From an outside perspective, the Xanet Pailet of ten years ago fit the traditional cliché of “having it all”: a thriving career as a healthcare lawyer, a powerful Wall Street husband and two kids, a beautiful Manhattan apartment. Behind the scenes, however, there was something incredibly important missing from Xanet’s life: a happy and healthy connection to her sexual self.
For Xanet, sex had always been painful, and her 26-year marriage was almost completely void of intimacy. When Xanet split from her husband and began to date again, a transformative sexual experience sparked her awakening journey. She embarked on a path to self-discovery that led her to realize her new purpose — healing others as a sex and intimacy coach. Today, Xanet works with clients through her program, The Power of Pleasure, helping women and couples to overcome past trauma, ignite intimacy, and connect with their sexuality on a higher level.
Name: Xanet Pailet
Company: The Power of Pleasure
Job Title: CEO, CMO, and everything else in between!
Current home base: San Francisco Bay Area
Originally from: New York City
Superpower: Perseverance and optimism are some of my most valuable qualities.
One thing on your bucket list:
Spend a summer in France
A woman in history you admire & why:
I have always admired Cleopatra. She was both the essence of femininity and a very powerful woman. She was very wily (rolling herself up in the carpet so that she could meet Caesar) and also passionate, as evidenced by her long love affair with Mark Antony and her asp suicide. By all accounts, she was an excellent leader and military strategist. Also, she wore some amazing clothes and jewelry!
A present-day woman you admire & why:
Lokita Carter, who is one of my Tantra teachers and mentors. This incredible women battled an aggressive form of breast cancer during a period of time in which her husband was brutally murdered while walking their dog Coco on a beautiful trail in the laid-back town of Fairfax, CA. She could have given into the cancer, but she fought hard for her survival and for the survival of Coco, who had been shot in the eye. Today, Lokita spreads her message of acceptance, surrender, and hope in the midst of tragedy to others throughout the world.
Quote/piece of advice that you live by:
Don’t sweat the small things in life.
I know this might sound really corny, but the song that comes to mind is “Celebration” [by Kool and the Gang]. I think it’s really important that we all take more time to celebrate good times!
A book or article you read in the past ~year that you would recommend:
I absolutely loved listening to [the audiobook of] Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, which she narrates. It gave me a much deeper appreciation for the sacrifices that she personally made, her immense devotion to her family and children, and the success of the children’s health initiatives she led as First Lady. Also, it was very interesting to get an insider’s view of the presidency and the White House.
What inspired you to get involved with your current line of work?
I am a healthcare lawyer by training and lived in a sexless marriage for over two decades. I now understand that because I had so much body shame and sexual shame growing up, it made sex traumatic for me. It was always painful. I felt broken, and never had pleasure.
When I finally left my marriage, I knew that I had to address this issue. That brought me to the line of work I do now: sex and intimacy coaching. As I began to heal my own sexuality, it became obvious that helping other women and couples heal their sexual issues was my life’s purpose. It just took me about 50 years to figure that out!
How do you feel yourself making an impact and generating positive change through your work?
This is the most rewarding work I have ever done. It’s not even “work” [in the traditional sense], since I thoroughly enjoy helping all of my clients. There is nothing more gratifying [to me] than seeing my clients have breakthroughs — being able to experience pleasure in their body for the first time; healing some of their trauma or abuse; finding new, healthy relationships; or reconnecting with their partner and creating intimacy for the first time in years.
When a client tells me that I’m the first person they’ve ever talked to about their sex life, or when they share a really deep, dark secret and they experience compassion, acceptance, and permission, I see this huge weight lifted off of their shoulders. It makes me tear up every time that happens. I feel like I’m healing the world, one person at a time.
What is one thing you have accomplished through your work that you are most proud of?
I’ve always wanted to have a larger impact in the world and this past year I significantly expanded my impact through the publication of my new book, Living an Orgasmic Life: Heal Yourself and Awaken Your Pleasure. Recently, it reached bestseller status and is being really well received. I am most proud of that accomplishment.
