Pleasure: A motivator or a  challenge?

The writer of this blog post is Hivpoint´s Health Buddy 2023. The Health Buddies are Hivpoint´s advocates who spread knowledge about sexual health, including HIV and sexually transmitted infections, in migrant and refugee communities.

Pleasure has been a great motivator and a distinct challenge in my life. It has been both. More one than the other at different points in time. You see, I was not brought up to tune in to what my body wanted at each given moment.

 In my past I have struggled to fully experience pleasure in all of its forms as the environment around me was not safe enough for me to relax and notice my body’s experiences and desires. This is one of the reasons I decided to study and work professionally as a somatic intimacy coach. I now know first hand that I was not ever broken (and you are not as well, if by any chance you doubt it). Feeling fully my body, pleasure and challenge alike is a great motivator in my life now.

And I feel it’s time to speak up about this ———-word, that is ‘’Pleasure’’ through my experience running workshops as part of the Health Buddy project by Hivpoint, Finland (feel free to fill in the gap with any adjective that pops into your awareness).

The Health Buddy’s project aim is to share sexual health information in an engaging and sensitive way  to individuals who identify as female and are of foreign background (although born & raised Finnish folk were also very welcomed). As a somatic sex & intimacy coach when I heard of this opportunity I was immensely  joyous & excited.

But alongside my excitement came considerable difficulty, despite the clear alignment and permission from Hivpoint staff and partners  in this project to bring pleasure into the  room.

The workshop I offered during this program  included information about STI’s and safer sex practices  which I feel is very needed not only to the target group but to each and everyone of us, but the biggest desire, challenge and question for me was:  How could I include pleasure? I got inspired to include a practice of noticing pleasure in our body’s, a practice I am gonna share with you here.

But first let’s define pleasure. When speaking of pleasure I invite you to notice and include all kinds of pleasure. Different stimuli or context  that elicits  a pleasurable sensation in you. Some examples of what those  might be:

The  first sip of cold beer on a warm summer day. (funny thing I only like the first long sip but  not the second)
The taste of sea salt on my sun dried  skin
The slow, warm, attuned movement of hands on my body during a massage.

Holding hands with a loved one or revisiting a moment when you were together, enjoying their snug hug.

The feeling of their warm body next to yours, all your senses attuned to every subtle, slow movement and what that elicits  in your body.

A little pleasure practice

An invitation to the reader would be to take a moment and tune in to your own body.

What is pleasurable to you?
Could you give permission to yourself to notice it right now?
Which of the above categories is most accessible to you?
Do you find this practice holds some challenge or do you engage easily with excitement and ease?

It might be that much like myself and so many others, you also experience a degree of challenge  as well as so many other feelings, emotions, sensations and thoughts during  this practice. Whatever comes up for you is welcomed.

What others have shared

Below you can read  some  anonymous shares of what participants wrote that is pleasurable for them. You are invited to  mentally add your own!

‘’Deeper mental connection, pleasure in sharing. Understanding and being understood’’
‘’Slow music, smells, kissing, hugs, endless contact, freedom’’
‘’Being naked and slowly, softly stroking each others bodies with oil’’
‘’Closeness to another person’’
‘’Long foreplay’’
’Lying on the bed and a very strong and heavy man is laying on top of me ‘’
‘’Discovering 100 different ways to kiss’’
‘’Someone I feel safe with and I am very attracted to intellectually/emotionally/physically is going down on me’’
‘’Tasting my favorite food’’

I would like to end this share with this: Pleasure is our birthright. Pleasure inclusive sex and health education is for everyone, regardless of perceived societal status, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation or preferences and relationship style.

Many thanks to the Hivpoint for the opportunity to connect with my pleasure and my challenge, learn and grow through this project.

Hivpoint´s Health Buddy 2023