Sextech Salon with Lady Savaj: The Value of Sexual VulnerabilityLast updated December 24, 2018
Introducing Arielle Egozi for our Sextech Salon series. An inspiring interview on establishing your own personal boundaries when it comes to sex.
What is Lady Savaj and how did you get into it?
Lady Savaj is my personal project where I talk about things that I was never encouraged to talk about, including sex and relationships. An incredible and extremely supportive community has grown around the content I share. I wouldn’t be able to continue doing the work that I do without them.
Mostly I use Instagram as my platform, but have delved into producing some video and audio content as well. I focus on intersectionality, mental health, and sex and body positivity. To me, these topics are intricately intertwined and inseparable and can not exist without the other.
Through this project, I’ve been able to partner and work with various brands and organisations doing work I’m incredibly proud of and impassioned by. I’m really so grateful — I never thought I’d be able to make a career from talking about sex and vulvas all day!
What is your vision for the future of your writing?
I am delving a lot more into the personal because I find that that’s where I have the most impact with my audience. I am readily vulnerable and willing to share the darker and more confused sides of me. Even in the feminist and activist space, as with any space, people tend to portray themselves as one-dimensional, without any complexity or hypocrisy.
I think it’s important to identify as a hypocrite because we are humans, and that’s essentially what being human in this experience is — believing in something and doing our best to be it, but usually messing up along the way.
There’s no such thing as a perfect feminist, the same way there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship or a perfect sex life or a perfect body. Identifying and attaching ourselves to any one thing can be dangerous and counterproductive.
Accepting who we are and where we’re at is the first step. Then we can do our best to be better and love ourselves, and each other, even more. At the pace of this news cycle, it’s impossible to keep up with everything and feel hopeful all the time.
It’s important to recognise what we need so that we can recognise what we can offer, and keep moving forward, whichever way forward may look like for you.
When it comes to sex, what’s the one thing you wish everyone knew?
Communication is the most important foundation for good sex (and consent is included in that, obviously).
Vulnerable sex is the best sex. Establishing boundaries and safety allows you to be open and explore and mess up and try new things. You can read one million and one tips online and still have shitty sex that doesn’t feel good.
Good sex has nothing to do with any tricks or what you are and aren’t wearing. Although all these things can be super fun to explore! Good sex is all about feeling safe in your body first, and feeling safe with whoever you’re being physically intimate with.
I’ve had incredible sex with a stranger because we communicated the whole time, and terrible sex with a long-term partner because there was zero communication. Also remember, you can have some of the best sex of your life with yourself!
I talk about sex every day, but I have very little of it. Because of past traumas and my need for a certain amount of emotional safety, I rarely have penetrative sex.
It’s been almost eight months for me since the last time! It’s so important to remember that penetrative sex isn’t the only kind of sex, and there’s so many other ways to explore bodies and feel pleasure.
I’ve found that elements of kink — ones entirely separate from anything sex-related — have really helped me learn to find my power and communicate my needs — physical, emotional, and mental.
It’s been eight months that I haven’t had sex, but I’ve been using that energy to heal and find what empowers me to actually want to have it, and that’s what has worked for me.
I’ve never been comfortable having many partners, and working in this space, I used to feel like an imposter. But sex positivity to me means freedom and safety in entirely embracing where one is at in their sexual journey, and dispelling all the shame we carry around any part of it (unless you’re into humiliation as a turn on, of course).
You can realise that you’re on the spectrum of asexuality; that sex is entirely not for you, and still be sex positive.
Maybe you ethically have multiple partners, or are sexually submissive, or are still exploring what dynamics and elements of sex you want to incorporate into your life. There’s room for all of it, and you’re never alone in what you’re into.
What are the key trends you’re seeing at the moment that influence your work?
I think the main trend is the one that allows a space for my work to exist. I’ve been talking about these topics for a long time, and not many people used to listen.
Since the last US election and #MeToo, there’s been a waking up of how desperately we need to be talking about issues that involve femmes and their bodies. So much of what supports the toxic patriarchal systems in our society is the complacency, silence, and repression that exists when we keep these things quiet.
Another trend that I see, specifically in feminist labeled spaces, is rampant white supremacy. White women as a group are still not getting it. I have content on my Instagram constantly being reported and blocked because I talk about the need for white women, and anyone with any level of privilege, to look at themselves, hold themselves accountable, and be better.
There is a reason why only white, thin, blonde cis women in sextech get funding, or press, or are allowed to be the face of an already radical movement. The reason I love this community so much is because these women see this, and invest their energy in lifting up other voices.
Privilege isn’t a bad thing — it’s a powerful thing, and with that power comes the responsibility to do everything one is able to lift up others and distribute that power. It requires us to look at history, giving credit to those, specifically trans women of colour, who have become before us and physically put their bodies on the line so that we may be able to do the work we do today.
It is my mission to keep coming for white-centred spaces and movements who silence other voices, and this is at the foundation of the work I do every day.
What’s the biggest surprise you’ve had since starting to work in sextech?
Working in the industry I’m in and living in New York, it can be hard to remember that femme pleasure is still such a taboo conversation. I feel so comfortable speaking on panels in front of strangers about period sex, but when folks from home see what I’m up to on Facebook, they’re still shocked or ashamed.
It’s such a natural and comfortable topic for me, but I try to remember that I wasn’t always that way. I get frustrated because it feels so good to be open about such common experiences and love my body and what it does. I just wish everyone felt the same way and didn’t see it as something dirty or shameful, the way I used to.
The pleasure gap is real, and so many women don’t experience the pleasure they deserve. I’m just trying to inspire them to believe that they do in fact deserve it. Using a vibrator is a great way to start.
Who else in the industry do you admire or look up to?
I would be nowhere without the Women of Sex Tech, the community that Polly Rodriguez and Lidia Bonilla started. To be able to work alongside a group of such powerful and brilliant women with extreme integrity has made all the difference in my life and in my career.
I moved to New York City a year and a half ago, and these women have become my professional network, true family, and best friends.
Mal Harrison is one of sextech’s true visionaries. I’m so lucky and grateful that she was there to help me go through a break up.
Suzanne Sinatra just finished cancer treatment and is about to launch her sexual wellness company. She’s always my party date.
Bryony Cole, of the Future of Sex, spent an entire afternoon on a hotel bed with me, covered in a pink face mask, to keep me company when I was too overworked.
I’m constantly surrounded by the women who reflect what the future I believe in can look like. It’s what inspires me to keep creating work, even when I get push back from the rest of the world. I know that we’re in it together, and we’re changing history, and we can’t stop.
What wider changes do you think sextech can have or is having on society?
I mean, societal change is slow, but there’s been immediate shifts in culture already, particularly within the context of the news cycle and the ability for ideas to spread so quickly on social media.
My little sister’s friends reach out to me with questions or to ask advice quite frequently. They are so much more mature, open, and knowledgeable about the world and their bodies than I ever was.
They truly are my inspiration, because if I can be any part of what helps them feel comfortable to own their power in this world, then I am doing what others have done for me.
Talking and being open releases shame because no one is unique in their experience. So the mere fact that there’s a bunch of people besides cis men talking about sex and demanding to feel good too — well that breaks something.
Whoever is listening is going to relate and feel less alone, and perhaps even feel inspired to start demanding things they deserve as well.
Maybe having access to these conversations will have folks feeling less insecure about their body, or feel more confident to speak up at work. Maybe they’ll begin healing past traumas and start holding people and systems accountable. I mean, it’s done all this for me.