PLEASURE FIRST PRINCIPLE
Most women think of pleasure as a luxury.
As something unnecessary that they’ll get to once they finish all of their obligations.
Once the children are asleep, once the work is done, once the goals are met.
Thinking of our own pleasure in this way is so common it’s almost second nature to us.
We schedule our work breaks around meetings, if at all.
We make time for family members’ activities but rarely carve out time for our own.
We may even make time to go after our personal goals and self-improvement…but when it comes to our pleasure, we prioritize just about anything else.
I think we need a pleasure revolution, now more than ever.
Have you ever heard of Profit First? It’s a financial concept by Mike Michalowicz that encourages entrepreneurs to decide ahead of time how much profit they want to take out of their business, rather than waiting to see what they have left over at the end of the fiscal year.
Well, I’m calling for the Pleasure First Principle.
I want you to schedule your pleasure before anything else, rather than fitting it into whatever scraps of time you have left when you take care of your “obligations.”
But let’s be clear what I mean when I talk about “pleasure.”
In spite of what society would have you believe, pleasure is about more than spa days and blowouts, or Netflix binges and shopping sprees.
When you look at a lot of what society has conditioned us to equate pleasure with, you’ll notice most “pleasure” falls into two categories:
- Activities that help us conform to socially acceptable beauty standards.
- Activities that help us numb out.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with watching TV or getting your nails done.
I enjoy doing both of these things.
But I’m interested in expanding our view of what pleasure can be.
There are plenty of ads about how ice cream is your portal to pleasure.
But what about reading a book that has no educational value?
What about time alone to do whatever you want that has no economic or familial or productive value?
What about masturbation, or having sex where YOU orgasm and your partner doesn’t, and that’s fine?
These things are a little taboo to talk about because women aren’t encouraged to take REAL pleasure seriously.
Women’s pleasure is disruptive.
Society is based on women sublimating their own desires and pleasure to the desires and needs of everyone else.
What would happen if you prioritize your OWN pleasure over things that you felt obligated to do for other people?
Would it disrupt your life?
Would that be a bad thing?
If you’re resisting this idea, you’re not alone.
It goes against a lot of conditioning.
Most women are used to prioritizing our obligations. They all seem so necessary, don’t they?
We think our house has to be a certain level of clean (especially when we’re having company over!). We think our kids have to be taken to a certain number of enriching activities a day. We think we have to cut and color our hair every month.
We deny ourselves pleasure now with the idea that once we work hard enough or get good enough, then we will finally be able to enjoy ourselves and relax.
If so, then you probably also recognize that working “hard enough” and getting “good enough” are moving targets.
You never reach them, because if you train your brain to believe you aren’t good enough or haven’t worked hard enough, then you’ll only strengthen those neural networks over time.
Which means you will NEVER get to the place where you can relax and enjoy yourself.
That’s why I recommend pleasure first.
You have to prioritize pleasure NOW because pleasure is a vital part of life.
It’s good for your immune system, it’s restorative, it’s good for your body, it’s good for your soul.
It’s also empowering. You don’t have to earn it or deserve it, and you don’t need permission from anyone else to prioritize it.
What if you believed that time for pleasure was the most important thing you could do?
What if it made everything else you do better – more productive, more creative, more strategic, more brilliant, more fun?
Rather than portioning out all of your time and energy on obligations and trying to squeeze in a little pleasure, you would put it first.
So, that’s exactly what I want you to do.
When you create your schedule for the week, I want you to use the pleasure principle. Set aside your time for pleasure first, and then schedule your “obligations” around it.
Start thinking of pleasure as vital to your existence.
It doesn’t cost anything, and nobody can take it away from you.
To prioritize our own pleasure is to acknowledge that we are not only brains but bodies and that taking the time to create and experience pleasure is the best thing we can do for our own humanity and for our ability to show up and serve others.
In any moment that you are safe and alive, you can experience the pleasure of being in your human body. Of taking a breath, of feeling your feet on the ground, of touching yourself.
Even – especially – when you are scared and your survival drive is activated and you’re stressed about the world or your obligations.
That is exactly the time to breathe deeply, to look for the small pleasures in life. A flower outside, a hot bath, the touch of a loved one.
We are never guaranteed more than this day, this hour.
So make it a pleasurable one.