You have the ability within you to experience profound sensual pleasure and amazing sexual healing regardless of what has happened to you in the past. In celebration of sexual empowerment month here at Conscious Connection, we are going to show you how.
She is also the Co-Founder of BetterLoveAndSex.com — A revolutionary new website offering adult sex education which focuses on the sacredness of human sexual connection. The videos provide visual step-by step instruction and playful exercises for enhancing intimacy and pleasure between partners.
Conscious Connection: Can you give us some background on how you found your passion in Tantra?
Devi Ward: The story of how I found Tantra is actually pretty ironic; as “sexual awakening” and healing was the absolute LAST thing I was looking for at that point in my life. If Tantra had been presented to me as a tool for “better sex” I would have completely dismissed it, as I like most people, had absolutely no understanding of the powerful role that sexuality plays in our personal development.
Luckily, the man who introduced me to the style of Tantra that I now practice and teach, presented it to me as a path of personal realization, and ultimately enlightenment.
The style of Tantra that I practice has roots in Tibetan Buddhism, and contains some of the most ancient instructions in using human sexual energy for spiritual growth. THAT was what drew me to it. Having been a monk of The Ishaya Order for several years, I was deeply committed to my spiritual path in life. I was intrigued by the idea of using sexual pleasure as a vehicle for enlightenment. That was the one thing I had not tried on my journey thus far, and the Tibetan Tantric approach rang very true for me. I found it to be very practical, very down to earth, and personally very effective.
Conscious Connection: What called you to write this book and share your wisdom?
Devi Ward: My reasons for writing Shake Your Soul Song stem from my own personal experience of self-empowerment through sexual healing, but also- the truly painful lack of spiritual sexual education available for adults in this culture, probably most cultures. Women especially are discouraged from exploring or even enjoying sexual pleasure especially by themselves, and I believe women embracing their sexual expression, sexual passion, and desire, and learning how to give pleasure to themselves first is a HUGE part of a woman feeling confident, connected, and basically “in tune” with herself on a very deep level. As women we are encouraged to connect intimately with our partners, but what about the intimate connection we have with ourselves?
The Ultimate Principles of Self Pleasure
Conscious Connection: Tell us about Shake Your Soul-Song and the 4 Principles of Self Pleasure.
Devi Ward: Shake Your Soul-Song is about attuning to pleasure in every area of life, and using that pleasure as a guide to align us with the “ascending current” in life. If something feels GOOD, we generally want to move towards it, we want more of it in our lives. Pleasure is also very healing for the body, producing a lovely mixture of beneficial “chemistries” such as dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, DHEA, which have profoundly healing and regenerative effects upon mind and body. Basically the human body is designed such that pleasure is good for us (surprise!)
Unfortunately we receive a lot of mixed messages about pleasure, especially sexual pleasure from our parents, peers, society, and I believe these mixed messages are traumatizing to us on a deep level. We are taught to doubt and fear our own natural impulse towards life and growth, and taught to feel shame about our bodies and pleasure. I believe this causes a deep psychological and emotional wounding within us as individuals, and as a species.
Shake Your Soul-Song “points out” these areas of “wounding,” and then offers The 4 Principles of Self-Pleasure as an easy and enjoyable solution for healing and transforming our cultural programming, by cultivating more pleasure and awareness of pleasure in our everyday lives.
Understanding Sensuality vs. Sexuality
Conscious Connection: What is the difference between sensuality vs. sexuality?
Devi Ward: I actually believe that sensuality is one of the main ingredients missing in the sex lives of most couples. Sensuality literally relates to the 5 senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. In my book I present the idea of using our senses as a gateway to deeper intimacy, more connection, and greater pleasure during our sexual experiences.
By focusing on each one of the senses, one at a time, we naturally become more present in the moment, and vividly aware of the sensations we are experiencing. Sensual awareness is a great tool for getting out of the head and into the body, which is where intimacy and connection happen.
Conscious Connection: How can a deeper spiritual understanding of sexual pleasure lead to self-empowerment and soul connection?
Devi Ward: The human body is designed so that- at the moment of orgasm, the moving energies in the genitals brush the central channel (the core of the life force in the body,) and we experience a glimpse or “taste” of enlightenment. So quite literally every orgasm IS a glimpse of your true, divine nature. The big joke is that there is NO separation between our sexuality and our spirituality. It is built in to the human blueprint that sexual pleasure is a gateway to divine consciousness…literally. How does that lead to self-empowerment and soul-connection? This knowledge, this understanding is our birthright!
We have been kept from the knowledge and understanding of the unique role that our sexual pleasure plays in our personal and spiritual growth. This keeps us fragmented and disconnected from the truth of our humanity, our own intuitive wisdom, and our connection to the divine life force energy within us. How can we expect to be healthy, whole, integrated human beings when we are taught to fear a vital and integral aspect of our selves?
