Izabella Finch is an English comedian with a feminist agenda. She teaches sex education in a hilarious way through Pussy Tutorials. In addition, she sings songs accompanied by her ukulele.
How did you come up with your stage name Priestess Pussylicious?
Well you know priestess, in times gone by, in some ancient times there were priestesses who would teach people about sex by having sexual encounters with them. It was a place to learn and grow and become sexually initiated with these priestesses. So that’s why I chose priestess as opposed to miss or misses which has other connotations. And pussylicious, like bootylicious, or luscious has these connotations of empowering language and since I’m doing Pussy Tutorials it makes sense that my name is pussylicious. Priestess Pussylicious. My subject is empowering of the pussy.
Do you have a ritual to get into character?
I basically just put on my outfit and put my lipstick on, do my hair like this and start really thinking about the subject matter. Sometimes I’ll spend half the day before a gig just watching a documentary about female genital mutilation or watch educational YouTube videos about the sperm meeting the egg where they have these male orientated “warrior goes to find the egg” perspectives on the whole story which according to other studies isn’t the situation at all. I’ll watch these videos to get my mind in this state of considering alternative sexual educations. Then I’m ready, I’m in the zone.
Why have you chosen this outfit?
I like to have a slight edge of a dominatrix type feeling. Dominatrix/teacher/timeless. So, I have different periods in my clothing. I have a modern style pencil skirt, which could be from the 90s or it could be from the 80s. It doesn’t really fit in anywhere in particular. I have these cool tights which I love. These I think are modern style. And then I have these shoes, and those also I think could go in 80s with the platform, but then it’s also kind of the 90s. And it’s also a bit Goth. It’s just cool to mix up and not be clear, not to fit into any category. The blouse is Victorian but it’s also not at all Victorian and probably more 80s. The hair is inspired on teacher with a stick that also plays into the dominatrix style of role play and that of course mixes in with sexual connotations and of course porn because that’s what happens in porn. Sometimes you get a teacher saying, “you’re a naughty boy” and that kind of thing, which is why I keep my glasses on as well. It’s all just playing with people’s associations to different categories, but it does not fit in anywhere exactly. That means that priestess pussylicious is aloud to be shape shifting. Because she isn’t a clearly defined character from her costume, she can shape shift between being silly and funny to being strict and playing more the teacher. “No, don’t do that, I want you to do it like this. Now do it again.” And get the audience to do things. This just keeps it playful.
How did you discover that comedy was your calling?
I moved to Amsterdam and she was doing music and singing and gigs for a long time. She was also trained as a dancer and did lots of theatre as well. She was mainly promoting herself as a musician who talked a lot. Once or twice she hosted a few things in England. Like being an MC, and while she was an MC people started introducing her to other people like “This is Izabella, she is a comedian” and I was like “Huh? I am? OK… Sure I’m a comedian”. When she moved to Amsterdam somebody told her “You should get a gig at this place De Nieuwe Anita”. I know the programmer Ken Parsons, so I send him a message. I didn’t realize this show was a comedy night, so I just bragged myself “Oh I am a comedian, I just moved to Amsterdam and I’d like to have a gig if possible at your night”. I have sent an old link of something that I’ve done a few years ago and then he gave me a gig. So, then I had my first comedy gig in Amsterdam and that was the beginning.
When did you realize that you are a woman?
I’m a woman? What is a woman anyway? How do I define what a woman is? Who’s deciding what a woman is? Who’s defining a woman? What is a woman? I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m a woman. I don’t really know how to define a woman. I think I just went along with the idea of woman because that’s the way people are defining people with breasts and vaginas. For a long time, I was just like “Yeah I suppose I’m a woman then” but I didn’t really give it so much thought and I haven’t made a really defined, conscious decision that I am a woman. It feels a bit too conceptual for me to define my gender in such a way. I think before I’m woman or gendered, I just exist in a human form. Before anything I’m that and I don’t feel so strongly identified with gender. It’s not so much a deal. I know for some people it’s something they feel strongly about but I don’t feel so strongly about it. I recognise that my form, my human form, stimulates responses in the world and that it’s gendered. My form means that people describe it as woman and I see that it influences how they respond to me, that I tend to be sexualized and objectified. My breasts are for instance objectified. People tend to notice my beauty first before my intelligence. I prefer to be first identified as consciousness in a human form and I would prefer to avoid gender at all. I think it’s more beneficial. This might be a bit controversial, but I think we should just do away with gender at all. It’s so complex, so layered. Nobody in my mind is 100% one thing. I feel sometimes more sensual, earthy, soft and gooey, which isn’t necessarily female but kind of associates with the feminine. Sometimes I feel much more masculine and much more focussed, clear direction decision making, like chopping down with swords. But than you can also say that’s feminine. I prefer to see it like I’m a mixture of feminine principles, feminine essence, and a masculine essence like they speak of in ancient Chinese tradition. I can move to be more one than the other at different times.
