Responsible Hedonism—Where the Fun Begins. {Adult} ~ Sheri Testerman

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on Jan 8, 2013
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I was becoming a Responsible Hedonist, deliberately creating experiences with the intention of pleasuring myself and others.

When I first heard the words “responsible” and “hedonism” together, it sounded like a contradiction. It was such an unusual use of language. Yet, it was thought-provoking for me when I first heard of the concept years ago, and since then has been a pivotal idea for me in my journey as a woman exploring her sensuality—as a student, and now as a teacher and researcher living a pleasure-oriented life.

Initially the concept of Responsible Hedonism seemed full of contradictions. For me, hedonism was one of those emotionally charged words that conjured up wild images in my mind about having unrestrained sexual indulgence. Or participating in wanton orgies where anything goes. At the same time, I was 26 years old and responsibility in my mind was all about duty, obligation or burden that I had to fulfill.

“How could these two things possibly go together?” I was thinking .

I learned in a course that from a sensualist’s perspective, hedonism means “the pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses.”

It was further explained that hedonism is actually an ethical point of view that has the pursuit of pleasure as the highest goal. The concept of ethical hedonism is said to have been started by a student of Socrates, Aristippus of Cyrene. He held the idea that pleasure is the highest good. He “believed that pleasure, which included physical pleasure, love, mental pleasure, moral happiness, and friendship, was the most important motivation for behavior.”

In essence, Responsible Hedonism means creating a pleasurable existence for all—including yourself—and doing what it takes to have that happen.

I had never been encouraged to pursue pleasure as a way of life, let alone an honorable goal to strive towards and create for other people.

This concept got me thinking, with all the conditioning I had as a woman in our culture, I would rarely ask for the sensual experiences I wanted. Instead, I would wait for my man to give me the signals: a certain look, an offer—I would wait for him to make the moves. This would only get me so far in having sensual experiences. I wanted to have more sex, I wanted profound sexual experiences but I was certainly not going to ask for them.

I had never considered being responsible for my own pleasure. To actually say what I want and ensure that I have what I want? The idea of being a Responsible Hedonist was turning me on. I realized it could be used as a tool to have what I want and desire, not only sexually, but in other areas of my life as well.

And this is where the fun really began for me in my own pursuit of living pleasurably.

I learned four basic steps in being a Responsible Hedonist. To this day, these are the steps I use:

First, to create a deliberate pleasurable experience, I decide to do it. I decide what it is that I want to have, whether it’s going out to dinner, making out, or just taking a walk together. Figuring out what I want usually has a settling effect on my mind, I can focus in on creating a pleasurable experience for myself instead of just being overwhelmed (or even underwhelmed) with the huge buffet of choices in front of me. Deciding what I want doesn’t mean it’s set in stone, either. Often times, the experience I started going towards changes and morphs into an experience beyond what I could possibly have imagined. By keeping in communication with my partner, I can continue to have the experiences that I want. The first step of deciding gets the gears in motion.

Second, I decide to plan to do it, which includes deciding to enjoy the process of planning it. I talk with my partner beforehand about the experience I want to have. I enjoy the anticipation of knowing I am going to have what I want. Since my partner knows what I want, he is right there with me all along the way. This builds intimacy and a feeling of connection and closeness between us that enriches our relating with one another exponentially.

Third, I decide to enjoy doing it. By choosing to enjoy, I get to take pleasure in whatever happens and the experience is winning for both me and my partner from the start. Part of this, is that I talk while having the experience. This way, I have the opportunity to acknowledge all along the way what is happening and what I am feeling in present time. Acknowledging what I am enjoying and appreciating keeps the good feelings flowing throughout.

Forth and finally, I enjoy thinking about it afterward, which includes talking to my partner. When I communicate about what I experienced with him, it is like sucking the marrow out of the bones of life. It is quite enjoyable to savor the experience I just had by saying what I was pleasured by.

It sounds simple, but to deliberately plan the sexual or sensual experiences that I wanted to have was brand new and absolutely thrilling for me. I was feeling a sense of freedom.

I was no longer waiting for all the planets and the stars to line up to have what I wanted. I was becoming a Responsible Hedonist, deliberately creating experiences with the intention of pleasuring myself and others. At the same time there was no way I could predict everything that was going to happen, so spontaneity still occurred.

