For Soulful Babes on the Path of Self-Discovery: 9 Books You Should Gift Yourself

One essential part of my self-care practice is gifting myself. Periodically, I’ll treat myself to a little something that makes my eyes sparkle—a form of desire hunting.

I do this for myself for two reasons. . .

(1) It’s a small (but mighty!) acknowledgment of my desires.
(2) It’s a simple gesture of taking care of myself.

When I feel taken care of, I show up better in my world. I show up better to my work, to my relationships, & to the connection I have with my body & senses.

Actually, one of the assignments I frequently prescribe my clients is the gesture of doing something nice for themselves, something seemingly frivolous that they wouldn’t have done otherwise. Sometimes that’ll look like taking a long, hot bubble bath or buying a piece of jewelry they spotted on their way home.

The importance isn’t in what they gift themselves necessarily, it’s in the intention behind it.

I’d like to invite you to gift yourself.

Below, I’ve listed 9 of my favorite books (+ one not-book) that I read this year. And at the end, I’d like to suggest that you gift yourself one of them.

Because you’re awesome. Because you’re beautiful. Because you survived a challenging, intense year. Because you love yourself. Because you deserve a little something-something.

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// Sex & Sexuality

If you want to begin (or continue on) your sexual liberation journey. . . Treat yourself to Women’s Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston. You’ll learn about your glorious clitoral erectile network & how your arousal works; you’ll learn the importance of having a sexual relationship with yourself first & foremost; & you’ll learn how to communicate your desires to your lovers (there’s even sections that give sex tips to clueless guys). A must read.

If you want to titillate your erotic senses. . . Hunker down for an evening & read some juicy erotica. My favorite is Anaïs Nin’s Delta of Venus, but Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden is also sinfully delightful. Light some candles. Cosy into a warm blanket. Put on some sultry music (maybe FKA Twigs’ Kicks). Let your mind wander.

If you want to play around with the sacred side of sexual release. . . Gift yourself a Chakrub. It’s not a book, but it’s quite the gift of love. I’ve gushed at great length about these amazing pure crystal sex toys, & have recently given my clients the Sacral model as a gift to their own incredible work toward sexual liberation. (Psst! Use the code ‘SLL10′ at checkout to get 10% off your purchase.)

// Love & Relationships

If you want to uncover a kind, loving relationship with yourself. . . Pick up Marion Woodman’s Coming Home to Myself. Part poetic, part sage wisdom. Lots of poignant passages that’ll likely be your new mantras.

If you want to explore spiritual intimacy with your male partner. . . Read Dear Lover by David Deida. Each short chapter is written as if they were a collection of letters from a man to his lover, & I couldn’t get through one without bursting into tears. It’s sentences like these that fill me with longing & pleasure: “I want to drink your love & dive into your heart & take you open to God.” Yes, please.

If you want to expand the idea of love within all areas of your life. . . The Mastery of Love will crack you wide open. Give it a read if you want to come back to a cleaner, freeing, playful expression of love—love of your body, love of the people around you, love of yourself.

// Liberation & Self-Discovery

If you desire to unearth your deepest, wildest feminine wisdom. . . You must read Women Who Run With the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. If you’ve been looking for your inner Wild Woman; if you’ve been craving to reclaim a sense of deep inner knowing; if you respect the origins of a good myth, this book is for you.

If you want to learn some secret, ages-old, feminine-centered knowledge. . . Treat yourself to The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths & Secrets. Did you know that the original meaning of the word ‘witch’ is ‘wise woman’? Did you know that the word ‘bitch’ was one of the most sacred titles of the Goddess Artemis? Did you know that the left side of the body, in terms of myth, is considered feminine? I knew none of this until I cracked open this book.

If you are a woman of color & want your soul to be stirred by gorgeous, tender, & feminist poetry. . . Get Nayyirah Waheed’s poety book, salt. This book has changed me forever.

Listen to this:

you
will drown
if
you do not have boundaries.
they
are
not optional.
this structure
counts
on your inability
to
say
no.
mean no.
they take no
from
our
first breath.
go back
and
return it to your mouth.
your heart.
your light.

— swim | women of color

Psst! If you buy from her Etsy store, Nayyirah will inscribe a personal message inside the book to you. I also recommend you follow her on Instagram.

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There’s a lot of hidden empowerment within the act of indulging yourself. It’s a beautiful expression of self-love.

So, which one of these books will you gift yourself? Send me a tweet & let me know.