How does this influence your sexuality?
My sexuality in terms of who I am attracted to also just changes. I might be attracted physically to a man or a woman or any different shape, size, whatever. I’m attracted to trees and animals and sometimes I really fancy a cat. It may not be sexually but sometimes I might be sexually turned on by the sea for instance. When I’m with the sea I can be really aroused by the nature of the sea moving in and out and caressing the shore. It’s sensual and sexy. So what sexuality is that? Eco sexuality! Actually, that’s the thing. I’m eco sexual because I’m attracted to nature, which includes people, animals, and the outside world, the sea, the trees, the sky, the rain and storms. Sometimes during a storm, I am so turned on by the whole energy of thunder and the rain coming down, the sound of the rain, feeling it on your skin. Running out when it’s raining and feeling the cold rain pouring down your body.
How does your biology influence your work?
Huge! I have this peace of anatomy between my legs called a vagina. Well, it has all different parts of it like the cervix and the inner and outer labia etc. But we can just call it pussy. I have a pussy between my legs and I have large breasts on my body and that means that my experience in the world has been from the perspective of existing inside this form. In this form I have experiences menstrual cycles, which affect my hormones. My hormonal balance changes through the month according to whether my uterus lining is breaking down, whether I’m ovulating or somewhere in between. My hormones are adapting and changing according to my menstrual cycle so that affects how I perceive my world and how I’m being perceived by the world. When I’m ovulating, if I’m not totally crazy stressed, I’m giving off pheromones and I generally feel more confident and I want to be flirting with people, I fancy everybody and everything. Life is just alive and I’m all over everything and my pussy is enlarged and wet and ready for sex at any moment. That has been my experience among many others. I noticed that friends with similar biology experience on this planet in the Western world, in Western Europe, are treated in a certain way by people of other genders or different biology. We are treated in different ways because of the assumption about our biology. The world that I live in, in Western Europe, portrays in the media a few acceptable forms of being in my biology: that I need to be sexy, and then they describe to me what sexy should look like and what’s acceptable as sexy. Then I’m prescribed what my body shape should be that includes a certain range of acceptable body types. Then I’m told to sanitize my menstrual cycle when I’m bleeding. The media tells that I should be able to do all the things I do when I’m not bleeding, when I’m bleeding, which according to my experience is totally not what I want to do. I don’t want to go to a club when I’m bleeding. I might have cramps; my hormones are telling me to be on my own and maybe cry a bit or hang out in my bed and rest. My legs sometimes ache. I tend to be weaker, so I don’t want to run as much when I’m bleeding. I was basically told that my body is dirty when I’m bleeding, I should sanitize it and keep it away, nobody should know. “Oh, I have my tampon in, so nobody can tell that I’m on my period”. It’s totally secret, like a magic trick. Fuck that! Basically, I was never told that I would feel different emotions at different times of the month, how to self care and look after my body, that it’s ok that I don’t want to go out and about when I’m on my period, that it might seriously affect my emotions. That wasn’t really talked about. I never learned that in school. The education in school about my menstrual cycle was totally shit and than also the media gave me a certain image that was totally not what I was experiencing. My experience wasn’t matching what my expectations were. So, I had to go on my own journey of discovery to learn how I relate to my biology. I had to break down internalized oppression to come to what I would describe as a healthy relationship with myself so that I can focus on my life and feel what I desire without being constantly blocked by thought about my diet, or my body shape, or whether I am going to be attractive to anyone. My personal experiences with my biology influence my show in many ways. The whole Pussy Tutorials is about how my biology influence my work. I focus on my personal biology to bring about empowerment for other people who share similar biology to mine but my ultimate intention with The Pussy Tutorials is to empower everybody sexually, to open the conversation of what is intimacy.
