If you ask her to choose between feminism and veganism, she’ll answer masturbation. Not a complete surprise, if you’d know she’s the creator and author of The Yoni Empire, a successful Instagram account where she writes about sex and pleasure.
Having followed The Yoni Empire for a while, and being in contact via Insta a couple of times we thought it was about time to actually get to know Elena in person. So we decided to meet up for a (very good) coffee to talk more about sex, taboos, the red-light district and of course some serious pussy talk. It’s all in the name :-).
Elena is a sex researcher and writer, lover of all things pleasure-related. She writes shamelessly about female sexuality and eroticism. A self-proclaimed Pussy Whisperer, Elena is the mastermind behind the gemstone sex toy brand Onna Lifestyle. She is on a mission to nourish women, one orgasm at a time – connecting heart, body and mind.
Tell me a little bit more about yourself, where are you from, what is your background, what did you study?
I am 33 years old. I was born in Russia but at the early age my parents moved to live in the USA and later in The Netherlands. I grew up as an expat child studying at international schools. I hold a double degree in business & psychology. I also hold a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship and Leadership from Webster University in Leiden.
How was it to grow up in Russia? How do Russians view sexuality?
Due to Russia’s socio-political history, sexuality in the country has been numbed down for decades. I was born during the Soviet times where sexuality was hushed. Most women are raised with a determination to find a suitable rich good-looking husband and to bare babies. Russian women are taught to believe that happiness if found in marriage and children.
Women’s sexuality belongs to their husbands and many Russian women obsessively work on keeping their husband’s sexual interest by staying fit, young and beautiful.
Thankfully since the last decade, there is a new wave of a sexual revolution. There are now more open conversations about sex, gender, sexual orientation, pleasure. Sex toy brands are successfully entering the Russian market.
Have you always been interested in sexuality?
Yes, I have been curious about sexuality ever since I was a kid. I wanted to study Sexuality at university but was too embarrassed to be honest about it with my Russian parents.
Why did you start The Yoni Empire?
As a young woman, I suffered for 8 years from chronic pussy pain called vaginism. Everything from intercourse to even using a tampon was very painful for me. Over the years I went to over 20 medical doctors seeking help and was unsuccessful.
My healing came from taking things into my own hands and seeking alternative therapies and reinventing the relationship I have with my body.
My long journey opened doors for me into the world of conscious sexuality and awareness. Today I am healthy and sexually active. I feel more beautiful, confident and sexy than ever.
I only wish that something like the Yoni Empire had existed when I was a young woman. So, I created this space myself for women to read the latest research, find tips and advice, discover ways to heal sexual trauma and improve their sex lives.
What is your main purpose with The Yoni Empire?
To remind women that the quality of their sexual health and sex lives is in their own hands. Everything we need to be sexually happy is in our own hands.
What is your view on sexuality in general?
We are all born out of sex. None of us would be here if it wasn’t for our parents “doing it”.
‘Sexuality is part of our humanity and I wish that one day we can all approach it from a place of respect, genuine curiosity and love.’
You live in Amsterdam, do you think the Red Light District should still exist, even in 2018?
Some type of prostitution will always exist in society. I respect the Dutch for being open about it and opening a conversation with their tolerance laws.
I believe that sexual violence comes from sexual repression. Creating a safer space for a sexuality & money exchange issue is the first step at managing it.
What’s your view on the future of sexuality?
I have no idea what the future holds but I am excited to find out. I see two paths that sexuality is taking on now. One is a conscious path where women are getting in touch with their bodies and desires.
We are more open about sex. The taboos and myths are being broken. Women are feeling more empowered sexually.
The other path is our dating and sex lives are becoming more digitized with technology.
‘Although our dating pool is growing exponentially with dating apps, we are isolating ourselves from the main human need of true connection and chemistry. Many women are confusing sexual empowerment with promiscuity.’
What do you think about porn and the whole industry around it?
Not all porn is the same. What is happening in the porn industry is a reflection of our collective sexuality. I could easily argue for both sides of the porn argument. My advice to all the people that are battling against porn is to concentrate on healthy sexual education instead.
What is the biggest taboo on sexuality right now?
Being a sexually empowered woman who loves sex.
What is your view upon the whole #metoo thing?
Heart breaking. Intense. Eye opening. Connecting.
You’re busy with a new project called Onna Lifestyle, can you tell me a little bit more about it?
I designed a line of gemstone sex toys, which we’ve launched yesterday. Many sex toy brands create intense vibrating toys where it is easy to orgasm under a minute. So, most women find it hard to orgasm with a partner during love making or on their own.
My goal is to go back to basics. Onna toys are created for slow pleasure and exploring the body. Women will learn to self-massage to release tension and to prolong pleasure in their bodies rather than chase the orgasm.
Gemstone sextoys by Onna
Onna was created with intention to inspire women to explore their eroticism and connect to their sensuality. I encourage women to gift themselves permission to indulge, pamper and enjoy their bodies.
It was also created with intention to heal pussy pain and tension that many women suffer from. I have designed a special curved dildo with which women are able to massage. It is a type of Pussy Reflexology.
Sex during menstruation?
Does your vagina have a name?
Yes, her name is Alex.