I have long believed that if sexual well-being prevailed, there would be a great softening of the violence and hatred that fills the world. We know that our sexual well-being is associated with an overall sense of physical, emotional, and mental health. I also believe that how we transform the world is through our own individual experience, so as each of us becomes more sexually well, we chip away at the social and cultural taboos associated with human sexuality. Therefore, the first World Sexual Health Day was initiated with the slogan “let’s talk about it!” in 2010.
The goal of the annual celebration is to promote positive sexual health, create dialog and educational opportunities to expand social awareness and acceptance of human sexuality, both our own and others. Celebrated every year on September 4th, World Sexual Health Day has been recognized in over 35 countries to date. The work of creating and disseminating sexual education, health services and building policy deserves our attention throughout the year as sexual human rights and freedoms are not universally protected. In fact, some would argue they are rarely acknowledged.
Increasing our ability to understand and express our sexual preferences as well as have the right to choose when, how, and with whom we have sex is foundational to creating cultures that are sexually positive. Accepting these as human rights would change everything. Fighting for these freedoms, is a universal struggle, but one worthy of our attention.
Beyond sexual human rights and freedoms, the World Sexual Health Day celebrates and encourages the openness to learning about your own capacity for pleasure. There are a few things that are universally true about pleasure:
- True pleasure is never harmful, it is developmental, which is how we can distinguish it from addictions. The truth is that pleasure, the moments when we are deeply enjoying our lives, we are also growing and evolving into better versions of ourselves.
- True pleasure resets the chemical balances in the brain and body towards centeredness. As we learn to pay more attention to our sensory experience, we simultaneously create some of the most memorable and deeply healing moments in our lives. Unlike addictions which separate us from the present moment and from ourselves, leaning towards real pleasure heals us on a biochemical level by balancing the powerful neurochemicals that predict our moods and act as natural stress relievers.
- Seeking sexual pleasure creates positive emotional and mental states as well as the physical release of stress, tension and even previous trauma stored in us on a cellular level. Many studies document the natural increases in serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins which are generated by a wide range of pleasurable experiences.
- Orgasmic pleasure is perhaps the most transformational of all. Enjoying this ultimate release requires that we release the shame and fear that prevent us from experiencing our bodies in this deeply vibrational capacity. As we surrender our control to the body in sensation, the human orgasm provides a gateway to pure energy awakening to itself and a brief glimpse of enlightenment. Time and space converge in these deepest of intimate meetings, completely naked and vulnerable inside of someone else’s experience. It all begins by coming to your senses and choosing true healing pleasure, rather than fleeting moments of gratification.