Let me try that again. As women and as caregivers*, is important to feel good. Creating time and space for sexual pleasure, despite all of the responsibilities pulling us in all directions (And kids literally pulling on our bodies) is important. In a culture obsessed with productivity, and realities that demand it, pleasure is still important. In fact, it is even more so – it can be a ballast in high seas.
Our Bodies, Our Pleasure
Tons of women are conditioned to believe that their bodies are for pleasure, but not necessarily their own. I’ve worked with dozens of clients who shared that sex was never enjoyable for them, but was for their husbands: so pleasure was involved, just not for them. What’s more, many women reflect that they fake orgasms for the sake of pleasing or soothing their partners: literally performing their own pleasure for the betterment of their partner’s fun. This is reflected in the orgasm gap (1): heterosexual women orgasm the least in partnered intercourse.
I am talking about a massive value and practical shift here. Our partners are responsible for their own pleasure, and we are responsible for ours too. This doesn’t mean that our sex lives are reduced to mutual masturbation, far from it. It means that we develop communication pathways to create more pleasure together. It also means cultivating space for your own pleasure alone.
Ritual Is Good
There is major power in setting aside directed time, or ritual (2). I like to think of my clitoral node (Found at the crux of the labia) as my built-in reset button. With loving self-pleasure, I bring my attention back to the sensations in my body. The act of choosing to feel pleasure, and focus on the body sensations associated with it, empowers me to direct my attention where it is needed, and individuate myself from the structures that I live in. I am Katie, business owner, transition house staff, renovator, coach, caregiver, yoga teacher and confidante. But in my ritual space, I am just Katie in mind, body, and spirit.
Orgasm floods our bodies with feel good hormones. Low on endorphins? Not a problem. That dopamine you have been craving? Here it is, sister. Needing a mood boost? Here is some serotonin, for free. Not only that, but the “reasoning’ centre of the brain largely shuts down during sexual pleasure, helping in the reduction of anxiety. Climax is also associated with better sleep, improved well-being, and reduced anxiety.
Remember: There is no evidence that orgasming with a partner is better for us than solo.
The Personal is Political
adrianne maree brown famously reminds us of the politics of pleasure in her work (3). In a culture where the marginalized folks are taught to reject themselves and their desires, self-love is the first, important, step in recognizing our power outside of the confines of these societal structures. Our late-stage capitalist world demands that we eat less, exercise more, sleep less, work more, get botox + fillers but absolutely not admit it, feeling good is a massive choice. Feeling good because of our own bodies and not buying what we’re being sold: now that’s radical.
So, say it with me: It is important to feel good. It can help balance our external realities with our internal experience by shifting relational norms, developing ritual, providing massive physiological benefits, as well as political benefits for yourself and others. Need I say more?
*In our culture, afab (assigned female at birth) folks are often strongly conditioned to play caregiving roles. This value extends into the adult identity and expectations of “womanhood.” When I say women, I mean to be inclusive of trans women.
Looking for a new pleasure tool? Bonjibon has you. 😉
- Broster, A. (2021, December 10). What is the orgasm gap? Forbes. Retrieved September 3, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicebroster/2020/07/31/what-is-the-orgasm-gap/?sh=6e19d9a160f8
- (I suggest taking a look at sociological study of ritual for some background on this!) Bird F. The nature and function of ritual forms: A sociological discussion. Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses. 1980;9(4):387-402. doi:10.1177/000842988000900401
- Brown, A. M. (2019). Pleasure activism. AK Press.
Katie Aitken co-owns Bonjibon, an every-person sexual wellness shop and magazine.
At Bonjibon, she combines her studies in gender, religion, and psychology with her
experience in the military, administration, and serving victims/survivors of gender-based
violence. Katie believes that sexual liberation is an important component of stomping
stigma, shifting gender norms, and ultimately changing the status quo. She brings years
of experience and devotion to her role as co-CEO and editor-in-chief of the Bonjibon
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