Pleasure. I wonder where you went with that word? From the root word plaisir, ‘to please.’ Among it’s definitions are; An enjoyable sensation or emotion. Delight. A state of happiness, an amusement or diversion. We tend to think that pleasure means sex. But, really, sex means sex. Many don’t place much emphasis on their pleasure…on hard work, on sacrifice, on attainment – yes. But pleasure, not so much.
That’s too bad, there are so many kinds of pleasure available, and it has so many benefits! It tells blood vessels to widen and relax, which results in lowered blood pressure. It releases dopamine which increases pleasure (more = more) and motivation. It also releases beta-endorphins which decrease pain, oxytocin which increases feelings of trust, and vasopressin, which increases bonding. Think about a great night out, having fun and laughing with good friends – think about how relaxed you are with them, and about the trust and bonding you feel. That’s pleasure for you!
Now, why wouldn’t we want to feel that more often? Regena Thomashauer, the self-appointed Queen of Pleasure (who is also known as Mama Gena to her avid fans: www.MamaGena’s.com ) did an inspiring TEDx talk where she pointed out that “where we are right now with pleasure…is where we were 40 years ago with fitness!” She said that most people think of pleasure as “a seedy street in a bad neighborhood that we don’t want to go down.”
We haven’t been taught “Take care of yourself first, in order to take care of others” (I challenge you to make this your new mantra). On the contrary, we have been taught to take care of everyone else first, and as Mama Gena pointed out, “whatever crumbs are left over, those are yours.” We’ve been taught that this is what a good wife/mother/daughter does. But c’mon…historically, martyrdom doesn’t end well, does it? She says: we are hardwired for pleasure as women, and a lack of it results in stress hormones coursing through our bodies producing irritation, disenfranchisement, loneliness and despair. We then reach for junk-food, antidepressants, alcohol, or cigarettes. There is an abundance of self-hatred, self-deprecation and self-doubt among us right now. Even worse, there are chronic degenerative diseases that occur as a result of a life lacking in pleasure: heart disease (a woman dies of a heart attack every 34 seconds). 1 in 8 women will be affected by breast cancer. 10 million have eating disorders. 1 in 4 women experience depression, but only a few will seek help for it. That’s just sad. And, if you look up Louise Hay’s life work on causation of illness you will find she has been saying this for a very long time!
There are solutions. Christiane Northrup, M.D. and best-selling author, believes increased nitric oxide is a key. “Most of us don’t produce enough to keep us vibrantly healthy.” To boost it, include a balanced and healthy diet, regular exercise, regular sex, (no, not as opposed to the kinky kind) meditation and simply thinking joyous thoughts!
- Learn what gives you pleasure
- Foster your sexuality
- Redefine yourself
- Rewire negative thoughts
- Live in a way that motivates others to be at their best and healthiest
You have to have a lot of guts to insist on your OWN pleasure, fulfillment and joy, but you’d be foolish not to. Stop doing everything for everyone else. Teach your children and grandchildren interdependence, not co-dependence. And that brings me back to our mantra: Take care of yourself first, in order to take care of others.
To your pleasure!