Pleasure: June Carnival of Aces

Here are the posts for the June Carnival of Aces! (appologies for the delay in posting – I was traveling for the Fourth) Thanks so much to everyone who participated. These are great!

Something Queer to Read posted about how Sex is the biggest nothing of all time (which inspired a response from me).

the notes which do not fit explained that My Pleasures Do Not Have Much to Do with Asexuality

Beyond the Rainbow wrote about Asexual Pleasures

The Dragon and the Fox reflected On Pleasure and Internalization

Roller coasters and reading

The first post in the June Carnival of Aces came in from Something Queer to Read. The post opens discussing the topic for June, saying “I’m thinking that thepleasuresallmine chose this theme on purpose –also considering the subject of her blog in general- just to hear all of our little dark secrets…” I was a little surprised by this, since I tried to go beyond sexual/physical pleasure in my prompt ideas (and I’m definitely not trying to pry into “little dark secrets”), but it also made me realize that I haven’t really discussed other kinds of pleasure on this blog yet — so let’s do that!

One of my favorite kinds of pleasure is the adrenaline rush of anticipation and exciting rush of roller coasters. I remember my first upside-down coaster, at Busch Gardens — just a single loop, but it opened up a whole new world of flying and turning through the air, laughing and screaming in delighted terror. Dueling Dragons at Universal Studios is a great one, Batman at Six Flags, Rockin’ Roller Coaster at Disney… I was lucky enough to go to a bunch of these places when I was younger, but I haven’t been on one in years. All this reminiscing is making me want to run out and get a ticket to something fast and spinning and flying upside down.

My other favorite (assuming you can multiple entries in a superlative category) involves no movement at all, but I still feel the pleasure as a physical sensation. I love reading. Detective novels, classics, fantasy and sci-fi, modern lit, queer and feminist theory, etc. I love books as physical objects, though I understand the utility of a kindle. But I like paper pages and old covers and the smell of dust and cloth and leather in libraries. And the rush I get from reading feels very similar to the excitement of roller coasters, a buzzing in my brain and flutter in my chest over a thrilling plot or new idea. BTW, I’m a huge nerd.

These pleasures are physical, in terms of how they register in my brain and body, but not sexual in the way that masturbation and orgasm are, or are understood. These are some of the great pleasures in my life, and I will seek them out as often as possible.

Thanks to Something Queer to Read for getting the conversation going. Please consider contributing to the Carnival of Aces!

 

June Carnival of Aces

The theme for this month’s Carnival of Aces is “Pleasure” (bet you didn’t see that one coming).

Some possible topics to get your started:

What gives you pleasure? What do you do to seek seek pleasure?

Is pleasure a priority? Should it be?

What kinds of pleasure do you find most pleasurable (physical, mental, etc)? How are they different?

How do notions about pleasure  fit into a/sexuality? (perhaps especially but definitely not limited to physical pleasure)

Please submit your links in the comments below by June 30. Happy blogging!

AAA

I bought a giant box of AAA batteries from amazon because my favorite vibrator runs on AAA and is quite powerful enough for me. In addition to the phallic-shaped things that are incomprehensibly popular, I don’t understand the industrial strength, has to be plugged into a wall, Brookstone devices. I mean, really? Do we really need fucking jackhammers to get off?
 
Ok, maybe you do and I’m just being a cranky, but this whole “bigger is better” super-powered vibrator trend does not make any sense to me. For female pleasure devices, there seems to be an odd focus on both penetration and size. But hey, if that floats your boat, knock yourself out with that magic wand or the spinning rabbit ear thing. (I’m trying to increase my pleasure, not diminish anyone else’s.)
 
I’m also in an anti-penetration mood because I think my period is coming and the only penetration that I’m going to be dealing with concerns tampons. On the other hand (heh), external stimulation can be really helpful for cramps, if I can reach orgasm. I find that it’s excellent relief all around, both for the physical discomfort and to improve my mood. Not that I won’t also take Advil like it’s my job, but it’s always good to have a supplemental relief method — especially when it’s cordless.

