February 23, 2022
If you’re struggling to find harmony + pleasure in your daily life, you’re not alone. When our minds are cluttered, when we’re not prioritizing time with ourselves…we’re creating invisible barriers to access pleasure or intimacy and our body is simply waiting for us to tune back in.
This month, we’re chatting with Ianne Rivera, Embodiment Composer and host of the Pleasure Revolution podcast. We were able to pick her brain on when she feels most in tune with her sensuality, tangible ways we can restore this relationship with ourselves and what she wishes she could tell her younger self.
Read on for our ‘GOOD TALK’ + juicy interview with Ianne and all things #SexEdAtShopGood.
COULD YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF + YOUR JOURNEY TO BECOMING AN EMBODIMENT COMPOSER?
Mucho gusto, Divine One! Me llamo Ianne (ee-YAW-neh). I’m proud to call myself Xicana, born in the US of Mexican descent, raised in a household of teachers, artisans, and dreamers. I can recall a brief but poignant memory of my youth in which I exclaimed to my parents that I knew that I was born to help people. Little did I know my path to becoming an Embodiment Composer would surely be a winding route. Yet, all along the way I’ve been planting seeds rooted in this intention.
To put my journey into context, I received my bachelor’s from UCLA in biochemistry and have been a research scientist in Cancer Biology and Neuroscience for over 15 years. Not exactly the sexiest and most pleasure-oriented career route, most would say. The idea of sex and pleasure as the focus of my purpose was never on my radar. This all shifted in 2012 when I was awakened to living a spiritual life. At the age of 29 I was unfulfilled with no promising job prospects, I was heartbroken, and I had no clue how to piece my life together.
“It took my life to be in pieces for me to recognize what needed healing.”
In this process I became aware of two prominent patterns. Firstly, many of my life’s choices were rooted in fear. Secondly, My sexuality had thus far been defined by external validation. I didn’t know who I was as a sexual being. Still heartbroken, the latter would have to wait, but I knew that if I was being called to heal, there would have to be a new way. What I had been accustomed to, simply didn’t feel good anymore.
I began slowly allowing myself to reach beyond the fear. I placed my attention on what felt aligned and gave myself permission to be drawn towards what piqued my curiosity. In the process I became a certified yoga teacher and reiki practitioner, I led meditation classes and taught mindfulness. I even went back to school to get my Master’s in psychology and spirituality 10 years after I graduated college (and had paid off all my loans!). I felt vibrant, aroused by life, and sexual. Yet, I hadn’t had sex in quite some time, nor had I deliberately focused on healing my wounds around it. It dawned on me that I had arrived at this sense of being because I had been cultivating a connection with The Divine. For the first time, I finally encountered the thread between sex and Spirit. Inspired by this wisdom, I decided to write my master’s thesis on eroticism, pleasure, and healing and by 2018, I started my Holistic Pleasure Coaching business, One Thread. When I look back, my body can remember that it never felt settled in the idea that my purpose was to “coach” someone to learn about their pleasure; I was trying to emulate what already existed in the wellness industry because I had not yet found my voice. In the midst of the chaos of 2020, that would all change.
2020 was an initiation by fire for so many. For myself, it was an opportunity to, as they say, “practice what I preach.” I leaned deeply into my sensual practices for support, listened with greater attention to my body, and created a space for me to feel safe when the world was telling me otherwise. This is the year I found my authentic voice as an Embodiment Composer. I know my gift is to hold space for you to witness your Self with sound. Connecting to my body and sources of pleasure brought forward a freedom to choose how I would serve with authenticity. It felt luscious to use my voice when I recorded my first episode of my podcast, Pleasure Revolution. The first time I created a Sonic Ritual®, it felt like pure magic and poetry. I never knew such a sense of pure potentiality until I held space on the first annual World Pleasure Day. These sensual cues are what guide and inspire me to serve and heal, so that I may continue to be as I truly am.
WHAT DOES PLEASURE MEAN TO YOU?
Pleasure has chosen you to be its intimate lover, Sweet One. The moment you were born into this glorious body, pleasure became your birthright. With intrinsic values of vitality, freedom, and integrity, it is bountiful sweetness, never requiring to be earned. You have always been and are worthy of receiving its inherent wisdom.