Why did you create The Pussy Tutorials?
I wrote The Pussy Tutorials as an alternative sex education. I’ve had a lot of different sexual experiences in my life, not loads but different ones, and I noticed a theme with myself and with friends (people with vaginas). There was a kind of dissatisfaction with the knowledge that people with penises (so this is a hetero situation I am specifically talking about) have of the vagina. In my personal experience I’d have quit a lot of situations where I’d become intimate with someone, maybe starting to make out, and really fast they would put a hand on my pussy and start trying to stimulate me before they touched my breasts, before we taken our clothes off, if we’ve just been kissing for 30 seconds and this was just not in line with the feeling that was happening for me. I noticed a pattern that there is seemingly no kind of general anatomical and sexual knowledge of the person with a vagina and needs of this human form. I also noticed that there are probably lots of assumptions from watching porn or hearing stories from each other. My encounters would often feel kind of pornographic. A kind of feeling I would have that I am there to be fucked would happen sometimes. That of course completely shuts me down and I want to turn away and be like “This is horrible!” However sometimes I do want to be fucked, but when I want to be fucked I want to be able to surrender to the feeling. It’s not often when I’m like “Fuck me now!” immediately. It’s more like: I feel comfortable with the person, we soften down, than something is going on for long time, then maybe he’s been inside me for a while, and then there might be a moment when I can feel like I can surrender to this person, that I trust this person enough to let them fuck me. I’m saying fuck because it feels more like sub and dom, and the person with the penis would be more dominant than me who would be submissive. But it takes a lot of trust to enjoy that situation. So that’s kind of going into detail into one reason, but basically overall there was a lack of sensitivity in the sexual situation. I was experiencing the projection of idea of porn and the assumption that if you just touch the vagina the woman is going to be turned on, or just a lack of education about the anatomy of the vagina. Every single vagina is completely different. Every single pussy has a completely different wired neural network around the clitoris which goes inside her body and isn’t this tiny button on the outside. All this knowledge seemed to be completely absent for some people or they were just not able to at least just be still, calm down and be present and be slow enough in their presence that it would happen automatically without having to intellectually understand or know stuff. The potential to know something just by listening very deeply is also possible but this was often absent in my experiences. I was hearing similar stories from friends. These experiences in sexual relations were putting me and my friend off and motivated me on an unconscious level, it wasn’t even that conscious at first, to speak about these things and I’ve been doing that for years.
What is your task as Priestess Pussylicious?
As Priestess Pussylicious I have a theory that if we can heal our sexually intimate relations with each other, this is really a key to unlock a lot more than just the sexual door. The sexual is so linked with deep, ancient fears, the lizard brain and instincts. Because it’s linked so deep into our minds and beings, if we can heal and bring love, sensitivity, understanding and compassion into our life and consciousness, into sexual situations, that unlocks the door into an unknown space. And unknown space I see as something only positive. There would be a ripple effect in our whole culture, in our whole political systems, in our communities and our friendships. The level of compassion would expand if our relationship to ourselves, our bodies and sexuality as well as each other’s bodies as sexual objects and our concepts of sex. Currently we are screwed up. There is extreme repression and on the other hand we are extremely sexualized. Most of the internet is pornography and yet when you are in a sexual situation someone can be extremely repressed and perform porn to you. People of all genders are inundated with these ideas of what sex is and what sex should look like. Yet we are totally out of touch with actual feeling. The number of women that can’t orgasm, that did not have an orgasm is hugely out of balance in sex. Therefore, I think if we can find some way to grow and treat sex as something very precious and important, who knows what that’s going to open up and how that’s going to affect all aspects of our lives. That’s the other reason why I made The Pussy Tutorials.
In your performance series the Pussy Tutorials you propose to use a cucumber as a dildo because you don’t want to put crude oil in your vagina. Can you go into depth how capitalism controls female sexuality?
