Sensuality Coach Anjua Maximo on Women Unapologetically Owning Their Sexuality: "It Belongs to You"

Over the years, female sexuality has been both celebrated and at the root of widespread controversy (hello, "WAP" debate!). But certified sensual movement coach Anjua Maximo believes the discussion regarding women and sexuality goes much deeper than wardrobes and dance moves. She has dedicated her work to helping women reconnect to their sensuality and redefine what sexy means to them. POPSUGAR spoke to Maximo for insight into how and why women should bring sexy back into their lives.

For many women, feeling sexy is difficult or uncomfortable. Whether it be a result of past experiences or unattainable standards set by the media, Maximo explained that women often disconnect from their sexual nature, which then doesn't allow them to live fully as themselves. "Getting in touch with our sensuality and sexuality is a move to develop, understand, and reclaim a part of us that whatever trauma, society, culture, or religion we come from has controlled for far too long," she told POPSUGAR.

One of the biggest obstacles in reconnecting to your sensual self, Maximo said, is that women tend to focus on what sexy looks like instead of what it feels like. "We're fed messages from so many different angles about our sexuality," she explained. "There's very little opportunity or encouragement to discover or decide what sexuality feels like for ourselves."

In her Pure Mvmnt sensual dance classes, Maximo guides women to release the shame and fear around their sexuality through intuitive dancing, guided self-inquiry, and journaling. The focus is on the sacral chakra, located between the belly button and pubic bone, which is the center of creativity, erotic energy, and emotions. "Not nurturing our sensuality and sexuality can feel like walking around with part of ourselves on mute," she said.

While many women may struggle to connect with their sensual selves, Maximo said it can be uniquely difficult for women of color, and specifically Black women due to harmful stereotypes of being hypersexual. "Latina women and Asian women have endured the same type of fetishization," she said. "As a result, BIPOC women may sometimes feel they have to be overly conscious of how they present."

Maximo said the main concern is that women have been told at some point what is considered acceptable sexuality and what isn't. The definitions may vary, but the root of the issue remains the same — it wasn't decided by you. Her mission is to encourage women to create their own definitions and rules about sexuality. Keep reading for eight insights from Maximo on how to reconnect, reclaim, and redefine your sexuality.


Give Yourself Permission

You must first allow yourself to connect with your sensual expression, which may require understanding it's not just about sex. "You are taking care of your desires, making sure they're met, and exploring and discovering what turns you on or off," Maximo explained. "By doing so, you're learning to practice consent with yourself, which can translate to how you communicate your boundaries in the world." This can be with anything from dancing freely to meditation.


Think Beyond the Label

Reconnecting with your sexuality is about much more than simply being sexy. It's about knowing and embracing your full self, trusting your intuition, and feeling comfortable in your own body. "A woman getting in touch with her sexuality and sensuality is literally feeding herself energetically," Maximo said. "If it's sexy, it's because it so happens to be, but that's not the why of sensual connection."


Be Sexy For You First

Don't rely on someone else to feel intimate, sensual, or sexual. Maximo explained that women often believe their sexuality is for the gaze, approval, entertainment, or satisfaction of someone else, or they are told to hide it because their bodies and sexuality are sinful. "We rarely, if ever, are told that our sexuality is sacred, beautiful, and belongs to us and that to explore and express it how we want is our right," she explained.


Slow Down

Life is busy, but Maximo said that when we intentionally slow down and allow ourselves to just feel, we move from our outward energy to our inner energy. "We store trauma and stress in our bodies, so when we're moving from our inner energy — the energy that demands we slow down to feel — we can experience a release of that trauma and stress," she told POPSUGAR.


Know There Is No Wrong Way to Move

Connecting with your sensuality is about being in flow and moving freely. "I teach my students to dance without choreographing because they're learning to find their flow naturally," she said. "They can't make a 'mistake' because they're tapping into and following their body's intuition."


Move Without Apology

Shakira was right: our hips don't lie. Maximo said to focus on spiraling your hips, because that is where your sacral chakra energy resides. While considered a provocative move by society, she explained it also helps you move through negative energy, nurture your creativity, and build confidence in yourself.


Move Through Your Emotions

Allow whatever emotions arise to be there. Maximo explained that through sensual movement, you are moving through stagnant energy: "When we move our bodies, we're creating space for ourselves to feel, express, cry, rage, celebrate, strut, get sexual, get sensual, or to just be."


Make Your Own Rules

According to Maximo, an empowered woman is one who has chosen for herself how she expresses the whole of who she is. It is moving away from what you've been told and getting in touch with what feels right for you. "Being in choice about our sexuality means deciding for ourselves how we want to express it, share it, or not," she said.