The Pleasure Principle

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about pleasure. It’s been on my mind – quite literally. It must be good for me – and the world – to experience orgasm for 30-60 minutes at a time. I can’t help but think that this forges new neural pathways in my brain. It’s certainly improved my outlook on life; this morning, I told a colleague of my boss’s that I was feeling fantastic in response to his standard, “how are you?” pleasantry. He said he thought I was the only person he would encounter today who might say that. Too bad more folks don’t feel that way.

I’ve also been trying to analyze, wrap my head around the powerful sexual connection I have with my new boy. Is it mere chemistry? The way our bodies fit together? Is it stamina or skill? Desire? Or is there something more spiritual to our connection? We have yet to figure it out; all I know is that it feels amazing, better than any dick I’ve ever had inside of me. It has continued to improve, every time we have been together. I hope this bodes well for our future trysts, and that it doesn’t fade away a few months down the road. I can’t help but compare to past lovers, but I know that I will do everything in my power to appreciate and nurture the times when we’re lucky enough to be together.

This week, I’ve been reading Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth and the Politics of the Body by Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade (truly one of the best books ever). She is looking at how sex went from being sacred, with pleasure (along with the role of women) a central concept, to a culture where sex is equated with pain and domination. So far I’ve been enjoying it, though I have to question where those of us who enjoy consensual BDSM fit in (I haven’t gotten to that part yet). While the subjugation of women is at the heart of much of the current debate around birth control and women, there is also a deep distrust/hatred of sex for pleasure, and pleasure itself.

Miss Jordan if you're nasty.

Miss Jordan if you’re nasty.

I wonder why we are so fearful about it. I can see how it would be a threat to the capitalistic, Protestant-work-ethic mindset – I know my boy doesn’t have much interest in going back to work after we finish one of our lunch-hour trysts – but what is the point of wanting others to have a miserable existence where sex is only used for procreation? Perhaps it’s about denying that connection often comes from physical sharing. It’s hard to hate, or even think of someone as other, when you’ve been vulnerable with them, or seen their vulnerability. Divided we fall….

Animals crave touch and affection: as I write this, my cat is climbing all over me, trying to push her head under my hand so I will pet her (or maybe she just wants me to feed her?). It is our natural state of being. I’m huge on washing or dyeing people’s hair, or shaving men’s faces – social grooming is something we used to do with each other, though these days it’s a solitary activity. (I do draw the line at picking/eating lice from people’s hair.) 😉 We never lose the desire to be held and cuddled, even when we’re told as adults that we shouldn’t want it. There’s nothing like the feeling of safety that comes from being in the arms of someone you trust. Hugs are a lovely exercise in simultaneously giving and receiving.  Why is this considered a bad thing?

One of the reasons love, sex and relationships is my avocation is that I want more pleasure in the world. I want to help other people figure out what makes them happy in the bedroom, and learn how to ask for it so that they can get what they want/need. I don’t know how or why sex has gotten so complicated…it’s an intersection of so many social, cultural, economic, religious, biological, evolutionary and gender issues, among others. It’s endlessly fascinating to me – I could literally spend all day talking to people about this stuff. But it’s obviously so necessary – above all, people want to feel accepted, to know that they aren’t freaks, that their desires, kinks and fetishes are normal. Seems so simple, but it is in very short supply in my corner of the world. Much easier to guilt people, demand that they suppress their desires and perpetuate models of relationship and sexuality that are unsatisfying, restricting and limiting.

Many religious practices believe the key to enlightenment is transcending or denying the body. Yet we are here, in bodies, and we can’t really escape them. Seems much better to work with them, embrace them (and other bodies!), care for them, and enjoy them. And apparently, that is a radical concept.