We drew psychology student and publicist Tammi Ireland in nice and near for la première instalment of Touch Yourselfie. The results were deeply thoughtful, self-aware and terrifically indulgent <3
MELISSA KENNY: How do you spend your time every day?
TAMMI IRELAND: I’m not a morning person, so I hit snooze over and over until it’s down-to-the-wire for me to get up. I like to shower with natural-scented body cleansers like Sukin or Aesop so that I feel warm and connected to the outdoors before the day even starts.
After putting on minimal makeup and an all-black outfit, I head to work as a publicist in the city, uploading posts to my sexology Instagram BARE Sexology and reading non-fiction on the way in. I work with an incredible bunch of strong, unique women from all walks of life and am inspired by their creativity every day.
Work finishes, and I either head out for Pinot Noir and good conversation with friends, or I travel home to have dinner with my boyfriend before hopping online for a psychology tutorial. It takes me a while to wind down in the evening, so I like to lay in bed with my partner, watching something on TV or just chatting. We’ll usually be intimate before falling asleep, intertwined.
How important is sex to you? Why/why not?
Extremely important. I think about sex all the time and have it as often as possible.
When we have sex we are at our most vulnerable – bare, naked, free from all restraints (unless you’re using them!) and completely open to your partner/s. It’s the most incredible feeling to be that raw with someone you love, and then come out the other side in a glow of warm feelings. To me, the post-coital cuddle is just as important as the act itself.
What are some things, tangible and non-tangible, that you find sexy?
So many things! Sandalwood and cedar candles, Aveda Men Pure-Performance Shave Cream, girls with no-makeup, freckly skin and big smiles, deep conversations in dark bars over a bottle of wine, fingers wandering over the right side of my tummy, minimalist illustrations (Frederic Forest), intelligence, Fur Oil, figs, guavas, peaches, plums, recycling, when my partner wears his reading glasses, Glossier’s Rose Balm Dot Com, strength, sleeping naked on freshly-cleaned sheets, wearing heels, stepping out of the shower after one of those deep-clean-removed-every-inch-of-hair sessions, sweet nothings whispered in my ear, Matisse, hand-written poems, Salsa dancing (or any body-to-body dancing, really), wearing silk, bubble baths, being tipsy...
Are there any qualities or features about yourself – personality, emotional, physical or otherwise – that you once disliked that you now embrace?
I used to struggle feeling sad once a month, thinking it was a weakness. But then I gave in, acknowledged the feeling and sat with the emotions until they passed. I’m a lot more empathetic and whole as a person now, and definitely a softer woman for it.
Can you share a tale or anecdote about something you've overcome that has left you feeling stronger?
Being bullied by former best-friends in early high-school taught me a lot about loyalty, rising through adversity and strength. It takes a lot for me to trust women now, but once I do—I trust you for life. As such, my friendships these days mean as much to me as family. That’s pretty powerful.
What's your mum like? How has she informed the person you are?
She is incredible. One of the strongest, most thoughtful human beings I know. She puts family first and friends a close second. I’ve learnt from her mistakes but definitely from her morals, especially over the past five years where I’ve seen her bounce back from adversity to really come into her own, trying new things that once scared her and becoming more social than even I am. She makes me see that you can overcome any bad days with the right support. Most of all, she is loyal, and that’s the trait I’m most proud to carry on from her.
What are your approaches to self-care and why is it important?
My self-care rituals are very strict, sometimes to the detriment of spontaneity.
I never go to bed without taking my makeup off, spritzing with Sukin Hydrating Mist and applying a moisturiser (currently Embyolisse). This ritual is like a ‘start’/’stop’ to my day, and completely necessary.
I always try and have one day of a weekend to myself, to catch-up on life admin, sleep in a little and give myself some TLC. Without this day, I can feel stressed throughout the week.
I don’t love to go out on Friday nights, preferring instead to come home and decompress for the week.
I try and read a book a week, interspersed with Podcasts (Longform, Stuff You Should Know, Science Vs, Pardon My French, or [the now cancelled] New York Times’ Sex Lives) to keep my brain engaged with non-work, non-psychology information that’s also great to whip out in conversation.
I always try and practice what I preach on BARE, focusing on my positive qualities—and the journey I’ve been on to get to where I am—rather than the negative ones. This can be looking in the mirror and mentally thanking my body for what it’s capable of, to simply taking some time by myself between the sheets.
Could you please describe your favourite sensual scene from a movie or book?
For me, sensuality comes from the aesthetic as well as the act. I love films like Vicki Cristina Barcelona, Chloe and A Single Man for the build that comes with the conversation, the décor and the costumes, right before the sensual act itself.
More recently, I’m really into You Me Her at the moment, and one of the first scenes involves the escort, Izzy, toe-fucking the wife, Emma, under the table at a café. I love the clandestine nature of that scene!
What is interesting or exciting about the current wave of feminism, largely fuelled by the internet, here in 2017?
That we’re talking openly about what we want—and being seriously heard by media and society. There has never been a better time to discuss feminism (and in particular, sensuality), and the more women who talk about what we want, the more other—perhaps more oppressed—women will feel enabled to join the conversations.
I am particularly enthralled by the multi-cultural conversations coming through this wave of feminism—we’re understanding more about one another’s cultures through discussions about our wishes and expectations as women.
Best of all, we’re slowly breaking down this ‘Madonna/Whore’ syndrome that women have played into for decades. There’s no need to be either-or, we can—and should be allowed to—be both.