Well I’ll just focus on the dildo because I think I talked a lot about female sexuality more generally. So, this little piece about the cucumber dildo is highlighting a more, I would say, eco feminist and eco sexual aspect of the show. Dildos became big around the same time as the pill, although dildos are ancient. We’ve been using dildos for centuries but in modern time lots of them are made of plastic. Plastic is made from oil. Oil is an addictive substance of capitalism. Capitalism now runs a lot on oil and the oil industry is causing wars. People are going to war over oil and pretending it’s about something else. Another layer is that if we talk from a metaphysical, mythological, symbolic language, the Earth is a feminine, she creates, she is reborn, she has volcanoes, she shapeshifts, she is forever creating and dying, and this is what the vagina, the uterus, the womb does. It creates life, gives off seeds and then the blood it dies every month. In my experience that’s also the cycle of my mind. I have this opportunity with my blood to let go, to die. So therefore, in The Pussy Tutorials I’m bringing this symbology in line with the story of capitalism that is happening now which is where we are having a world full of mainly white men who basically rape the Earth, Mother Earth who’s a feminine. They are pulling out her resources, they are sucking her dry. At the same time the Earth can be described as the self. In quantum understandings and the Gaia hypothesis which is being accepted more and more as a fact. We are the Earth, and if we are the Earth look at how we are self destructing and how much self destructiveness there is in the ways we sexualize each other or choose to eat, or the ways that media is promoting us to be self destructive and deny the actual experience of our self to desire something else. This attitude is being reflected in the way the Earth is being destroyed to gain… what, is unclear to me. The symbology of my vagina and than the dildo made from the plastic that’s been raped from planet Earth which is a mother and then this is made into this so-called liberating act to be able to stimulate myself with this plastic. I mean its self explanatory. Why would I make love with myself with something that’s raped the Mother Earth, my mother I belong to, the self that I am. Am I just raping myself in the end? This is a depth to really consider in these times when I believe that we need to be getting radical with our thinking and with our actions. The understanding of quantum physics and quantum mechanism is that the level of every action influences something else is beyond our minds concept. We have no idea where our actions are having an effect. If I’m choosing to purchase a plastic dildo in stead of a cucumber, I’m choosing rape over self care. A cucumber, if it’s organic, hasn’t used any chemical fertilizers, it’s just growing in the Earth. I can eat it afterwards or compost it and feed the Earth again. It’s detoxifying and healthy and it does the same this as a dildo. So, there you go, we can liberate ourselves with much more depth. If I liberate myself by making love to myself with a cucumber, I’m making love to MESELF, my bigger self. I’m making love to the Earth, I’m making a stand. This is activism!
Your song about the moon cup is entertaining and educating. In the end of the song you promote buying a moon cup for yourself and your mom. What is the urgency behind such songs?
Tampons and sanitary towels are polluting the planet. Moon cups and other menstrual cups are a lot less polluting and last a lot longer. Now there are even biodegradable ones, so when you do throw it away it degrades eventually. There is a huge urgency with that because the planet Earth is being choked by all our plastic goods. If every person who has a period uses sanitary towels and tampons every month, all over the planet, that’s a hell a lot of waste going into the oceans or wherever they end up. It’s clogging up some kind of pipe somewhere. Since we have the option to use silicone menstrual cups instead, which last 30 years, hell yes! Let’s just move everyone away from sanitary towels and tampons on to mooncups because we are in that desperate situation on this planet. Animals are dying, whole species are going extinct. We are on the brink of extinction. The climate is changing, and we don’t know how that’s going to affect us. We don’t know what’s going to be happening in 50 years. If I can do this tiny little act, by spending 25 euro’s or whatever on a cup in stead of using sanitary towels and tampons. I’m going to do that, and I’m going to share that and spread that knowledge so that other people can make that choice to.
How did this song come about?
One day I was boiling my moon cup and I started to sing very spontaneously “Boiling up my moon cup, boiling up my moon cup” and from there I created the rest of the song. That was it. It’s kind of simple. I though it was kind of funny because it’s to the tune of Stir it up by Bob Marley. He’s talking about sex and I’m talking about my moon cup.
What about the song about the pussy, where you sing “lick me out, lick me out”? What is the message behind it?
