Women are conditioned to believe their pleasure isn’t a priority or, worse, that it isn’t allowed. It’s time to unlearn that bullshit and reclaim pleasure.

My word for 2021 was “More” (as in, thank you, more please), but I decided to add a second word—pleasure.

I’d been thinking a lot about how to make things easier, how to focus on what I want, how to do what feels good. I also encouraged my clients to ask the same questions and make the same discoveries.

Then I read “Pleasure Activism” by Adrienne Maree Brown (I highly recommend it). It further opened my eyes to the importance of pleasure.​

Women have always been denied our pleasure … and that’s to the nth degree more true for women of color. We’ve been conditioned to believe that our pleasure is not a priority because our role is to care for others and put others’ pleasure ahead of our own.

We’ve been taught that asking for (or even considering) our own pleasure is “selfish” and “greedy.” It’s not what a “good girl” does.

Reclaiming our pleasure is reclaiming our power.

In her book, Brown talks about the power of making every yes an “orgasmic yes.” Much of the book is about sex, but I read it through the lens of mindset and it was even more poignant.

“We’ve been raised to fear the yes within ourselves.”
The author is talking about our sexual desires, but isn’t the same true for all of our wants?

We are taught to place them second or last, to view them as selfish, to focus on what we “should” do as “good girls.”

Journaling prompt: What yes is calling out to be heard, expressed, validated?

“Let yes come from every part of you before you share you.”
The author is talking about sexual agency and ownership, but can’t the same be said for our work, parenting, and so much more?

We’ve been conditioned to believe we must share ourselves—give to and care for others—without thought of our own wants and needs.

Journaling prompt: How can you let yes come from every part of you before sharing you today?​

“What are your wants, and what do you need to feel safer?”
The author is talking about agency within casual sex, but this is useful terminology to consider in every facet of your life.

Rather than putting others first, think about what you want in any situation. If it feels scary or new, then consider what do you need to make your want—or pursuing that want—feel safer?

Journaling prompt: What do you want most right now? How can you ask for or pursue that in a way that feels safe?

There is so much more delicious food for thought in this book. Even if you don’t read it, though, I hope that these three nuggets get you thinking about YOUR pleasure.

How can you make your life more pleasurable? How can you find the pleasure in every day, every moment, every action? How can you find pleasure in the unknown, the discovery, the journey?

You are allowed to want. You are allowed to enjoy. You are allowed to put yourself first.

Your pleasure is your birthright.