Honoring My Personal Winter

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everyday // tordis kayma

Around this time last year, I wrote the following letter to my list. I stumbled upon it again as I was going through my email’s archives, & I’m sharing it here because even though it’s a year old, it resonates very strongly with where I’m at today.

It’s been a very, very busy year for me; lots of movement & changes. But things are slowing down, & I am being asked to do the same.

I actually did a tarot card reading yesterday that really brought home what my mission is for the remainder of the year: solitude, rest, isolation, & letting die what must die were huge themes. And that’s what I plan on doing with the rest of my December.

So, this post is a celebration of that, my personal winter, & a reminder for you to honor your own.

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It is a cold, foggy, crisp day in Portland, Oregon, & I am thinking of you.

I’ve been in my own little world these last several weeks, dealing with some personal things & coping with the aftermath, & then also realizing how profoundly in sync I’ve become with the seasons—currently, winter.

I have found myself waking up most days with an urge to lay low & stay inside & be anti-social & introverted. My creative side is not showing up very frequently, nor are my Muses; I believe they are hibernating just as I am trying to.

I’m also in the process of deep contemplation & introspection about the next phase of Sex Love Liberation, one that involves way more of me than ever before.

So that’s why I haven’t been writing as much, that’s why I haven’t updated the blog in a little while. I am going through a period of fallowness, of turning inward, just as the trees are, just as the sun in, just as the bears are.

It’s so important that I honor my natural cycles—both the vibrant & the dormant.

What my days consist of as I honor my personal Winter:

// sleeping in & snuggling my partner & pup
// eating hearty, nourishing meals
// keeping my work light & giving all of my creative fire to my clients
// nesting: cleaning house, cooking meals, tending to my hearth
// putting on headphones, tuning out the world, & listening to good jams
// reading Women Who Run With the Wolves (again)
// not being a social; allowing myself to stay indoors & not talk much
// drinking lots of tea
// Tarot & divination
// not pressuring myself to do creative but instead to just be in creation

I’ve been thinking a lot about how SLL has been for me an outright expression of my own personal liberation; how talking about sex & sensuality & desire & my intimate relationship spurs in me a desire to be curious & a full expression of who I am.

And I often judge my process by thinking that if I’m not do-ing overt things to fuel my own sexual liberation—like writing about porn or having multiple orgasms—that I’m not being liberated.

But the most powerful thing I’ve come to understand this year is this:

Self-liberation isn’t just expressed through the do-ing. It is in the be-ing.

Feeling, processing, intuiting. Releasing, listening, honoring. All are expressions of liberation.

I say all of this not just to make a point to myself as I’m grappling with the pressures to be what I am not & do what I cannot, but to give you permission to lie fallow or to process or to honor or to feel if that is what you really need right now.

It’s so easy to dispute or discredit. But allowing yourself time to lie fallow & do the quiet, seemingly unbusy inner work, is not only courageous, it acts as bright illumination on your path to liberation—be it sexual, sensual, personal, emotional, or what have you.

I heard it said once that if we tilled the farm lands day in & day out, without rest, we’d kill the soil, zapping all of its nutrients & yielding some less-than-nourishing foods. Our bodies, our purposeful work, our elusive creative Geniuses operate in the same way.

There is a time to produce, & there is a time to regenerate. Seasons exist for a reason.

Remember that.

Remember that there is sacredness in following your natural rhythms, in doing less now so that you can do more later.

8 Things I’ve Learned About Sex After 8 Years of Fucking the Same Guy

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close // quibe

Recently I celebrated eight years of partnership with my counterpart, Jonathan Mead.

I am in a state of awe about this. It’s such a blessing (& nearly miraculous!) to be with someone for this long; to, in spite of the tough spots & crazy transitions, still feel incredibly in love & turned on by him—even after nearly a decade.

The relationship Jonathan & I have forged together is one of my greatest accomplishments. It has taught me so much & has allowed me to come home to my truest self.

And the sex. . . The sex gets more ecstatic every year.

In honor of the 2,930+ days we’ve spent committed to each other, here are a few things I’ve learned about sex & sexuality by way of our relationship.

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1. There ain’t nothing prudish about the Missionary Position.

There’s a whole lot of emphasis put on the more zesty, exciting-to-look-at sex positions, like “The Torrid Tug of War” or “The Erotic Accordion,” but I’ve found that one of the most tried & true ways to get us both off is the good ‘ol vanilla missionary position.

