YEP Crew Blog Post: Let’s Talk about Pleasure…

Pleasure.  When you feel pleasure it’s essentially just a shit load of dopamine being spread in your brain.  It’s the hormone that’s released when you have sex, when you eat chocolate, or even when you use certain types of drugs.  Masturbation is a certain type of pleasure many people engage with it in private, with no open conversations surrounding it.

In some communities, it is often negatively perceived and defined to be an act committed by impure or unclean individuals.  Individuals who indulge themselves in such pleasure are most often placed under stereotypes surrounded by a cloud of negative stigma.  There is pressure placed on people in society to conform to the social norms in which they should not engage in such activities.

Growing up, there were no such conversations around pleasure in mainstream school or at home.  Google, like for many other sexual health based issues, became my first source of information.  Like any other young person, I questioned whether what I was engaging in was okay, whether it could cause me any sort of harm, and if there were any long term effects involved.

I have many friends that admit to having engaged in self pleasure based activities from as young as 8 years of age, at that time not knowing what they were doing, yet knowing that it was bringing some level of satisfaction to them.  With the world wide web being available in almost every modern household, domains such as google, Tumblr and Facebook open doors to a whole world of experience shared by hundreds and thousands of people across the world.

However, when it comes back to the real world, pleasure is still often a suppressed topic among females.  Among our friends, we generally feel too ‘shame’ or shy to talk about making ourselves feel good.  But how can it be a bad thing when we aren’t hurting anyone and only bringing some satisfaction to ourselves?

A vast majority of females engage in it, yet it is an ‘uncomfortable’ topic to discuss with some of their closest peers.  On the flip side, stereotypically, heterosexual men are able to comfortably brag about their pleasure based activities.  In some parts of the world, the stigma around pleasure stretches so far as to completely getting rid of the clitoris at birth (female genital mutilation or FGM) and removing it from anatomical diagrams in high school textbooks, leaving no opportunity for young people to question its existence even in an educational setting.

Female pleasure, let alone the clitoris, is so limited in discussion that most people would only think that the clitoris is the little bulb-like tissue that is visible in the vulva. However, on average a clitoris is 12 cm long, stretching much further than the well-known ‘bead’ of pleasure.

I think that with a greater knowledge around pleasure based activities within the community, a lot of the frustration around sexual encounters will be lessened.  For starters people, would better understand that everyone feels differently about different pleasure based activities.

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Jesse Altham

Hey! My name is Jesse and I’m a 23 year old from Fremantle, WA. I’m finishing up my Diploma of Youth Work with North Metro TAFE, completing my last practical placement here with the YEP crew. I am extremely passionate about politics, advocacy and education and I’m so fortunate to be working with YEP in the space of peer education.

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