Dana (@danathehardway) is the lead copywriter for Lovers. She is passionate about writing, allyship, sex-positivity, and telling good jokes.

In a world that often feels like it’s moving faster than we can keep up with- all the to-do lists, accomplishments to strive for, people to show up for, and things to stay ahead of- it can also feel like there’s no time to put hedonistic desires in the spotlight. It’s simple to believe the collective “we” are entitled to joy and pleasure, but so much harder to act that out in our day to day lives. Sometimes, when there’s just too much to do and think about, we can even lose faith in the idea that we as individuals really do deserve pleasure. Here at Lovers, pleasure is our number one policy, so we wanted to remind ourselves and all of you out there, just how much we all deserve it.


  1. Why People Struggle to Prioritize Pleasure
  2. The Benefits of a Pleasure-First Lifestyle
  3. How to Feel Deserving of Pleasure

The Struggle to Access Pleasure

Whether you’re just struggling to put pleasure on the calendar, you’re too worried about other people, or you’ve slid down the wayward slope of believing you’re not worthy of pleasure in your day, your week, your month, or even your year- as the Friends theme song assures- (we)’ll be there for youuuuu. Let’s try to get to the bottom of all this nonsense.

There are any number of reasons why you might be struggling with feeling like you deserve pleasure:

More concern for your partner than yourself.
This tends to happen more for AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) folks due to the way our society conditions us through adolescence and into adulthood, but it can be difficult for anyone to set aside the desire to please or the chronic state of mind of putting others first. It’s difficult to center your own pleasure, your own feelings, your own senses, if you’re constantly worried about what’s happening for your partner. While it’s good to care, there’s a point where it impedes the ability to be present in your own body.

Pleasure is context dependent.
Pay attention carefully to your environment. How much of it actually makes you happy? How much of it turns you on? This can be as big as your job or your relationship or as small as where you’re choosing to get it on. Our brains, just like our bodies, need stimulation that is specific to us to get aroused and if you’re not getting what you need, then over time you might have trouble accessing pleasure at all.

The connection between pleasure and self-worth.
Do you like you? When we don’t feel good about ourselves (physically, mentally, emotionally) we can start to make up stories about why we don’t deserve to feel good. Self-worth and pleasure are two concepts that make stalwart friends.

Why You Deserve Pleasure & The Benefits of Believing It

As Pamela Madsen said in an article about Pleasure Anxiety for HuffPost:

"Pleasure is about being happy and feeling good about ourselves. Living a life where we allow ourselves to have pleasure is healing. Pleasure can make us feel sexier, younger and more energetic."

It’s not ridiculous or sinful or naïve to make pleasure part of your life consistently and to believe you are worthy of it. We all deserve pleasure because if we don’t, then why are we here? It’s just too tragic to believe we have this one wild and precious life only to struggle. What is the struggle for, if not to see all the good and beautiful and delicious things (i.e. pleasure) that are also possible? 

How to Feel Deserving of Pleasure

“I Focus”
Focusing on yourself during pleasure is actually a gift to you and your partner. When you focus on yourself you can learn more about what you truly enjoy. When both partners know what they want and need, it’s easier to communicate which makes more pleasure possible. This also allows you to step out of the concern and anxiety of how your partner is doing and any anxiety you might feel around your “performance.”

Be Conscious of Who You’re With
A good partner WANTS you to feel pleasure, enjoy yourself, and feel satisfied. Anyone who doesn’t encourage that needs to go.

Journal About How You’re Intentionally Adding Pleasure to Your Life 
Creating a Pleasure Plan can help you make this a real goal and stick to it!

Sound and Breath 
Staying present is a key pathway to experiencing pleasure. To help you stay present and connected to your body, try making more noise and louder sounds; breathe into the area being stimulated, take longer breaths or use
“lion’s breath to stimulate your Vagus nerve. These techniques can also help release pent up energy or emotions, which can free up space for pleasure!

Remember it's OK to Feel More Than Pleasure During Receiving 
Whatever you feel is valid. It’s also natural to feel more than one emotion or sensation at once. If not all the things you feel during pleasure are positive, that doesn’t mean anything is wrong! Think of it as information you can use to discover more about yourself and practice your other techniques to stay in the moment.

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Further Readings:
The Undeniable Connection Between Pleasure & Self Worth: PS I Love You
Are You Pleasure Deprived?: Bay Area DBT
The Science Behind Pleasure Seeking: CBS News