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olaiya1089

erotic energy has political potential

sex and erotic energy has a purpose outside of procreating

we become healed during an erotic exchange

many people who identify as pleasure activists only focus on the sexual aspect of pleasure politics and ignore other areas of life

while this is important the reality is that we should center the erotic should in all aspects of our lives 

people frequently misread audre lorde’s essay “uses of the erotic: the erotic as power” as being purely about sex but i believe that she was theorizing that our whole lives can be erotic and juicy and luscious not just our bedroom lives (though our bedroom lives are certainly important and we can use the energy cultivated there and filter into other spaces of life)

we can become activated by erotic energy

we can become replenished by it and have the energy we need to annihilate the systems that we live under, such as neoliberalism and white patriarchal capitalism

when this energy lies dormant within us it festers and can affect us negatively

and we can feel stifled, forlorn, and restless

erotic energy can also be released in other ways outside of sex

art making, for example, can be an erotic act as well as teaching or any other kind of energetic exchange

anytime we are filling our cups we are contributing to our overall well being

and we are moving the earth closer towards utopia

when we are empty and depleted, we fall flat on our faces because we are exhausted

we don’t have the energy to show up for ourselves, let alone rupturing systems

this is why cultivating a pleasure practice that emphasizes the erotic is so important

in order for us to blossom into more pleasurable people and birth a more pleasurable world

Photo of a juicy, pink watermelon half drenched in red pomegranate seeds and blueberries. erotic energy has political potential!
Photo by Maria Talks on Unsplash

olaiya1089

prelude

follow yr pleasure at all costs/it will never lead you in the wrong direction

developing a pleasure mindset is a practice of self-worth and fights against self-abnegation

our lives are not meant to be full of suffering

movement 1: making a pleasure pact

it was a soft sunday morning in april when i decided to leave new york city

i woke up miserable and full of regret

why the fuck was i here?

why the fuck was i paying money out my pocket to live here?

i waz working at job that did not satisfy me

i had been hanging out with a toxic group of friends who smiled in my face and talked about me like a damn dog behind my back

i didn’t have a real social life

my love life and sex life were non-existent

i was in an arts program working with an artist that i couldn’t stand

why the fuck was i here?

i couldn’t think of any reason to continue to live in a place where i waz so unhappy

maybe it wasn’t the geographical location

maybe it was me

maybe i was blossoming at a speed that the city couldn’t keep up with

whatever it was/i knew i needed a change

i knew i needed to make many changes

so i made a pleasure pact with myself

a pleasure pact is when you make promise with yrself to take actionable steps towards enhancing the pleasure in yr life

the actionable steps don’t have to be immediate

making a pleasure pact is an act of introspection

there may be certain aspects of yr life that you can’t change but you can focus on the things that you do have the power to transform

i wrote down a list of things that i wanted to change in my life

the list looked something like this:

  1. GET THE FUCK OUTTA NEW YORK!!! (maybe go to philly?)
  2. travel to at least one place a year that I really want to go to (if not more)
  3. find a job that is more aligned with who i am (i.e. teaching, community organizing, etc.)

these were just a few of things that i made a pleasure pact about

my decision to move was not irrational or out of the blue

i had thought about it for a long time and i didn’t leave until months later

but writing down the things that i wanted in my life was like spellcasting for me

i was manifesting a more pleasurable life for myself

here are some ways you can make a pleasure pact with yrself:

  1. make time to dream and fantasize
  2. write down some ways that you can expand the pleasure in yr life ((you can also draw or audio record yrself; use whatever medium feels right for you)
  3. think of actionable steps that you can take to make yr pleasure pact a reality

here are some questions that can guide you in yr pleasure pact-making:

1. what are the ways that yr peace has been disrupted; how can you reclaim it?

2. what or whom no longer serves you? what things or people in yr life do you want to get rid of?

3. what bad habits do you need to become more aware of and break? what ways are you punishing yrself for past mistakes? what cycles need to be broken?

when we identify the ways that pleasure is missing form our lives/we can begin to extract all the unnecessary things that don’t serve us and release that negative energy so that we can allow more positive energy to flow into our lives

i want to emphasize that this is a practice and is not instantaneous but when sustained it can have deeply gratifying effects

when we live more pleasurable lives it is like a ripple effect

the more orgasmic and erotic our individual lives become, the more orgasmic and erotic the world becomes

the more sensual we as human beings become, the more sensual the world becomes

by practicing softness, we make the world into a softer place; the journey to living in a utopic world starts with every one of us

a million small rocks being thrown into a river at once can make a mighty splash

movement 2: having a pleasure mindset

having a pleasure mindset means believing that you are worthy of and deserve pleasure

and that life is to be lived fabulously, luxuriously, joyfully, and abundantly

life could be easy/we as human beings make it hard

we overcomplicate things

life is not short/it’s expansive/we make it small

life is not linear/ it’s full of a thousand concentric circles

unlearning is important in reprogramming ourselves; many of us have been brainwashed by society to think we have to live unpleasurable lives to be successful or fulfilled

