This month at LBDO, we’ve been discussing the various definitions and historical conceptions of pleasure. Our findings? Pleasure comes down to subjective experience; each of us incorporate pleasure into our lives in a unique way.
To highlight the beautiful subjectivity of pleasure, we thought we’d ask some friends what it means to them, and how it looks in their lives. Here are eight quick takes on pleasure, from eight different people.
“In everything I do, I try to incorporate pleasure. Whether it’s what I’m eating, what I’m drinking, who I’m surrounding myself with, the way I handle tasks. Life really should be all about pleasure, if you ask me. Why would you live a life that wasn’t full of things that brought you joy? If I’m doing something that I have to do (but don’t really want to), why not listen to some incredible music? Why not puff on that vape, sip on that Coca Cola or that ice cold Stone and Wood?”
“I incorporate pleasure into my life by not taking things too seriously. For me, life is about living and pleasure is the biggest part of that. I eat pasta despite trying to shred for Pride. I make sure I get up a little earlier for work to make sure my boyfriend and I have time to be physically intimate. You have to make time for the things that bring you joy. Because in the end, our stories all end the same way, and you’ll never regret making time to pleasure yourself.”
“I use pleasure as a reward for completing tasks and getting through difficulties. Usually, it will be a sweet treat or meal or a fun afternoon activity like going op shopping. I also use sexual pleasure to relieve stress and to help me feel in touch with my body.”
“Pleasure for me is paying attention to the things I love. There are so many little moments in the day that are just brimming with love and joy. To notice them, and practice active gratitude, is deeply pleasurable to me. When I pay attention, life can be so pleasurable that I can barely handle it.”
“I listen to music in the sunshine, drink hot coffee on cold days, walk through rainforests, swim in the ocean, and use my vibrator.”
“Honestly, I incorporate pleasure into my life by being a little selfish. It is a quality I used to pull away from or feel shame around. However, I now embrace it and the liberation that comes with it. For me, this can be buying clothes that I don’t need or asking my partner for a massage (highly recommend non-sexual vaginal massages - incredible for stress/periods/general abdominal pain). This selfishness extends to removing unpleasant things, consequently making room for pleasure. For example, removing toxic friends/family members from my life, despite how difficult that can be. It can also be saying no to a date with friends/partner, to prioritise myself. If it brings pleasure to your life, that is enough of a reason. Let this be your excuse to be a little selfish sometimes.”
“I incorporate pleasure into my life by having periods where I’m deprived of it. Pleasure exists in relation to pain and experiencing the pain of one thing (like running, eating healthy) can increase the pleasure of another.”
“Pleasure comes from great communication with any sexual partner. Being able to ask what they’re into and being confident to tell them what you’re into and what works for you. This can only come if you’ve explored your own body. As someone in a long-term relationship, I still prioritise my own time to masturbate and explore my own pleasure. I’m also a big advocate of vibrators during sex. People shouldn’t be ashamed of asking partners to incorporate this with them. I also think planning sex is sexy - and one of the reasons that affairs are so popular. When you’re having an affair, you’re making plans and sneaking around to see this person. You’re literally planning sex, which is something you can do with a partner too. People think that spontaneity is the core of sexiness, but fuck that, it’s anticipation and planning.”