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The Pleasure Principle

What Part Does Pleasure Play in Our Healing? 

I’m constantly asked, particularly by high powered leaders and coaches: 

Is there a connection between luxury, beauty, pleasure, and our sexual healing? Can such ideas actually advance us in stepping into our power? 

It’s a valid question. For the most part, these principles seem unrelated. Healing is over here, beauty, adventure, and luxury are over there. Travel and adventure are frivolous. Sexual trauma and healing are not. Before I began doing this work, that was certainly my opinion on the subject. Healing from trauma, freely discussing sexuality, and reclaiming your body. That is the deep and meaningful work. Those are the imperatives that all humans need. 

However, a trip to Paris? A fancy perfume? A retreat in Italy? That gorgeous dress you’ve been eyeing? While one could argue it’s “good” for you, it is not necessarily healing. It certainly isn’t therapeutic. It may even be regarded as dangerous, contingent on the framing of it. 

 

Gasp. Are you a Material Girl? 

Materialism in and of itself can certainly be pejorative, particularly for women. If you are a “good” woman, a smart woman who cares about people and cares about making a difference in the world, then you certainly don’t want to appear to be obsessed with “stuff.” You aren’t in it for the money or the material things. That is for “shallow” women. Basic women.   

When I talk to women about their desires, what they hunger for, or what their delights are, initial responses are often ensconced with a lot of fear and shame. A woman’s background, religion, family, and/or life’s work definitely informs their relationship with pleasure, desire, delight, or passion. I can completely relate to this: that force field of guilt around our deep desires, pleasures and wants, particularly the ones that we deem have no altruistic value. 

It’s time to dispel and dismantle the myth. The answer to the question is simple: That perfume, that dress, that vacay and doing the deep healing work are both important. They both have intrinsic value. 

All of it–yes all of it–is on the spectrum of pleasure. 

  

The Pleasure Principle.  

Healing is deeply connected to pleasure. The primary objective here is to feel good, safe, and happy. Moreover, to fundamentally understand that we have a deep human right to feel good, safe, and happy. That of course encompasses doing the work to repair after sexual trauma. That includes reclaiming our bodies. That includes having the kind of sex we want to have. That includes learning how to feel good in our bodies. That includes a lot of deep, important, often painful work. 

But that also includes having a croissant if we want. That includes those shoes that we’ve been eyeing all season. That includes that trip to Madrid we’ve been talking about for years and it includes randomly buying yourself flowers. 

If there is a Pleasure Principle (outside of a totally dope Janet Jackson song), it would be that pleasure is a spectrum. And healing is enhanced by experimenting across the entire spectrum of pleasure. Creating good, safe and happy may be an unexercised muscle, so creating habits of it gets us all closer to wholeness. 

 

The Benefits of Unapologetic Pleasure

I recently had a client vacillating over whether or not to buy this gorgeous luggage. Something in her kept saying she was “not allowed” to do that. The purchase was silly. Frivolous. The guilt was keeping her paralyzed. We’ve all been there. I guess what I’m saying is: buy the damn luggage. Eat the croissant. Get the massage. I’m not here saying it is the same as the tough work around healing trauma. I’m saying luxury, pleasure, and desire are connected to knowing oneself deeper and deeper. It’s connected to inner happiness. 

And this I am saying loudly and clearly: Making ourselves happy is the best thing we can do for our partners, our businesses, our families, and our lives. Showing up completely satisfied, excited, inspired, rested, and turned on will exponentially and positively affect all of our relationships and ventures. 

My last piece of advice for 2021: Deliberately be in joy. Deliberately be in pleasure. Do what you want on purpose without the guilt. I dare you to work from this intentionality all year. And watch how much more you have to give both literally and energetically. 

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