I’ve written 50 articles for elephant journal.
Every one of my pieces is a window into my life, into the darkness, the lightness—the life I have lived.
I’ve spoken of my disorders, molestation, sex, relationships and divorce. Some may perceive my articles as ‘airing dirty laundry.’ I believe I share my life openly, transparently without shame, in order to help others know they are not alone in their thoughts, feelings or actions. Knowing we are not alone is the catalyst for growth, healing and transformation.
On the eve of my 31st birthday, I’m spending time reflecting on my life and the past year. My goal for the year to come is to continue shedding all the thoughts and conditioned beliefs that continue to hold me back.
I write this piece not only for myself, but for my daughters and all women.
My birthday wish is a wish for all of us; to stop hiding, stop feeling ashamed, and stop being embarrassed for who we are and what we want.
I give us all permission to explore our desires and our fantasies. I give us permission to claim what is our birthright—pleasure.
I do not want my daughters to own an ounce of guilt for expressing their sexuality, no matter how it manifests itself. I hope they freely explore their bodies, own their bodies, live in their bodies, enjoy their bodies and embrace all realms of giving and receiving pleasure.
I don’t want them to suffer like I have. It has taken almost 32 years for me to accept who dwells in me—a lioness who I have tamed and locked away for so long, because she scared me. I felt like a closet slut for years, until I recognized I’m no slut—I am an explosively passionate woman with a wild imagination and voracious desire for happiness and pleasure.
In my 31st year of life, I will release her completely because she deserves to live and breathe in the open, free of judgment—my judgment. She tries to ooze from my mind, my body and my heart every day and I can no longer contain her.
From adolescence to adulthood, I thought it was wrong to love sex as much as I did. I shunned my radiant imaginative desires and resisted pleasure completely. I thought it selfish, almost narcissistic to seek pleasure and attain a blissful state.
I searched in the wrong places—outside myself, in a sexual encounter with someone I didn’t know very well or in validation from people around me. I didn’t think I deserved to feel good. I was afraid of intimacy with myself, of allowing my needs to be acknowledged and fulfilled.
I hid within my sexual experiences instead of participating in. I withheld pleasure from myself, from my life. I felt guilty for masturbating or fulfilling my fantasies.
As I mature, I recognize the most important part of life, the gift of life is our ability to feel pleasure, to know pleasure.
God built me with the character I have, the thoughts, the desires, the body and the spirit I am meant to have in this life. I don’t need to cover up or be anyone else. Instead of trying to change, be something else–something more holy or more pure, I am meant to thrive and function as myself.
I give myself and all of us permission to stop avoiding who we are and give in to what gives us pleasure regardless of what society deems acceptable or unacceptable.
This year has gifted me–I didn’t know making love with myself had the power to usher me into a nest of self acceptance. It has transformed my ability to trust and be intimate with another person, to receive pleasure–which I never had before.
I didn’t know that the simple act of giving myself permission to feel good would change my life.
Here is my gift of permission for you:
1. Tease Yourself, Seduce Yourself—Get Naked Under Your Clothes.
I don’t wear underwear, unless (for sanitary reasons) I wear a short skirt which is a rare occurrence. I have a dresser drawer full of Hanky Pankys in a rainbow of colors that sit unharnessed to my pelvis. Why? Because it’s sexy to not wear them. I love being exposed. I am ready for pleasure at any moment. I enjoy teasing myself, seducing myself all day long.
At night, I wear a sheer slip to bed. The tingling sensation of the fabric on my skin gives me goosebumps. I love the way my nipples break through the veil of cloth. I stand in front of the mirror and I appreciate (not judge) the beauty of my body through the cloud of cotton. I separate from myself, admiring the person who stands before me yearning to be discovered, uncovered and explored.
I sleep naked—a lot. I recommend spending time every day naked. It’s a little uncomfortable at first. We are used to being naked between clothing changes, showering or having sex. What about just being naked? Enjoying the freedom of no restraints.
The first thing my daughters do when they walk in at the end of the day is strip down to nothing. They run around, do somersaults, dance. They are more comfortable naked than dressed.
When we are naked, we can’t hide—being vulnerable is vital to becoming comfortable with ourselves. Only when we are comfortable with ourselves can we be comfortable with another.
2. Act Like An Animal, Once in Awhile.
Animals are naked in every way; they don’t have manners, they don’t have clothes. They eat without utensils. They get dirty. They mate when they need to and want to, no matter who is watching.
Try being an animal once in a while.
Eat with your hands, eat foods that explode with juice allow them to coat your body and don’t rub it away. Get messy.
Allow yourself to go primal. If you have a partner, grab them and devour them as you did your food and if you are alone, devour yourself; in the middle of the living room, with the shades open, let the light in and please yourself.
3. Give In To Your Dark Side.
Give in to your desires. Your secret fantasies. Give in to your dark side. Who cares what “people” say is appropriate. If you desire it, explore it.
I enjoy watching pornography (well-executed pornography, that is).
I get turned on by watching and listening to people pleasuring each other.
I become fully invested in the experience. I pay attention to my mind and body as they respond to the stimulation. I melt into it, and before long I find myself caressing my own body as if it were another craving me, wanting me. My flaws no longer exist, I am perfect, I am all pleasure. It is ok, more than ok to love pleasure, and watching others giving and receiving it.
4. Do it in Front of a Mirror.
I used to avoid the act of masturbation. I would listen to the urge, do it and be done. I avoided what it looked like, what I looked like and how it felt. Now, I make as much of an effort to embrace the experience during my self pleasure as I do when making love with a partner.
I use toys or just my hands, depending on my mood.
I think it is important to build a partnership with my vagina. I know her, I know how she responds, what she looks like—I am connected with her.
I get down on the floor, in front of the mirror, and I look into myself. I watch as my face changes as I become aroused and how my body reacts in climax. It is nourishing to watch myself receive pleasure.
My advice is to make masturbation a sacred practice. Practice getting turned on by, you. Grab your breasts, rake your hands down your stomach. Make love with yourself because until we can make love with ourselves, be comfortable alone, we can’t be comfortable with anyone else.
5. Write It and Read It.
Write your fantasies, write your experiences, keep typing, don’t stop, don’t think about it. Just write and then, read what you write. Read it out loud.
Our spirit lives in our words. She exposes herself within the punctuation. There is no right or wrong. If you like bondage, give into it—it is how your spirit wishes to express herself.
Just as we are all unique, different, so are our desires. We all have something we fight against, that we stuff down because we think it is wrong to want what we want. It is not.
Give in to yourself. Allow yourself to feel the pleasure you crave.
Pleasure brings us as close to our spirit as we will ever be.
Look at the children of the world– they are pleasure seekers, pleasure dwellers and they are the happiest, purest beings on the planet. They do what feels good and right for themselves. They don’t care if it is socially acceptable–they listen to their hearts and their needs.
As we age to adulthood, sexual pleasure is and can be the most profound way to connect with ourselves. Pleasuring ourselves first, understanding our needs and wants must happen before we can receive pleasure from or give pleasure to another.
Once we connect and accept our desires, we accept who we are as we are.
Like elephant journal gets sexy on Facebook.
Ed: Bryonie Wise. Image: Ava Sol/Unsplash