PLEASURE IS POWERFUL
Elizabeth G’Sell is a graduate of the California School of Professional Psychology with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Her conceptual focus in psychology is in attachment, sex and relationships and healing trauma. Learn more at @elle.wilde
We have just begun to explore the power of female pleasure. It was only ten years ago that a team of scientists (from France, of course) discovered that the clitoris is more of an iceberg than a button. Historically, women’s pleasure has been stigmatized, swept under the rug. Women are indoctrinated to focus on others’ well-being instead of their own. With gender role expectations of serving and caring for others before herself, a woman’s pleasure can oft be on the backburner. But just like our relatively recent discovery of the clitoris, icebergs are much more powerful and complex than just a button. It’s time for some global warming—in the good way!
Our voices are being heard like never before with the #metoo movement that is allowing open space for people to speak out against sexual violence, running for office, and are advocating for equal pay for equal work. The power of the femme is on the rise. Following not far behind is the recognition of the importance of female pleasure.
We all know that the power of pleasure has been studied and documented as healthy, with medicinal effects. The healing virtues of pleasure increases feel-good hormones, decreases stress, inhibits inflammation, and even slows down the aging process. Since stress is the number one cause of most health conditions and serious illnesses, science points us to pleasure as the elixir.
With the importance of erotic pleasure, it is vital that we as women have more pleasure without stressing ourselves out about how to attain it or feeling selfish about asking for it. The answers are found within. What gives you joy? What makes you smile naturally? What pisses you off? What makes you laugh? What turns you on?
Returning back to the clitoris, the tip is the only external part that we see visibly. Below the surface, the clitoris wraps around the vaginal tunnel and extends out towards the thighs. In shape it looks more like a dragonfly or a butterfly with wings than a little button. We as women are conditioned to present on the surface as likeable and agreeable. How many times have you been told by someone else, or that little voice inside, to smile and placate when you don’t feel like it? You are not alone.
The moments that we authentically don’t smile gives more room for us to authentically smile. It might seem counterintuitive, but recognizing our feelings and honoring them creates more space for joy—in the bedroom and out. Exploring yourself physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually is the path to discover your own unique pathways for pleasure.
When we are young, we are taught about falling in love with another person, but the concept of falling in love with oneself tends to be neglected. I invite you to fall in love with yourself, at your own pace and on your own terms. Explore how you like to be touched and if you have a partner, vocalize and show that partner what you like. Pay attention to the little joys in life—list some specific examples here, sexual and not– and then throw yourself at them. Life is erotic, not just during sex. If you love parties because you love to dance, you don’t have to wait for another party to turn up some music at home and dance your ass off. It might make it easier to orgasm later.
When you feel sad, angry or anxious, let yourself feel these normal human emotions. Practice mindfully observing your emotions without judgment for having them. Let yourself feel your emotions without pressing them down underneath the surface. There is an old saying that you have to feel it to heal it. Rather than wonder what that means, stop trying to be cheery and “chill” when you feel like shit. It will do wonders for your sex life.
We can learn from the gazelle. When a gazelle has survived the hunt of a cheetah, the way the gazelle naturally removes the traumatic experience out of her body is to shake. The movement literally clears away the trauma of being hunted out of her body. This protective force of nature allows us some insight into our own processes with pain, fear, and anger. Holding in these feelings makes us sick and letting ourselves feel these feelings without judgment helps us to release them.
Embracing ourselves, even when we are a hot mess bawling our eyes out or have accidentally eaten the whole box of green tea Mochi balls, makes those less than ideal moments glorious. So chase your joy and catch it. You deserve it. Do it for our ancestors who weren’t afforded the same rights. Do it for future generations of women. Do it for yourself.
About the author: Elizabeth G’Sell is a graduate of the California School of Professional Psychology with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Her conceptual focus in psychology is in attachment, sex and relationships and healing trauma. Learn more about the power of pleasure and self-discovery at @elle.wilde.