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We are thrilled to introduce another inspiring figure in our lineup of pleasure muses, Ayesha Ophelia. Ayesha is the visionary behind The Girlfriend Manifesto, a thriving community that offers women a daily blend of inspiration, spirituality, adventure, self-love, and sisterhood.
In this interview, Ayesha offers her unique take on pleasure, relationships, and the rich tapestry of human connections. With openness and generosity, she shares her intimate thoughts on pleasure, her pleasure rituals, the challenges she has faced in relationships, and her insightful perspectives on sexuality, desire, and boundaries. Join us in celebrating Ayesha's wisdom, warmth, and the love she brings to our collective journey.
Ayesha Ophelia
Can you tell us more about  who you are and your journey? Who is Ayesha?
I'm a dreamer. A lover of esoteric and poetic books. Without music I would cease to be. I love curry and dried mango. I love to love deeply. I'm a slow burn but once we are friends you are in my heart forever. I'm a scorpio 5 times over, if that tells you anything. I'm a truth teller and seeker.

How do you personally define pleasure, and how has that definition evolved over time?

Pleasure is remembering the breath and the life that pulses through you. It's the same energy that grows some things that give me so much pleasure like passion fruit and flowers. I think my definition has only deepened over time from outer things to a way of being and seeing on the inside.

What role does pleasure play in your daily life, and how do you prioritize it?
Sometimes frustration and forgetting is what brings me back to my pleasure practices in daily life. It can be as simple as going on a walk, or dancing, or taking a moment to slowly rub coconut oil on my hands. I'm in the phase of my life where I want things to leave my to do list and become just who I am.

Do you have any pleasure rituals?
Bathing is one of my biggest pleasure rituals. I really value cultures and places that understand the magic of warm water and herbs. I like to run different types of baths, some for cleansing, some for pleasure, some for release. I add different herbs and flowers depending on what type of ritual bath I am taking.

Can you share an experience where you discovered a new source of pleasure that you hadn't considered before?
The act of slowing down can make anything more pleasurable because we are scoffing in the face of a dominant culture that says more, quicker, and faster. Slowing down is vulnerable so it can bring up more intensity of feeling and that is also powerful.

How do you think cultural or societal influences impact our understanding and pursuit of pleasure?

I think most of us are unlearning things we learned through society that made our lives feel far less soulful and connected then they ought to be. Perhaps paradox serves us only when we awaken. So for a while we go about life in this pre-programmed way and then one day we say NOPE not for me and we begin to unlearn while remembering the simple things that bring pleasure. THe kind of pleasure that does not deplete or require bigger and bigger and more risky payoffs.

Are there specific activities, experiences, or environments that consistently bring you a sense of pleasure or joy?
I love candle light, fabrics that have a tactility I enjoy like silk or linen, I'm a sucker for a sensual soundtrack, and foods that turn me on. I think approaching turn on from a mind, body, and spirit perspective gives you a full bodied experience.

What advice would you give to others who may be hesitant to explore or prioritize pleasure in their lives?

It's all about your mindset and what you believe pleasure to be. Many people hear the word pleasure and they think a few things; this is going to take forever/too indulgent, this is wrong or not needed in times such as these but pleasure is a revolutionary force. Pleasure is the energy of liberation, an untamed energy that propels us beyond the confines of the ordinary. It's the radical embrace of joy, an insurgent spark that defies the mediocrity of the status quo. In the realms of pleasure it is easier to discover the alchemical power to redefine our stories, challenge societal norms, and reclaim something authentic about ourselves. When we surrender to the energy of pleasure we become creators of an interpersonal revolution, we forge a new path illuminated by what feels good, uplifting and true, our lives are meant to be lived passionately, unapologetically, and with the truth of what is possible in our hearts.

Let's get a bit personal. What have been the biggest challenges in your intimate relationships?

For me it's claiming and asking for what I need in the bedroom. The bedroom is a mirror into our deepest desires and fears and it's meant to be a place where you can f*ck the fear out of your body but only when we are vulnerable enough to say things like I really want to try x, or that didn't feel nice, or hold me, or more of that. Claiming my wildness has been the journey. I am very passionate and remembering that I am not too much has been part of the work.

Biggest lessons you have learnt about intimate relationships?
Intimate relationships aren't here to make you happy; they are here to reveal where you need to grow, to mirror your strengths, shadows, and vulnerabilities. Intimate relationships serve as sacred mirrors reflecting the depths of your soul and shadow, unraveling layers of who you are and what needs to be transmuted, and providing a sacred space for mutual evolution. I'm writing my next Substack about the triple flame of relationship that I call fighting, f%cking, and freedom. Through the highs and lows, the triple f's illuminate the pathway to deeper self-awareness, resilience, and the interconnectedness that defies human experience and puts you in the realm of the Gods. It's through the mirror of intimate connections that we tell a new story of love; where shadows move towards the light, where we use the challenges to become more of who we know are, and ultimately, to embark on a journey of continuous contemplation and embodied love that we get to share with the other and the world.

