How Sex Can Empower You
Q & A with Sexologist, Glamazon Tyomi
Interviewed by Stella Ikuzwe
Tyomi is a Certified Sexologist, Authentic Tantra Practitioner, and International Pleasure Coach with nine years of experience in the sexual health field. Her down-to-earth approach to sexuality has garnered the views of millions of eyes around the world via her advice-based Youtube channel and interactive social media presence. She is the founder of Sex Ed blog Glamerotica101.com and emphasizes the sexual empowerment of Black women worldwide. Tyomi's advice has been featured on several platforms and traditional media publications including Essence.com, EBONY Magazine, Blackdoctor.org, Huffington Post, Comedy Central, The New York Times, SHAPE.COM, Blacklove.com, Vogue.com, Cosmopolitan.com, Washington Post's The Lily, Clear Channel Radio, CBS Radio, Sirus XM, Playboy Radio and dozens of others. Tyomi currently serves as the Resident Sexpert and Seminar Coordinator for the Exxxotica Expo and is a member of the National Coalition for Sexual Health.
Why did you become a sexologist? What has your experience in the industry been like?
My experience has been long, but it’s been fun along the way. When I started there really wasn’t a blueprint, it was about filling a need in my own style. I wanted sex education to be really approachable, conversational and easily integrated, so I tried to build it that way for the past 10 years.
I felt inspired. In my early 20s I was going through my own self-exploration, and I knew there were other Black women like me going through the same things, but I didn’t see anyone speaking to us. Now, in 2021 there are so many black women who are advocating for sex positivity but back in 2009, there really wasn’t anybody. So, I just jumped in and started to do the work instead of complaining.
I also had the vision to know that in 10 years from 2009, “sexology” was going to be the thing. It’s THE industry to be in, and I wanted to be one of the pioneers. I started my youtube channel Glamerotica and made videos that went viral because I didn’t see anyone giving sex advice the way I did. I didn’t see Black women being represented in sexual conversations on mainstream media, and I wanted to change that.
I’ve been on all kinds of platforms just lending my advice and raising my voice to represent everybody who is Black but also to represent anyone who resonated with my voice. I make it clear that I’m here to empower Black women but also empower anyone who resonates with what I am saying.
It’s amazing that you center your work in empowering anyone who seeks it, especially communities that have typically been left out of the conversation. Even though the term “pleasure” has shifted, with more POC and LGBTQ+ people being able to express their sexuality, do you think the media is doing enough?
There is still a lot missing from the conversation. For example, the laws that are being rolled out right now on sexuality and consent are moving us into the dark ages again. We are being progressive and inclusive about gender, pronouns and relationship styles,but we still aren’t having conversations on things like sexual trauma, and how that shows up/is perpetuated by pop culture and the media. We still don’t have comprehensive sex education in schools beyond abstinence, which avoids the full gambit of sex. We alienate intersex people, asexual peopleand queer folk because sex education looks different for each sexual identity and individual. There are so many conversations we aren’t having.
I’m happy that more media outlets are hiring sex writers and that we are seeing sex and pleasure advice being placed more in stories, but, we still have a long way to go. Social media makes it very difficult for sex educators to post content and not have it taken down or flagged. So on one hand, these conversations are acceptable in a particular context but if it isn’t packaged in a certain way, it’s seen as offensive and unsuitable for certain audiences. It’s like a tug of war that’s really frustrating because every year we have to pivot and make sure we can still be visible and adhere to terms that are getting stricter. Yet, I am happy with the direction we are moving in because things are more open than they used to be.
What are some harmful ideas about sex that you hear and wish people were more educated on?
There are too many, [laughs], But one is that sex is dirty and shouldn’t be embraced. The female body literally has an organ that has no other function but pleasure so that dismantles this widely accepted fact that sex is only for procreation. Sex is for more than that: it’s for connection, healing and pleasure.
I also hate that sex is used as a hurtful tool for control or as a weapon against people. For people who have had their sexual autonomy violated, it makes it difficult for them to reclaim it without having support. I wish people didn’t see sex as a tool for hurt and pain.
I also dislike that sex is seen as dirty and something that only adults interact with. We know we have genitals early in our lives and our [that] bodies feel and experience things. Sexual health and sexuality need to be discussed from the moment a child can comprehend and use words. There needs to be more advocacy around children understanding sexuality, so we have fewer people growing into adults that are struggling and hurting themselves –or other people – because they are completely detached and repressed.
You spoke about the importance of sexual education, what are some ways that we can expand the viewpoint on sex and advocate for it?
