Sex As A Wellness Practice: Meet Isharna Walsh, Founder of Coral
Warm, welcoming, easy to talk to, Isharna Walsh has an impressive background and empowered outlook: Imagine a world where sex is a core pillar of wellness, and right alongside eating veggies and getting regular exercise.
When you examine Isharna’s sex-positive tech company, Coral, what makes her unique is that she’s, well, ordinary. Isharna isn’t a sex-pert of any sort, though her company has its sights set on helping you “learn better sex” through expert vetted, science-backed content. She’s simply a person who, like other founders, in a time of need found a gaping informational hole, sought the help she needed, then decided to pay it forward to culture at large and fill the void by starting Coral.
Through its in-app programming with everything from solo sex practices to guidance on how to talk about sex (or lack thereof) with your partner, Coral aims to make sex-as-wellness a reality by inspiring hope and curiosity around your sex life.
So what is one thing that the founder of this better sex app wants you to know? That sex is your place first and foremost, and you can make it what you want — plain and simple. Take that advice and apply to all and you have some of the best whole life wellness advice we’ve heard yet.
We chatted with Isharna from her sunny home in the heart of Venice, CA and are so excited to share this bright, open-hearted woman with the Holisiticsm family.
Meet Isharna Walsh, Founder and CEO of Coral
Astro signs and other qualifiers?
I think I’m a Taurus [checks Co-star] and I think I’m an ENFP-A [checks that,too].
Ideal lunch as a 5-year-old:
Hungry Jacks which is the Aussie equivalent of Burger King, and I wasn’t allowed to have it so of course, that’s what I wanted!
Ideal lunch today:
A fresh combo of veggies and protein.
A book that has meaning to you:
Books are such a passion and love of mine, and it’s too hard to pick one! Here are a few:
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez: it is an example of language for the sake of language, the art, and beauty of literature.
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche: it gave me a framework for how to approach grief and think about death.
Anything by Neil de Grasse Tyson as his work teaches me so much while simultaneously, through astrophysics, putting my worries in perspective.
The Iain M Banks’ Culture’ series as my favorite source of sci-fi inspiration.
Wellness and Self-Care As A Startup Founder
Where in your life can you do more?
Making the basic, simple gestures that help maintain relationships over time. I want to do more of the little things that mean a lot, such as sending a birthday card (on time).
As a startup founder, everything in my life and business requires all of me, all the time.
What brings you joy and pleasure?
SEX! And food and surfing as well :)
How do you practice Self-Respect?
For me, self-respect has many pillars, and honoring those is how I practice self-respect.
I’ve found that being respectful of my time, and explicitly giving myself enough alone time to recharge — and saying no when I can — is a big factor. It’s important to know what energizes me and to honor that. I also have a committed practice of self-care that allows me to show up as my best and includes meditation, excise, sleep (I get a full 8 hours!), and eating well. Also, I’m conscientious about my relationships and not allowing toxicity in my life.
Where are you growing right now, or looking for a teacher?
I am always looking for sexual guides. Both personally and with Coral, it is a constant evolution of integrating varied viewpoints and modalities. Otherwise, guidance as a company founder and stepping into the role of a leader is particularly of interest right now.
At Work With Coral, A Sex-Positive Wellness App
How does your background influence your present outlook?
I’m Australian, have a Sri Lankan mother, was previously living in Jakarta (prior to LA) and have traveled all over the world for work and adventure. My background has given me a unique, worldly perspective on sexuality across the globe, and particularly that of the US — I have a bit of an outsider’s perspective that has been helpful as I’ve shaped Coral.
Also, not being an expert in a particular area of sexual wellness allows me to be curious and surround myself with a stable of varied thinkers, modalities, teachings, and approaches. I don’t have a take on how things “should” be done so I can pick and choose and incorporate offerings in a way that gives a lot of variabilities and opportunity to speak to many different needs.
How can we make wellness more inclusive?
Wellness has become elitist in the very fact that it centers around expensive, luxury treatments. I’m interested in and focused on how to make wellness accessible and appealing on a mass scale. The reason I first took an interest in tech (while I was an investor at a venture capitalist firm) was because I saw its capability to reach and impact the lives of people on such a massive scale, unlike anything else.
In wanting to solve the void of information about sexual health, tech was the clear tool to turn to in hopes of igniting a cultural shift around sexual wellness. At Coral we strive to design for ALL humans, and create content for ALL sexual experiences, and while we have a long way to go we do ultimately plan to have content that speaks to individuals across the broad range of human sexual experience.
What you’d like each person who crosses your path to leave knowing?
Sex is your place first and foremost, and you can make it anything you want. So that it — and it feels fucking great.