Human sexual pleasure is the key to the “kingdom of heaven” and is literally the fastest path to self-realization according to Tibetan Buddhism. The irony is that we have literally been sitting on top of it the whole time.
The Eleven Female Orgasms
Conscious Connection: I just have to know more about the 11 different kinds of orgasms for women. Without giving away too much of the book, tell me about this!
Devi Ward: Well, a little known fact is that women have as much erectile tissue internally that make up our sexual pleasure organ, as a man has externally in his penis. Another little known fact is that it can take a woman anywhere from 20-45 minutes before that erectile tissue is fully engorged and her body is able to completely respond to sexual stimulation. Because a very small percentage of people are experiencing sexual stimulation for 30-40-60 minutes, most women and men really have very little frame of reference for a woman’s true orgasmic potential.
Most women and men associate orgasm with the clitoris, which is merely one of the many flavors of orgasmic pleasure that women are capable of experiencing. There are a few different “special pleasure zones” in the vagina, mostly on the anterior wall, that when touched or massaged for extended periods of time, can and usually will result in a specific “flavor” of orgasm. These different tones or qualities of orgasm are a result of the different nerves associates with each of these pleasure zones, such as vagus nerve, hypogastric nerve, and the pelvic nerve. I describe them in more detail in my book.
Conscious Connection: My readers would love a few tips on “free your hips and your heart will follow” sensual dance/pelvic movement, etc.
Devi Ward: I developed The 5 Core Pelvic Movements in 2005, as a structured way to support women in cultivating more flexibility, fluidity and “openness” in the pelvic region. The pelvis is where a lot of our latent and unexpressed sexual energy resides, and this energy literally will stagnate if uncirculated, which according to Chinese medicine can cause a whole host of physical and emotional health issues.
What I observed in teaching these methods over time is that- as women began to unlock the “stagnant’ energy in their pelvic region, they began to experience emotional releases as well. They began to become aware of where society, or friends, or parents encouraged them to repress their sensuality, and “keep it toned down” or locked up. They had been taught to fear their natural sensual expression, and thus became afraid of a vital, powerful aspect of their femininity. In my classes I encourage women to explore, experiment, and celebrate this new way of moving, and they unanimously found that this freedom of self-expression translated to literally every other area of their lives. They walked with more confidence, spoke with more authority, and felt more sexually empowered, because they had reclaimed this vital aspect of themselves.
Healing from Past Sexual Abuse
Conscious Connection: What advice can you give women who have been sexually abused in the past?
Devi Ward: I suggest a 2 part process. Number one – working with a professional therapist with whom you really resonate, and is open to alternative methods of healing. I have found that talk therapy is useful to a point, but much of the abuse trauma is actually stored in the cellular tissue of the body, beyond the reach of the thinking intellectual mind. I really suggest combining talk therapy with a body-based method such as Dance Therapy or Somatic Therapy. I personally have had some amazing success with survivors of sexual abuse with The 5 Core Pelvic Movements and Feminine Emergence Dance.
Then when you are ready, working with either a Tantric Healer or Somatic Sexual Healer who can support you through the process of releasing the trauma from your genital tissue, and also- this is very, very important, will teach you how to do it for yourself. Some of my deepest release and healing of sexual abuse trauma happened during my own self-pleasure sessions. I think it’s so very, very vital for all women, but especially those who have experienced sexual violence, to learn to love themselves sexually.
Conscious Connection: What can men learn from Shake Your Soul Song?
Devi Ward: I think men can learn quite a lot from Shake Your Soul-Song. Primarily I think they will learn quite a bit about the psychology behind our sexual responses, why we have a tendency to not communicate about our pleasure during sex, and even why we don’t allow ourselves to fully respond at times. Obviously they will learn quite bit about female anatomy, and men can do the self-pleasuring massage I include in the book with their partners as well.
Conscious Connection: What keeps you tuned in and turned on?
Devi Ward: Well my practice of course! I actually DO the 4 principles of self-pleasure, at least one of them every day. I meditate, self-connect, dance and move to awaken my sensual energy and express my joy and passion in life, and I self-pleasure regularly. They are called the 4 principles of self-pleasure because they are FUN and feel good, so they are easy to do regularly.
Reach Your Sexual Potential: Next Steps
Conscious Connection:What exciting things are new on the horizon for you and how can folks who are interested work with you?
Devi Ward: I am really excited about 2 new projects that I have going on.
Number one, we have just received confirmation from our Tibetan Lama that we can offer Certification in our unique style of Tantra, which we call Authentic Tantra. We have our first Certification Retreat scheduled for September 2013, and we are currently taking applications for enrollment in our program, which consists of a 90 day long-distance training, and the 3.5-day certification process.
I specialize in women’s sexuality, sexual healing, and sensual awakening. If you are a woman, and you would like to work with me to feel more connected to your sensuality, more empowered in your self-expression, and to heal and transform your relationship to your sexuality, I invite you to contact me at www.femininemergence.com