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The world was created for this.

You know that feeling.
You can feel it right now if you choose.
It is a sensation that feels very good inside, like you are sunshine; you are the ripple of wind across the water.
It feels sacred. It feels sensual. It feels pleasurable. It feels like the best possible truth. It feels like rapture.

Our internal compass develops in a healthy way by tuning itself, like a pitch pipe, to pleasurable experiences.

Problem: pleasure is not a word that people can hear, right now. We turn our backs to it, like a crucifix to a vampire. It threatens our opinion about our very nature, and our survival.

For those of you who are old like me — remember how, 40 years ago, we laughed at those imbeciles who insisted on eating organic food? Yup. Or those crazies who insisted we go running every day? Yup. Now we are all doing it.

It is my conviction that the pursuit of pleasure is that new cutting edge, in our health and well-being.
You can tell by how awkward it feels.
The cutting edge is not ever comfortable.

But hey, you’re here, reading this post. You got this far.
You might just be a Pleasure Revolutionary.

The root of the word, pleasure is from the Old French, plesir, which means enjoyment or delight.

Let’s go back a few thousand years.
What felt good? Every aspect of the primitive indigenous human experience: eating, sleeping, waking, moving one’s body, being challenged, taking care of one another, living in harmony with the natural world, hunting for food, being held, touched, known, being part of community, working for and with others.
Spirit was intact, held in place by human awareness, conscious of the gift of life. Feeling pleasure was an internal guide to spirit, the compass to the gift of connection to the divine.

And now?
Pleasure – especially the erotic, the sensual – is largely an invisible word in our culture.
A disparaged outcast.
An unnamed, unrecognized value.

Audre Lorde explains, “As women, we have come to distrust that power which rises from our deepest and non-rational knowledge. We have been warned against it all our lives by the male world, which values this depth of feeling enough to keep women around in order to exercise it in the service of men, but which fears this same depth too much to examine the possibilities of it within themselves.”

People that seem interested in pleasure are regarded with skepticism.
They seem odd. Or out of step.
Pleasure is considered threatening. And repulsive. And profane.
All of which it is, according to a culture that values things like goal accomplishment, pain, suffering, and money – over feeling.

Picture a yoga studio filled with 100 sweaty bodies, moving in sync to ancient postures. To some, that is a revolting waste of time. To others, who have experienced the pleasure in the practice, that image, that experience, is heaven on earth.

Picture someone really taking his or her time, licking an ice cream cone on a hot day as it drips down the side of the cone. Taking ecstatic licks and nibbles, perhaps moaning with delight. To some, this is a repulsive, self-indulgent image. To others, it is a voyeuristic delight.

Feeling pleasure is what every developing baby strives for. The reason babies are so delicious is that they are one aspect of human experience where one can feel totally right about surrendering to the erotic pleasure, and still remain in compliance with a culture that disparages pleasure. We can bury our faces in the delicious belly or thigh of an infant, or nibble their neck, in public, and not feel aberrant. But do the same to your lover, or your mother, and you are pressing the boundaries of unacceptability.

The world was created for sensual pleasure.
You cannot look at, and allow yourself to feel, a sunset — and not agree with me.
No other reason to have that crazy ecstatic crash of golden fiery sprays of pink yellow purples splashing across the infinity of blues if we were not supposed to vibe to the ecstatic privilege of life while watching a sunset.
Every night.
No reason to have 100 varieties of peach trees, 100 varieties of peach trees, for fuck’s sake, if we were not supposed to sink into the succulence of each kind.

But, you have to be able to feel yourself, sensually, to know that.
And you have to value the feeling.

This is nearly impossible in a world that has taught you, from birth, to cut off from your feelings, and to disconnect from your own sense of sensual pleasure. The world has so deeply vilified the sensual that we turn away from it, in fear, before we can be educated by its potential power, guidance, and illumination.

In fact, we are so immediately organized to feel the repulsion of the sensual that we dump the whole distinction of pleasure right into the well of the pornographic, or the sexual. Yet, in truth, the sensual has little to do with the sexual, and nothing to do with the pornographic.

