I know what you’re thinking: “The dishes? The best sex of my life? Excuse me?” There's a very real relationship between the two, I promise. And it makes a lot more sense than you may be thinking right now!
Let me tell you how I made this connection in the first place. I’m a licensed psychotherapist specializing in sex therapy. Many of my clients are amazingly impressive Type A women who are trying to “have it all,” but feel dissatisfied with sex. My clients come to me with complaints like, “I can’t relax enough to enjoy sex,” “I don’t have the time or energy to be intimate,” and “I never desire sex.”
As we work together, what we usually uncover is that these women have a hard time making room for any pleasure in their lives, inside or outside of the bedroom. Some women are too busy juggling dozens of responsibilities. Some women feel too guilty to take care of themselves. Some women simply don’t believe they can have a relationship with their pleasure. From the moment they get up in the morning to the moment they go to bed at night, many women don’t experience a single minute of pleasure.
A lot of ladies have been living this way for years, if not decades, because women are conditioned from a young age not to value their pleasure. They’re taught that pleasure is something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. Even the word “pleasure” itself can sound dirty or intimidating.
When I bring up the topic of pleasure with a new client, she usually gets noticeably uncomfortable. When we start talking about sexual pleasure in particular, the tension level ratchets up. It’s as if there’s a hierarchy around “acceptable” types of pleasure, and sexual pleasure is at the very bottom.
In my work, I challenge women to not make a distinction between sexual and nonsexual pleasure. I believe it’s important to think of them as one in the same. At the end of the day, all that pleasure really means is feeling good sensations in your body. You can feel pleasure from some super hot sex, and you can feel pleasure from a great cup of coffee.
The reason why I emphasize seeing sexual and nonsexual pleasure as the same is that it can take down some of the barriers and taboos that so many women feel around pleasure. It makes pleasure feel more attainable and more permissible. If it feels OK to get pleasure out of your insanely soft 600 thread count sheets, it makes it a little bit more comfortable to seek pleasure when you’re being intimate between those sheets.
Holding this frame of mind can go a really long way in improving your daily life, because it makes it easier to experience enjoyment more frequently. Each day offers you countless opportunities to tune into your senses. You can seek pleasure in even the most mundane aspects of your daily routines. How exciting is that?
This is exactly where the dishes come in. The next time you’ve got a sink full of dirty plates, take the opportunity to find the pleasure in this seemingly boring and unpleasant chore. See this as an invitation to engage all of your senses. Slow down, take deep breaths, and focus on what you’re doing. Feel the warmth of the water on your skin. Look at the nice sudsy bubbles that foam up. Smell the aroma of your dish soap. Find a calm, meditative pace with your scrubbing. Soak up every little ounce of sensation.
You can do this exercise throughout the day, during all kinds of different activities. The more you do it, the more you’ll start to change your relationship with pleasure. You’ll get better at being present in the moment. You’ll practice tuning in to your senses. You’ll send yourself the message that your pleasure is important. You’ll become more comfortable seeking pleasure. The lessons you will learn from engaging in your pleasure in this way will dramatically improve your experience of pleasure in the bedroom, and make intimacy more exhilarating than you ever imagined!