Maisha Najuma Aza On Sex, Sensuality, and Self-Connection

Maisha Najuma Aza is a radical, magical, sex-positive, body-positive, black, fat, queer,
femme, healer, writer, and priestess in Atlanta, with a Master’s in social work from the Smith College School for Social Work. She provides sacred sex and body love consulting, energetic and sensual bodywork, spiritual life coaching, and experiential workshops.

Maisha is the founder of A Life Alive Consulting and recently created Black Girl Tantra to explore spirituality and sexuality issues related to being black and queer in Western, heterocentric culture.

Maisha is a member of the Sexual Liberation Collective as well as the Society for the Integration of Spirituality and Psychotherapy. She is also co-organizing a retreat for fat black queer women.

What are your suggestions for making solo sex more exciting and ecstatic?

It’s really important to treat solo sex like you would sex with a partner(s). It is great to focus on the exploration of your body rather than the end goal of orgasm. I’m not saying orgasm should never be the goal, but try to switch it up every now and then. I know I’ve gotten in ruts where I just do the quick and dirty: watch porn that I know will get me off, have an orgasm in a few minutes, then fall to sleep. But that is not nearly as satisfying or fulfilling to me as when I go all out and experiment with pleasuring my entire body.

Solo sex can be fun, stimulating, and just as exciting as sex for more than one! It really helps to be intentional, so I strongly recommend having foreplay and wooing yourself. I like to begin by setting the mood, lighting some candles. Maybe take a sensual bath first, and then rub special oil or lotion on myself very consciously and sensually. I purposefully pay attention, by watching my hands glide across my skin and focus on the sensations my body is experiencing, just as I would if someone else were exploring me.

I also find it extremely important to focus on my breath while touching and exploring my body. Erotic breathwork–like breathing slowly and deeply, in and out with audible sighs–are a great way to engage not only the auditory senses but it is also very stimulating to all your cells, and sends more sexual energy traveling throughout your entire body. Stimulate as many senses as possible–smell yourself, taste yourself, suck yourself, eat some juicy berries or other fruit and let the juice run down your chin onto your naked body. Or savor some delicious dark chocolate or the aphrodisiac of your choosing. Touch yourself with fun objects, like feathers or fun kitchen utensils for cool, hard, prickly, or rough sensations, or use your nails to provide different types of sensations along your body.

And although fantasizing can be stimulating and can definitely help you reach climax, if that is what you normally do, try changing it up. When you’re ready for an orgasm, try to stay present with yourself in the moment by paying attention to everything you are doing to your body. This way you know what pleases you, which helps for future rendezvous with yourself and with that special someone or someones.

And for partner sex?

For partner sex I suggest the same. It really is about the journey. I know you hear this often, and it is absolutely true. If you play, explore, and experiment with your partner(s), sex is that much more satisfying, passionate, and pleasurable. Staying engaged and connected with each other the whole time, and having conversations [outside of the bedroom] about your fantasies, likes, and dislikes helps tremendously.

Also, once you’re in the bedroom, that does not mean it’s time to stop communicating. Be sure to let your partner(s) know that you like what they are doing so that they will do it some more. There are a number of ways to let your partner know that you’re enjoying yourself. You can moan, use your breath, say “yes, say I like that baby,” –let ‘em know it feels good! Learn the art of talking dirty. It can be intimidating and you may feel shy or awkward at first (I know I did), but the more you practice, I promise you, the better you will get at it. It’s often not what you say as much as how you say it: the tone and sound of your voice, your breath in their ear, using eye contact while saying it. It also helps to find out the kind of words that turn your partner on. These things not only lets them know you enjoy what they are doing to you but also fuels the erotic fire through auditory sensations– and can get your partner more excited. Do not be afraid to use any and all of the senses that are available to you. Using sound, touch, smell, taste, and sight all help enhance the sexual experience and creates more pleasure and intensity.

What if you’re too tired, distracted, or busy for sex?

That’s always a possibility. Most of us do lead pretty busy and stressful lives. But if you want it, sometimes you’ve got to work for it. I’ve found that you really do have to carve out time for sex, even when you’re by yourself. And if sex just feels like too much of a task or planning it doesn’t sound spontaneous enough, you can schedule and plan time to spend cuddle time with one another or you-time just for yourself. Either way, that will allow time and space for quality time to connect, which can lead to something more erotic or just as important, intimate time together or intimate time alone. Either way, it’s a win-win situation.

What are some ways to cultivate a more erotic relationship to life in general?