Life became much more interesting to me.

I decided to do it. I had been thinking about it for 3 days and nights. I’d wake up with him on my mind. I’d go to sleep with him on my mind. I’d been thinking about his cock, his body. I’d fantasize about feeling him in my hands. I’d play it out in my daydreams, the setting, the room, making my proposition. How should I say it? I’d roll the different combination of words together imagining his response to each. Knowing soon I would have my pleasure with his body I felt my desire rise even more.

I told him my plan and we made a date. I enjoyed getting ready; adding sensual touches to the room, putting on my favorite chemise, picking out music he likes. Parts of my daydreams were coming to life. When he arrived, I led him to the bedroom and as I undressed him I took in his scent. I made us both comfortable with lots of pillows. I warmed the lube in my hand and then told him “I’m going to touch you now.” I stroked him, peaking him throughout, taking pleasure from the way my hands felt wrapped around him. I told him how much I enjoyed smelling his musky scent, I verbally noted the range of colors I saw in his cornea. I let him know how delicious he felt in my hand. I was deliberately pleasuring him, I was deliberately pleasuring myself.

Afterwards, we snuggled together wrapped in blankets while sipping a glass of red wine. We gave each other frames of our pleasure together. I described to him how much sensation I could feel in my hands. There was one peak in particular where I felt a deep contraction ripple through his cock and the sensation rippled throughout my whole body; I felt heat in my chest and sweat broke out on my upper lip. I told him how silky the texture of his skin felt. How the heat would rise in my pussy when I took him on high peaks. I told him how much pleasure I felt in my own body while pleasuring his body. I thanked him for the experience, for the fun and told him how much I looked forward to doing it again.

Responsible Hedonism—where the fun is!


Sheri-Testerman-120x120One of the founding instructors of the Welcomed Consensus, Sheri Testerman believes in expanding fun, friendship and sex through a new model of orgasm; a model based on female orgasm that is inclusive and has people win. By advancing the sensual frontier in her own life for over 25 years, she has experienced what it takes to have continuously gratifying relationships and live a fun life. Together with her fellow instructors, she teaches Deliberate Orgasm, offering courses and retreats that include a demonstration of a one hour orgasm. You can find Sheri on Facebook or email [email protected]

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82 Responses to “Responsible Hedonism—Where the Fun Begins. {Adult} ~ Sheri Testerman”

  1. Brenda says:

    What a great story Sheri! It turned me on. I love your description of DOing him. Thank you for introducing me to Deliberate Orgasm.

    It changed our sex life for ever and to this day we keep having more fun on a daily basis.

    I remember the day we watched your first video Deliberate Orgasm: Expanding Female Orgasm and decided to practice DOing for the first time: an orgasm neither one of us will ever forget!

  2. Laura says:

    I too love this story. So fun and sexy.
    Brenda, what is the video you are talking about?
    Is this the one:
    Let me know, I would love to watch it too.

    • Sheri says:

      Love to hear what you think of the video, Laura.
      Thank you!

    • Brenda says:

      My apologies for the delayed reply. Yes, that is the first video we watched together. It not only gives the foundation to get started with the Deliberate orgasm Practice, it also shows a woman (we know) being brought and maintained in orgasm for over 20 minutes! It was life changing for us.
      My other favorite after that is the technique of Peaking and extended orgasm that gives the tools to do just that.
      Have fun!
      Deliberate Orgasm – The Technique of Peaking & Extended Orgasm.

  3. Lis says:

    I could relate to what Sheri was saying about hedonism as unrestrained sexual indulgence, that's a good word for it, indulgence seems to imply over-indulgence as a contradiction to responsibility…As I was reading her story, i got it though, she had this appetite, this desire and she was actively going after it, fulfilling her desires with her man. Sometimes it feels like everyone is waiting for all the right circumstances in order to have a good time, i could see how she was feeling her desire and not waiting, anticipating but not waiting, and then she was making it a reality.

  4. Cedric says:

    It was fun to hear the concept. of responsible hedonism and then hear the frames of Sheri’s actual experience doing it.

    I went back and reread it again I liked how she laid out the steps to get the most out of a sensual experience.