What is one major work milestone that you would like to accomplish in the next year?
I’ve been wanting to start a podcast and [Like a Boss Girls’ Editor-in-Chief] Meredith Reed told me that Like a Boss Girls has started a network for podcasters so that has made this more likely to happen! [Editor’s Note: Click here to learn more about our new podcast network, Ossa Collective.]
What is one new project/endeavor you are currently working on that you are most excited about?
Last year I decided that I wanted to have more freedom and flexibility in my life to travel and see friends and family. I made the decision to move almost all of my coaching work to a virtual setting so that I can work from anywhere in the world. That was a huge decision for me since I had been seeing most of my clients in person — but I absolutely love the freedom it affords me. I no longer feel guilty when I want to leave San Francisco, since I can take my clients with me.
What do you see as one of the biggest challenges facing your industry today?
Wow…there are so many different challenges that we’re facing. Much of my marketing and exposure is through social media, and recently Facebook has created new “content guidelines” that are not very sex positive. That not only impacts what sex educators can post, but it has also casts a pall over individual sexual expression and freedom.
I fear that we are moving backwards — not only politically, but also in terms of “socially acceptable sexual behavior”. When Tumblr removed all erotic pictures, it left a vacuum for the more marginalized sexual populations, such as transgender folks, furries, and those with other fetishes and kinks.
What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?
We are all about to witness the further dehumanization of women and men through the use of sex robots. These lifelike, anatomically-correct robots have been all the rage in Japan. There are even sex robot brothels for men.
These robots are making their way over to the U.S. — I recently heard that male sex robots will be introduced in the next year. While at some level, these robots can be beneficial to those who do not have a sexual partner, I truly fear that it will cause us to disconnect even more with our own sexuality and sexual relationships with others.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced in your current line of work?
As a sex and intimacy coach, I think the greatest challenge I have had is becoming really clear on who I want to work with. When I started out, I worked with a lot of men. They desperately needed help, but primarily, they were easier to recruit as clients because (quite frankly) men are used to paying for sex. For many men, seeing an attractive female coach to work on intimacy issues was a good and easy investment. I’ve had a lot more resistance from women, who tend to have a harder time justifying the cost of working with me.
I have also realized how much harder it was for me to work with most of my male clients. I had to constantly be vigilant about my boundaries and I was often energetically exhausted at the end of sessions. At times, I felt uncomfortable with helping these men satisfy their needs for intimacy and to fill in as a quasi-substitute girlfriend or wife.
When I finished writing Living an Orgasmic Life in 2016, I realized that my book spoke to women who felt disconnected from their sexuality and had experienced trauma, as well as couples in sexless marriages. I found that I relate to both of these audiences very well.
It then became completely apparent to me that this was my target audience and I changed my website and marketing to reflect that. Somehow, publishing the book gave me the courage to take that step and my work has been amazing ever since. I think the lesson is that once you take a stand, the universe hears you and responds abundantly!
What were you doing before your current role?
I was involved in health care administration, had my own health care consulting firm, and served as the first executive director of several health care organizations.
What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve ever received & why?
The best piece advice I received was just to put one foot in front of another and trust that the next step will become obvious. Not that planning is unimportant, but I’ve learned that if I over-plan, I lose my focus on what’s actually going on, and I might miss a great opportunity that requires me to pivot.
Can you tell us about a time when you took a huge risk/did something you were scared to do, and it totally paid off?
The riskiest thing I ever did was to leave NYC, my friends, family and a secure job, and move to California to start my life over, without having any clear direction as to what I was supposed to do next. But I really trusted that if I could relax and surrender, the next steps would be clear to me…and they were.
Are there any great personal or professional resources you love that you would like to share?
The Big Shift is an excellent business development program for solo entrepreneurs. Polka Dot Powerhouse (a great women’s networking group) and Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs. I recommend Somatica Sex & Intimacy Coaching if you’re interested in my line of work.
Fun fact about yourself:
I produced four Broadway musicals in NYC.
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