Discover your definition of pleasure

Historically, societal expectations were that sex was for procreation and only secondarily for pleasure. However, times have changed and sexual pleasure, experienced in many different ways, is healthy throughout life. In fact, numerous studies have shown the following health benefits: pain management, stress relief, boost in immunity, better heart health, increased self-esteem and intimacy, enhanced sleep, improvement in mood, increased life expectancy, enhanced reproductive health, and even decreased risk of breast cancer.

Discovering how your sexual desires evolve and change over your life can be quite a fascinating experience.

Sexual pleasure is what stimulates, or satisfies, your own sexual desires. This may include your sexual fantasies and/or urges and emotional needs or even just the longing for closeness within a relationship. While pleasure can involve sexual intercourse, there are other pleasures to consider as well. For example, large national studies, such as the one conducted by Laumann and colleagues at University of Chicago in 1987, have shown that it is perfectly normal and healthy to experience sexual pleasure through self-stimulation, alone or with a sexual partner. Because our sexual needs and desires are constantly changing throughout our lives, it can never hurt to re-visit our body and explore what is arousing (or not arousing) for us and/or our partners.

A misconception in our society is that women are not supposed to initiate sexual activities because we are not supposed to desire sexual pleasure or give in to sexual urges. However, sharing the responsibility of initiating sexual activities can increase pleasure for both partners. Both women and men can initiate exploration of intimate behaviors. This is something to talk about with each other; share desires and expectations to enhance your relationship.

Discussing and exploring sexual fantasies is another area to consider. This is helpful to do by yourself to discover what excites you, which you can share later with a partner. It is healthy to think about fantasies that are fun for you and to know what fantasies your partner(s) enjoys as well. Many times we don’t want to act on our fantasies, but they can still be pleasure enhancing. If you do want to explore a fantasy that you and a partner have said you might enjoy, and you feel comfortable enough, surprise your partner. Acting out the fantasy can add excitement and spontaneity in the relationship. Even better, your partner might surprise you just when the timing is right for exploring something new and exciting. Just remember that there is no shame in doing something that makes you feel good so long as it is between consenting adults who are fully supportive of sharing the experience. Communication is essential.

Remember, you can explore sexual pleasures and intimacy in ways that are healthy and exciting for many years to come. Exploring your fantasies, desires, expectations, and places of arousal can maximize pleasure when engaging in intimate activities alone or with a partner.

Discovering how your sexual desires evolve and change over your life can be quite a fascinating experience. We all deserve what I call “feel-good moments” in our life, and what better way to experience these moments than through discovering your definition of pleasure?


As always, remember your sexy is safe with me!! Until next time...



This article was previously published for Delco News Network's Sexuality Matters Column, and can be located here.