Firstly, embracing the fact that sex is a part of who we are. Our sexual energy is our primal life force energy. It literally keeps the soul in our body alive. It’s the spark of life. So if we view sexuality as a necessary part of our lives, then we would make it a part of our daily conversation. Sexuality is how you show up and express yourself. If we approached sexuality and pleasure on a daily basis and dug deeper, then people would feel more comfortable in expressing themselves, normalizing the topic.
With a lot of noise in this world, it can be complicated for individuals to focus on what sexuality means to them. What are some questions we should be asking ourselves to have a healthy relationship with sex?
Firstly, is this me expressing myself authentically? Or is this me acting out based on trauma, or a societal expectation, or somebody else’s judgments? That question is heavy because it’s layered.
Also, asking yourself the “why?” Why do I feel this way? Why am I partaking in these experiences? Do I feel in full control, and am I flexing my autonomy?
These are introspective questions that, with a lack of support to navigate the answers, prompts someone to justify what feels good versus taking a deeper look. These questions are necessary to make sure you’re experiencing a healthy sex life.
A healthy sex life is one where you are fully aware of your decisions and [that] they are enriching you and adding value to your life. It is also where you feel safe in the decisions you’re making, and they aren’t causing any disturbances in your life that could detrimentally affect your livelihood. Sex should be a result of empowered decisions based on knowing the responsibilities that come, operating ethically and with integrity. Also, be aware of what’s happening in the world as far as sex laws are concerned,too. If a lot of people look into their sexual behaviors, they would realize they are operating according to parents, peers or what previous partners wanted instead of engaging in ways that feel authentic to themselves.
You previously spoke on sexuality being very spiritual, and I know you do quite a bit of work on that, so could you please elaborate on it?
I am a Tantra practitioner and practice authentic Tantra, but even before, I have always been very connected to my sexuality. I felt like it was a communication with creation. Sex, as it’s been designed, is like a portal into this world where spirits can come through and these spirits then become small humans who populate the Earth. If sex is a portal as a way to bring humans in, then you can also bring other things into fruition. Your sexual energy is your creative energy. Tapping into it to transmute it into creative projects facilitates what you can create from your mind because it requires that same life force energy we put into sexual acts.
The spiritual force is knowing that energy has a deeper connection to the thing that created us. Sex literally gives you the power to tap into that energy and generate this life force to propel your thoughts into the universe. Knowing that you have this creative power that can propel things out and manifest is extremely powerful. When we think about our sexual energy as a creative life force energy, we shift how we use it and exercise our sexual desires and sexual expression.
Within Tantra, we use sexual energy for healing. We build up this energy and use pleasure through sex as a tool to become our own healers. We use that sexual energy to heal those breaks that are caused by anything wedged into the body that’s causing a gap in communication between the physical and spiritual body. I love it because it gives sex a deeper meaning for me than looking for the next orgasm.
What is some advice you would give to someone who is trying to discover and go on an introspective journey with their own sexuality?
I would say definitely take a moment to make a list of all the things that consistently cross your mind about sex. Writing not just about the things that make you feel good, but also the things that you feel apprehensive about, that you point to and judge silently within yourself. Sometimes it's a lot of pressure to be into all the things. Just write down all your feelings, good or bad. Then sit with the list and make a determination about where this stuff comes from.
We are all programmed based on our experiences, and they have an influence on how we view sexuality. A lot of the stuff we are holding onto isn’t even our own. When I hear someone say they want to get in touch with their sexuality, immediately what I hear is that there are things clouding their own judgment about sexuality, and they need tools to sift through it. Start by making a list, finding the roots of it, and determining if it’s helpful to your life. If you find they aren’t helpful to you, then you start your journey of exploration through proper education by finding educators you resonate with and subscribing to their work. We have a budget for everything, but we don’t have a budget for our sexual health, so start one. Connecting with an educator saves you time, money, and stress.
As a pioneer in this field, what is some advice for someone who is also interested in being a sexologist?
First thing is to check in with yourself and where you are in your own sexual journey, because you can’t take people where you haven’t gone yourself. The biggest piece of my life has always been leveling up in my own sexuality and shining a light on the places I’ve tried to hide or had trauma around. Educating myself too, taking classes, and getting certifications were important. Dr. Rachel Ross has an academy where she certifies sexologists and sexperts. Once you know where you are in your own journey, you can tap into what kind of educator you want to be. How do you want to empower people when it comes to sexual health and sexuality? In what ways and who do you want to serve because that will formulate the type of information you research and take in. It’s not about trying to be a master of all things. Just serving in an area where you can really shine and your voice can be lifted up is perfect.
It’s also important to understand your “why.” Why do you want to do this? When you run into all the things they don’t tell you about running a sex business, will you still want to do it? Look at your reasons beyond making money. Find a community that can support you when things get hard, networking is important and there are so many conventions, expos, and events that happen within this space. Also, make sure to do your research and really be clear on how you are showing up to serve.
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