by Wendy Strgar August 05, 2016
“Pleasure is the object, duty and the goal of all rational creatures.” Voltaire
Pleasure is entirely dependent on our physical capacity to experience the world through our senses. We open to pleasure when we become deliberate about learning more about our capacity to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. Doing this is easier than you might think: just by adopting the practice of savoring, which will add a few conscious moments to every sensory experience, we start to attend more closely to our sensory experience. For instance, look at colors around you and imagine what it would be like to paint them. Start listening for the subtle noises around you; this will entrain you to hear the quieter voice in your own mind. Take the time to taste each individual ingredient when you cook. Slow down the eating process and linger over a single bite. Smell the air where you are. Try to remember the last time you smelled a summer evening just like this one. Really feel how it is to have a hand trace slowly up your back. Stay longer in a hug and feel the weight of someone leaning into you.
Our pleasure response gets primed in the spaces we allow ourselves to become more vulnerable. Living on the edge of our own comfort zones is prerequisite to both truly appreciating what you have and opening up to new possibilities. Not knowing what will happen next is edgy and feeds the curiosity about sensation that merges into the pleasure response. This is why predictable sex can so easily become divorced from our pleasure response. Starting small, by taking risks like trying a new kind of food or a new place to grocery shop, will prepare you for sexier changes, like agreeing to be seduced or trying new ways of touching and being touched. Pushing out the edges of your sexual comfort zone will awaken new places of pleasure capacity that you didn’t know you had.
Our pleasure response is light hearted. As a kid, no one had to teach you how to play. Even the most serious street games of capture the flag were won with just your natural curiosity and eagerness to play. Playing and having fun were second nature, and approaching your pleasure response with this same spirit will free your imagination (read: fantasy life) from the insidious cultural messages of shame and fear surrounding, and sadly smothering, our ability to feel pleasure. The key to rekindling this kind of playful spirit is to reclaim our youthful spontaneity and freedom that came from not worrying about how we were being seen. Sexually speaking, being able to play with abandon, feeling and risking more, sets up the perfect equation where our pleasure response can blossom and pull our erotic selves out of hiding.
by Wendy Strgar March 21, 2019
Usually by the time we “spring forward,” most of us have long forgotten our New Year’s resolutions and not because we don’t want to change, but because the big sweeping ones we plan for after our third glass of champagne are so hard to get our hands around in the day to day. While the desire for change is earnest, what most of us miss is that real change is found in the small steps that we do consistently.
by Wendy Strgar February 21, 2019
Our sense of smell is ancient and the source of our most powerful emotional memories. It is also the primal sensory pathway to sexual attraction. And yet, we often give little attention to all that our sense of smell can evoke, in part because we have so little vocabulary for scent. Often we're limited to “it smells like…” and delineated only between pleasant and unpleasant.