“Pleasure is the object, duty and the goal of all rational creatures.” Voltaire
The experience of pleasure is how we say yes to life.
Allowing oneself the gratification of our senses is how we embody the joys of life. Think mouthwatering flavors, the first scent of summer evenings, the soft cheeks of a sleeping baby, the refrain of a beloved tune. Our human capacity to sense the world brings life into sharp focus and lessens the distraction that often skews relationship in time and place. Opening to pleasure can be as simple as focusing our attention on what we are sensing in the present moment.
Applying this simple pleasure principle to our erotic selves is a remarkable healing balm for much of our sexual anxiety and accompanying dysfunctions. One of the founding principles of my loveology journey, was the maxim to trust your erotic impulses to your innate sensory capacity. Our sense of smell is literally the first gateway in our brains which turns on our arousal mechanism. Touch heals us by the laying of a hand on a pelvis and the feel of an oiled thigh gliding under a lover’s caress which never fails to take your breath away.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote: “To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
Overcoming our resistance to physical and even intimate pleasure is in fact a profound spiritual awakening. The experience of satisfying ourselves, and trusting that we can be content, opens us to learning to receive. This practice of taking in sensory pleasure is a gateway for feeling gratitude, perhaps the most sublime path to letting things be what they are.
You can’t experience pleasure when you are constantly distracted by the nagging habits of discontent and then believing that your needs and desires cannot be met in life. Brief moments of contentment lead to the recognition of the small pleasures all around us. They wait for us to bear witness.
The same principles hold true in our most intimate sensory world. Honoring our erotic selves by indulging our curiosities about self pleasure is a worthy practice to undertake. Not only does the exploration offer the grateful rewards of understanding and owning our own orgasmic capacity, but it also offers the critical letting go experience that all paired passion demands.
It’s no wonder that masturbation, the most common sexual act on the planet, is considered to be a foundational building block by most sex therapists. Building knowledge and confidence in self pleasure, provides courage to share these intimate details with our partner. Accepting the full responsibility of our own sexual nature is the gift that is brought to healthy sexual relationships.
Offering ourselves to someone we love is the sensory extravaganza that we call sex, it is a tender and gratifying pleasure available to us on the planet. Shared pleasure is the glue that adheres couples together, and embodies joy like nothing else. Opening up to the wonder of orgasmic pleasure is a system reset within our own bodies and then held within the container of our relationship. It is amazing how well our pleasure mechanism responds to our ability to surrender to it.
When we abandon our need to control the outcome, and allow ourselves moments of naked vulnerability, we experience how unpredictable and healing human touch can be. Receiving physical love in relationship is a true investment, which not only changes the cycle of giving and receiving in relationship, but allows pleasure to move through and transform us.
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Editor: Kate Bartolotta