The location of the sensual is precisely the entry point between the woman and the divine. The address of the soul is in the body, the sensual. The sensual is our area code, our zip code, our social security number. It is the way we navigate and feel our placement in the world, integrating us, alongside the rest of the natural order.

The sensual teaches us to trust ourselves, our deepest truth, our deepest intuition. It is where the divine lives inside us.
If you want to locate your divinity, locate your sensual pleasure.

If you are a woman who feels a subtle, almost un-nameable sense of something missing, something wrong, something not quite right – you are a woman who has not yet rooted herself in the fullness of her sensual reality, her sensual truth – pleasure – as her birthright.

A woman so untethered has not been given her birthright. Nor has she known that it was hers to take.

This is one of the overarching components of a patriarchal culture – there is no expectation of a birthright for a woman.
If we do not know that a privilege awaits us, it is way too easy to miss.
A lifetime of longing can pass without a woman experiencing her value, her significance, the ultimate importance of her thread – her golden thread – in the very fabric of the world’s survival.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments . . .

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34 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • Marie March 18, 2015, 7:30 pm

    Women tend to create and enjoy sensual pleasures. We bake tasty cakes and then we decorate them (taste, sight); we arrange beautiful flowers, we adorn ourselves with clothing, makeup and jewelry (sight); we sing soft lullabies (hearing); we wear perfumes (smell); we touch, kiss and hug (sense of touch) – BUT we seem to have difficulty with seeking and receiving sensual touch and sexual pleasures. All of our other sensuality is deemed good, but pleasure through our sense of touch is somewhat disapproved of – we do not seek that one out and we are not rewarded and applauded for it, as we are for the other sensual pleasures we are involved in. Animals will seek out this pleasure – dogs and cats have no shyness about getting petted. I do not have an answer. It is odd that it is OK to seek and enjoy ice cream, but not so OK to seek out being stroked and held.

  • BSG Glitzy Cougar Karen October 30, 2014, 7:16 pm

    I write this from Paris, delighting in the autumn sunshine, the change of seasons, strolling along the Seine, tasting my way through Paris with my foodie friend, SG Robin. We conjured this gorgeous apartment on the Isle La Cite during our stay here. 10 years ago this would not have happened. Coming from a 25 year stultifying marriage, my senses were so shut down, I could not have felt…sensed…this exquisite place. After 6 years connected to SWA, it is happening. But it is a journey every day to allow pleasure, a constant reminder that it IS allowed. What a great reminder to read as I feel into this luscious city. Perfect timing, Regena:).

  • Betty Louise October 30, 2014, 6:12 pm

    Thank you Mama Gena!

    I have heard about you for years, and now see why so many people pointed me to your work.

    Pleasure is the new cutting edge, and I love your vision of how it will evolve just as organic food did. It is truly our birthright!

    My work has brought me to a similar place having just completed a book titled “Healing with Pleasure Medicine: Unearthing the Beautiful, Sensual, Sexual You.”

    I am happy to know more of your great work!

    Blessings,
    Betty Louise

  • SG Mercedes October 29, 2014, 6:43 pm

    Thank you Goddess Mama Gena!!!
    delighting in our pleasure and sensuality is our birthright … it is time, high time, to collectively and individually reclaim our joy and enjoyment being in this most sensual planet!

  • Gypsy Goddess Lee October 29, 2014, 2:44 am

    Dearest Mama Goddess Gena
    I just love how you express the truth of the feminine and sensual:) We have just hosted our 9th International Oriental (Belly) Dance Festival in Cape Town. Read “Hundreds of Woman loving themselves, getting so much sensual pleasure from dressing themselves beautifully and moving their bodies to the music. All shapes, sizes, cultures, ages, and abilities… and those who have got it smiled all the time:) Lots of love from Sunny South Africa xx PS Our Festival turns 10 next year end of October – we would love to have you with us!

  • Bev October 29, 2014, 2:05 am

    Ever had that feeling something is right the minute you hear or read about it?

    Ever wondered why in the hell you’d never thought of it yourself, because it feels so much apart of you?

    Ever felt that appreciative internal applause when your heartstrings are tugged?

    Well guess what Mama Gena, you have done exactly that and more!

    What you say is…
    Profound!
    Moving!
    Motivating and disturbing!

    Full admiration and respect for you Mama Gena!
    Your gutsy pioneer spirit will tap into the untapped!
    And I want to be part of it!

    THANK YOU!
    Bev xox

  • megan October 28, 2014, 10:49 pm

    Oh YES!!!!
    Thank you thank you thank you, Mama Love, Mama Gena.. .

  • SG Meredith October 28, 2014, 10:24 pm

    I absolutely love this post. It resonates with me RIGHT NOW as I haven’t felt so distanced from my sensual being in years. It is my right to know her and to celebrate her everyday. Thank your for reminding me today that I have an obligation. I will re-read this again again and devour your every word. Loving you for your generosity and genius Mama Gena. Thank you.

  • Abbie October 28, 2014, 6:18 pm

    I’m so grateful for your email and this post. I really needed it today. Hard at work. Hard coming home to a relationship that has lost its pleasure. Mama G, your conviction that pleasure is the new organic food lights up my life big time. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation.

  • Helen October 28, 2014, 6:09 pm

    Wow this really struck a chord – a painful one.
    This one frame “A lifetime of longing can pass without a woman experiencing her value, her significance, the ultimate importance of her thread – her golden thread – in the very fabric of the world’s survival.” is a description of my life. This is why I am here – to rediscover that lost part of my soul. I will read these posts over and over again. Thank you Mama Gena and Sister Goddesses. Much Love xoxo SG Helen
    Still dancing 🙂

  • Goddess a/k/a SisterGoddess LuckyGirl October 28, 2014, 5:02 pm

    FavFram – The sensual teaches us to trust ourselves, our deepest truth, our deepest intuition. It is where the divine lives inside us.
    If you want to locate your divinity, locate your sensual pleasure.

    Yum and so true – yes yes yes to cutting edge reLOVEutionaries – thahahank you for this pleasure dance and leading the way MamaGena

  • Sister Goddess Dazzling Debra October 28, 2014, 4:22 pm

    I just returned home after a lovely day, experiencing a one hour Korean Body Scrub, a yummy dosa and a surprise run in with my niece. The warm autumn afternoon and knowing friends were staying at my home with me. Talking with my daughter as she brilliantly navigated the vicissitudes of life. I was about to go on the boards and brag that I felt deep profound pleasure with my life.
    Of course, once again Regena, you are reading my mind.
    Your post was so gorgeously descriptive I feel deep guttural pleasure just reading it.
    MWAH!!!!

  • SG Mystical Moon October 28, 2014, 3:56 pm

    LOVE THIS: “100 varieties of peach trees, for fuck’s sake”!!!

    • Rita October 29, 2014, 7:13 pm

      Ditto!!!!

  • Sister Goddess MEG October 28, 2014, 3:09 pm

    I had the most delicious experience this weekend that I wanted to share with you glorious women. My friends and I were in the student union of the university, hanging around a grand piano in the corner of the main room. Some student started playing classical music and then another played two hours of contemporary music. And we just danced. And I closed my eyes and allowed myself to feel everything. The sunlight on my skin, coming through the window; its warmth felt by every pore. The reverberations of the music moving my body in a free-flowing dance, completely uninhibited by my thought. Pressing my hands against the piano to simply feel the vibrations of each chord—and then sinuously rubbing and dancing against it as the ecstasy of the moment overcame me. And being purely focused on my own pleasure and joy, I captivated every person in that room and was later described as “immaculate.” Oh the power of feeling and self-pleasure!

  • Caroline October 28, 2014, 2:25 pm

    The first time I left the USA, something was different. About my 3rd trip to Italy, I figured out what it was. They value pleasure, revel in pleasure, seek pleasure, bask in pleasure….but wait. I was brought up Italian. My childhood was full of parties, games, celebrations, feasts, gatherings, laughter, merriment. (Yes, there was a pain side, too). Why didn’t I carry this with me to adulthood? I came to think of pleasure as cheap thrills. Not for me. I was a serious brainy girl. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. The WASP culture we live in encourages self denial, the stiff upper lip and there is no gain without pain. Thank you Mama Gena for sending the message loud and clear and affirming what I knew but did not have the confidence to wear. There is no point to life if there is no pleasure. Pleasure is dead center.

  • Maria October 28, 2014, 1:26 pm

    Mama Gena:

    It is so hard to come to this realization and swing back and forth between my awakened sensual womanhood and the old version of myself… that is also alive..both of them.. one just sends me down to the pithole… making it hard to strive and feel good.. it feeds on stress I have to remember to feed the pleasure… and you are 100% in the truth on this post… I wrote a song in Spanish that I will share in a few weeks… in the lyrics spirit asks women to activate their sensuality… See you in Miami, Ive been invited 🙂 very much looking forward.

    xoxox
    @Mariakowalski

  • marie gipson (SG Magick Witch) October 28, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Dear Mama Gena,

    Thank you for yet another story of truth. My favorite frame:

    “Pleasure is considered threatening. And repulsive. And profane.
    All of which it is, according to a culture that values things like goal accomplishment, pain, suffering, and money – over feeling.”

    We women are turning this 180 degrees by abiding in pleasure, considering it to be essential priority, attractive, and above all, sacred.

    The cultural tide is turning, and we women are surfing this in a tidal wave of Pleasure/Love to usher in this new era (with the E.R.A finally put in the constitution too)!

    I dedicate my art to imagining an equal, peaceful, pleasure-oriented, loving, verdant renewed world.

    I’m so glad, Mama Gena, that you are lighting the ecstatic path for us to dance down together!

  • Deborah Smith aka SG Wicked October 28, 2014, 1:13 pm

    “The address of the soul is in the body. . .” Thank you Regena. I have known this for a long time. Your affirming this in VPBC and Mastery cut loose so much grief over how often I had been told by my culture that I was wrong to feel this that I nicked myself the “Rupture Queen.” Now I brag taught my lover to do Trinities and Favorite Frames on our first night together. I brag letting sensuality rule the day as often as I can remember to put this tool first. I brag crawling over to my Bestie’s mat in yoga just pre-class and nudging her over (she was seated doing Pranayama) with my nose to say “Hi and I love you” in front of a lot of other students. I brag getting more and more comfortable with outward shows of sensuality in public.

    Thank you
    xoxo

  • SG Angelee Angel-on-Fire October 28, 2014, 1:01 pm

    Thank you so much for this reminder. Even as a practitioner and teacher of Orgasmic Mediation– which is all about focusing on the sensations you are feeling in your body– I sometimes forget that I can ALWAYS use pleasure and desire as my compass. Even when doing taxes or sitting in traffic or arguing with my partner. ESPECIALLY when arguing with my partner– there is such juicy, hot sensation going on that I can actually turn into pleasure if I don’t attach story to it.

    Looking forward to savoring ALL of this day. So appreciating all that you bring to all of our worlds, Mama G. Mwah!

  • robin~ October 28, 2014, 12:50 pm

    how perfect that I read today’s entry while enjoying the perfection of a fresh apple fritter – still hot inside. thank you for the reminder to slow down and appreciate the pleasure of it – to not gobble it down, feeling guilt over the indulgence of such a fattening food going into an already too-fat body =(

    Instead, I savored it, paid attention to the texture and the warmth and the yumminess of it and of your words =)

  • SG Sensual Shakaya October 28, 2014, 12:35 pm

    YES!
    Sensual beauty and pleasure is the language of a woman’s soul…
    Pleasure IS a revolution and you MG are a Divinely feminine cutting edge.

  • Lisa October 28, 2014, 12:31 pm

    A lifetime of longing. That’s me. Without even knowing it.
    I grew up in a stark, matter of fact, lack of touch or soft words household – my mother
    Is a rules oriented Scandinavian, father a ranger with words, and an extreme patriarchical
    Stepfather.
    As a child I searched out the sensual world through dance, friends and art to fill the hole
    That I could not name
    I dropped it all in my 20’s and 30’s and shut down.
    Now as I neared 50 I learned about pleasure as a natural human right by watching my children and am discovering I can include myself in this world of movement, sunsets, hugs,
    Hand holding, waterfalls, rainbows, tastes, and sounds that are embodiment of love and spirit
    Thank you for this article as I keep forgetting about pleasure, as I still feel the guilt and shame. Guilt and shame block me.
    Your article unblocked me again.

