Bodily Pleasures - Swaying to My Own Beat

As I mentioned in an earlier blog about "Spirituality & Sexuality - Why Such a Split," pursuing and experiencing pleasure has gotten a bad rap. It's immature. It's superficial. It's selfish. And oddly enough, for a society with such a focus on individualism, selfishness (particularly for women, I'm wiling to claim) is condemned. Although we are constantly pursuing pleasures of the body, to say that you're doing it for its own sake, as an end in itself, seems to be a problem. This perspective is understandable to some extent, as a hedonistic approach to life could include feeling out of control or mis-prioritizing.

But like so much else, I look to apply a holistic perspective to pleasure and reframe it as a self-nurturing activity. Yesterday I experienced a session of movement therapy with musician and dance/music therapist Draza Jansky. We sat on the floor for awhile, discussing my relationship with my body, my experience of my physical body needing to "catch up" to my emotional and spiritual growth, and what it is to be in tune with and honoring of my body. I then stood with my eyes closed and just moved however I wanted as my friend observed. Despite my expectation of feeling awkward in being watched and my assumption that my inner critic would be full throttle, within minutes I felt peaceful yet inquisitive.

I was curious by my movements. I was appreciative to have the time devoted to a calm and gentle exploration. I was shocked that I felt thoroughly at home in my body and in a rare space of nonjudgment. I forgot I was being watched. How long I moved, swayed, stretched, and expanded, I do not know. What I do know is that I experienced pleasure. Holistic pleasure. I felt mentally and physically energized, emotionally and spiritually peaceful, and socially exempt. I was listening to my inner wisdom. And I was OK in each moment. This holistic pleasure, by way of my physical body, was nurturing and balancing and honoring and freeing. And felt damn good.

Jennifer Gunsaullus, Ph.D.

Sex Therapy & Relationship Counseling in San Diego