Pleasure is. Here. *Close your eyes and place your hands on your heart and repeat this phrase as many times as you desire*
As you read further, I invite you to let the words on this page be a mirror to bear witness to yourself and honor what arises with each passing sentence. Welcome all that you feel with curiosity and hold yourself with a compassionate hand if judgment comes to the foreground of your mind. Let the time you take to read this be a pleasure practice, because P.L.E.A.S.U.R.E. is the:
Present’s Loving Energy of Awareness Softly Unveiling and Revealing Everything
Pleasure is an innate quality of the Self from which we cannot be separated. When you encounter the natural challenges and transitions of life’s growth process, pleasure is the feeling of grace that supports you to navigate and receive wisdom. We can all agree the healing process can be arduous at times, and, we also know how sweet it feels to recognize more of ourselves, learn something new, and live from a place more deeply informed and connected by Spirit. Pleasure is an indispensable partner in the healing process. Yet, we’ve been indoctrinated into oppressive systems that have forced our nervous systems into chronic states of fear, stress, and survival. These unsustainable states of being have taught us to shame this source of power. We have become distracted from the very thing that supports us to thrive through all of life’s waves and rhythms. If nothing else, I hope this blog post serves to be a reminder that you are born sovereign! Reclaiming pleasure as your birthright is a commitment to be in loving reverence and communication with your body and sensuality. When you advocate for your life to be informed by pleasure, you’re encouraging your body to remember that you can be supple and receptive; available to the nuances of emotion, to befriend the mind as an ally rather than an enemy, and to live oriented to the Divine Essence within yourself and in all things. Pleasure is power, Beloved.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE MOST IN TURN WITH YOUR SENSUALITY?
Your sensuality is the experience of both witnessing and holding space; it is the sense of Self. With that seed in mind, perhaps it provides more clarity as to why then I feel most attuned to my sensuality when I’m asked to nurture myself through challenging moments. When my body contracts under physical duress as my nervous system defers to learned patterns of stress, here within these personal encounters of Self am I deeply attuned to the breadth of information my body holds, and its immeasurable contribution to my healing. The body is a vocal communicator and teacher.
Our ancestors knew this language as a communication of bodies; the human body to the land, the elements, the cosmos, the rhythms of cycles and seasons. They were forced to forget and by no fault of our own have we’ve forgotten as well. But you were born purposefully in this time of great awakening and expansion, Beloved. The body has never stopped communicating nor has it’s language changed. In a time where everything has increased in volume, the subtleties of this communication goes easily unheard. Give yourself the space to ritually connect with your sensuality. When you’re challenged in life, you’re being invited to be an active participant in your own birthing process. Just as in labor, use your breath to introduce space and softness within the contraction. Receive this clearing of mental clutter to usher to the subtleties of your sensual language to the forefront of your mind and ask, “What can I give myself to soften my resistance? “What do I need at this moment to feel good?”
Pain is not permanent, Sweet One. It is not to be feared. You can trust that comfort can and will be found because there’s a rhythm, cycle, and season to everything. Within your power as a Divine, rhythmic, creative being is the capacity to thrive and expand within the sphere of challenge. When relief does come, and it will, you will know its sweetness when it arrives.
DID YOU EVER RUN INTO CHALLENGES ON YOUR OWN JOURNEY? HOW DID YOUR VIEW OF SEX + PLEASURE CHANGE FROM WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER TO WHERE YOU’RE AT NOW?
When I was young, I learned to cope with familial trauma by finding ways to control my environment. Most prominently, I became obsessed with my academics. Being the only thing I had any control over, I became focused, determined, and goal-oriented. I was a stellar student, always being rewarded. I loved being told I was good enough; it meant that I was lovable. This pattern would serve me for quite some time. Yet, by the time I was 25 I was living in depression. There was a profound dissonance with my Self and deep dissatisfaction and disappointment by the constant need to perform. My first sexual experiences were rife with the need for approval. I never knew I had sovereignty to claim my own pleasure. My pleasure was always for someone else because sex was just another performance and achievement, always centering myself on being “the best”, while feeling pangs of shame and unworthiness. For quite some time, I had a stronghold on every element of my life, and it dulled the experience of it.
I can say now with certainty that I come alive when I release my grip and trust in the untamed forces of my being. I’ve learned that pleasure is a sacred, wild force, which is why we’ve been taught to fear it. We cannot control the experience of pleasure. It asks us to reside in the throne of our Divine Feminine creation (our body), be observant and curious, and be led in trusting partnership by this sensual exclamation of joy.
SENSUALITY ISN’T TYPICALLY PART OF THE CONVERSATION FOR LIVING A BALANCED + VIBRANT LIFE. FOR THOSE STRUGGLING TO CONNECT WITH THEIR SENSUAL SELF, WHAT ARE 3 WAYS TO EXPLORE THIS RELATIONSHIP?
Sensuality is excluded from most wellness conversations because it’s still misunderstood, devalued, and deemed taboo. The narrative sensuality is subject to is akin to the narratives of pleasure. Both are always considered too much, too self-indulgent, and obscene, especially when the source body of that expression challenges the antiquated, patriarchal ideals of beauty and female purity. Those who don’t fit into the mold of these societal conventions, which is most of us, feel unsafe in their bodies and unsafe to be seen or heard for fear of retaliation or violence. This is why choosing to live a life in authentic joy, pleasure, and sensuality is revolutionary.