  5. Barb says:

    holy crap! how validating! I came out of a 20 year marriage and decided i wanted more of a say in my pleasure, from the date to the bedroom, it took some doing to be bold and decisive, often wondering at what point am i falling into a place which might lead to guilt or shame or to becoming overly controlling. But that little voice kept telling me to trust myself and little by little it fell into place, who i will let in, when and how i will let them in and what we will do when we get there. Thank you for this wonderful article.

  6. @yvonnewray says:

    How fun! I enjoyed how you put the contradictions to rest and then sweep us into such a sensational application of responsible hedonism.

  7. sheri says:

    Thank you, Yvonne!

  8. Randall says:

    Great story Sheri.
    To hear a woman speak with total abandon for her pleasure is inspiring. If only I knew this stuff in my previous marriage, my life would look different today. I'll be sure to look up the video others mentioned above. Your web site looks quite interesting as well.
    Thanks EJ for posting good stuff!

  9. Stanley says:

    I always suspected that I might be a hedonist and the way you describe it here, it feels like that's an okay thing to be. Haha.

  10. sheri says:

    Hi Randall – thank you for reading and posting your thoughts, I appreciate it!
    I'd be happy to talk more if you ever want to…

  11. Vivienne T. says:

    This is the second article I have read from Sheri Testerman. Her style of writing makes me feel like I learned something powerful and at the same time I got to know this woman. That's special. Very fun to read. Bring it on, Sheri!

  12. George says:

    Reading this was such an awakening for me. I've always been the kind of guy who would wait for things to happen to me, because hey, if I wait long enough surely SOMEthing will happen. It always has. I was the youngest of three kids and the only boy, so yeah, of course I always got what I wanted. But now I'm well beyond what most people consider young and desirable. These four steps to creating pleasurable experiences seem obvious at first but actually carrying them out would make such a huge difference in the way I live. You drove the point home when you said the phrase "creating a pleasurable existence for all, including yourself, AND DOING WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE IT HAPPEN". Thank you!!!

  13. So thrilled to put a word to this! I like that we start by seeking deliberate pleasure in a number of areas. After a particularly sensational orgasm, my partner asked a couple of days later what I might want that I hadn't asked for. It threw me off guard initially. But, he wanted to hear me articulate what I wanted from him, from and for us. It was pretty amazing.
    I'm a convert.

    • Sheri says:

      Sounds like you got one good man there!
      I like how you put it, "he wanted to hear me articulate what I wanted from him, from and for us"…for us!
      Thank you fro reading and posting, Walker.

  14. Lynne says:

    Oh wowee! I agree with George, the steps seemed really obvious when I first read them. But, after I let it settle in my mind for a sec, I considered how I've never really lived this way. I like the idea of CHOOSING everything, the whole experience throughout, and CREATING the experience that I'm wanting. This is a fun way to look at things. And, what a sex frame at the end! Gee. Got me all warm inside.

  15. Alexa says:

    Wow, not only do I feel inspired, I feel liberated from hearing about this woman's experience about how to have all the sex she wants by talking about it openly and honestly with her partner. I no longer am going to wait around for the sex to "just happen" or for my lover to read my mind. I like the straightforward approach of "doing what it takes to make it happen." and knowing my boyfriend, I think he will too.

  16. Jess says:

    She is using all the same concepts and even language that has been used in Morehouse courses for over 40 years. I had heard that she had taken Morehouse courses years ago before creating the Welcomed Consensus. These concepts have had quite an impact on my life also. My wife was born and raised in Morehouse with all of these concepts, so our relationship began with the ideas of responsible hedonism, DOing, deliberate dates, and so on.

  17. Jess says:

    I am so glad that this information is being shared through different organizations. The more people sharing the better.

    • Sheri says:

      Hi Jess,
      Yes, indeed, I took courses from More University. I am grateful to so many there…Brian, Vic, Cindy, Kassy, Jackie, Vera, Steve, Susie, Diana, Joy…I'm still in love with Brian.
      Life is good let's continue to celebrate!
      Thank you for reading and posting, Jess.

  18. Monika says:

    Whew! What a thrill that was to read… especially that last bit. <3 Love the idea of pleasure being moral, and why wouldn't it be if we are fully integrated and trust our bodies, ourselves, and each other? Thanks for your work exploring pleasure, Sheri!