The way I can gaze deeply into his eyes; the feel of our bellies pressed together, skin to skin; the ease of the position as a whole (not a lot of energy is being exerted in holding & moving in an unnatural position). . . Missionary is the most underrated of sex positions, & is one of my favorites (with “69” coming in at a very, very close second).

2. Sex is much more pleasurable when I’m in a high state of arousal.

One book I read this year that completely changed my erotic life was Women’s Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston. In it, I learned that my uterus (& yours too, if you have one) moves in different positions depending on what state of arousal I’m in.

During non-arousal, the uterus stays where it usually is, but in high-level arousal, the uterus actually moves upwards & out of the way, making other pleasurable nerve centers exposed & ready to play.

I’ve always been puzzled about why it is that “pounding” sex never felt good for me. And it turns out that this is why: I’ve been having sex without being fully aroused, thus his pounding was actually knocking into my cervix! No wonder.

Now that Jonathan & I have been properly educated about the way my body & clitoral erectile network operates, sex (& the pounding) is much more pleasurable & not at all painful.

3. Consent is still important, & asking for what you want is key.

Conventional thinking led me to believe that one conversation about sexual preferences is enough, & that if there’s a problem with the way things are going your partner will tell you, otherwise you can keep going along like you have been—a kind of “set it & forget it” approach to relationship.

But one thing I’ve learned is that consent is a living, evolving contract. It needs to be revisited & renewed, as a Yes today maybe be a No tomorrow. So Jonathan & I have made a consistent effort to ask each other for permission & check in to make sure we’re still on the same page sexually.

We don’t do this every moment we’re in the throes of passion, but we do keep a continued line of communication going about our needs by asking for what we want.

Most of the time, as far as consent goes, the answer is usually Yes, which leads to more Yes’s in the future.

4. Non-monogamy makes the lust grow stronger.

It seems counterintuitive (& it is) but there’s been a level of novelty that has entered our relationship because of the practice & exploration of non-monogamy. There is something very tantalizing about the way my partner desires another—& vice versa.

I love watching him flirt & be flirted with. I love hearing about the way he finds other people beautiful, about his sexual attractions to them. When I see my lover openly & unashamedly engaging in desire with others, I desire him. Because his desiring others blatantly shows me his autonomy, & it is that autonomy that attracted me to him in the first place.

There’s also something about watching him flirt with someone & knowing that he is making a conscious choice to come home with me. He could be with anyone else in the world, but he chooses me, actively, over & over. I appreciate that. And that appreciation transforms into heart-melty, puddle-of-lusty feelings on my part.

5. Orgasm is great! But not the point.

When I entered our relationship, I had a very dysfunctional relationship with sex. I was dealing with all kinds of shame & faked my orgasm constantly—not just because I didn’t know what I needed in order to access it, but because I thought that faking it is what women do, that all sex is is just theatrics & pantomime.

A frustrating way of seeing sex for the both of us—he was frustrated that I wasn’t coming & blaming himself for it, & I was resentful of him for even wanting to have sex with me since I didn’t enjoy it anyway.

But I had an idea once to take orgasm out of the equation in sex, & to instead sit back & enjoy the dance of erotic energy & see what happened. Like (almost) clockwork, my orgasm arrived out of nowhere, which proved to me that I just needed to get out of the way of it.

That getting out of the way was the hardest part, by the way, because it meant that I had to change my relationship to orgasm, a task that isn’t capable of being resolved over night. So I started small by beginning to enter sex with the mindset that orgasm was not the point—that opening to pleasure & creating a safe environment to experiment erotically was.

And I haven’t faked it since.

6. Tantric sex is boring. . . & awesome.

I’ve tried many, many times to dig in to the sacred aspect of sex, to educate myself on & practice tantric breathing & holy sex positions & kundalini energy. But whenever I begin to sit down & read through the spiritual jargon, I can feel my head begin to tighten & strain.

It’s all so technical. And so boring.

I used to think that tantric sex was for seasoned practitioners, but a whole new world of exploring sex magic has been opened to me now that I understand that it is available to all. All we need to do is set the intention & create sacred space.

Jonathan & I have been slowly exploring the sacred in sex over the last year, starting small with mini rituals & getting curious about the basics, like mindfulness, breath work, & deep eye-gazing. When we play lightly with tantra, keeping it feeling easeful & down-to-earth, suddenly our breaths are synced & our bodies are writhing rhythmically like snakes & we’re coming from all of our chakras.

That’s when it’s awesome.

Otherwise. . . to sit down & devote serious time to study tantric sex is snooze-worthy. For now.

