A New Year’s Pleasure Pledge
I am making a New Year’s pleasure pledge; in order to make it stick and to hopefully invite others to join me, I am saying it out loud.
I am shouting it from the rooftops, to the information highway, to various blogs, to my neighbors, to my friends and to anyone who is willing to listen.
This year, I am pausing for Pleasure, with a capital “P,” as in Pussy, as in Penis, as in Pleasure Parts and Pleasure Play.
Starting now, I resolve to pause for Pleasure.
Well, the story begins at the gynecologist’s office.
Indeed, I am taking all of you there, all the way there, stirrups and all. I was asking my doctor what to do if “down there” gets a little unhappy and irritated after repeated days of sex with my husband, like, let’s say three days in a row. She looks at me and says, “Wow, really? You guys are doing that?” Well, no, not regularly.
But I want to. Or, I want to be the person that wants to.
More importantly, given the location of this conversation, I want to be able to want to do it, without hesitation and without worrying if my vagina can take it. It has birthed three babies, so it seems a little unfair it gets hinky after a few days of sex.
Let’s be clear: there are a lot of other things getting in my way of having sex, a messy combination of scheduling and psychology and, at times, just not wanting to go there. I have some historic baggage I can’t seem to put down or leave behind, mostly involving participating in the world of sex too early and too often with not-so-nice people, including myself. For the moment, I will save all of that for my therapist…or future blogs.
The purpose of today’s pondering is to say: I know I have my shit and I am working on it—sometimes doggedly, sometimes not—and I know I am not alone here. I know there are so many of us out there with unfortunate, and often tragic, obstacles in the way of our pleasure and intimacy.
I know many of us just don’t want to go there. I know we are tired, so damn tired, some of us barely make it through the day. I also know we all have schedules that make sex sometimes feel like an impossibility. Or children who seem to always be present in our beds.
Still, given all of that, I remain surprised by my gynecologist’s reaction.
My pussy specialist, a woman who studies and promotes healthy pussy, is surprised I may have sex or want to have sex (or perhaps to be true to my reality, I want to be the girl who wants to have sex) with my husband, three days in a row. My mere mention of it gave her pause; my pelvic exam literally paused for her to take in my question.
Why have I fallen—why have so many of us fallen—into the spell that very little sex is okay? That depriving ourselves of sexual pleasure, of pussy pleasure, of penis pleasure, of parts and their pleasures is okay?
It’s not. It’s really not. And I don’t only mean partnered sex; I am including sex with yourself here.
Don’t get me wrong—I have also been under the spell, for far too many years. Not quite a year ago, I constructed the following “advertisement” after a series of amusing conversations with dear friends and family:
You may think this is a joke. It is not. I have either lost or misplaced my vagina. In fact, I am not sure the last place I had it.
I think it has been missing for awhile; I first noticed it was missing when I was trying to have sex with my husband. I realized I couldn’t feel anything.
I asked him to stop kissing me, as that was totally making it worse and I was sure I just needed to focus. But no, that didn’t work; no kissing and still no vagina.
I asked him instead to perhaps kiss the place where my vagina used to be, to see if I could feel anything. Nope, not that either.
Now, this was getting pretty mysterious. Hold on, I said, let me try. Nope, not that either. Well, hell, I wondered, where the heck did it go? Yet another mislaid item. And worse, I literally have no idea when I last had it.
Frankly, I don’t use it that much anymore, what with three children and not much interest in its capabilities at the moment. My husband hasn’t been using it either.
And now, I have literally checked everywhere. Underneath the couch pillows, in various coat and jean pockets, in the loose sock basket, in that drawer in the kitchen where everything else lives. I checked in the minivan, under the seats, in the boxes of Christmas ornaments, still waiting to be put back in the storage closet, in the kids’ craft area—surely a possibility. Nowhere.
I even asked them at Target to page it, just in case I left it there. No luck. I called the yoga studio. Not there either. I looked at the garden where I was last weeding. Not there, but if I had left it there, well, who knows where it could be now? Perhaps a squirrel buried it? Or a neighbor dog carried it away? I am sure the bunnies and deer wouldn’t be interested in it.
I am not sure anyone would really be interested in it, except, perhaps, my husband. But I have asked him, and he swears he doesn’t have it. He is hoping I find it. He has been looking now, too.
I looked at the toilet and worried; I really don’t know what to do about that possibility. The plunger?
I do suppose it could be hiding, that it is sulking somewhere in a corner, perhaps, angry at me. I have wandered around the house apologizing and saying nice things about it. I have had no success yet.
It is also possible it found a new home with someone who pays more attention to it, or it has flown the coop and run off with some floozy. My sister thinks she saw it flying over Whole Foods.
Perhaps it has joined a cult, the poor thing being used by some narcissistic nut job because I was such a bad mommy.
What if the Republican Party took it? Maybe they are serious about all that shit and it never was mine to begin with. What if it became a born-again Christian? Oh dear, it could be anywhere. Should I call the police? The “missing” milk carton people?
I need to calm down. And breathe. I am sure my vagina is fine, wherever it is, and clearly, I have been just fine without it. I will keep my wits about me and start with the neighborhood.
Please, if you find my vagina, would you call me? I don’t have a picture, but I think you may recognize it if you see it. It is probably pretty hairy by now; I apologize for that.
You don’t have to touch it. Just call. Tell it I am coming. Tell it to stay put. Tell it I promise to take better care of it. I think I will look into micro-chipping it, so at least this doesn’t happen again.
Almost everyone responded with hilarity and with tales of similarly lost vaginas.
My favorite cast my vagina as finding fame in Las Vegas as a merkin model. My mother, however, was more worried than amused: “What should we do about your vagina, dear?” Oh, mom, I’m just being silly. I pushed her concern away.
But now, I know she was right.
I realize I don’t want to be part of the no sex, no pleasure club anymore. I am worried now too, about myself a little, and about all of the mommies and non-mommies out there with lost vaginas. Whether partnered up, or not, with same or different parts, it seems like pretty dire straights if the pussy doctor is impressed by three days in a row.
We need to find more pause for pleasure.
For pussy. For penis (or cock, but that is C and it isn’t as fun to say as pussy). For our pleasure parts. I am trying to. I am going to work on all of the stuff that is getting in the way—even the hard stuff—for me.
For others, perhaps it isn’t. I don’t want to minimize anyone’s story, or reasons for avoiding intimacy—even with yourself—whether current or historic. If someone had told me two years ago—pause for pleasure—I may have punched them or rattled off a long list of why that was impossible, including scheduling and pieces of my personal story.
Or, as I responded to my mom, I may have belittled the importance of it.
So, perhaps this is my point: Whether you can get there or not, whether I can get there or not, it seems necessary, (va)ginormously so, to recognize the importance of pleasure and intimacy in our lives, on a regular basis.
To at least deeply know this and to refuse to allow ourselves to scuttle away from this knowing, and play pretend, quietly fibbing to ourselves pleasure isn’t that important, at least not right now. To refuse to allow scheduling and busy lives to be our excuse for not getting down—and connecting, physically and emotionally—with ourselves and our partners. To refuse to dismiss the importance of pleasure and intimacy, of parts and play, in our daily lives.
Because, what is sex, really? Safe, good sex. Whether solitary or partnered.
A retreat from the daily grind (or a retreat to a daily grind of a different sort). It is a loitering in your body, a lingering in your feelings, emotional and physical, following your breath, your own pleasure.
And, if you are lucky, a reveling there with the one you love. What is better than that? Healthier? More sustaining for self, and couple and family?
So, folks, it is time for a pleasure pause. For me. I am going to take one. Or three. Each week. And keep telling my doctor and other people about it.
I’m going to work to break the spell.
This is my pleasurable pledge: I am going to find pause for pleasure, for pussy, for penis, for pleasure parts and playtime.
Daisy Whittemore is a mom, wife, writer, yogi, yoga teacher, a recent blogger, and on a quest for life’s pauses, for the sweet spots—those moments, oftentimes slippery little cracks in the foundation of our daily lives—that give us pause, that don’t take our breath away, but give us breath. Just like those fleeting seconds at the top or bottom of your breath, between inhale and exhale, the pauses are always there, waiting for us to inhabit, explore, and experience. She hopes to encourage herself and those around her to find a little more pause in each day for silence, yoga, creativity, love, play, pleasure, or whatever it is that restores you. Find her on her website and on Facebook.
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Assistant Ed: Jennifer Spesia
Ed: Bryonie Wise