Warning: This story contains sexual content
"I didn't even know there was a job as a sexologist," Morgan Penn laughs.
Truthfully, neither did I but after listening to her podcast The Trainee Sexologist almost two years ago, I knew the key to self-love would be in sexology and it had to be a part of our Love Languages series.
Morgan was instantly warm and projected calmness. She gave me a smile, embraced me in a hug that felt like one from my Mum, and made me feel welcome – despite the fact that she was visiting me.
Penn is a Somatic Sexologist: someone who works with bodies, vulnerabilities, and you guessed it, sex.
"So many people don't know their own bodies. Some people tell me their partners know what they like better than they do and I'm like no, it's your job to know your body inside out and accept it and within that acceptance comes the love."
But as most people know, it's not easy to wake up one day and decide to love your body, Penn suggests you start with small progressive steps like acceptance and touch. "If you're loving yourself and touching yourself with love, you're going to bring pleasure into the body, it's going to release oxytocin and you're going to be feeling a lot more loved up."
Self-love and touch are important in Penn's life, but they have changed over time. While she used to seek validation through the touch from men, she now asks herself, how can she fill that lack of affection herself?
It's a practice she shares with her clients. "Some of my single clients come in desperate for a partner, that's when I teach them like okay, you're dating yourself, you're buying lingerie for yourself and you're going to love yourself so much. It's really healing.
"People are afraid of being alone and what society is going to say but there is so much growth and learning to be done when you're alone."
At times, self-love includes some confronting truths. Penn shares with me the devastating fact that highlighted just how important her work is.
"Most women haven't been touched in a way with deep reverence and love, it's either been sexualised or medicalised."
And sometimes that sexualised touch isn't enjoyable because of the porn realm.
"People are self-regulating all the time instead of just being in their bodies and letting themselves have the moment and experience," Penn says.
"You've just got to get over things like that, even like fake noises. Porn has taught us fake noises, timing and what we think is sexy."
Easy access to porn is terrifying, and the way it morphs our perceptions of "normal" even more so. Penn suggests that if you are accessing porn, you should take the time to do your research and find ethical porn where everyone is getting paid for their work and there isn't violence towards women.
It's scary to think there are women who may not experience the gentleness of touch. But thankfully, that's where Penn comes in. Through "Yoni Mapping", or a "de-armouring session", Penn helps you understand and heal any tension in your body, and in the 2.5-hour session she reconnects you with your sacred lands.
But if you aren't feeling up to a Yoni Mapping, you can try affirmations, she says.
"Affirmation can be really powerful. It can be quite hard for people to do because quite often you're asking people to say something they don't believe but when we use affirmations, we are rewiring our brain."
Affirmations you can try are, "I love and approve my body; I am safe; I am strong."
Or you can head straight to the shops and buy yourself a silk pillowcase, because Penn tells me, "it will make you feel like a goddam goddess."
Whatever you do when it comes to self-love, it's about taking the time and doing something for yourself. It can be as simple as standing outside barefoot on the grass and feeling the pleasure of nature.
For more from the lovely Morgan Penn, you can go to her website, listen to her hilarious and educational podcast, The Trainee Sexologist, or enjoy her Instagram page, where she frequently discusses sex, sexuality and self-love.