7. Good porn (that suits both of our preferences) is hard to find.

We used to watch porn together. We’d go to the nearest indie video store & venture down into their “18+ only” section to find an erotic video that would get us both off. We even had a membership at one point to a porn site whose films suited both of our needs. Those were the days.

These days, however, it’s become increasingly difficult to find porn that we both want to watch.

It’s mostly because of me. I’ve become very, very picky about the porn that I watch. If there’s even just a hint of unrealism to the film, my arousal deflates & I begin to view it with the eyes of a critic rather than a deviant.

I want girl/girl porn that is not being performed through the male gaze. I want guy/girl porn between people of color that doesn’t reek of racism or fetishizement. I want queer porn that doesn’t involve kink. I want to watch men get off solo without homophobic ideals or beef-cake tones.

Jonathan is a simpler man. It seems as though his wants & needs to get off are easily found by the ready-made labels on porn sites. Porn that gets the average man off is easy to find (& make). Porn that delights & arouses the political, ethical, pragmatic horny feminist (i.e., me) is apparently not.

This one is a work in progress. I haven’t given up hope; I still desire to make viewing porn a shared experience. But until I find something that we both will enjoy, we’ll keep it to ourselves.

8. Sex is hotter when you break the rules.

I used to only associated sexy time with nighttime. Morning sex (or afternoon sex) felt nearly sacrilegious & not within the right rhythm. Jonathan, on the other hand, can have sex anytime of the day, anytime of the week. My preferences somehow out-won his, & the only sex we had for a lot of years was right before we went to bed.

And then one day. . . I wanted him right after breakfast. No reason for it other than that I was madly desirous. So I had him—on the couch on a Sunday morning, & it was hot. Not just because it was spurred by my vicious longing, but because we were breaking the rules.

We never had sex in daylight, let alone outside of our bedroom. It went against everything I’d ever known, but my goodness. . . was it delicious. And the sheer deliciousness of it made me seek out other moments of sexual spontaneity.

Now, we fuck in the afternoon in between client calls. Or right before I begin to make dinner in the kitchen. We flirt & grope as we pass each other in the hallway, & send each other explicit emoji sequences via text when we’re co-working with others.

I should say here that it is not just by the grace of God that my sex life slightly mimics a Beyoncé song. He & I actively choose to make & keep our erotic life novel & exciting. Not all the time, of course—it’s simply not sustainable to “be all night” every moment of everyday. But we’ve seen the importance of taking the sexiness out of the bedroom & spreading it in other areas of our lives (& house).

So our mission has been to make the mundane sexy—which yields for some very interesting stories shared amongst my girlfriends with a bottle wine.

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8 things Jonathan has learned from fucking me. . .

I asked, he answered, & I love him for it.

1. Absence makes the cock grow harder. And the nipples. And the clitoral erectile network.
2. Preparation (lighting, music, incense, massage) makes magic.
3. But sometimes the magic is just in the way you show up.
4. Dark energy and the unexplored edges are the juiciest and most terrifying.
5. Trust and surrender are the openings to yogic sex.
6. Even an “okay” fuck is still a good fuck.
7. Connection > Orgasm.
8. Following the erotic energy where it wants to go is always better than staying attached to plans and expectations. Always.

Let’s Get Sensual! My Sensuality E-course is Open & Ready to Play

It’s finally here! My sensuality e-course, 30 Days of Sensuality, is open for registration.

And what an auspicious day to do it on, too.

Today, the moon is full in Taurus, which is all about slowness, feminine power, earthly pleasures, & sensuality. The tone is perfectly set for us to pamper ourselves, to engage with our senses, to be present to all the gorgeousness on this planet & in our bodies.

It’s a juicy day—can you feel it?

Perfect for launching my sensuality e-course.

(Yes, this was planned—kind of. I knew a month ago that today was going to be a full moon, but I didn’t realize it until yesterday that it was perfectly aligned with sensuality. Synchronicity!)

ev'yan-treasures-13

30 Days of Sensuality is a four-week e-course on the art & reclamation of your sensual nature. It’s mission is to get you to slow down & experience the full range of sensual pleasure in your body by way of thirty course prompts.

Each prompt will challenge you to go deeper in your sensual practice & invite you to playfully explore your capacity to feel & enjoy.