    • Sheri says:

      Thank you for reading and posting, Monika.
      You know I'm a big fan of yours……you have a fabulous sex positive radio show, informative and diverse.
      I love what you do!

  19. Dave says:

    What a fantastic read!

    What a different world we’d live in if we all took responsibility for our own pleasure. I certainly look forward to more pleasure in my own life!

    Thanks Sheri!


  20. david garbacz says:

    love this article. pleasure is the medicine for what ails us.

  21. affinity mingle says:

    Responsible Hedonist…I love that phrase. How could that not be good. To want to, to be committed to, to have the intention to have a pleasureable life.

    Beautifully written. Thank you.

  22. Lisa C says:

    This is such an inspirational piece. At first I too thought "responsible hedonism" there must be a hitch. After reading the concepts, which were so clearly and concisely laid out, in this article it clicked and I felt turned on! What a simple yet profound way to experience this one life we are all blessed with. I want hear and learn more! Thank you for this.

    • Sheri says:

      Thank you, Lisa, for writing your thoughts.
      "…way to experience this one life we are all blessed with"…I like this, blessed indeed.

  23. Laura Roc says:

    Sheri, you are an Inspiration .
    I like how well thought out your choices to create pleasure are and what is behind them. I learned something new here about Aristippus of Cyrene.the student of Socrates. I Like I like, and also agree and believe Its the world we are all wanting to really create deep down if we only all knew how. And also had the courage. …. And when you say
    "I enjoy the anticipation of knowing I am going to have what I want. " …. This about you inspires me deeply Sheri . And also that you laid out the how …in clear fun steps so that i may create and choose this for myself.
    I took screen shots and saved them to my smart phone and will indeed refer back to them as reference 🙂
    Please write more XO Laura

    "I enjoy the anticipation of knowing I am going to have what I want. "

  24. Denise says:

    I like your description of the “responsible hedonism” paradox. How could I enjoy sensual pleasure while being deliberate hadn’t entered my mind before I’d met you. Being deliberate builds the sensation and creates a more enjoyable experience then if I had been spontaneous waiting for the right moment. As a woman it’s been hard for to ask for what I want. I like the 4 step plan. I realized that of never given too much thought to what I want. It has opened limitless possibilities. Thank you!

  25. Matt says:

    "Responsible Hedonism" is a great concept. "Creating a pleasurable existence for all," as Sheri puts it, really seems to be the point of all the work and obligation we think of when we usually think of 'responsibility', anyway. So why think of responsibility as the opposite of pleasure, when they really go hand in hand? We can take responsibility for our pleasure, and take pleasure in our responsibilities. Great stuff.

    • Sheri says:

      "We can take responsibility for our pleasure, and take pleasure in our responsibilities." …I like this, Matt.
      Thank you for reading and posting!

  26. Loren says:

    Wonderful descriptions, both on the basic steps of Responsible Hedonism as well as how deliciously being a Responsible Hedonist played out. Your four steps make the process so simple, yet the results are profound and life-altering.

    An inspiring reminder that a deliberate pleasurable experience (and pursuing pleasure as an integral part of life) begins with a decision to do it. Thank you so much. Time to go home and do some homework.

  27. […] and the woman who wrote this article: Responsible Hedonism […]

  28. Karen says:

    Sheri, I so enjoyed this article, and I hope there are more to come. I have appreciated you as a sensuality teacher since I met you in 1995. You and the Welcomed Consensus gave me numerous viewpoints that helped changed my life. My life has become more pleasurable and fun thatnks to you!

  29. Sheri says:

    Thank you, Karen, for reading and posting.
    It's been a pleasure to be connect over all these years!

  30. Rachel says:

    I love this idea. It makes so much sense- being responsible for one’s own pleasure and doing what it takes..what a game-changer. thank you.

  31. Lala says:

    What a fun article. Love how clearly it states the steps. I was getting turned on reading it!

  32. […] it can be quite liberating or the only place one feels free to literally ‘let it all hang out.’ For some people who […]

  33. Logan says:

    "When I first heard the words 'responsible' and 'hedonism' together, it sounded like a contradiction," that's both the way Sheri Testerman begins her article for elephant journal about the pleasures we can have in life if only we ask and seek for them, and also the probable cause for many when it comes to living fulfilling lives.

