged to be my all, and my very best with my clients. And these very much are my values. I believe that relationships determine the quality of our existence, and my relationships with my clients are about the values that I teach them: openness, curiosity, compassion, passion, intelligence, love and relating vulnerably, and building intimacy.
It won’t be a surprise when I say that the biggest value for me is love — because love and compassion heal and transform us, not just feel good.
Words of Wisdom
Tammy: What message would you like to give to other women?
Irene: So much of what I did in my 20s and early 30s was about what I thought I was supposed to do — and I thought I was succeeding. I call it “obligatory relating.” It’s the way I showed up at work, following a culturally-approved script of what’s expected of me. It’s also the way I showed up in my intimate relationships, including my marriage. I wanted to be a good wife, partner and lover. What I learned was obligatory relating was the very thing that killed my libido — when sex was about performing, pleasing and giving as opposed to genuinely being connected to myself, it was hardly surprising that I didn’t want to have more of it.
So my message to other women is: obligatory relating is a mindset. It permeates our work lives, our intimate lives, sex, love … and clothes. When you do what you’re supposed to for others, it sucks you dry of energy and life. The antidote is choosing a different mindset: daring intimacy and following your heart. Dare to be open about who you are and own it. And dare to match communication with the world with your inner truth, whether it comes in the shape of words, sexual expression, or clothes. Whatever you choose to do in life, do it from a place of daring intimacy.
The Role of Your Image
Tammy: Tell us about your relationship with clothing? What do you think about the act of get dressed? What role does clothing serve for you? Does it hold a certain meaning or significance?
Irene: Since a very early age, I’ve always loved clothing and being seen. When I was 11 years old, I wanted to be a TV broadcaster and I’d dress up and pretend to be on camera. There was something about wearing clothing — and for me, that usually means impeccably tailored dresses and usually larger pieces of jewelry — allows me to step into my feminine power.
I think that clothes define the way we take up space in the world. That’s not the only thing, of course, that does that — first and foremost, you have to take up space energetically. But your clothes send a message into the world about what kind of space you take up, and that’s important. You could hide behind clothes, or you could use clothes to prove something to others, and people can detect those ulterior motives almost immediately. But when you truly feel comfortable in your clothes and your body, when you wear your clothes as an extension of your body, you send a message of alignment, integrity and self-respect.
Your Style Then and Now
Tammy: How has your relationship with clothing changed throughout your career?
Irene: I’ve always loved putting on clothes for work. And since having my own coaching business for the last decade — and working virtually via Zoom — getting dressed and going out in public has taken an even bigger and more important role.
Being a public figure means that my clothes and accessories are part of my brand and message — how professional I look as well as also how myself I feel in these clothes. If I am not comfortable in my own clothes and body, it would not be very convincing when I am teaching clients to be comfortable in theirs.
Now, with Zoom coaching of course, dressing for work has gotten a lot more relaxed and informal. It’s all about making my upper half be put together and accessorized. The rest is yoga pants and comfy shoes. As I get older, I am super grateful for this part too.
Wonder Woman Dress
Tammy: Describe an outfit of yours that makes you feel like Wonder Woman when you wear it.
Irene: I love tailored dresses: a classic sleeveless black wool sheath dress or a more modern tailored sleeveless midi dress in black with an asymmetrical pleated skirt. They show off my curves and are sexy, yet minimal and classic. Accessorized with a pair of black suede stiletto pumps and gold jewelry, and I feel like a Wonder Woman.
To learn about Irene’s coaching practice for singles and couples, and to check out her online courses, visit her website.