My favorite way to do this is to play, have fun, and experiment while remaining embodied! Do the things you absolutely love, enjoy, and are passionate about. In our daily lives we get so trapped in the cycle of work, stress, home, sleep that we sometimes forget to have fun. We forget that we also need time to NOT take life so seriously. There are definitely times to be serious but there must be additional time created for exploring the world and yourself through pleasure. Pleasure could be anything from spending time in nature, to going to a sporting event, to exploring your body, or playing board games.

The trick is to be fully engaged, present, and intentional about whatever it is you are doing. Stay connected to it and pay attention to yourself, to your body, to other people and to how you’re feeling when you’re doing it. If you are finding that something you are doing does NOT bring you pleasure, first explore why you are not experiencing pleasure from it, then experiment with a different way of experiencing it. If it still does not bring you pleasure, stop doing it! Practice learning what truly brings you joy and excitement and allows your creative energy to flow and do it! This is living an erotic life!

Living an erotic life also includes paying attention to the things that are not so fun, in your life, and experiencing that fully as well. What I mean is those moments that bring you sadness, anger, fear, and pain, too. Those are often the moments we like to pretend never happened or that we sweep under the rug and act as if they don’t exist. But when we do that, it builds up and builds up until we have a lumpy rug. And either you or someone else will begin tripping and falling over those big lumps. When shit happens deal with it, explore it. Experience all of your feelings, even the ones that are unpleasant or that don’t seem like you (this is the shadow–the part of us that is hidden from ourselves and others). See where the feelings are coming from. When you do this and then move through the feelings rather than jumping over them, you clear the way for more pleasure to come in to your life and you live a more passion-filled life because you are experiencing the full range of emotions! Please be careful not to make experiencing all the range of emotions as an excuse to use the emotions in destructive ways toward yourself or others. That is an easy pitfall to fall into. Do your best to always remain conscious as best you can. Seek out support if you need it, particularly if feeling all your feelings is a new experience for you.

Got any ideas on how to make Valentines Day a sweet day for yourself or someone else?

Honestly, I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day anymore, but I would say that if celebrating Valentine’s Day brings you pleasure, definitely do it and enjoy it! Holidays often come with expectations and many people get depressed, sad, or disappointed because their expectations, brought on by the commercialism of the holiday, do not get met. So I would say to have fun, enjoy yourself, and do not expect your partner, yourself, or the day to meet every need that you ever had around feeling loved on this one day. We are all loved but we tend to think that we are somehow unlovable or not deserving of love when we don’t get what we want, when we want it, particularly on Valentine’s Day or other holidays. We are a product of our consumer culture and we consume Valentine’s Day like we do many things in our society–that the television and Western culture tells us to consume–even when we try to fight against it.

That’s a long way of saying be present for yourself and your partner regardless of what day or holiday it is. It is nice to have special days and to feel special and this is great! Just remember to also do this other times of the year, not just on designated special occasions. Remember that you, me–we are always special and unique and loveable and we deserve to be treated as such, always. If you are not partnered, treat yourself with lovingkindness and if it brings you pleasure to buy yourself a box of chocolates and some flowers, take yourself out, and pleasure yourself on Valentine’s Day, definitely do that! If you are partnered, do what pleases you and your partner. Spend some time soul gazing or eye gazing. This is a great way to get reconnected. If you are partnered or not, you can also soul gaze in the mirror, look inside, and see the beautiful soul you are. Remember the person(s) you love and the reasons you came together, and remember why you love yourself.

Got anything else to say?

I know I gave examples for whether you are partnered or if you are not
partnered, but it is extremely important to remember that even if you ARE partnered, it is still necessary to maintain an erotic relationship with yourself. There is this misunderstanding or unwritten rule in our community that says once you are with a partner, you do not have to pleasure yourself anymore or that this person(s) will do all the things and be all things you need. It is extremely important to maintain your sense of self and remain knowing yourself and your body while in your relationship. This keeps the energy in the relationship moving and flowing because you can continue to grow and learn from one another as you share your individual explorations, experiences, and lives.

Maintaining a relationship with yourself and with your other friendships outside of your partnered relationship(s) helps you to remain in touch with who you are, your soul’s essence, your life force energy, and allows you to continue to grow! If you stop paying attention to who you are and what your purpose is, once you enter a relationship you can become drained of your life force energy. And this is not necessary–you can have it all! It is certainly possible to maintain your relationship to yourself and our own divinity while communing with a loving partner or partners and their divinity. It may take practice, but it makes for a much more connected, intimate, and delicious relationship if you do!

For consultations find Maisha on facebook at “Maisha Najuma Aza” or check
out her website.