Every Monday, The CSPH takes a look at a book or film focusing on an aspect of sexuality. This week we are featuring the book Shake Your Soul-Song!: A Woman’s Guide To Self-Empowerment Through The Art Of Self-Pleasure by Devi Ward.
Focusing on sexuality, sensuality, and personal growth throughout this text, Devi Ward includes personal examples and exercises for the reader to become empowered. Though this book operates through heavily spiritual language, especially in regards to tantra, it still remains practical and very accessible. For people who are not particularly spiritual, the first half may come off as “woo-woo-y,” though this is noticeably toned down in the second half. Additionally, Ward spends some time on recognizing and eliminating sexual shame, as this may be helpful for many readers. Ward makes many claims in this book—such as sexuality’s healing power—and conveniently includes footnotes for reference.
Structured into three parts, the book opens with a brief look at what’s presently going on with women’s sexuality, trying to explain these developments, and finally Ward’s solution. Shake Your Soul-Song! does come off rather informally, from the tone to occasional typos, and feels as if the author were talking directly to you. Sprinkled throughout the text are tantric, sensory, and self-stimulation exercises, and Ward advises early on to keep a pleasure journal while reading this book, documenting your progress to get the most out of it. Ward also references other work she’s done, in particular regarding sensual dance, that may further aid the reader in empowerment. On the practical side, Ward highlights various erogenous zones, though she doesn’t go in-depth on how to stimulate them, diminishing the joy at seeing less commonly stimulated places such as the urethra, cervix, and A-spot. The book also includes a chapter on sex toys, with instructions on choosing toys that are safe for your body.
However, Shake Your Soul-Song! assumes that the reader is a cisgendered heterosexual woman, and there is also a fundamental attachment to femininity and womanhood, potentially turning-off some readers. Language-wise, Ward tends to soften her word choice to appeal to a broader audience; for example, the term “self-stimulation” is frequently used in place of “masturbation”.
If you’re interested in testing the waters of tantra or the intersection of sexuality, sensuality, and spiritual growth, this may be the book for you to explore. However, if you like your sexuality and spirituality distinct, then you may want to pass this one by.