this way of thinking impedes upon our pleasure

for example if you grew up in a sexually conservative household and the values you were taught don’t serve you any longer you may want to unlearn them and allow yrself to explore yr sexuality (safely and consensually of course)

or if you were raised to believe that you have to be productive all the time, you may want to unlearn that and allow yrself to take more time to rest

if someone oversteps yr boundaries, that is a sign of disrespect and a major red flag; you might decide it is best to distance yrself from people who don’t respect yr boundaries

when yr peace is disrupted it depletes yr energy

there is nothing more important than yr personal peace and pleasure

when you are at peace and living in pleasure/it makes the world a more peaceful, pleasurable place to inhabit

coda

life is not about sacrifice/don’t believe the lies/don’t believe the hype

center yr pleasure at all costs/yr life literally depends on it

Purple lilacs in a glass vase. Two purple candles. A blue figurine on a purple stone. 2 glasses filled with water and lilac buds.
Photo by Anthony Ievlev on Unsplash

olaiya1089

prelude

joy

abundance

boundaries

balance

democracy

reciprocity

harmony

bliss

sensuality

silence

slowness

stillness

sweetness

gracefulness

rest

peace

eroticism

ease

collective care

interiority

intimacy

desire

thriving

these are my pleasure principles

these are the ethics/values/and principles that guide me

these concepts undergird everything that i do

what are yr pleasure principles?

i am a blk gurrrl in search of utopia

i won’t settle for anything less than paradise

the last two years have perhaps been the most unpleasurable in the history of my life

i have been stressed out/depressed/anxious and just generally unhappy

i am hungry for something more

i crave adventure

i crave fluidity

i crave a change of pace and new energy

i want to live my most abundant/joyful/pleasurable life

i know that we all do

bur how can we get there?

how can we transform ourselves and the world to be a more pleasurable place?

movement 1: what are the barriers to pleasure?

we live in an anti-pleasure world

the matrix of domination that we operate under does not center pleasure

it centers product

the roots of capitalist productivity have puritanical underpinnings

the puritans believed that a person achieved favor with god thru how much they labored

the idea of american exceptionalism is rooted in this ideology

early americans saw this country as a “city on a hill” that towered over and looked down upon other nations because of the so-called american work ethic

the lie that we have been told is that if we work hard we will get far

but we know that this country is rooted in white heteronormative cisnormative patriarchal capitalism and not everyone is meant to get a piece of the pie or ascend to paradise

the great conundrum then is that only certain people are allowed to “go far” while others, because of their race/gender/sexuality/class work just as hard and settle for less

all my life i have worked hard but this has not garnered any personal happiness

i am a single 33-year-old black trans womxn

i live in a small studio apartment

i have tons of student debt

my success in navigating systems has yielded little pleasure

and so the question i find myself asking is what waz it all for?

now don’t get me wrong

i am grateful for all that i have (i will discuss gratitude and abundance in later essays)

i love my mind

i love who i am

i love myself despite the structures that i am forced to live under

and this is where pleasure starts

inside ourselves/not outside

when we look inward/we find hidden treasures

our interior lives are powerful and give us sustenance to keep going

when we stop focusing on outward productivity and focus on our own internal processes we are practicing pleasure/we are tapping into a primal way of being

movement 2: tapping into an ancient self

it is my belief that earth waz once a utopia

a utopia that we as a human race yearn to get back to

scientifically speaking human beings were not made to work a 40 hour work week or go to school for 40 hours a week

we were all hunters and gatherers once

migrating from place to place

living off the land and taking care of it

our bodies and brains were not made to labor

we were made to love

were made to live our most pleasurable/joyful/abundant lives

this is our birthright

this is why we are here

capitalism is a distraction

it keeps us occupied so that we forget our true mission and destiny

we don’t know how to take care of ourselves or each other

we are slaves to time and money

we think there are limited resources

but if we look at the natural world

the world that we have been cut off from

we would know that this is a lie

if we were not bamboozled by this bullshit system

we would know a lot of things

we are cut off from our own internal wisdom

the external has become privileged over the internal in this empire called america

under this trash ass system called global capitalism

movement 3: the future is a utopia

the past waz a utopia and so the future shall be one as well

what we are experiencing now is rebirth

and rebirth is messy

it is not clean or precise

but the process can and should be pleasurable

because what’s on the other side is beautiful

the other side is joy

the other side is pure unadulterated pleasure

and we can get there when we divest from systems and ideologies that no longer serve us

and when we invest in our own pleasure

we must annihilate to rebuild

we must break down to be rebirthed

it is only then that we can manifest our own personal paradise

and make the world into a utopia

oh how sweet that day will be

oh how sweet

coda

i am a blk gurrrl in search of utopia

i won’t settle for anything less than paradise

doing pleasure work is holy

it is a practice

it is a journey

journeys are so much better when you go on them with other people

will you create a community with me?

will you come on this pleasure journey with me?

A red sign with the word "Utopia" on it against a greyish white building.

Photo by Johnny Cohen from Unsplash