Here at Smile Makers, our work-from-home Spotify playlists have been inspiring us through 2020. To get us in the mood to work, or to play, there’s one song that we’ve had on repeat; Sensual by Iiola.
We love how lines such as ‘I’m feeling oh so sensual’ stir up feelings of intimacy whilst putting female sexual pleasure in the spotlight - there’s no doubt that this song would pass the Clit Test! At Smile Makers, we hear more women getting lyrical with female sexuality than ever before, take Cardi and Megan The Stallion’s tune WAP. This cultural shift is exactly what is needed to help normalise the perception of vulva owners sex lives and pleasure; the more we talk about our sexuality in the everyday, the more norm it will become. Bringing conversations out in the open doesn’t need to be all chat, we can sing too!
So, we spoke to super-talented Iiola to find out her inspiration, life moments and how she feels about breaking taboos...
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I self-release (pun intended), write and executive produce all of my own music under my artist name Iiola.
How would you describe your music & the themes that come out in it?
My music’s been described as dark-Romantic Pop which I think hits the nail on the head. I’ve always written my songs at poignant moments in my life. Be it a breakthrough realisation I’ve made about something I’ve been going through or a milestone I’ve reached. I find it more fulfilling performing something that truly resonates with me.
What was your inspiration when writing 'Sensual'?
My producer/co-writer Dee Adam is also a Womxn and we felt like we hadn’t heard a song celebrating feminine sensuality in such a long time. You’ve got your Kings of Leon - Sex is on Fire but at the time of writing, in 2018, it felt like there weren’t enough female artists addressing female sexuality directly from their own point of view in a positive way. I personally think the more positive associations we have to our own female pleasure and sexuality the stronger we are in knowing what is good for us when making decisions around it. I’ve definitely been in some uncomfortable situations when I was younger all because female sexuality was never spoken about let alone celebrated and I’d hate for young people to find themselves in those same situations because of the lack of knowledge and comfortability in conversation around sex.
What symbolism did you use in the 'Sensual' music video?
My super talented, Wonder Womxn Photographer friend Sarah Burton and I wanted objects that symbolised sensuality. We used honey because of my opening lyric “your mouth is honey on my tongue” and oysters because of their infamous aphrodisiac effect. Flowers have always been such an obvious symbolism of sensuality to me, be it the classic romantic gesture of red petals on the bed we’ve grown up seeing in movies or a bunch of red roses on Valentine’s Day. This association meant they were the perfect prop to use so I asked Kai at My Lady Garden for her most sexual/sensual looking flowers and she thoughtfully chose a bunch of beauties for us.
At Smile Makers, we love symbols of female pleasure anatomy. We use it as inspiration to help normalize the perception of female sexuality.
I love the fact you have set out to bring these resources to young Womxn. It makes me really happy to know they can easily access information on female sexuality so they can further educate themselves from the safety of their bedrooms.
What does sensuality mean to you?
I love this. This is what sensuality is to me. It’s not just sex it’s a delicious nutritious meal, the energy of a person or a room, the smell of a specific fragrance. There are so many layers to it.
We both love bringing sex out in the open, have you watched, read or listened to anything that does the same?
I’m a huge fan of Juliet Allen’s Podcast “Authentic Sex”, I love what she’s doing as a Sexologist in the industry at the moment. She’s definitely a sex-positive role model of mine.
Sex is much more than just penetrative sex for people with vulvas. In fact, 80% of us need external stimulation to reach orgasm! We think your song Sensual really empowers women and all their sensuality.
Do you think your song has had an impact on how you find yourself and others talking about sexuality; be that a conversation with yourself, friends or partner?
Absolutely. I’ve always been very open with my friends and my Sisters about my Sexuality and encouraged them to educate and explore theirs for themselves.
I’m always open to learning and discovering new things and passing it on to others. My confidence definitely came with age but I think that’s because I’ve consciously decided to educate and explore things for myself. I’ve put in the work to get to know myself more and what I stand for not just sexually but in other aspects of my life.
Watch Sensual by Iiola on YouTube!"