The Pursuit of Pleasure


By: Emma Levin

I like to masturbate when I’m stressed. This isn’t a new or original concept, but it’s an important exercise we tend to overlook. However, when I needed that vital release after a discouraging day at work, I didn’t want to allow myself pleasure. I didn’t want to let go.

Last Friday, my day was rife with a lack of focus. My co-working space allowed voices to manifest into self-criticism and doubt. “You’re going to suck so why bother trying” shook at the edge of my consciousness. I quickly became exhausted and the letters blurred; staring at the screen.

Escape now or suffer this pain. I was too frightened to stay, so I went home early.

Once home, I popped in the shower, a typical reprieve to my anxiety. I tried speaking out the insecurities and the issues that were bothering me, but it wasn’t enough. Finally, nearing the end of my shower, I approached the answer… should I masturbate?

And I tried to talk myself out of it.

I love to masturbate. I love an escape to pleasure.  I love controlling the time I spend alone letting fantasies transport me to a place far from here. And I tried to talk myself out of it. I tried to convince myself I didn’t have to resort to fucking myself.

Self-love is considered a shameful act. Masturbation is still taboo in our culture and as human beings typically we’re not supposed to lose control. According to Planned Parenthood, 50% of men and 50% of women report feelings of guilt after masturbating.

However, orgasms have positive properties associated with them. They allow the body to release dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin. These hormones lower our main stress hormone, cortisol. They help us both to sleep better and to boost our libido. But, we ignore these possibilities and shame ourselves for doing the deed.

The pursuit of pleasure is another checkpoint on my journey to self-love. All day long, emails, friends, and Facebook notifications ring in our ear, but for some reason, I can’t make time for a release and escape. Since responsibilities take over my free time, shouldn’t I make self-love a responsibility?

I eventually stopped talking myself out of it and got set underneath the water. I kept judgment and doubtful thoughts at bay. And once I finished, I swear I could cry from the positive emotion that bathed me. I no longer shook nervously and the universe enveloped me in an absolute release.

If we schedule in moments for exercise, meditation, light reading or any version of your me-time, then we will be better equipped to handle daily pressures. I believe that masturbation is vital to relieve stress, becoming more familiar with yourself, and is plain old-fashioned fun! It’s a different avenue for staying in the moment and a way to live our lives with more pleasure.

And let’s face it, the more in the moment we are, the better our GASP! 😉

For those who would like more information and statistics on masturbation:

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