Self, Sex

Why Women Have SUCH A Hard Time Prioritizing Our Own Pleasure

Photo: Photo by Tanja Heffner on Unsplash
shame affects pleasure

Women and pleasure is my new favorite topic. Why? Because pleasure is so important, but women seem to have a lot of shame associated with accepting pleasure.

There seem to be obvious reasons why we have hang-ups about pleasure, but there are also not-so-obvious ones. I polled Facebook friends and followers the other day to see what other women had to say about our issues with pleasure, and I received some pretty insightful answers.

One woman talked about self-acceptance and worth, asking "Do we deserve pleasure? Can we admit that we want it, and can we even allow it in?"

Others talked about earning it, the "work before play" training we've had our whole lives.

We are likewise programmed to believe that it is better to give than receive That eventually becomes, "it’s easier to give than receive." To receive pleasure, we’d need to let our guard down and be vulnerable.

There's a lot to think about in these musings!

A man joined the discussion and suggested that if we talked about it around the dinner table it might get easier. Instead of talking about what we did for the day, perhaps the question should be, “What pleased you today?” Pleasure doesn't have to just be about sex!

Underlying all of the reasons for our hang-ups about pleasure, for me, came from this simple response: shame.

The dictionary defines shame as, “The painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous etc. done by oneself or another.”  

Brene Brown, whose TEDx talk on vulnerability says this: “Shame for women is this web of unobtainable, conflicting, competing expectations about who we are supposed to be. And it’s a straight jacket.”

So, what is your web?

Can you untangle the mess of expectations that make up your world? Where does pleasure enter in, if at all?

A few weeks ago, I visited a friend of mine who was training with her new service dog. The dog trainer said something fascinating. She said, “this dog is hedonistic, he works for the scratches and the pets.” In essence, the dog works for the pleasure of touch, the pleasure of being loved.

Unabashedly, this dog had no shame in scooting up to his owner/partner or me for a pet or a hug.

What if we did the same?

What if we let go our consciousness of shame and allowed ourselves to be vulnerable, asking for more pleasure from our day, from our partner, for ourselves?

I believe that if we did uncover our hang-ups about pleasure, one-by-one, and allowed some healing around them, we could enjoy more pleasure.

As we do that, as pleasure fills us, we'd be more pleased. We'd enjoy pleasure, and maybe even enjoy our lives just a little bit more.

Michele Brookhaus, RSHom(NA), CCH emphatically supports women's pleasure. She created Yoni's Bliss as part of that belief, and she loves to support you finding yours.

This article was originally published at Beyond Well. Reprinted with permission from the author.