Ready to take things slow? We sat down with somatics coach and pleasure educator Euphemia Russell (they/them) to talk about their new book Slow Pleasure, and how we can all cultivate connection, starting with the philosophy of pleasure.
As peers, long-term fans and supporters of Euphemia, we were thrilled to hear about their new book, which seeks to deepen our understanding of pleasure in order to feel the whole spectrum.
We live in a world of breakneck speed and it can be intimidating and nearly impossible to slow down. In this crisis of pace, we are often disembodied, disconnected, and forget that we even live in a body! This beautiful book teaches us that even in a crisis of pace and disconnection, we can all cultivate pleasure. It seeks to help us foster a pleasure practice of our own, expand our capacity, and teach us how to continue exploring the depths and boundaries of our own pleasure.
Woven throughout the book are reflection questions and pleasure practices that bring you back into your body, enabling you to slow down, listen and consciously prioritise your pleasure.
And who better to lead this conversation than our very own sexologist Toya Ricci. Toya is a workshop facilitator, counselling sexologist and technologist, By focusing on pleasure, sexual intelligence and celebrating sexual diversity, Toya helps people explore their sexuality and connect with their sexual identity. Without further ado, here are some snippets from our interview:
Toya: How would you define pleasure? Why should people engage with slow pleasure?
Euphemia: Often people think of pleasure as sexual pleasure. But really, there's just so many types. And the way that I describe it in the book is that it is a felt sense of lasting enjoyment…that can be fleeting, but it can be felt.
The kind of arc that I explore in the book is that one needs to be aware of what is happening in themselves, in the moment. So a sense of embodiment, to be aware of the impact of a moment on you. And then how you can be even more deeply aware of that, like savouring that feeling when you realise that it feels good. That is how I would describe pleasure; a felt sense of savouring something that you notice feels good in the moment.
T: The concept of savouring really says it all, kind of like savouring a tasty moment. And so, when you're feeling that sense, is that emotional or intellectual?
E: Embodiment and somatics are two words that kind of have become a little buzz jargony, and everyone's like, ‘What the hell does that mean?’. But, in my training, the idea of somatics is a sense of the whole. So often, people think of somatics as the body because it's the last thing that we have prioritised in society. But really, it's just trying to bring equity to the body, to sit alongside the mind, and the feelings, and spirit and landscape and whatever else influences you as a person.
And so I would say that pleasure can be felt in any of those ways; mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, through the landscape and connection to others and other beings. And so it really depends. But the idea of somatics and the way that I approach pleasure is from a somatic perspective – that it's all of those things at once, or potentially separately.
T: Now, you have quite a lot of activities that people can do throughout the book to build a pleasure practice. What is a pleasure practice?
E: [The book] was designed in this way, so that it's something that you can dip in and out of, because I know that books are not a media that everyone feels able to engage with. And so the idea is that after every subsection, I put a reflection question or a practice, so that you can read it, you can think it, and then you can ground it in your body or in the moment, or in your feelings and your thoughts.
And so the idea is to literally do that titration throughout the book, like a small practice and a pause, and coming back to or dog-earing a page when you feel like you have the capacity and space to do it.
And that was really important to me to not write a book that was purely cerebral or intellectual about pleasure. Because [while] that is helpful, it doesn't really speak to the whole experience of pleasure. So I basically wrote it so that you could open to any page and read a subsection. Of course, it makes a greater, grander sense when you read it start to finish. But it also can stand alone in sections or subsections.
T: What is slow sex in the context of pleasure?
E: I think that it really depends on the different body chemistry of the people who are actually experiencing it. But it’s a sense of the same practices that we can do solo. Which is pausing to listen to what we want and need in the moment, and how that can feed into the communication with ourselves and whoever else is involved. And to have a meandering, less goal-oriented way of experiencing pleasure. So there’s not some escalator or hierarchy of like ‘it goes foreplay, then this, then this, then it completes in orgasm’...
And so slow pleasure together is saying make space to listen to yourself, to listen to each other and keep following that thread of what entices you and what intrigues you in that moment. Explore how to meander and build that container together so you can keep building those waves of pleasure…
Keen to hear more about Slow Pleasure?
Want to learn more about the author?
Read our Q+A with Euphemia Russell, connect with the somatic coach and educator via their website and follow them @euphemia.russell on Instagram.
[Ready to unlock and understand your own pleasure practice? Pre-order the book now.]