As an internationally known sex educator, I speak with women and couples every day who feel stuck around feeling and creating sexual pleasure in their lives. What is sexual pleasure anyway? Who defines that? Pleasure means different things to different people, especially when we are talking about sex.
First, let's start with this idea that sexuality often gets lost in translation and that there are many different portals to accessing sexual pleasure.
Instead of saying that all sexual pleasure is about this or that -- let's recognize that even the word "sexuality" has layers of meaning built into it. Our sexuality is an amalgamation of desire, life experience, bodies, gender, subconscious urges, shame, sensations, and behaviors. Parts of our sexuality spring up from us organically, and some parts are shaped by our culture, religion, and even our language. Sexual pleasure is not one thing or one way. Our sexuality is a holistic and whole body experience that is unique in its expression from human to human. It would be a huge relief if we could all stop pretending that we have sexuality all figured out and that we have all the answers. Sexuality is not geometry; it's a living container. So if we don't have sexuality "all figured out," how do we support people who are an amalgamation of all of this so they can grow, explore, feel safe, and create more sexual pleasure in their lives?
One way is to explore some of the entry points -- or "Portals" -- to sexual pleasure.
Four Portals To Sexual Pleasure
1. Give Yourself Permission!
Are you giving yourself "Permission" to have pleasure? Do you simply allow yourself to explore your sexuality? It takes a lot for anyone to step up and face all of the layers of their own sexuality. And what can bring us there is this season of discontent which can happen at any time in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. It can feel like numbness that wants to know more aliveness. We can want our hot sexuality to be bigger and hotter, and we can feel like there is nothing below our waist. There can be massive resistance even after we say "Yes" to showing up for more. There are false obstacles that we place in front of our desires to know more and feel more. There can be stark terror as well as incredible excitement and anticipation. Giving ourselves permission to have pleasure is not about asking your community of friends, family and religious leaders first. It's about giving yourself permission to have the opportunity to know and feel more in your body. It's about giving ourselves permission to open up to the mystery of our own bodies. When was the last time you allowed yourself simply to be curious about what turned you on without judging or shaming yourself?
Giving yourself permission is perhaps the biggest portal to opening up your sexuality -- and only you can give yourself permission.
2. Getting Back To Your Body: Opening Yourself Up To The Power of Touch.
Giving and receiving touch is one of the most vital parts of sexual communication. And it can feel vulnerable and intimate. While it would make sense that giving and receiving human touch would seem natural, so many of us are nervous about our touch skills and our ability to receive. One of the best ways for beginning to think about giving and receiving touch, and upping your touch game, is to become conscious about why and where you want touch and for whom. This is called "Directions of Touch."
Ask yourself this question: When you touch someone, are you touching them for your pleasure or their pleasure? Notice the direction of the touch. It can feel really different to both the giver of the touch and the receiver of the touch when we know "the direction." Sometimes, we touch for our partner's pleasure and sometimes we touch for our own. Think about it before you touch. You might even state the direction and get consent such as; "May I touch you for my pleasure?" or "May I touch you for your pleasure? Where would you like to be touched?" Bringing consciousness to the touch can really open up our ability to give touch and open up our ability to receive touch when we know the intention. Try it.
3. How Do We Get On The Pleasure Highway?
Remember that we all have different portals to sexual pleasure. My turn-on may be to read erotica and yours may be to watch images. Giving ourselves and our partners permission to explore all the different ways that are available to explore pleasure portals is very important to expanding our sexual pleasure. So many of us are worried about being judged by our sexual portals. So whether it is feet or spanking or something else -- don't block or shame your portal. Instead, look around and see what is available to support or enhance your experiences with your own portal to pleasure.
4. Give Pleasure A Seat At Your Table.
Many of us simply don't make pleasure a priority in our lives. We put everything else before our own pleasure and then we are simply too tired for pleasure. Or we run out of money or time. Remember, pleasure doesn't have to involve a partner. Pleasure can be about creating space to take a long walk or enjoy a wonderful meal just for ourselves. Or giving ourselves loving and sexual touch. Plan for pleasure the way you make space for anything that is important to you. We need to create space for sexual pleasure in our lives and then practice it! Notice when you are giving yourself pleasure. Don't brush over it. When pleasure becomes an integral and important part of our lives, we walk differently! We become more self-confident and happy.
So give yourself permission to have sexual pleasure in your life. Bring consciousness to the giving and receiving of touch. And make pleasure a priority in your life. Explore your own personal portal to pleasure. You may have quite a few of them!
It's really pretty simple. We all can have more sexual pleasure in our lives. And it all starts with being willing to explore some of the portals to pleasure!