Random Tuesdays

Last Tuesday, I wanted to go out, but since it was a random weekday, everyone was busy or working or had already crashed for the night. And I was the one who wanted to go out! This almost never happens. After a day in classes and meetings and whatnot, I NEED time to myself. If I don’t have enough of it every day, I get tense and irritable and oh God just leave me alone! Alone, I sent my agenda, I leave my dishes in the sink, I read or go online or have a quicky orgasm or take a nap — all on my schedule to suit my need. With other people, you have to work with their timetables and incorporate their wants and needs. Ugh, people.

But everyone once in awhile, I really feel the need for company, for socialization and companionship. The company and socialization aren’t too hard to come by if I were willing to simply go to a bar and be among other people. It’s the companionship part that gets me. Not only do I want to be with other people, I’m picky about them. I want to be with friends, people I like and can be intimate with. If I’m going to put up with other humans, they should at least be good ones.

What do you do as an introvert who craves intimacy? And how do you find out who you want to be intimate with if you don’t like “trying on” people to see if they’re a good fit? You have to get lucky. I’ve been very lucky with my friends, mostly because academic settings put me together with people who are interested in the sorts of things I’m interested in, who are smart and invested and fun to talk to. But every once in awhile, there’s a random Tuesday when no one will play with me, and I wish I wanted people a little less.

Group Therapy and Orgasms

I’ve been working with counselors for the past several years, dealing with various issues and ongoing depression/anxiety management (possibly more on this in a future post). My current therapist, C, whom I really like, recently suggested that I try group therapy. I was willing to give it a shot, since I trust C and am willing to follow her advice most of the time.

I hated it.

This is no reflection on C or group therapy generally; I’m just not suited for it. I realized that for me, therapy is a place where I focus on me, WITHOUT having to deal with other people’s feelings or stilted responses. The dynamics of this particular group didn’t help, since the conversation moved at a glacial pace and there wasn’t a lot of back-and-forth. It was more like a tedious extraction of feelings. One-on-one therapy, unlike other conversations, deals explicitly and exclusively with what I want to talk about and what will be helpful for me. Rarely do I get to focus that much on myself and my needs — except in bed.

My experience with sexuality has been largely devoid of “sex” except for masturbation. I will definitely post more on this, and its relationship to asexuality, later, but for now, suffice to say, the only company I’ve ever really enjoyed in bed is battery powered. For me, pleasure is personal and masturbation allows me to be selfish about it. I don’t need the “group therapy” of orgasms that is partnered sex. I want my pleasure on my schedule in the way I want it.

Other people are great (in some contexts), but alone can be fantastic, too.

These vibrators are the wrong shape

I do not understand vibrators that look like penises. Given the well-known mythical character of the vaginal orgasm, it makes so much more sense to me to have something that is better shaped for clitoral stimulation, like the Laya Spot (my personal fav. h/t Babeland). There’s the internal G-spot (I’m not getting into a debate about it’s existence, thank you), but it seems to me that a large part of these rod-like vibrators is to stimulate penetration — i.e. “real” sex.

Rather than being a substitute for sex, masturbation can be a worthwhile pursuit in its own right — a means to pleasure, orgasm, tension relief, and/or simply warming up the bed at night when you first get in because you turned down the heat because a $200 electric bill is ridiculous. It doesn’t depend on another person who might get annoyed if you change your mind half way through. The only relationship maintenance involved is the provision of batteries to your preferred toy and/or working out a hand cramp. For me, masturbation isn’t a consolation prize for not having sex; it’s an easy, pleasurable experience that beats most partnered performances I’ve been through.

I always consent when I masturbate. There’s no gray area or external pressure. There isn’t a right way to do it — or, if there is, it’s “whatever feels good right now.” I also find control pleasurable enough that I enjoy being able to decide when or if I want start, when to stop, how to do it, etc. There’s pleasure in the particular pursuit of pleasure because it’s all mine. I don’t have to share or compromise or consider anyone else. So I choose stimulation and pleasure over a simulation of sex, and I finally found a tool that’s the right shape for that.

For your viewing pleasure, Laya hits the spot.: