Dusty Gay

On Yourself
What does self-discovery mean to you?

Self-discovery requires acute self-awareness; hindsight reflection and foresight deflection, while still remaining present. It is a fluid, meandering, life-long study of the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of yourself. It is exploration in all forms: physically, mentally, emotionally. It is mobilizing the psyche to fully understand your own soul. As we relinquish control to the whims of this life and learn from our mistakes and successes, our entire journey and magnitude of growth can be attributed to self-discovery.

Can you describe your relationship to your sexuality?

I draw pleasure from small things: glances, touches. I think that while earth-shattering orgasms are the ultimate goal of any sexual encounter, it’s just as meaningful to me to appreciate the beauty of bodies touching, the pushing and pulling, and the sensory experience of it all. Learning to let myself go and release my inhibitions has unveiled sex in a new, multi-faceted way. I used to feel a lot of shame and guilt about my sexuality, and still do, sometimes. As I’m getting older, I’ve found the liberation that comes with being wholly myself and embracing every aspect of my sexuality. It is something inescapable, purled into my every fiber, and influences how I think, how I speak, how I behave and how I feel. It is the ostracized pariah of wellness but, luckily, conversations are happening and minds are opening and sexuality is becoming a right to be celebrated.

On Sexuality
How do you give yourself pleasure?

No one will ever know you as completely as yourself, so it’s important to me to maintain a healthy relationship with myself. Exploration of self without the pressure of performance is how I’ve learned what I like, it’s helped me to love and appreciate my body, it’s taught me to trust myself, it’s facilitated healing from past trauma. Desire is pleasure. There is no feeling like the searing red intensity of desire, and the explosive submission to desire. And to desire yourself? Truly unmatched.

How nice it is to love yourself when you’re alone.

How do you ask for what you want?

Asking for what I want demands honesty. Being honest with myself about what I enjoy and don’t enjoy and vocalizing them, instead of being told what I should enjoy or shouldn’t enjoy from partners or society. A lot of antiquated stereotypes are still around regarding Asian women, and I refuse to be their demure, submissive geisha or a box to check off their sexual bucket list. Once you realize your self-worth, speaking up is not nearly as terrifying anymore.

On Womankind
What’s your favorite part about being a woman?

My favorite part about being a woman is the duality of our capabilities. We are able to claim our place in the world violently and without mercy, all while containing softness and loveliness. What a luxury to be able to house such emotional depth! We as women have the absolute gift of being attuned to such a range of feelings and because of this, we will always view the world with a remarkable richness and dimension. I love the power of our seduction. When I lock eyes with a stranger, and I see his eyes soften into lust, I will ride that high for the rest of the day. I love our resourcefulness and ceaseless resilience, our abilities to forgive and empathize, and how we nurture our hardworking hearts that can love without bounds or conditions. There is no love like a woman’s love.

What advice would you have for women early in their self-discovery?

The most self-serving thing you can do for yourself is to view every experience, every obstacle as something enriching— a facilitator of growth. Be honest with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Get to know yourself, sexually and otherwise. It is in these quiet moments spent alone that the magic happens. And the more time you spend with yourself, the more you’ll come to love your own company.

In terms of pleasure, what do you think women don’t talk about enough?

How important it is to know your boundaries and vocalize them. It’s important to me to have an experimental attitude toward pleasure, and push myself every now and then. But it’s equally as important to voice your caveats and tread lightly when approaching new territory. We also need to admit aloud that women need sex just as much as men, and that a healthy sex life contributes to an overall healthy life. For me, personally, it’s more of an emotional need, not just a physical one. It’s time we start taking our sexuality into consideration when talking about general health and wellness.