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I Use Jewelry To Tap Into My Spirituality & Sexuality

Learning to love myself through jewelry took my senses to new heights.

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I honestly was just looking for a part-time job; not a spiritual awakening. So when I became a fine jewelry consultant, little did I know I was in for a journey. The job was meant to be temporary and I never thought that it'd become anything other than something to do three to four times a week. But I quickly fell in love with the jewelry, taking the time to really appreciate the art and design of the pieces.

I was attracted to the beauty and the delicateness of gemstones and gold.

After setting aside a few coins, I decided to indulge myself in a 14-karat white-gold anniversary band with one-carat worth of diamond accents. It was the first piece of fine jewelry that I had ever purchased for myself. It was also the first piece of jewelry that I wore daily. It soon became a piece I'd never take off.

Before buying the ring, I had never paid much attention to my hands. Mainly because I'd consider myself to have chubby hands, and I never grew up with an appreciation for them. But by wearing my ring every day, I began to see my fingers and hands in a whole new light. They seemed tender, delicate, and sensual.

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I began paying extra attention to getting my nails done, keeping my hands soft and supple, and being more intentional and graceful in the movements of my hand. I noticed all of these subtle changes in my behavior and attitude about my hands from just from wearing the ring.

After that, I wanted to see what else I could use jewelry to tap into.

As I worked my way through the ranks and worked in various levels of the fine jewelry industry, I added dozens of pieces of jewelry to my collection: delicate gold necklaces, bracelets, earrings, anklets, waist chains, golden bralettes, and more rings to my collection.

Each piece has helped me tap into sides of sensuality and sexuality that I didn't even know I was repressing.

Feeling the gentle touch of the stones and metals awakened senses in erogenous zones all over my body. Neck, wrists, ankles, tips of toes, tops of fingers, the ears, the waist, lips, nose and the chest are all considered by sexual health experts to be the top erogenous zones (otherwise known as areas most sensitive to touch).

Wearing jewelry that grazed against the tender skin made me pay more attention areas, and made me start to fall in love with all the different parts of my body.

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I fell in love with the way that gold necklaces felt hugging my neck, drawing attention from my clavicle all the way down into the shadows of my cleavage.

Anklets made me pay more attention to my ankles and feet, and in turn I began to feel more grounded.

Bracelets made me feel tall and graceful; feeling the cool gold on my wrists made my arms feel lighter.

Waist chains and golden bralettes were my own little secret, pieces that the public didn't see but I could feel. I would be in a meeting and could feel the cool metal against my skin; the touch of the jewelry making me love the curves of my hips, the roundness of my belly, and the soft spots below my breasts.

Wearing a small diamond in my lip piercing made me pay attention to my pout, put me in a kissing mood, and made me conscious of how I speak and how I let words form in and flow out of my mouth.

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I began to hone in on parts of myself that I took for granted, and was able to vibrate higher than before. Learning to love myself though jewelry made me want to care for my temple even more. I started taking my skincare and my eating habits even more seriously, wanting not only for the gold of the jewelry to glow, but for my skin to glow as well.

Loving the way my body looked made me want to make sure that I was doing all that I could to make sure I loved how my body felt.

Along with the sensual awakening and experience I would have when wearing jewelry, it also served as a source of attraction. My golden bralette would peak beneath my blouse and catch the eye of my date and I'm sure they would wish that they were as close to me as that chain. The jewelry would also serve as a kind of foreplay. Taking off the pieces layer by layer added another level and element to intimacy that I hadn't experienced before.

Not only was it something that could give me pleasure when worn, but it also gave my partner something new to explore on my body.

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I also used stones, gems, and metals to attract certain energy and to manifest visions. I wear my citrine ring when I need to manifest joy and abundance. I wear my green quartz to channel my negative energy into positive energy. I use my tanzanite to uplift my spirit and to put warmth in my heart. I wear emeralds for prosperity, diamonds for elegance, and amethyst for healing and protection.

Tapping into my spiritual side through jewelry has not only been a way to indulge in luxury, but also a channel through which I can focus my energy. Just as one would adorn an altar with crystals, wands, and points, I adorn myself with crystals and gems for attraction and protection.

I love seeing black women indulge in luxury and all the while find their strength. I would love for all women to have a piece of jewelry that they wear regularly, and let it serve as a reminder to love, honor, and explore your body and your spirit.

Featured image via Giphy

You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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