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!
One of the founding instructors of the Welcomed Consensus www.welcomed.com, 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@example.com.
Like elephant journal love on Facebook!
Assistant Ed. Rebecca Schwarz
Ed: Kate Bartolotta