The intension behind this song is to liberate people with vaginas who have ever felt inhibited to say what they desire. Specifically, with being licked out, or eaten out, however you want to say it, because I know from my own experience and from speaking with other people that this can be a bit of a taboo to ask for pleasure. More generally to ask for pleasure, but this is just focusing in on this potentially wonderful experience of receiving pleasure in this way. It can be a whole event of itself as I repeat all the time in The Pussy Tutorials. I think that’s underestimated to what extend that can literally be a whole event of itself, it can last 20 minutes or however you want it to last and you don’t have to penetrate afterwards. I’ve never been with women sexually, so I don’t know but I guess that it’s less of a deal. You know you can lick each other out for hours if you want, but I think people with penises maybe don’t realize that. It’s also generally not represented in porn. Just bring back creativity. So basically, the aim is to be able to say “LICK ME OUT. I want to be licked out. I want it now!” Also, in the song I say “My pussy likes honesty, she doesn’t take no lies, so you better speak the truth with your face between my thighs. My pussy likes generosity, she doesn’t take compromise, be prepared to bare your soul with your nose deep in my bow.” And I’m just demanding respect for this area off my body which in so many ways in our society and our culture, isn’t given respect, in other cultures too. It is totally downgraded, I mean cunt is a derogative term, but the cunt is between my legs. Also, pussy has been a derogative term, but people are reclaiming the word pussy as an empowering term. I used pussy as a title in the show to reclaim the language. Basically, it’s to say, “Give my body respect that it deserves.” One more thing from the song lyrics “My pussy got power when she opens like a flower, you’re lucky to be blessed by her holy shower.” This is to bring back ancient beliefs that the juice that flows from the vagina holds a lot of sacred energy that’s going to give whoever drinks it this divine source of energy. Now there are a lot of images in porn of women squirting everywhere and it’s not very clear what’s so good about the squirting and there’s also a lot of shame for women around squirting because the science world is finding it very difficult to discover if it’s really cum or if it’s pee. I mean for fucks sake, another expression of oppression of female sexuality. So, this is a song to empower women who might feel that they can’t ask to be licked out when they want to be or stay there longer, give me some respect, you’re not just going to do a bit then come up for air and think you’re going to penetrate me suddenly. Is my vagina actually ready? Give me some damn respect! Show me your creativity. Show me how much you love to lick out the vagina. Show me how much you love me. Show me how much fun you can have down there with your tongue. And then when I cum, this is a blessing. I’m showering onto you. It’s also a blessing that I feel relaxed and comfortable enough to open to the level that I can cum. Because cumming isn’t just like a skill, in my experience it requires me to relax to the extent that I have no control anymore and I’m just surrendering to the feeling, and that’s when I cum. I’m in a non-dual experience surrendering to this person between my legs giving me their creativity through their tongue. That’s a beautiful thing. That’s a powerful thing. That’s what this song is about.
Your work attempts to liberate women from the insecurities surrounding their bodies. Would you say that you have a political agenda?
Yeah. I have an agenda. This is revolution! I don’t separate politics, economics, ecological affairs, gender politics, sociology, psychology. So yes, I suppose I have a political agenda. I think everything is political. Everything is also economical. Everything is ecological. It’s impossible to separate them in my worldview. The media is involved in politics and economics, because I’m encouraged to buy bras that make my boobs look a certain way so that I’m attractive to men, which is then psychological because I think that I should be attractive in a certain way. And it just loops and cycles around. You can’t separate them.
Would you call yourself a feminist?
Nah, I’m not a feminist. I am an eco beyond feminist. Let’s just move on from isms completely. I just want liberation for all beings. I want liberation for men, women, in betweens, trans, a gender, anyone of any gender, I don’t want liberation only for the animals or whatever. We need to just liberate full stop. Everything, full stop.
When did you first realize this?
For some reason this memory is coming to mind. When I was about 9 and I was driving in a car with my grandparents and I was in the back seat. We were in the countryside driving on a new road. I remember imagining myself as the Earth with roads of concrete all over my skin. My next thought was that the concrete roads were inhibiting my skin to breath. So, then my next thought was “Why did humans decide to make these roads? Didn’t they see that they were stopping the Earth from breathing through her skin?” Of course, I asked this question to my grandparents and they said, “We need to build roads so that cars can drive on them”. What I couldn’t articulate then was that everything belongs to everything else. Everything is completely interrelated. I clearly had an innate belief that we need to care for everything, that we’re not separate from anything and caring for the planet, for each other, for our bodies, other animals, is caring for ourselves. There been moments when I would probably identify more with being a feminist but then I just kind of think that maybe feminism is just about the liberation of all things. The definition of feminism is changing all the time, so I rather just not identify with any kind of ism but maybe just liberation of all beings.