Everything you need to know about the e-course is here, but here’s the quick ‘n dirty:

  • one sensual course prompt sent to your inbox daily for four weeks
  • two group coaching calls with me & other sensualists
  • simple, fun, & playfully bold assignments that’ll get you out of your head & into your body
  • a private, members-only forum
  • potent journal prompts that’ll get your juices flowing
  • love & email support
  • resources & inspiration to keep you sensually connected after the course is complete
  • a special surprise bonus, hand-crafted by yours truly

INVESTMENT: $150
(Or. . . two payments of $75)

// CLICK to register for 30 Days of Sensuality \\

 

“I am beginning to inhabit parts of my body that I haven’t inhabited before.”

I came to the course to silence the lies within my body and to intently listen to the flow of the rhythms within. 30 Days of Sensuality gave me permission to delve into the fullness of who I am. It filled me with vibrancy and appreciation for myself, for the subtleties of sensuality and life, and encouraged me to boldly take up space. —Lesley

 

I’m one of those people who believes in serendipity, that everything happens for a reason greater than what we can readily see with our mortal eyes.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that on the day that I open registration for my sensuality e-course, the stars & planets are flawlessly aligned to support the beginning of this work. Literally, the moon is heralding that it is time to give attention (& intention) to our senses & their ability to feed us pleasureful moments.

And I couldn’t be more thrilled to be the one helping you find your way.

My deepest calling is to help you reclaim your capacity to be sensual for yourself & own it fully as a part of your wild, beautiful, erotic womanhood.

30 Days of Sensuality is fueled by that mission, + a little extra.

This course has been four years in the making, & I don’t know if I can find the words to express to you how excited I am that it’s ready to be shared with you.

But I’ll try.

I am bowled over.
I am fired up.
I am over-the-moon ecstatic to help coax you back into your sensual nature.

Let’s begin together underneath this gorgeous full moon.

Ev'Yan-signature

PS! Some important things you should know:

  • To keep the group close-knit, there are only 20 spots available.
  • Registration is open for 24 hours only. (Ends @ 12a Pacific on November 7th.)
  • A payment plan is available for those who want to pay in increments.

Sound good? Let’s begin.

Sensuality is Your Birthright

Press play above to listen to me read this article aloud to you. Player not showing? Click here.

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(Note: This is a continuation of a previous post.)

Sensuality is the vibrancy of every moment. It is an invitation for you to open wider, to tune in closely, to be present actively.

Sensuality is connection—connection to your surroundings, connection to your body & inner rhythms, connection to what feels good.

Sensuality is instinct, primal enjoyment. When you are engaged in sensuality, you listen keenly with your senses. Time slows, inhibitions lower, & pleasure expands your body.

Without sensuality, your life would be dull, mechanical, unfeeling. And you feel deeply.

Sensuality lives in your breath, in the soles of your feet, on the tip of your tongue, & in the sacred voice of your intuition.

I believe that you don’t need to be taught how to be sensual; it is inherently within you & within this moment. You only need to open to your natural capacity to feel & sense & be.

I believe that sensuality is your birthright, that moments of slowness, presence, & inner listening are imperative for embodied living.

I believe that sensuality is easily accessible, that every breath is an opportunity for you to experience the sensual & awaken fully to this gorgeous moment—even if it’s filled with busyness or chaos.

I believe that sensuality is yours for the taking. All you need to do is give yourself permission to play.

If you want to be sensual. . .

1. Breathe—deeply, consciously.
2. Go slowly.
3. Seek pleasure wherever you are, in whatever you’re doing.
4. Open yourself to the richness & fullness of each moment.
5. Develop an intimate kinship to the desires of your heart & body.
6. Indulge in loving self-care.
7. Go inward & ask what it is you want.
8. Explore your capacity to feel & experience pleasure.
9. Trust your body & intuition, & their ability to guide you.
10. Consciously make space for your senses to open you. . .

 . . . to this gorgeous moment, to the depths of your ability to feel, to the pleasure you know your body is capable of.

But especially: Give yourself permission to play.

 

30DOS-announcement

This Thursday, my sensuality e-course, 30 Days of Sensuality, is opening for registration.

30 Days of Sensuality is an online course on the art & reclamation of your sensual expression. For four weeks, & with me as your guide, you & I will go on a voyage of sensual awakening.

In this class, we’ll get out of our heads & into our bodies; we’ll experiment & experience; we’ll open to our capacity to feel pleasure. And at the end, you’ll finally be able to (re)claim the word sensual as yours.

If you’ve ever wanted to claim the word sensual as yours; if you’d like to live fully through your beautiful senses; if you are ready to come home to yourself. . .

This course was made exquisitely for you.

>> Click for a sneak peek. . .