Do you think sexual incompatibility can be worked on or is it something one needs to accept and move on from?
I don't believe thinking you are incompatible with anything is helpful or true. Instead of accepting incompatibility as a fixed reality, we can choose to embrace the potential for evolution. How much fun would it be to say how good can the sex get? What needs to happen to allow more flow in the bedroom? If two people are willing to embrace the archetype of the shapeshifter nothing is impossible but if people cling to old egoic ideas about how it needs to be nothing will change and it's likely a pattern that will repeat in some way, shape, or form until it is transformed through consciousness. The truth is we can all work towards understanding, compromise, and growth in the bedroom. Sexual relationships, like any dynamic entities, are subject to change and transformation.

If you could talk to your younger self,  what would you tell yourself about sexuality and intimacy?
I would say do not be ashamed or repress how big you can love in and out of the bedroom. I would say your body is worth honoring and it's your choice to explore with people who understand and respect that. I would send love notes in the form of people to help my younger self remember these few simple things.

Best tip on deepening intimacy between a couple that have got into a rut? Any simple practices and tools you would recommend?

Variety is the spice of life and it can be so easy to spark something fresh with an unexpected sexy text, or a gentle touch during the day, or going out of your way outside of the bedroom to create something fresh intimately. I believe how you take care of yourself reflects in that space so it's not just totally on the partner. For instance wearing things to bed that make you feel sexy or moving your body in a way that turns yourself on. We have a responsibility first to ourselves and then to our partners. In Tantra the woman does what she needs to do to remain sensually at a simmering.  

When do you feel particularly connected to a partner, either emotionally or spiritually?
I feel most connected in the moments when both partner's hearts are open, you can feel when this happens and you can feel when you are in a different brain wave frequency.  What does that for me are acts of service, slowing down, those small gestures that speak volumes, and physical touch, a tangible expression of closeness, serve as little anchor points for me, grounding us in the shared energy of love and connection.

How do you approach communication about desires, boundaries, and expectations within your romantic relationships?

When I'm in the highest expression of love it's through directiness and language that supports connection when I ask. When I'm afraid I can go the passive route where I play examples of things I want to talk about in the same room as my partner. I am a big proponent of weekly or monthly relationships tune-ups. If you care for something you want to give it the time it needs to be refreshed and I think if more couples did this it would eliminate bigger problems later.

In what ways do you express and receive love within your relationships, and how have these expressions evolved?
I express love through creative acts of service. I call, I write, I hug, I forgive over and over again, I speak words of affirmation, I show up front row in your life, and those who I love know they are loved.

Going deep with one or going wider with others?

DEEP. I go deep. That is why I take my time because not everyone can do deep and that's okay too.

What would a day of pleasure look like for you?
I call these my queen dates and they usually look like slowwwwwwwwwwwwww love making in the morning, some delicious food after, a walk and a book in the afternoon, some time alone with my artistic projects or my sacred spiritual tools, a light dinner and a bath, and then a night of more carnal love making.

What are some things that most people do not know about you?
I feel like I am an open book and a closed book and I kinda love it that way. Mystery is good.  

What is sensuality for you and how do you embody it?
Sensuality is living life from all of the senses. Taste, touch, sight, sound, smell, hearing, and all the clairvoyant senses as well. It's living without restriction and without parts of yourself shut down or cut off. Life naturally becomes blissful and ecstatic when we remember It's a conscious choice to live without restriction, allowing every facet of our being to be awakened and engaged. It's these states of being where life naturally shows us the power we have to transform and create, the ability to feel bliss and ecstasy, where every moment offers the opportunity for connection and truth. Sensuality invites us to remember that true fulfillment comes when we open ourselves fully to the richness of existence, honoring and embracing the full spectrum of sensations that life has to offer.

If you could give just one piece of advice to women on sex and desire, what would it be?

You were wild once and I don't mean reckless...I MEAN WILD! This is one of my favorite quotes and it seems to touch on sex and desire.
“The way to maintain one's connection to the wild is to ask yourself what it is that you want. This is the sorting of the seed from the dirt. One of the most important discriminations we can make in this matter is the difference between things that beckon to us and things that call from our souls.
Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the choice of mates and lovers. A lover cannot be chosen a la smorgasbord. A lover has to be chosen from soul-craving. To choose just because something mouthwatering stands before you will never satisfy the hunger of the soul-self. And that is what the intuition is for; it is the direct messenger of the soul.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves

Have you had your heart broken? How did you navigate your grief?

Heartbroken is really the only way to be because an open heart is a heart capable of profound change and understanding. The depths of sorrow, as gut-wrenching as they may be, serve as a testament to the vulnerability that accompanies loving anything. To grieve means we loved. In times where my heart shattered into a million pieces, there laid before me a golden opportunity to be fully human.  I always had a profound glow up after heartbreak, especially if you let it make you better, not bitter. A broken open heart allows the raw experience of pain to pave the way for empathy, resilience, and a deeper understanding of both oneself and others, and how we always play a part in our own divine heartbreak. It is through the cracks that the light of wisdom filters in, showing us how to heal. I work with women and groups who are experiencing grief and we learn how to view grief as a sacred ally in life. Ultimately emerging with a heart more resilient, compassionate, and open than before. Open hearts are capable of holding great change while holding onto heartbreak and trauma only create more of it.

Who are your pleasure muses?
I love a pleasurable combination of revolutionary women. First my Mom and my grandmothers who held all of us within their wombs. Then to women like Lisa Bonet, Frida Kahlo, Sade, Georgia O'Keefe, Octavia Butler, all women who hold the Venus codes, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Lauryn Hill, and so many more. I have a whole Pinterest board called Girl Crush.


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