My thoughts are primed on “Pleasure”.
There are a number of reasons for this. The top of head reason is that together with a few of my international colleagues, I am a co-author on an academic paper on “Pleasure and Sexual Health”. Our focus is on examining how much Pleasure features in your health care. For example, does your health care provider discuss the sexual pleasure you will gain or lose when prescribing medication, performing surgery on you, or discussing menopause management.
This is a shout out to you, permission from me to you: urge your health care provider to be an advocate for your sexual pleasure. Embarrass him/her/they asking : will this increase or decrease my sexual Pleasure ?? Health care providers may talk to you about the sexual side effects of medication /surgery/illness. Push them to talk about Pleasure. Ask : will this contraceptive method increase or decrease my sexual pleasure ? The correct answer is : “it could lead to vaginal dryness. For more pleasure , use a lubricant.”
Consider how Pleasure – or lack thereof – touches the many different parts of your life. It touches your life as an individual, a partner, parent, and lover. It dictates your mood and determines your self esteem and well being.Your experience thereof is initially determined by your upbringing and religion /culture. And thereafter , as you begin to experience the world alone, your personal exploration of pleasure has the possibility of revealing itself to you.
The less you fall into the mono-hetero-normative model, the more difficult it is to fight for your right to sexual pleasure.
Consider the story of Tony. Tony was diagnosed with HIV when she was 20something. As a bisexual female identified person, she enjoyed her right to sexual pleasure through her older teen years However once she tested HIV + she shut down her pleasure . The fear of disclosure , of stigma, disabled her pleasure. She continued to be sexual – without the personal experience of pleasure.
Sam was raised in a household of extreme violence. His escape was to spend a lot of time at friends houses. He was exposed to pornography and his first sexual experience felt coerced- the older sister of his best friend forced him into penetration . As an adult his sexual pleasure was furtive, secretive , mostly solo sex with pornography.
At this time of Covid-19, Pleasure is not an experience that is spoken about. Survival is top of mind. Health and Wealth concerns rightly dominate all news feeds and your thoughts, that may result in disturbed sleeping and eating patterns. Yet we seek pleasure as an antidote to anxiety.
I am the harbinger of good news: sexual pleasure is not only your right, but a really healthy way to manage pain. The trick is individualising your own sexual pleasure, not based on your age, body, health. Rather your unique needs, dreams, fantasies.And of course mightily determined by the relationship/s in which you live.
In 2019, at the World Association of Sexual Health Congress in Mexico City, the Declaration of Sexual Pleasure, was launched. It is a declaration of your human right to have sexual pleasure.
Mexico City World Congress of Sexual Health
DECLARATION ON SEXUAL PLEASURE
Mexico City, October 15, 2019
The participants of the 24th World Congress of the World Association for Sexual Health:
Sexual pleasure is the physical and/or psychological satisfaction and enjoyment derived from shared or solitary erotic experiences, including thoughts, fantasies, dreams, emotions, and feelings.
Self-determination, consent, safety, privacy, confidence and the ability to communicate and negotiate sexual relations are key enabling factors for pleasure to contribute to sexual health and well-being. Sexual pleasure should be exercised within the context of sexual rights, particularly the rights to equality and non-discrimination, autonomy and bodily integrity, the right to the highest attainable standard of health and freedom of expression. The experiences of human sexual pleasure are diverse and sexual rights ensure that pleasure is a positive experience for all concerned and not obtained by violating other people’s human rights and well-being. 
Join me in thinking about your own Pleasure. Perhaps you feel embarrassed to admit longing for sexual pleasure at this time specifically. And maybe you always did feel slightly shy or awkward talking about this.
Imagine if you had had Sexual Pleasure thrown into your life – how do you think it would have changed your sexuality, now and then ?
I invite people living with HIV , marginalised women , abused women , disabled people , trans people as well as non binary people to share what Sexual Pleasure means to them.
Sexual Pleasure is differentiated from Sexual Satisfaction. “Satisfaction” is driven by orgasms. “Pleasure” is a very personal subjective experience.
Here are some ideas to help you create your own Personal Pleasure Plan. I hope you can share this with a partner/s. :
- My pleasure is driven by the connection I feel with partner
- Feeling confident in my own body gives me pleasure
- Knowing I am sexually functional enhances my presence and thus pleasure
- Feeling safe and secure with a partner heightens my pleasure
- Diverse sexual experiences give me pleasure
- Knowing I have access to sexual partner/s gives me pleasure
- Free from STI’s enhances my sexual pleasure
- Planning my own pregnancy gives me sexual pleasure
- Sexual fidelity (no cheating) increases my sexual pleasure
- Porn gives me sexual pleasure
- BDSM is my go to pleasure place
- Infidelity thrill is my pleasure
CHILDREN’S SEXUAL PLEASURE
I want to draw your attention to the sexual pleasure of your children .
Lock down provides you a wonderful opportunity to include comprehensive sexuality education into your child’s school curriculum and into your daily discourse. And to be a really on trend parent by include the Pleasure of Sexuality into your conversations.
Don’t be afraid . Here are wonderful playbooks to guide you through this process.
Comprehensive sexuality education ,across all ages is recognising that as a parent, you need to take an individual approach to your child’s sexuality. Be inclusive, non judgmental , calm, and talk about pleasure as you talk about consent , freedom from coercion, choices, and differences. The primary themes across all age groups `;
- How should I love and be loved?
- How can I navigate the world with curiosity (but also safely)?
- What should I know about my own body, about how it will grow and change?
It is your right to access to sexual health services that will increase your pleasure.
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