NSFW: Pleasure As A Ritual of Self-Love

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

"Say yes to that kink.

Say yes to whatever pleasure looks like to you."

Part One

They turned my mouth into a rainbow and tasted like an explosion of sweet fireworks. With flavors like “Strawberry,” “Extra Sour,” and the elusive “Cola,” they’d hypnotize me and my friends for the first few minutes before pushing us to unleash hell on our parents. I don’t think I ever once stopped to consider why they were shaped like feet, I just knew that the shape was funny and that, even though they’d give me “raquiña,” (rashes on my legs that would itch like crazy) they were my favorite candy at the store. Still, I would start scratching until I drew blood, prompting the grown-ups to remind me that I couldn’t have as much candy as the other kids.


Was this when I learned to associate pleasure with punishment? Was this when I learned that if you’re not careful, pleasure comes with pain?


The origin of that myth in my own life is unclear to me, but as a Black and Brown woman, the reminders are everywhere. We exist in a culture that shames women of color from experiencing any sort of pleasure. From slut shaming to the endless critiques over what working-class people spend money on, at every turn society is telling us we are undeserving of pleasure.


And within our own cultures, stories of our people enjoying themselves “too much” can often feel like cautionary tales, to the point where even the simplest pleasures can feel like gluttony.


And today I want to beacon us to say yes to pleasure. Say yes to sex, yes to masturbation, yes to candy and chocolate.


Say yes to a long hot bath after putting your kids to bed. And to not cleaning up the tub the next day.


Say yes to taking that extra moment to meditate before your next zoom meeting even if you’re 5 minutes late.


Say yes to sitting on his face and actually stay there until you come.


Say yes to that kink.


Say yes to whatever pleasure looks like to you.