So here I was — stuck.
I had embarked on my journey to become a holistic sex coach.
I wanted to lead women to a place of deep joy inside of themselves by helping them to embody their pleasure in the fullest sense of the word.
But I was finding this increasingly difficult.
Every attempt at approaching women and inviting them into their joy and pleasure felt hollow.
The reason was that I was deeply resistant to feeling pleasure within myself.
I had a deeply embedded prejudice against pleasure.
A strong part of me believed that pleasure was a privilege.
One of the many things that, in my mind, belonged to the realm of “wealthy Western women”.
Things like “successful online business”, “successful sex coach” and “the freedom to travel without visas and restrictions (at least pre-COVID)”.
I felt that pleasure belonged to women like them, not to women like me.
Pleasure doesn’t belong to women that come from small, post-conflict countries.
Pleasure doesn’t belong to women whose grandmothers had to suffer and fight to the bare bone to provide for their families.
Pleasure doesn’t belong to women who grew up believing that the ultimate expression of femininity is sacrifice — sacrifice to a husband, sacrifice to parents, sacrifice to children.
Pleasure, a part of me believed, was for wealthy Western women.
And then as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged and the fight for the right of black bodies to live, breathe and above all thrive exploded, I felt even less inclined to explore or talk about pleasure.
It seemed selfish and inappropriate.
And then — quite by accident — I discovered Audre Lorde and Adrienne Maree Brown and other black feminists.
I discovered them and felt ashamed I didn’t discover them before.
But I do live in world that has actively supressed black voices.
And these magnificent voices spoke as if speaking just to me.
Lorde reminded me that “the fear that we cannot grow beyond whatever distortions we may find within ourselves keeps us docile and loyal and obedient, externally defined (and leads us to accept many facets of our oppression as women).”
And she reminded me that “recognizing the power of the erotic within our lives can give us the energy to pursue genuine change within our world rather than merely settling for a shift of characters in the same weary drama”.
And that is what my soul desired — not “spinning the wheel, but breaking the wheel” (GOT quote).
And the fuel I needed was my pleasure.
The oppression of black women in America has been beyond anything that I or my foremothers experienced, but our feminine existence has been one of servitude, silence, invisibility, powerlessness, and, yes, violence — particularly horrific violence for the women systemically raped during the Bosnian war.
Adrienne Maree Brown showed me that pleasure IS activism and reminded me that “pleasure is not one of the spoils of capitalism” but is “what our bodies, our human systems are structured for; it is the aliveness and awakening, the gratitude and humility, the joy and celebration of being miraculous”.
- Aliveness and awakening
- Gratitude and humility
- The joy and celebration of being miraculous
And my heart (and p***y) came alive.
These magnificent vooices called me to action and reminded me that the personal is political and that pleasure is not a self-centred pursuit of superficial happiness, but the source of all change.
It’s like they put their hands on my shoulders and reminded me that now is not the time to be stuck, but that there’s work to be done.
And for that I’m deeply grateful.
*Quotes taken from “Pleasure Activism (The Politics of Feeling Good)”, Adrienne Maree Brown.