Season 3 EP#74 Sex Positive Asian Auntie: Embracing Sensuality & Solo Polyamory with Jayda Shuavarnnasri
In this episode of Your Story Medicine, I welcome Jayda Shuavarnnasri, aka “Sex Positive Asian Auntie”, a Queer Southeast Asian sexuality and relationship educator. She works to liberate folks from sexual shame by creating space for authentic conversations about sexuality, relationships, identity, and healing. She is also the co-producer of Don’t Say Sorry podcast, which centers the experience of Southeast Asian women navigating relationships, mental health and sexuality.
Main Topics Discussed:
- How Thai and Buddhist culture influences sexual expression in women
- Using sensuality to reach liberation
- How to fall in love without falling into a co-dependent pattern
- Defining “solo polyamory”
- Getting clear on what intimacy means to us
What are you celebrating about yourself today?
Jada: The fact that I wrote a book. I created something I wanted to create for the world, and there are more things to create!
How would you describe your medicine?
Jada: The reason I took on the title “sex positive Asian auntie” over something more technical like “sexuality and relationship educator” is because I wanted to embody the family I needed when I was growing up. I want to create non-judgmental spaces for people to heal their relationship with their body, sexuality, and to give permission to talk about relationships that don’t follow toxic monogamy patterns.
How has your ancestral lineage influenced how you show up today?
Jada: I have certain privileges from being born and raised in the United States, such as a passport that lets me travel the world. But then there is the duality of being Thai. Thailand is unique in Southeast Asia for not having been a war-torn country. My parents didn’t come here as refugees. My challenge is navigating my life as a Thai-American whose fem body is sexualized and fetishized. The ancestral lineages that I haven’t discovered yet also inform how I do my work. I look at the women in my family and how they found their place in America. I want to learn how sexual empowerment looks like in Thailand, and what being queer means in the country.
What humbling lessons did you learn after getting your ankle fracture right before you could go back to your motherland?
Jada: The biggest was around receiving. I had to learn to just be present and let people take care of me. I learned that I couldn’t run anymore, and I had to listen to my body and trust the process of healing. The good thing is that through the work I’ve already done on sexual healing for years, I knew that learning sensuality was about reading your body’s signals. I had to apply the same thing to my ankle fracture.
What do you think about the shame that we as Thai women have been brought up with concerning our naked bodies?
Jada: Westerners see Thailand as a very sexualized place. What people don’t realize is that Thai culture is actually very conservative. It’s patriarchal and Buddhist. Girls are not supposed to be noticeable, which results in a lack of knowing how to express themselves. We need to learn how to express our sexuality on our own terms, though it doesn’t need to be overtly sexual if you don’t want to. The point is, it depends on what feels good for you. Thai culture tells us that’s not healthy. I want to find that middle road where I can be a mindful, practicing Buddhist while leaning into the things that give me pleasure.
How have you experienced healing through your matriarchal lineage as you have said “yes” to this path?
Jada: As I’ve said “yes” to my path to liberation, particularly liberation around my body, sexuality, and sensuality, I’ve learned to have more understanding and compassion towards my mom. As her only daughter, she was overprotective in my eyes; but, it was all probably due to her own experience growing up as an Asian woman that she treated me a certain way. She believed that the world is a scary place for a girl, which it is. I’ve had to remember that I have agency over my body and that I can navigate the world as a sexually-expressive person without bringing pain, trauma, and hurtfulness.
How do you define “solo polyamory”?
Jada: There are a lot of different definitions within the non-monogamy community, but for me polyamory is the practice of relating in which I center myself, my desires, and my needs not over anyone else’s, but in the way that I love. Polyamory literally means “many loves”. It’s the ability to love multiple people. As a “solo” polyamorous person, I’m not seeking partnership exclusively with others. Instead, my main partner is myself. All other relationships that exist around me are secondary and supportive. I have multiple relationships that are anchored and oriented in myself. Before I identified as solo poly, I already knew I didn’t want to have children. I never desired to share my space around someone so closely, even the lovers I connected with the most. Some people love that and thrive in those dynamics. I just grew to know myself enough to realize that these aren’t things I desire. When I began to claim my polyamorous-ness, I also realized that I have a lot of love to give. I wrote a book about love! I thought I wasn’t romantic at first, but I am a big proponent of falling in love without losing ourselves, without falling into a co-dependent pattern. I can be selfish and love at the same time.
What are you doing to stay grounded and what have you learned to release?
Jada: Deliberately reminding me that I’m loved keeps me grounded. I’ve had to learn to release expectations that things are going to go my way.
If you were a future ancestor, what would you tell yourself?
Jada: You already know your path. You’re going in the right direction. Just keep going.
Conclusion: We all could learn more about what intimacy means to us. We can’t just be pouring from our overflow. We also need space to deepen our well. Without stillness, we eventually end up pouring from a shallow cup. In what ways are you making the space to dig deep so that, when we pour, we’re not just operating from a place of service, from a desire to deepen our relationship with ourselves.
Action Integration: To choose silence is to choose oppression. Show up as a badass ancestor in the making and shift the story for your future lineage.
Learn more about Jayda Shuavarnnasri:
Visit her website: www.auntiejayda.com
Follow her on Instagram: www.instagram.com/jayda_kissed
If you are in the season of receiving support to water the seeds you’ve been planting, then I invite you to apply to Bud to Blossom which will be the only way to work with me closely this year.