Our Complex Relationship with Pleasure

Dec 05, 2018

Our Complex Relationship with Pleasure

I’m curious about the complex relationship we have with pleasure. On the surface, most people would say – “Yeah pleasure - bring it on.” But when we dig a bit deeper we discover - we don’t know what real pleasure is and despite wanting it, we are also rather opposed to it. Maybe you have suspicions about pleasure, if not downright fear towards it. All this begs the question, “Is it okay to have pleasure?”

I’m Curious About our Relationship to Pleasure

I’m curious about how this common attitude came to be and what it’s about.

Additionally, it’s not just a North American phenomenon. This year I had the privilege of facilitating workshops on pleasure in Israel and Japan. A few years ago, I presented at an international conference in Italy; about 15 countries were represented. Wherever I go everyone agrees, there is ambivalence towards pleasure – a push-pull dynamic – “I want it and I don’t want it.”

Pleasure Warrants Real Attention

Since pleasure is one of our prime motivators, surely it warrants some real attention.

My sense is we’re still quite influenced by a culture that only recently adopted, at least on the surface, a more positive attitude to pleasure. Previously pleasure was regarded as dangerous and could potentially lead to our demise in some way. Pleasure was not to be trusted and “good people” shouldn’t put too much focus there.

In the Unlock Pleasure work, the first step is to articulate these hidden and often irrational, inherited beliefs about pleasure. Identify what your current relationship to pleasure is. Notice how your unconscious belief might be holding you back from a more positive relationship to pleasure.  This can lead to a more conscious intention towards positive pleasure.

Some Questions to Consider

In the work of Unlock Pleasure, you will explore some questions such as:

What did your parents teach you about pleasure? Both from what they said, and from how they lived? Can you articulate the family ethos towards pleasure?

The cultural group you were raised in – what attitudes did they hold towards pleasure?

If your childhood included a religious aspect, what was the message about pleasure you took in there?

There are additional influences to your attitudes to pleasure, but even starting with these three basic questions will be revealing.

I invite you to spend some time with the questions and let me know where they take you. I love engaging with others on the topic of pleasure. I hope to hear back from you.




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Previous entry: The Relationship between Happiness and Pleasure

“I will begin a new relationship with my body” Unlocking Pleasure was an amazing concept, idea to work and play with explore”

Workshop attendee