Jenny Ferry

Former Tucson resident Jenny Ferry's world was once centered on academia, but while working on her graduate degree at the UA and after giving birth to her daughter in 2005, she began to question her relationship and whether she was on the right path. She decided she wasn't, got divorced and found herself focusing less on academic pursuits and more on mindfulness, sexuality and how it can improve one's life. So she started Soul Sex, which Ferry describes as "contemplative sex education for grown-ups." From 7 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30, she'll be leading the workshop "Intro to Soul Sex" at the Movement Shala, 435 E. Ninth St. The cost is $35, or $45 for reservations made after Nov. 23. To order tickets or for more info, go to jennyferry.com and click on "Events."

How did Soul Sex begin?

My whole world was wrapped up in academia—70 to 80 hours a week. I had an epiphany when my daughter was born in 2005. I started wondering if the relationship I was in was the right path. True answers were coming from the depths of my soul. As much as I was in a job I loved, the whisper of my soul was a "no." I left academia and my marriage and launched a quest.

That eventually became Soul Sex?

Yes. Three weeks out of that relationship I was hungry and was looking. I hadn't dated for 12 years. Where do you go in this culture? How do you engage? I look at the activists involved in SlutWalk, for example. They are raising awareness on a boundary impairment that is so prevalent in our culture. How do we learn? We are not a conscious sex education culture. That piece was missing to me.

What were the first steps you took?

Being the good academic I was, I decided to do the research and field work. I got my start in being mindful in the Buddhist practice, especially the yoga community. What I wasn't really seeing addressed was, "How do we come back to relationships in a conscious way and in particular sexuality?"

Did you study with Slow Sex's Nicole Daedone?

I mentored with her for nine months and was introduced to that work. That was one of the pieces along my path and I am indebted to her.

You're not focused on female orgasm?

I'd say the biggest piece of the Soul Sex signature workshop is how we build trust in relationships that is healthy and generative. Having a nourishing experience ... that before you go deeper, building safety and trust for yourself and your partner.

There's a shift in consciousness that's occurring right now. We are informed about sexuality through mainstream media and porn. I don't have anything against the porn industry, but it's a very myopic view. Porn is a McDonald's version of sexuality. We all intuitively know that something much more nourishing exists. But if we want to look at sexuality differently we have to be more conscious and heart-centered. The workshop isn't about a quick fix and 10 tips for the best sex you've ever had, or the best orgasm. It's about redeeming sex as a vital aspect to human culture.

Who should attend this workshop?

It's accessible for everyone—college students, singles and partnered, those who are LGBT or straight; anyone is welcome. This is very simple. None of it is rocket science. It's about approaching your sexuality with acceptance rather than criticism. I have a lot of gratitude for the relationships I've been in. Any one of us can look back: coulda, shoulda, woulda. But that's not my particular philosophy. There are always gifts and lessons to be gleaned so we can show up better in the future.

What more do you want to say about the workshop?

I have seen the transformative experience people have in the three hours. I encourage anyone who has any sort of desire to explore your sexuality to come, learn more—and not just about (sex). Sex is a doorway to create a more enriching experience in your life in a safe and nonjudgmental environment. And I'm so thrilled that my friends, the Movement Shala and Jade Beall, have opened their doors for me to give back to the community.