You heard me right! I got a chance to interview Elena from The Yoni Empire, one of the most progressive and honest voices engaging in the sexual discussion on social media today!
Without further a-do, here’s the interview:
- When did you start running The Yoni Empire, and what was going on in your life at the time?
The seeds for The Yoni Empire were planted when I was 21 and in a sexual relationship with a young man. The kind of sex that we were having was rough, immature and painful. I was too insecure to speak up and like many young women, I used my body as a means of pleasure for my partner. After 6 months of dating, I developed chronic pussy pain called vaginism. Vaginism is an involuntary pussy muscles spasm. Penetration is not possible and is extremely painful. It is a psychosomatic issue affecting both the body and the mind. The body is literally afraid so it shuts down. Thus began my 7 year search for healing. Not a single professional medical doctor was able to help me. I’ve tried every therapy possible all the while carrying this dark secret.
After wasted years on medical healing, still living in pain, I took matters into my own hands and began my own research outside the medical community. It was my first step in my own sexual empowerment. I read every book on sexuality I could find. The information about slow sex, tantra, self-pleasuring & body love blew my mind.
I finally healed through a 100% holistic approach of yoni massages, muscle stretching and a completely different outlook on my own sexuality and treatment of my body. In addition, my body began to feel more pleasure than ever before. Soon after I experienced a sexual awakening and The Yoni Empire was born. One day I simply felt courageous & inspired to share my story on Instagram. I received hundreds of messages of women wishing to know more. The seed sprouted.
My vaginism story is part of who I am today. In a bittersweet way, these 7 years have been a blessing. Sometimes in order to experience pleasure one has to understand pain. My experience humbles me.
- How would you define yourself and what purpose inspires you?
I am a Slow Sex & Pleasure Educator. I support women on their orgasmic journey and sexual awakening. I work with women directly in private sessions. I teach yoni self-massage techniques and do healing yoni massages. I am also a designer & founder of Onna Lifestyle pleasure toy brand together with my business partner Adela.
Today my mission is to support women opening up to their own pleasure & build connection with the body. I teach women about sexual nourishment with my writing.
- You’ve got tens of thousands of followers now. What have you learned from engaging with all of us?
There are so many things that I am learning every single day. For example that you cannot please everyone so you might as well stop trying. Also that every woman is in on her own individual sexual journey and she may not resonate with what I do which is very much ok.
I’ve learnt to ignore the haters and not take their words personally. I’ve also learnt that we are all in pain in one way or another and there is a deep universal need for having honest conversations about sex and for having more nourishing sex.
- The world of social media is very glossy. How do you hold on to authenticity in that space?
Many women use their sexuality to portray an image of a sexually powerful woman. Their work becomes about their image rather than their message. Its easy to fall into the trap of looking at a pretty Instagram assuming “Well, she is beautiful/rich/married so obviously she has great sex.” A pretty photo is JUST a photo. Nothing else. That’s why I do not post many photos of my personal life nor myself in sexual poses or lingerie. The Yoni Empire is about sexuality content, not “the life of Elena”.
My goal is to be heard. My work is real and authentic. I do not wish to create a fake image of perfection for I am just another woman with my own struggles, insecurities & pain. I’m not here to compete. I’m here to support. I’m here to be open. My vulnerability is my biggest strength.
I have my own opinions about certain issues even if they are different from the masses. I often write personal posts where I share my heart and my pain as a reminder that we are all on a journey together.
I also have a personal policy of never advertising something that I do not believe in or use myself. Every brand that I connect with I always inform upfront that I never write bad reviews of products and I never lie to my followers. So if I do not like a product, I will provide my constructive feedback to the brand. If I love the product then I will share with everyone.
- You’ve had a pretty cosmopolitan life! How do cultural attitudes towards sex vary from Russia, to the US, the Netherlands and Bali?
I am an expat child having left my home country Russia as a kid. I grew up in International schools surrounded by international crowds. Every culture has their own collective challenges when it comes to sex. And as much as we wish to break out of our culture, we really are heavily affected by our upbringing.
- What are some of our biggest commonly held misconceptions about sex/pleasure?
Uff…where do I start?
There is a huge misconception that great sex is about being beautiful, sexually adventurous or trying every tantra sex position. Popular sex advice barely scratches the deeper sexual realm that exists in every human being. My work & message are deep and every woman arrives to it on her own time.
Women are just as highly sexual as men. Unfortunately we aren’t being sexually nourished the way our bodies require. Women living without an ambience of love suffer tremendously and so do their partners. Over time, women withdraw from sex because the kind of sex that they are having does not nourish them.
I feel that the world does not need more sex tips. What the world needs is a clear understanding of the female sexual psyche and a safe space to express our sexuality and femininity. Humans are designed to experience altered states of consciousness during sexual union. When a woman learns how to nourish her body and freely express her sexuality, a breathtaking feminine power transforms her and the atmosphere around her.
- What does sexual empowerment mean to you?
I am careful with the word empowerment these days as it has been overused and reconstructed. My main message is that a great sex life begins within the self. By understanding your own body and tapping into YOUR PLEASURE, you automatically become a fantastic lover and you attract the right kind of sexual partners. Most importantly, you are feeling fulfilled and satisfied in life. The most important sexual relationship in your life is with the self.
- Can you explain the difference between eroticism and sex?
Sex is two or more people coming together and sharing their bodies with each other in a form of physical intimacy.
Eroticism is a creative expression of individual sexuality and body. It is an individual’s pursuit of life’s pleasures in all its forms. Eroticism is your life in a form of art. Eroticism encompasses whatever brings you sensual pleasure – sexual & non-sexual experiences.
So if sex is like food then eroticism is your personal book of recipes. Bon Appetit!
- Tell me about the art of slow pleasure.
Do you know what feedback most women have for their lovers during sex? What is a woman’s deep sexual desire during love making that most are too shy to utter? Two words – SLOW DOWN.
Usually, in an effort to orgasm, our movements become faster, harder, more aggressive and more unconscious. Just think of your usual way of rubbing your clitoris to orgasm. It is a linear, goal-oriented activity to climax. We are so determined to force an orgasm that we forget to enjoy the present moment and the PLEASURE. When you stop working towards an orgasm, you simply get to enjoy pleasure whether solo or with your partner. Both partners relax and just enjoy each other rather than trying to get each other off. Sex can blissfully last for hours with insatiable desire. You become more aware of every movement, every stroke, every kiss, every touch. Sex turns into a blissful union of two people, rather than two monkeys rubbing each other. Sex no longer has an end to it. It nourishes both man and woman.
Slow sex and slow self-pleasure is about awareness and embodiment. It is paying attention to how you FEEL. The more aware you become, the more pleasure you feel.
- Who do you admire that also works in the sexual arena?
I am a huge fan of the work of Dr. Schnarch, Diana Richardson, Andrew Barnes, Esther Perel, Tami Lynn Kent, Betty Dodson, Regena Thomas Hauer and David Deida. These epic people nourish me on a sexual intellectual level.
- What’s the hardest part of running The Yoni Empire?
The pressure to play the business-instagram game of keeping the daily ratings and statistics up. Also being blocked due to instagram content policies. That is the main reason why I am launching my own website very soon!
- What’s your all time favourite word for the vulva/vagina?
- What are your top three songs to get down to?
I hold strong associations with music and sex depending on whom I’m dating at the time. These are the most memorable: