“Pleasure is a beautiful word. That s in the middle, pronounced like the z in azure, a word favored by lyric poets, gives a little thrill to the mouth.” ~ William Safire
Since my rebranding last fall, I have added the title pleasure expert to describe my focus as a holistic psychologist, sex therapist and yoga teacher. Understandably, people have asked me, at times with a smirk, “What exactly does that mean?” (It has been interesting to notice that when you transition from the concept of happiness to pleasure, a naughtier vibe is insinuated.)
For starters, I’m here to help you feel more pleasure in your work, life, and relationships. This extends beyond pleasure in the bedroom, but does not exclude something as essential and primal as our sensual and sexual health.
As a pleasure expert I help you slow down, listen, and recall what actually makes you feel joy.* What makes you glow, laugh, feel inspired, feel riveted, silly and free. As a somatic psychologist, I know most of this healing can be found within our own body.
I’m here to help you understand what prevents and blocks this. To be an expert in pleasure, you must first be intimately familiar with pain. It is pain that thwarts pleasure. By confronting my own darkness, and working with my client’s for the past 16 years, I’m well aware the barriers to feeling pleasure.
~ Some of these barriers to pleasure are beyond our control...
Like the time I was surfing on a family trip to Baja, Mexico last winter. (I find surfing both pleasurable AND an activity on the verge of demoralizing, given it’s so challenging!) On this particular day, the pleasure I felt on my board was abruptly shattered when someone else’s board crashed into my ribs, breaking one. In an instant, pleasure was transformed into shock and crippling pain — which continued unabated for several weeks. Other barriers to pleasure beyond our control include past trauma (chronic or isolated) or other abuses including neglect. (To name a few, this barely scratches the surface.)
Pleasure can be taken from us in an instant, it is fleeting. Like a surfboard to a rib, such opposing experiences of pleasure and pain can crash against one another. Which is why we should not get overly attached to chasing one and avoiding the other.
~ Some barriers to pleasure are due to our own self-imposed limitations...
Many associate pleasure with guilt. They won’t grant themselves pleasure unless they have bent over backwards, toiled away, gone above and beyond, exerted blood, sweat and tears…and even then they might only allow themselves a morsel, lest they “indulge.” Or perhaps they maintain so much willpower for so long that their body finally bursts and they binge on it!
To them I ask the question: Who taught you that pleasure wasn’t your birthright? The answer is always loaded —parents, teachers, religion, sexism, culture, intergenerational influences…
Those who have denied themselves pleasure need a pleasure expert to help them realize they deserve it. I might also ask this client the question: When is the last time you played?
There are those with a tendency to over-indulge and constantly chase pleasure as a way to avoid, numb, run and hide from their pain. They need a pleasure expert to help them realize the importance of balance and boundaries around it. This includes asking clients the question: When is the last time you confronted and learned from your discomfort, rather than distracted from it?
~ Where is the balance?
Let us seek pleasure for the sake of being awake to all we can receive from the world, not to persistently avoid the inevitable suffering that is also essential to the human experience. Yes, it’s a fine balance.
The seeds of pleasure are safety and security. Add soil and you feel grounded and present. Sprinkle in water and you feel ease and vitality. Soak up the sun and there is the kind of growth that allows you to connect to your purpose and feel loving kindness for yourself and others. This is when we’re most receptive to giving and receiving pleasure.
I’m here to reconnect you to that part of yourself who danced as a kid without caring what people thought, ate with your hands like a 2 year old shoving birthday cake into your mouth, and laughed with such giddiness you snorted a little. That part of you who isn’t so self-conscious and buttoned-up all the time. That part of you who listens to your internal wants, needs, desires and drives, and mindfully reaches out to manifest them, because they are yours for the taking.
So if you are pleasure-starved I am here to help you reclaim it. If you pleasure-saturated I’m here to help you release your grasping.
Find balanced pleasure in --
your relationship with food
your sense of purpose
your relationship with a beloved
your relationship to your sensuality
your relationship to your sexuality.
... And the pleasure will be all mine to help you get there!
*You might be wondering, what’s the difference between joy, happiness and pleasure? As I define it, joy is found within ourselves and often can have a spiritual component. Happiness is found from our perception of external circumstances. Pleasure is that cherry on top, felt within our entire being at the sensory level = a full body experience.