  • SG Melanie (The Pleasure Channel) October 28, 2014, 12:09 pm

    Hi, SG Melanie here again. I wanted to add to my earlier post and underscore your expression of the specifics of SENSUAL pleasure. The touches, tastes, scents, sights and sounds of the world are the way we integrate the world into our bodies.

    Had I never heard the laughter of my baby nieces, seen the beauty of the harvest moon, felt the softness of my dog’s fluffy fur, smelled the aroma of my mother’s fresh-baked cookies, and tasted the sweetness of my lover’s tongue, I would be a woman without *knowledge* of the EXISTENCE of sensual pleasure. And I would never wake a day in my life with the anticipation — or a modicum of hope– of those joys to come.

  • SG Karen October 28, 2014, 11:54 am

    My favorite frame: “The location of the sensual is precisely the entry point between the woman and the divine. ” Oh yes, MG, Oh yes.

  • Laura Jacobs October 28, 2014, 11:53 am

    Mama Gena I know this to be true. Since I have been researching my divine feminine I have less self doubt,more confidence. I am that girl that feels alive with every part of my being and when there is a bad spot I now have tools to GET THROUGH IT NOT IGNORE IT.
    The experience of pleasure and sensuality have literally made me younger more live more connected to myself and others Bless you for your work and what it has done for so many women.

  • The Alchemistress Clare October 28, 2014, 11:19 am

    Wow-this is a powerful post. I just got back from presenting to a group of church leaders on the link between people ‘feeling good’ and their success in volunteer roles, so this was so fun to come back to. They loved the presentation and I LOVED delivering it….and I felt, as you so beautifully state, “like the ripple of wind across the water”. I get to feel like this because of the work I have done at the SWA, by following what makes ME feel good, and getting that by doing so I will be doing my best possible work in the world. Thank you for this utterly soul-stirring edition.

  • SG Pu-rekini Alison October 28, 2014, 11:05 am

    Thank you, Mama.
    Sunday I spent eight hours practicing Tai Chi with a master practitioner and community of 50 and later 10. This was deeply satisfying in a divinely powerful way. It had nothing to do with laugh-inducing pleasure or flirting. I came home absolutely exhausted; not even enough energy for that lavender epsom salt bath I had planned. The pleasure was sublime and now lingers.

  • SG Melanie October 28, 2014, 10:58 am

    Rock on, Sister… Pleasure is the new gold. You are SO spot on here. Every woman should read this, and make it part of her being.

    If we all adopted pleasure as a way of life, the world would right itself in ways that we only *dream* of right now. Relationships would be healed, chins would be lifted backs would be straightened. Fewer children — fewer adults– would feel isolated, misunderstood…

    I have long held the belief that if women and men adopted pleasure in their parenting that their children would live into a future of joy, happiness and balance that creates the loving, hopeful and successful adults we all aspire to be.

    When I read your book years ago and first landed on the steps of the Palace, I was SO unsure of what you meant by “pleasure as a way of life”. Though I stumble (often), fall off the wagon (repeatedly), and lose practice of my tools (forgetfully), I never stop believing for a moment that it is still the True North of the modern feminists and all women (and men) of the 21st Century.

    Don’t ever stop believing that you are preaching the gospel we have so long waited for and strive (in spite of ourselves) to live each and every step of our living days. You are this generation’s Harriet Tubman. Love to you always.

    XO,
    Sojourner Truth. 😉

  • Lorraine October 28, 2014, 10:55 am

    I am tingling from reading this post. It is so what the doctor ordered, literally. I have recently become aware (by a Dr friend) that I have completely shut down my second chakra. The emptiness that I feel is b/c of this disconnect with my true essence. I am now on a mission to uncover my sensual truth.

    Priceless: The sensual teaches us to trust ourselves, our deepest truth, our deepest intuition. It is where the divine lives inside us.
    If you want to locate your divinity, locate your sensual pleasure.

    with loving gratitude!

    • SG Kathleen October 29, 2014, 11:02 am

      Dear SG Lorraine,
      Thank you for your post! I would love to hear what techniques you are doing to reawaken your second chakra – this is something I have struggled with as well and I would love to know more about your journey, if you are willing to share.
      Thank you!
      SG Kathleen