Don’t Be Utilitarian About Pleasure
Yesterday, when I was at the doctor, the guy realized that I might have a (mild) heart irregularity since, uh, maybe always. While we discussed how my symptoms present with various types of physical activity, I considered how climax causes the heart rate to spike. So I decided to ask him about sex and, specifically, self-pleasure. Because let’s just say that I can get very enthusiastic about devoting hours to both activities — and it’s not uncommon for me to spike my heart rate dozens of times in a single session… to the point that I feel drop-down dizzy and/or my vision goes temporarily black once I finally return from Cloud 9.
[Which, let’s be real: small price to pay. But now that I’ve had occasion to think of myself as “Person Who Maybe Has a Heart Thing,” I just wanted some reassurance that I can’t eff myself to death. (I’m not gunning for a Darwin Award here.)]
The good doctor confirmed that I was indeed not endangering myself by chasing dozens of orgasms per session, regardless of whether I do have A Potential Heart Thing. Totally safe. Praise God!
“Maybe you just wanna take a fiver at some point and make sure you hydrate,” he offered helpfully.
But then he added some sort of qualifier like, “So if you want to do that as a great stress reliever….”
And that’s where I had mental whiplash and thought, in confused amusement:
No. I do not want to do this as a stress reliever. I want to do this because it feels amazing. I want to do this because it was DESIGNED to feel amazing.
Period. That’s “why” enough.
My pleasure doesn’t need to exist in service to some (supposedly) larger, more respectably cerebral goal. My pleasure doesn’t need to justify itself by purporting to remedy some (ostensibly) more important problem.
Neither does yours.
Seriously, on any occasion that I’ve been about to go downtown, I don’t think “stress relief” has ever even crossed my MIND. I mean, maaaybe if I was about to perform a service downtown for someone else, I’ve sometimes thought about how that could be a nice way for me to help them end a hard day… but for me? No, this is not about stress.
I’m just not utilitarian about feeling good.
And I guess that’s what I learned about myself yesterday at the doctor’s office.
Which brings me to a spiritual philosophy that I read once — I wish I knew the source — which holds that we will be asked to account, after death, for every “permitted” pleasure we neglected to seize while living in a body.
What a wise and beautiful way of looking at life…
Every healthy pleasure is a gift. Earthly existence is a sensory smorgasbord. Make time for the things (and people) you enjoy. Does the orgasm, the adventure, the relationship, the massage, the bouquet of fresh flowers, the peanut butter sundae, the sun-warmed sand between your toes, or the air in your lungs when you’re singing delight you?
Then fucking go for it. Delight is reason enough.
Pleasure is primary. Stress (relief) is secondary.
Joy IS an end in itself. And a worthy one at that.