Sexuality Doula Ev'Yan Whitney Wants Us All To Embrace Our Sensual Selves

By Leah Aulisio-Sharpe | August 17, 2022

Ev’Yan Whitney (@evyan.whitney) has woven through the ebbs and flows of many titles and reclamations. Every step made along the way serves as a clear reflection of the strength to strive for freedom that they inspire in others. As a sexuality doula, sex educator and somatic practitioner, it is Whitney’s purpose to connect us with our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies in the name of pleasure.

The doula advises clients to go on a self-awareness “pleasure hunt” to note everything that brings pleasure throughout their day. PHOTO BY J REI YAMASAKI
The doula advises clients to go on a self-awareness “pleasure hunt” to note everything that brings pleasure throughout their day. PHOTO BY J REI YAMASAKI

In 2011, Whitney’s journey began the way most of ours do, from immense frustration. They felt barred from exploring their sexuality in ways they saw their peers do so freely. For Whitney, there were a lot of religious, familial and cultural narratives that impacted their sexual identity. The desire to feel confident in their sexuality led them to discover where the discomfort comes from.

“I really wanted to uproot myself from stories and systems of shame that had been with me for decades at that point,” they explain. “I knew that those stories of shame were keeping me from even being able to think about myself as a sexual being.”

“SENSUALITY AS A PRACTICE IS ABOUT RECONNECTION AND RECLAMATION, AND BEING BACK HOME [IN] OURSELVES AND COMING BACK INTO UNION.” –EV’YAN WHITNEY

Exploring shame, privately and publicly, became the catalyst that changed the trajectory of Whitney’s life. They realized that being able to identify one’s shame and where it comes from was the key to moving toward healing.

About a year into their journey, Whitney created a blog to share the vulnerabilities of self-healing and reclaiming sexual identity with the world. What they could only dream of being a safe outlet to record their process turned into a community who sought guidance directly from their fingertips.

A decade later, Whitney launched a holistic practice to support clients by creating an educated and intentional space for sexual awakening. Their work guides folks through the transition of rewiring their own sexual identity to be rooted in true personal pleasure.

Ev’Yan Whitney. PHOTO BY J REI YAMASAKI
Ev’Yan Whitney. PHOTO BY J REI YAMASAKI

The reason so many people are drawn to Whitney as a healer is because of their radiant transparency. There is a feeling of communal growth and learning that comes from the simple fact that Whitney continuously chooses their own liberation, and to include us on their journey as well.

Over the last few years they’ve redefined themselves as nonbinary and asexual. They have taken a year of intentionally living apart from their partner. They have begun new ventures and set new boundaries. Most importantly, they have opened our minds to the fluidity available to us if we have the bravery to connect with ourselves and listen to our own bodies over conventional standards.

“I really feel that through my sexual liberation journey, which has opened so many other doors for me to explore when it comes my gender, my queerness, my Blackness and the alternative ways that I can be in relationship with my partner, this journey showed me what I am capable of and what I am worth,” says Whitney.

“[My work] has really created a framework and a foundation for me to be like, ‘I will never settle for anything less’ because I know the pleasure I am worthy of.”

Last year, Whitney released their first book, The Sensual Self (Clarkson Potter), composed of guided prompts and practices for those to connect with their sensuality.

They share that the best way to start is to get quiet and get curious. Take time daily to be with, feel and talk to your body. Whitney encourages readers to create a list of pleasure practices and do something every single day that makes you feel good, joyful, excited or relieved.

“We live in a world that is constantly trying to take us out of our bodies, dissociate us and disempower us from ourselves,” they say. “So sensuality as a practice is about reconnection and reclamation, and being back home [in] ourselves and coming back into union.” You can keep up with Whitney through their podcast Sensual Self With Ev’Yan Whitney. They are currently working on their second book, which will tackle sensuality from a new lens.

Photography by: All by J Rei Yamasaki