Coffee Date #10: Pleasure is Not a Luxury
On not having to earn your joy
Time just seems to be flying at the moment. It feels like I just sent out the last Coffee Date, but here are again two weeks later. (Funny story: I sat down and started writing this last Wednesday, then realised I was a week early! Oops.)
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Pleasure is Not a Luxury
TW: includes discussion of disordered eating patterns
Last year, I took Dawn Serra’s five week Power in Pleasure course. It was a little bit life-changing, and it taught me a lot of things. It taught me new ways to seek pleasure, ways to honour and acknowledge my hunger - physical, sexual, emotional, and more. But perhaps most of all, the thing I personally took away from the experience was a reframing of pleasure not as a luxury, but as a necessity.
As someone who has spent a long time battling with my body image (and continues to do so,) I’ve gone through phases of denying myself pleasure in the form of food and movement that feels good, instead punishing my body with crash diets and the kinds of workouts that harm rather than healing. I would tell myself that I could have those pleasures when my body looked the way I wanted it to - the way that society and the patriarchal media tells me it is supposed to look. Some days, I still fight that battle. Some days, those intrusive thoughts still win.
I’ve often neglected other forms of pleasure, too. Earlier this week, I was thinking one evening how nice it would be to take a hot bath. I didn’t end up doing so, because instead I pushed myself to keep working until I could barely keep my eyes open. The next day, I was annoyed with myself because I realised I’d again fallen into the trap of viewing pleasure as an unnecessary extra, a luxury only to be enjoyed when all the work was done.
Here’s what I’m trying to remind myself each day now: pleasure is necessary.
Pleasure also looks like lots of different things. It can be found in food or in sex (with someone else or yourself.) In laughter or, sometimes, in the kind of cry that leaves you feeling cleansed. In joyous movement, or in stillness. In the smell of flowers or freshly baked bread or your lover’s shampoo when they’ve just got out of the shower. Warm blankets, hot baths, cool breezes, long walks. Pleasure is everywhere if we only open our eyes to it.
But we have to remember that it is necessary. Pleasure isn’t something we have to earn, with work or sacrifice or punishing ourselves or forcing our bodies and selves to look and behave and be a certain way.
Pleasure is a human right. Pleasure is your right. It’s not a luxury, and you get to have it and prioritise it right now. My wish for you, this week, is that you take a bit of time out of every day to do something for no other reason than because it brings you pleasure.
This week on the blog
I wrote an open letter to Kinkly about why I’m done supporting their platform until and unless they make real and meaningful changes to their behaviour.
I reviewed the Pillow Talk Sassy, a toy that has been on my wishlist for years.
Demeter Delune (she/her) wrote a post for me about being both a sex worker and a parent.
Sexy deals of the week
Get 10% off absolutely everything in store at Self and More when you use the code “CoffeeAndKink” at checkout.
Please be aware that shopping with my affiliates sends a small commission my way at no extra cost to you!
Reads, watches, listens
Reading… I’m currently reading The Organised Writer by Antony Johnston, because I am a writer but I am not organised! I’m hoping it might help me in my ongoing quest to Get My Shit Together. Will it? The jury is still out.
Watching… I’m still working my way through Grace and Frankie, which continues to be hilarious and charming.
Listening… If you listen to one podcast episode this week, make it the latest Loving BDSM, titled How We Handle Money in Our D/s Relationship. Talking about money in relationships can be so hard (even harder than talking about sex!) but it’s also absolutely essential. Kayla and John Brownstone bring their usual mix of no-nonsense advice, compassion, and humour to the table as they tackle the complex entanglement of money, power, and love.
Thanks for reading, as always. I love knowing that you’re all out there reading my words, and the messages I’ve received in response to this newsletter have all been so kind and generous.
Finally: got a sex and relationships question? I’m trying to revitalise the “Ask Amy” column. Please email me or drop me a line on Twitter. No question is silly and anonymity will always be respected!
See you in two weeks. Be safe - and wash your hands!