On a practical level though, it can be awkward, scary, and uncertain when we first start this journey, or any new path for that matter. But the feeling of being activated, aroused even, when we reacquaint ourselves with our Soul is the deepest pleasure we can receive. Begin here, Beloved, in the discomfort, in the awkwardness. Embrace the uncertainty and the mess! Show up as you are right now with grace and compassion. The path of pleasure and sensuality doesn’t deny emotion or have aspirations of perfection. So yes, it’s going to be challenging, Sweet One. I hope then the following ritual can support you to accept and love where you are, so that you can feel available to your body’s innate wisdom.
Carve. Curate. Cultivate.
When I taught yoga, a cue I would use in twists or other asanas that were strenuous was to use the breath to “carve out space” in the body. When all else fails…breathe. The expansion of our lungs, the space we create in our abdomen activates neuronal systems that tell the body to yield, to rest, and to replenish. Start to notice the rise and fall of your chest and belly. Observe in wonder how without any help, your breath alone has the capacity to move your body. Become an active participant in breath-to-movement by consciously elongating each inhale and exhale. How expansive your breathing becomes isn’t dictated by the mind or delineated by time. Rather, feel the body’s desire to take over and inform you how much it’s willing and capable of receiving.
What you’ll notice as your attention and focus is placed on the experience of the body is, the overwhelming thoughts and emotions that brought you into duress have become less prominent a fixture in your purview. You’ve created the emptiness and infinite possibility of space within your own being. Become the curator of this sacred container and ask, “What is being made apparent? What am I ready to see? What is coming alive? What do I need to nurture myself?”
Let the answer go, Sweet One. Let. It. Go. If the answer arrives swiftly, what a joyous thing! If it should not, what a joyous thing! Release your attachment to answer in faith, trusting that the power is in the question itself. Almost ubiquitously, every origin story speaks of The Universe and creation beginning with sound. The power is in the vocalization of the question, Beloved. Trust the Divine laws of nature have been set in motion and will yield an answer. All you have to do at this point is cultivate. To cultivate is to enrich the soil of your life. Create beauty simply for the sake of creating. Adorn your body with oils, perfumes, lipstick, or your cutest outfit, even if you have nowhere to go. Create not just because this is the next step, but in celebration that you have risen above the horizon of your unconscious habit and have brought so much knowledge and wisdom to light.
WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU COULD TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF AS YOU BEGAN TO EXPLORE YOUR OWN PLEASURE, BODY + SEX LIFE?
I LOVE this question. I never had a relationship with my inner baby Ianne until last year. I definitely neglected her, judged her immensely, and berated her with self-defeating questions like, “Why am I like this? What can’t I be more…? Why do I have to be so…?” Round and round the questions went, encircling her in doubt and shrouding her/my own magic with fear. I’m pleased to say, we’re kinda besties now. I sit with her in me almost daily, especially when something triggers a highly charged emotional response. Through this reintegration of my inner child into my life, I’ve become more encouraging and nurturing of myself, able to give myself greater compassion and grace, and I welcome more joy and play. So to little baby Ianne I say:
You. Are. Free. You get to define what pleasure means for you. You don’t have to feel guilty for wanting to explore your body. Your body is sacred…and it’s yours! It’s no one else’s to occupy or own; not a partner, not your parents or family, sure as hell not society. It’s yours! The gift of being alive is being in this body! So live in it by loving on it. It’s your home and you are safe to be curious of your sexuality and to play and experiment with all the ways you’re capable of receiving pleasure.
Remember you have a voice. Speak from your sovereignty, My Love. Listen to your body’s boundaries and communicate them with certainty. Clear communication will create the container for you to explore the wild and raw power of your pleasure with greater freedom and abandon. You’re worthy of all the juicy goodness this body and life has to offer.
So my love…Be. Free. Live in your body, your power, everyday. Trust your Self in mind, body, and Soul.
Con todo mi corazón y alma,
May you savor your body’s expression of joy, mi amor!
As we end our time together in virtual blog space, I encourage you to write your own love letter to your inner child. She’ll thank you for it. It’s been a joy to share my stories with you and hold space for you to see yourself.
Many blessings of love and laughter <3.
It was an honor to feature Ianne for this month’s ‘GOOD Talks’ — she’s an inspiring follow for all things pleasure + eroticism! For more ways to tap into to your true sexual self, be sure to give Ianne a follow on Instagram and check out her podcast, Pleasure Revolution on Spotify!