The Pleasure of Self-Love
Ok, so you know by now that you need to get this self-love sh*t on lock, right?
Bubble baths- check. Yoga class at least once a week- check. Green juice in the morning and green tea in the afternoon- check. Cutting down on caffeine and wine- check.
Maybe you’ve been through therapy and you’ve done “The Work” on learning to fall in love with yourself, build up your self-esteem, stop bending over backward for people who don’t deserve your time and to look in the mirror and like what you see.
Maybe you share inspirational quotes on Facebook and Instagram, and you make sure that you compliment other women. (High fives on the latter, by the way. Women need to spend more time building other women up because we are our own worst critics. #realwomenempowerwomen)
These are all awesome, because making self-care your priority, and focusing on self-love means that you are putting your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing first.
When your cup is full, then you can more easily give to those around you and have more fulfilling relationships with your friends, with your romantic partners, your family and of course, your one true love… YOU.
But, I believe that there’s one forgotten pillar of self-love that women either forget, or don’t think matters at all…
You probably know what I’m going to say… PLEASURE!
Because how can you really love yourself if you aren’t tuned into what feels good in the first place?
How can you really love yourself if deep down, you don’t feel like you deserve to feel all the yummy feels and pleasure that life can give you?
Pleasure is bad
We live in a sex-saturated, but pleasure-starved society
Whenever I speak about pleasure at talks, (which I do at every single talk I do, #geek), there is always at least one person in the room who questions whether too much pleasure is good for you. If we only pursued pleasure, that would mean we would be binge drinking, taking all the drugs, spending all our time on Netflix and not getting any work done.
I did a quick Google search looking for inspirational quotes about sensual pleasure and… it really wasn’t very friendly to pleasure.
“Sensual pleasures are like soap bubbles, sparkling, effervescent. The pleasures of intellect are calm, beautiful, sublime, ever enduring and climbing upward to the borders of the unseen world.”
John H Aughey
Or how about this one:
“Perhaps Westerners are in a better position to practice true renunciation than uneducated Orientals because most Western people, by the time they come to the Dharma, have led a pretty full worldly life with lots of sensual pleasures, money and lots of toys to play with. They have seen that the path of accumulation of worldly treasure does not lead to happiness or contentment. That’s why they come to the Dharma.”
The TL:DR (which stands for Too Long: Didn’t Read) is that anything pleasurable equals bad, sin, excess, hedonism, hurt, pain. What you *should* be striving for is more enlightened things like love, peace, calmness, generosity.
Pleasure = Bad
Self- sacrifice = Good
This isn’t new, by the way.
Living in the UK or the USA, we need to remember our roots in Puritanism and Catholicism. You know, sour-faced, serious, hard-working, and that suffering and pain mean that God loves you.
Or, as one of my Spanish friends who summarized Catholicism: Anything good is bad, and anything bad is good.
We’ve got hundreds of years of conditioning behind us, and this takes a long time to undo.
Good girls put their needs last
Somewhere along the line, you will have internalized the message that good girls and good boys work hard, sacrifice their needs, and put others before themselves. Which means that you probably have a messed up attitude towards pleasure and feeling good. Which then means that you have a hard time dropping down into your body, surrendering and receiving in the bedroom.
You will also have received the double-whammy of being socialized as a woman. Little girls are taught to be nice, polite, acquiescing, to take care of everybody else’s needs, and keep your opinions to yourself. These little girls grow into women who run around after everybody else, trying to look after everybody else’s needs and emotions except your own.
There is so much pressure on women to look sexy and attractive. You have to have the perfect body, do things that are “sexy” or “sensual”, and give your partner the blowjob that will blow his mind. But with no connection to yourself, your felt sense and what you actually want in the first place.
You really are at the bottom of your “To-Do” list, so is it any surprise that you feel tired, disconnected to your body, and resentful?
Pleasure is good for you
I have an alternative view, as both a sexologist, a wayward Tantra adventurer and woman who has had to heal her own crap about feeling good in her body:
Pleasure is medicine. Pleasure is good for you. Pleasure will heal you. Pleasure is the ultimate, radical act of self-love.
Pleasure is something that you feel in your body. It’s being really connected to your body, and deciding to choose what will bring you joy. It’s about tuning in, rather than numbing out.
It’s asking yourself, “What do I feel in my body? Where do I feel it? Where does it feel good? Can I focus just on that for a few moments more?”
I want to introduce the concept of Pleasure-ful-ness, which I talk about in my previous post here.
It’s like mindfulness- where you pay attention to sensation in the moment- but you focus on pleasurable sensations and allow yourself to enjoy them with all of your senses.
Make pleasure your daily practice
You then take this further by consciously choosing to cultivate pleasure and joy in your life. One thing I get my clients to do when I first start working with them is to keep a pleasure journal, and then make a list of everything that brings them joy and pleasure.
- Sensory pleasure: what you can see, feel, touch, taste, hear, and smell.
- Emotional pleasure: things you do that give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, or a feeling of satisfaction.
- Spiritual pleasure: feelings of calmness, stillness,
- Sexual pleasure: all the yummy things you can do with your body to awaken your sexual energy, drop into your body and become orgasmic.
Cultivating your pleasure means that you decide to put your pleasure first for a change. You commit to finding out exactly WHAT you like, WHERE and HOW. And then learning to communicate it to your partner(s).
It’s about choosing to listen to your body and go with what feels good.
It’s consciously deciding that today, I will feel as much pleasure as I can and I will enjoy all of the delicious sensations that life has to offer me.
Today, I will eat that chocolate cake as though I’m making love to it.
Today, I will put my feet up and wear snuggly socks that feel like velvet because it makes me feel good.
Today, I will circulate my hips, breathe and give love to my breasts because it’s actually my body in the first place and I can enjoy it. I will give myself half an hour with my vibrator, dildo or crystal wand because my sexuality is beautiful and self-pleasuring feels amazing.
Today, I will focus on what touch I really love and then give it to myself.
Today, I will wear this pair of jeans that makes my arse look peachy and plumptious, and then eye myself up whenever I have the chance.
This is real sensuality, and where pleasure starts.
Your pleasure permission slip
Take this as your permission slip to really focus on your pleasure, dive into it with all of your senses and make it your priority. Put pleasure into your self-care and self-love routine and refuse to feel guilty about it.
If you’re finally ready to embrace your sensuality, release your guilt about your sexuality and fill yourself up with so much pleasure that you can’t wait to share it with your partner, then it’s time you worked with a sex coach.
I love empowering women to awaken their eroticism, unleash their juiciness and ignite the spark back into their relationships again. Learn more about how I can help you here, and if you feel ready, apply for a free 20 minute call with me here.
To your pleasure-