What do you think of when you think of pleasure?
I see myself in a mountain cabin. A warm fire next to me, white snow gently coating the outside world. A mug of steaming tea warming my hands, a good book next to me waiting to be devoured.
I picture my body in motion. Swaying back and forth to the rhythm. There are people around me, but I am barely aware of them. My thoughts have transformed into sounds and my limbs move fluidly of their own accord.
I feel my post -orgasm glow. That boneless feeling, when I’m laying in bed naked, feeling my skin soft against the sheets, not a care in the world and a satisfied smile on my face.
That’s how pleasure makes me feel. If I turn to the intellectual side of my brain, I need definitions, and defining pleasure is difficult.
First, let’s turn to the classic, Webster.
~ a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment
~ used or intended for entertainment rather than business
~ give sexual enjoyment or satisfaction to.
Next, let’s turn to the classics, and see what Aristotle has to say.
Aristotle defined two types of happiness : hedonia (pleasure) and eudaemonia (a life well lived). P.S. hedonia should not be confused with hedonism, which is the pursuit of pleasure for pleasure’s own sake.
Finally, there’s my personal definition. I define pleasure as the sensation of joy that comes from being fully present. That comes from a deep knowing. It’s a potent mix of being immersed in the hedonic pleasures of the moment without sacrificing the pursuit of further eudaemonia.
Pleasure for me is *not* getting blacked out drunk and waking up with a splitting headache the next day. I’ve been there and had some great adventures (some of which would be lost to history had not a girlfriend been there to witness). Yet, I have discovered that pleasure not savored isn’t true pleasure. True pleasure is often in simple moments. Moments where the world seems to shine a little brighter. The kind of pleasure that makes your toes curl.
It’s time for a pleasure revolution. The world has told us that we don’t deserve pleasure. That we must become the “perfect person” before we can relax and take a break. We need to make sure the dishes are done, our clothes are ironed, our nails are polished and the kids are in bed, before we can take one goddamned minute to ourselves. FUCK THAT.
The Time for Pleasure Has Come
It’s time for the next battle in our continued fight for sexual liberation – the fight for the pleasure revolution. With the rise of birth control, we gained the right to have sex for reasons other than procreation within a marriage. More recently we fought for sex-positivity, the right to sleep with whomever we wanted to.
Now we have some created space in which we can take a moment to pause. To take a step back and ask, “Do I really WANT to sleep with that person? Is it the right decision? Does it feel GOOD? What do I need to feel safe? To be confident and present?” This is the quiet battle, the internal revolution. Nobody can fight this battle for you. Start by listening to your own internal knowledge and authenticity, which can feel like the smallest voice in the room, a tender whisper of the heart. Barely audible yet impossible to ignore.
What kind of world would we have, if we made our pleasure a priority? What would society look like if we were not ashamed of loving who we love, wanting what we want, and feeling how we feel?
Through heightening and harmonizing the body + mind connection, soldiers in the fight for women’s pleasure are confident, curious, and non-judgemental. They reject performative & transactional sexual experiences in order to hold their lovers and themselves to a higher standard of pleasure.
A New Era of Pleasure
It’s time to reinvent pleasure, and make it our own. Women’s pleasure means narrowing the orgasm gap. Women’s pleasure means lingering touches and indulging in sensations to heighten experiences. Women’s pleasure is having a friend with benefits who gives you the respect a true friend would.
OK, now I’m going to get real here. Despite being a pleasure warrior, taking time for my pleasure is a personal struggle. I make every excuse in the book not to make time for myself. I distract myself with social media. I have to return my friend’s calls right before I go to bed. I work endlessly and incessantly yet never seem to feel fully satisfied.
When a cute boy turns me down, or just doesn’t respond to my texts, I feel rejected and unworthy. It’s those moments when I (after a good cry) remember that I am a humble pleasure student. That I don’t have to have it all figured out. That I never will.
Owning your right to pleasure is owning your worth. It’s treating yourself as valuable. It’s not self-care, it’s self-worship. It’s self-reverence. It’s what I strive for. It’s what I hope YOU will strive for too.
So the next time you listen to D’angelo or Sade, when you see a bird take flight, or a child laugh, stop. Take a moment. Breathe, savor. Define your pleasure. Embrace your pleasure. FEEL your pleasure…. and enjoy it.
Meet the author...
Lilly Sparks is the founder of afterglow, the sex-positive, pleasure-focused platform and community shifting the adult media paradigm. Curating stories, igniting conversations and offering premium video and written content centered on sexual fulfillment, afterglow empowers everyone to become experts in their own pleasure.