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  • Writer's pictureDr. Leyla Gulcur

The Pleasure Revolution

Hello, modern day living. With many relationships in communication failure, divorce rates around 50%, and sexual desire at an all-time low, we’re left wondering how to reinvent ourselves and our relationships with those we love. How to create something new, something that allows us to be more authentically in touch with ourselves, with significant others and with the environment we live in. We don’t yet know what’s in store for us. And truth is, there are no longer any road maps.

As we begin to unravel and replace old structures that no longer serve us, we must also look into how ingrained societal patterns have greatly shaped how we live our daily lives and relationships. One of these societal patterns is based on the idea that we can only become successful or happy through hard work, overcoming challenges and evolving through pain and suffering. And many social, religious and spiritual practices actually endorse this view.

In this worldview, there is no room for pleasure. We have never been taught how to taste, smell, touch and take joy from every aspect of our daily life and relationships, using our senses to enhance our discriminating minds.

I invite you to look at how you incorporate (or reject) the role of pleasure in your life, whether in love, work, or social relationships. Do you live under the axiom “no pain, no gain?”

I would like to make the case here that there is an alternative way to live, one that incorporates the role of pleasure into every aspect of daily life. Welcome to the Pleasure Revolution.

Pleasure is not limited to fun and frolicking, though it can certainly encompass it. But true pleasure runs deep, into the spiritual core of the body and the psyche. Pleasure can be felt in tears of grief, in righteous anger, in fear of the unknown, in spiritual angst as well as in ecstatic bliss. In this context, pleasure is the act of fully embracing, fully experiencing and fully celebrating, through the felt sense of the body, all that there is to experience in life, whether light or dark. I call this practice Practical Pleasure. And those who practice it, Pleasure Revolutionaries.

So what does it mean to be a Pleasure Revolutionary? It means using our erotic life force to power every aspect of our lives, from the material to the spiritual. Allowing desire to fuel our imagination and our vision of a brighter, bolder, more fulfilling future, for both ourselves and our society as a whole. Mindfully placing our exquisite attention on the moment-to-moment process of our every day experiences, and with no attachment to the outcome. Finding the sacred in the mundane. Taking in the warm aroma of fabric softener as our clothes roll around in the dryer at the laundromat. Feeling the chaotic metropolitan swirl of humanity while walking down a crowded street. Allowing a piece of dark chocolate to melt into creamy bitter sweetness in our mouth. Slowing down our speech and feeling the cadence and projection of our voice as we talk. Connecting to the heart and mind of another human being through our gaze.

When we live like this, the distinction between the mundane and the sacred shrinks down to nothing. For to use the erotic in this way is to create a bridge between our own spirituality and our daily actions in the world. Used in this way, the erotic also becomes a force for social justice and societal change. The personal truly becomes political!

So, in taking my inspiration from the idea that Pleasure can be an alternative way to live, I’m researching — in this phase of my life journey — how our erotic turn-on can enhance every aspect of our lives, whether it’s in doing the laundry, washing the dishes, taking the subway, working, teaching, eating, loving – and more.

I leave you with a quote from from one of my favorite authors Audre Lorde:

“. . . I speak of the erotic as the deepest life force, a force which moves us toward living in a fundamental way. And when I say living I mean it as that force which moves us toward what will accomplish real positive change. . . once we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. . . “

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