    In an age of increasing mobility and ease of communication, people still seem so caught up. They were taught, wrongfully, that pleasure is sin and to be a responsible adult is to restrict one's life to banality. That's my view, and I'm not sure Sheri shares that view, but in her article she tells her story of coming to terms with the want, and perhaps the need, for letting go and reaching for the things truly wanted.

    Sensuality is an art associated with fantasy, it seems, but all that is fantasy is just society saying no against nature saying yes. Let happiness and desire manifest themselves in the here and now and don't wait until later because you'll never know, as Sheri points out, what that desire truly is. Our initial wants might be our fears, but they're unlikely to ever actually be rejected in full, and perhaps the process of trying for it will lead down new paths of sensuality and mutual pleasure as yet unknown to you.

    Sheri Testerman and other members of my extended family, and their friends, have made it their mission, with the Welcomed Consensus, to broaden the scope and the understanding of pleasure for all. Only if we continue to ignore or deny our wants, our physical and emotional needs, will they continue to haunt us rather than giving us the reward.

    Whether it be for the moment, or a lifelong pursuit, read this article and others like it and don't fear from the oppression you were taught, but embrace the person you wish to be.

  34. Patti T says:

    Great article! If you think about it… look at the alternatives… accidental hedonism, irresponsible hedonsism, anti-hedonism (being a sour-puss) some or all of the time, deliberatiely or by accident… you get the picture. What a great way to live!

  35. […] year, I am pausing for Pleasure, with a capital “P,” as in Pussy, as in Penis, as in Pleasure Parts and Pleasure […]

  36. Daka Dan says:

    I wish more people understood this concept; especially women. I find it a huge turn-on to me when a women sometimes leads and seeks her desires in an unashamed way. Women seeking their desire is not a bad thing as our society might think. Whose story is that anyway and why would anyone buy into that.

  37. Ruth says:

    Sheri – thanks for such a great article, and the reminder about being deliberate in pursuing pleasure, whatever that pleasurable activity might be. Having a goal of pleasure in everything we do is definitely my mantra. The experiences and training I have had from both Morehouse and The Welcomed Consensus comprise the foundation for how I live my life.

  38. Suzanne says:

    Thank you Sheri for such a wonderful article! It really connected with me. I used to be afraid to ask for what pleasured me and when I was given the opportunity to express myself, I was just to shy to ask. It took some time to realize that as a woman I can be participant as well as a creator in pleasure. Now being older I inadvertently have become a "Responsible Hedonist". I love and really enjoy being with my partner. We've created some amazing moments together and plan to have many more. "Responsible Hedonism" is the only way to go!!!!

    • Sheri says:

      Hi Suzanne – thank you so much for reading and posting.
      It's fun to feel your joy and enthusiasm.
      "It took some time to realize that as a woman I can be participant as well as a creator in pleasure. …amazing moments together and plan to have many more."

  39. Richard says:

    Nice how you state four deliberate steps one can take in creating pleasurable experiences and then go straight into the example of planning a sexual experience with your man. Its both refreshing and revealing to hear what actually happens in a woman's mind, or at least what could happen in a woman's mind when she is being deliberate about creating more pleasure in her life. From the moment you said "I decided to do it, you can feel the energy and desire starting to build out of this powerful act of deciding, which then arranges the random particles of your existence all in the direction of bringing this experience about. Making a date with him is also a powerful act, i.e. deciding to plan to do it. I led him to the bedroom and undressed him and took in his scent, and feeling my hands wrapped around him all illustrates the third act of deciding to enjoy doing it. Your description of snuggling and sipping wine while giving specific frames of the experience afterward is such a clear picture of the concept of "talking about it afterward.

  40. Maria Dolores says:

    To be as deliberate about my pleasure as I am about my professional life makes all the sense in the world! Thank you for such a fun description of way to have more. Keep them coming!

  41. Rene says:

    This really touched me. Wow Sheri thank you for being so revealing about your life.

  42. Sheri says:

    thank you, Rene
    I appreciate you reading and posting

    my best to you!

  43. Lisa says:

    Taking on pleasure as a way of life is about tuning in and choosing well all of the time. Thank you, Sheri, for sharing part of your journey.

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