Indie Muse | Sex & Sensuality Doula Ev'Yan Whitney
THE INDIE MUSE INTERVIEW SERIES IS AN ONGOING MONTHLY SERIES ON THE INDIE BYLINE THAT SEEKS TO SPOTLIGHT NOTEWORTHY WOMEN WHO ARE MOVING AND SHAKING IN THEIR LIVES IN DIFFERENT WAYS, WHO ARE INSPIRED AND IN TURN ARE INSPIRING. INDIE MUSES ARE WOMEN WHO GIVE NEW DEFINITIONS OF WOMEN BY BEING THEMSELVES. THERE IS SO MUCH POWER IN SEEKING TO EMPOWER OTHERS.
Writer, Fearless, Sensual, Sexuality Doula, Feminist
Q: At what age did you begin to write? Were there any motivations?
Ev'Yan Whitney: I began to write around the age of 7 in a plastic-bound, rainbow-colored diary I got for my birthday. That's when I fell in love with the art & craft of expressing & chronicling my thoughts and feelings. Curiosity was my motivation, & also having a place to vent my frustrations about my little sister.
Q: Who are some of your favorite poets/writers? What have they taught you about your own writing?
EW: Anaïs Nin, Nayyirah Waheed, Hafiz, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Charlotte Brontë—all of these brilliant writers (and more) have shaped & inspired my own work & existence. Through them, I was given a sense of writing being an art, rather than a quickly strewn together homework assignment. The way they crafted their words gave me inspiration to treat my works as though they were carefully constructed masterpieces.
Q: What's your most favorite thing you've ever written?
EW:I wrote an erotic short story once a few years back, for no other reason than to write out this very elaborate fantasy I had in my head at the time. I had so much fun writing it, mostly because it was not a requirement, it wasn't due on a particular day; it just came from a strong sense of wanting to express and play with it. I had never written anything like that before, and I was very cautious about sharing it with people (only a few people have read it to this day). But I was very pleased to know that not only did they enjoy the story, they were actually turned on by it. That made me very proud.
Q: How did you decide to go into business for yourself with extensions of sex, love, and liberation as your topics of choice?
EW: By accident, really. Right before I created sexloveliberation.com, a friend of mine had approached me to see if I wanted to do some essays for her about women and pornography—namely, their thoughts, feelings, opinions, and experiences watching porn as part of their sexualities. The writing project was very exciting to me, and I wanted to do it, but I didn't feel that I had the right medium to house the work. I was a fashion and personal blogger at the time at apricot-tea.com, and while I could've tried to make women and porn essays fit in that space, I didn't want to violate my readers' trust by exposing them to content that was brash and (to them) out of character.
I remember lamenting about this to my partner, saying that I really wanted to take part of the project but didn't feel OK with putting them in my personal fashion blog. He was listening to me go in circles about it, and out of nowhere mentioned nonchalantly to me that it would be cool if I created a new blog for myself, and "Maybe call it 'Sex, Love, Liberation' or something." Boom. There it was. The new blog was created in less than 4 days from a whirlwind of passion and excitement, and I debuted my first essays on masturbation, porn, and erotica shortly after.
I hadn't expected this new project to last long. I thought that it was only going to house this particular essay series I was invited to do, and that I'd go back to fashion blogging (while simultaneously trying to find my calling after quitting my job as a hairstylist a few years before). But it stuck around. I enjoyed writing about sex and sexuality—especially because I was just beginning to understand what my sexuality was. After a few months of writing mostly at sexloveliberation.com, with all kinds of interesting and juicy works pouring out of me, I closed Apricot Tea and made SLL my full time gig. I've never looked back since.
Q: What's the driving force behind creating this outlet for women?
EW: Actually, the driving force for creating this outlet was for ME. I needed a place to safely express, explore, and emerge into my sexuality. Sex was one of those topics that was off limits for me growing up. And what I did know about sex I found from kids in school. So my sexual identity was created on a shaky, unhealthy, and ill-informed ground. It never really bothered me much until I got married and sex began to really come into my life in a more healthy, holistic way. And that's when all the dust and bones from my past began to kick up.
Writing has always been my modality for expression and blogging had become a way to house and process those expressions.
From that upheaval—and not of just being married, but of also just starting to come into my womanhood & establish my own sense of groundedness in my independence and autonomy—I craved space that would allow me to unpack all of that stuff. Writing has always been my modality for expression and blogging had become a way to house and process those expressions. I began writing about my thoughts and feelings about sex and sexuality as a way to make sense of what that meant for me. It just so happens that in expressing myself and bearing my soul I hit a nerve with others in the realm of their sex lives and sexual expressions.
Now, it's transformed into an outlet much bigger than myself, and not only do I still write about my experiences as a sexual woman, I am working with women one-on-one to help them spur their own sexual awakenings and curiosities. I now see that everything that I've done—from hairstyling to fashion blogging to having my own advice column at one point—was leading me up to this, my purpose as a healer and sexuality doula.
Q: How connected is woman and sexuality? Describe that connection.
EW: This is the question I am trying to answer with my work on a daily basis. I am hunting for words that I can use to describe this connection. Thankfully (but unfortunately for this interview), I don't yet have the answer for it, or else my work with SLL would be complete. So, I can't answer this today, though I'm working toward that answer with every session I enter with a client, with every breath in my climax, with every story I tell. So I guess that answer is: It's a work in progress.
My womanness means flow, effortlessness, surrender, fierce and fiery self-love, Isis and Aphrodite, pleasure and arousal...
Q: What does being a woman mean to you?
EW: I can only speak about my womanness, because being a woman means a lot of different things to many people on this planet. So my womanness means (and looks like) flow, effortlessness, surrender; honoring my natural cycles; fierce and fiery self-love; Shakti, Kali, Isis, & Aphrodite; pleasure and arousal; unwavering nurturing—of self and of others; creation; beautification; being a daughter of the Moon; celebration of my Feminine lineages and ancestors; intuition; taking up space; orgasm. I could go on and on, but that's what came up just now via stream of consciousness.
Q: What does being black mean to you?
EW: Oh, my. I am just beginning to come to an understanding of what my blackness means to me—would you believe that? It's been a beautiful, heartbreaking, transformative process of coming home. And I think that's what my blackness means to me: coming home (to myself, to my truth, to my roots).
Q: What inspires you?
EW: I am inspired by all, but these days it's been clouds, flowers, Kali, the pulsation of sexual energy at the peak of orgasm, flirtations, curiosity, SZA (the musician), the color pink, and all the women in my life who are currently and courageously speaking their truths, taking up space, and forging their own paths toward personal freedom and beautiful expressions of their womanhood.
Q: What is love?
EW: I've stared at this question for the past five minutes, and I do not know how to answer it beyond: Love is light.
Q: What is fear?
EW: The darkness before the light.
Q: When do you feel most beautiful?
EW: When I'm wearing red-hued lipstick, and/or right after orgasm.
Q: What are your words to live by?
EW: These days, it's. . . I deserve to take up space.
Thanks so much to the beautiful and talented Ev'Yan for agreeing to be an Indie Muse and allowing me to pick her brain for pennies for a bit. Be sure to connect with your sensual side and indulge in her thought provoking blog, Sex, Love, & Liberation if you haven't already.
All images are c/o her personal blog, SLL
Originally posted on 7/1/14