The needing of permission

Pleasure doesn’t need permission. I firmly believe that pleasure is everyone’s birthright. It is also a choice, however, in that many people don’t consciously allow themselves to feel pleasure. Or if they do, it’s just a little bit. Or not very often. Or when it occurs it’s filled with guilt or shame or hiding.

That’s not pleasure.

Pleasure is freedom. It is a birthright. And it’s also a choice. A choice because so incredibly often in life we deny ourselves the right to choose. And I’m going to put it out there that I’m predominantly talking about women. As a person with a vagina, I believe I’m perfectly well qualified to talk about women’s struggles in giving themselves permission to feel good. To feel really fucking good. To feel good in a ‘selfish’ kind of way.

But for women this is hardly an easy thing to do (hello: guilt, hello: shame).

Women are still programmed little fuckettes doing all the shit for all the people around them. For all the people they love (and hate); because that’s what good girls do. That’s what a good mother/wife/employee/slave does right?

(And let’s leave discussion of Master/slave or Dom/sub dynamics aside for another time. That’s a whole other kettle of delicious fish).

It’s 2020, why are we still asking for permission? Exactly what are you waiting for? Conditions to be right? Are you kidding me? Rarely will that happen in the life of a modern woman. Even if it was, are the conditions right in your head? Are you peaceful and calm, and connected and conscious in your body and mind? Are you feeling willing and in-touch with your desire to feel pleasure? I doubt it. But high-five if you are (stop reading this and go and masturbate right now, or get fucked by someone who makes you feel really fucking good).

Needing permission is bullshit. But needing permission is rife. I was just reading on the weekend about the Tah-tah’s documentary and her realisation about the pathological need to apologise (don’t judge me for reading about her; judgement is also a piece of bullshit). And therein was a whole discussion about women and the need to say sorry.

Sorry for what? Being yourself? For existing? For breathing? Fuck that shit.

I say this with assertion because really, I’m reminding myself here of the need to stop saying sorry. Sorry for being alive is what an unnecessary sorry really says. It says that I believe I’m just a natural fuck-up and I’m sorry to inflict myself on you. How can pleasure exist in a space like that?

Are you sorrying while you’re in bed (or on the couch or table or outside or wherever else you better be having awesome sex at)? Are you constantly checking in with your partner ‘if they’re ok’? I know that I still do this. Until I give myself full permission to sink into the pleasure I’m experiencing, until I’m fully – literally – opening myself to it – I’m still busy in my head. Worrying about some stupid shit in my external world, or worrying about my partner’s comfort (Are you ok? Are you comfortable? Does it smell ok? Does it look ok? Are you getting tired [oral sex]? Am I taking too long?

Are you ok are you ok are you ok is really saying that I am struggling in this moment to relax and let go. The are-you-ok’s is a form of asking permission. Because for many women, if they other is ok then they’re ok. Then they can relax.

Ummm what?

There may never be a time that a woman can truly relax under certain conditions and realities in her life. This may well just be a fact. In which case, you need to somewhat force the issue. Stop making excuses for yourself and for you need for pleasure. You might just start off with carving out 10 minutes of alone time (I’m looking at you mothers). Just 10 minutes. If you can’t find that, change something in your life. Seriously, you can’t find 10 minutes for yourself? What’s wrong with this picture?

Women aren’t self-sacrificing machines. WE’RE NOT. But, as I’ve said before, we act like we are. There’s this weird fucking pressure and expectation to be everything for everyone else. Still. In 2020. Aren’t we in the future yet? And to do everything for everyone else. Remember the brilliant concept of the mental load and emotional labour? If you haven’t heard of this read about it now.

The problem with carrying the mental load is the emotional toll it takes on us. And this comes down to difficulty managing two feelings (if you’re still conscious and upright and sober enough to feel feelings): guilt and resentment.

Guilt at not doing enough. Guilt at trying to put yourself first. Guilt for ‘self-care’. Guilt for being female. Guilt for existing. Guilt drives us to say yes all the fucking time, for everyone else.

Except ourselves.

On the flipside of guilt is resentment. Resentment because you’re driven by guilt and can’t say no. So you say yes to everyone else and build up a nice solid brick wall of resentment. Resentment eats away at you. Resentment brings a quiet seething and rage. I’m sure you know that feeling.

Resentment and guilt steal your right to feel pleasure. How can one experience deep pleasure when swimming in this toxic bath of feelings? How can you have an orgasm if you’re feeling guilty for doing so, but then resentful if you can’t? If you’ve been in this state for a while, you probably don’t even have a desire to orgasm. Because that brings up a whole other raft of feelings and thoughts (“It’s too much work” “I’m too tired” “I never come anyway” “I’ll just fake it again” “I can’t be bothered” “He doesn’t know what he’s doing (and I’m not telling him what to do nor helping him…)”.

Just get the fuck off me.

Yeah right. Not exactly ideal conditions for pleasure.

Seeking permission outside of ourselves for pleasure gives our power away. And as women – most women I know – still routinely give their power away. They do this to please others. To keep the peace. And because it just feels fucking easier in the moment. Honestly – and I know I’m not alone in this – I have kept having sex or kept giving head when I really didn’t want to or was feeling uncomfortable (or worse, in pain) because I didn’t want to upset the person I was with at the time. Yes, while he’s still inside me I’m still trying to please. Still trying to not upset someone’s good time. At my own expense. Performing. Faking it. Avoiding vital conversations for fear of conflict. And completely dishonouring and disrespecting myself (and my then partner) in the meantime.

But I challenge this notion. Whatever is easier in the moment is often harder in the long-term. When we sacrifice ourselves in the now, we sacrifice ourselves in the future. Are you sure you want to be role modelling that to your children? That women put up and shut up, to please everyone else but themselves?

Seriously?? Have you not ever been on a aeroplane and listened to the instructions about saving yourself first? Do you need permission to do that? No. Of course you fucking don’t.

And you don’t need permission to look after yourself and your needs. ALL of your needs. Give yourself permission every day to feel good. Give yourself that orgasm. Let yourself be fucked and fucked well. Tell your other what you want in bed. Put yourself first. By doing this you’re actually helping those around you. Because *newsflash* if you’re happier, everyone else around you will be happier. Der. I honestly believe that society as a whole with be dramatically better off if we put pleasure firmly on the agenda for all genders.

Don’t wait for permission. You don’t need it. Trust that if you’re alive that’s permission enough; because it is.

Published by The Pleasure Advocate

A pleasure seeker like every human, I have a background in therapy and health, and am a passionate student of human sexuality. I'm a pleasure-inclusive sex educator, writer, lover, mother, and sexual explorer. May (consensual!) pleasure be yours always, Melanie x

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