Nourishing Each Other with Pleasure Activism

Reclaim erotic aliveness through exploration and sharing

Issue #55

By Vivienne Arkell

As an advocate for sexual freedom and pleasure, Adrienne Maree Brown’s book Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good instantly caught my eye. While politicizing sensuality may seem a bit radical, maybe a little bed shaking rebellion is the perfect antidote to female complacency and the secrecy of so many years? 

“We need to stay in visceral touch with what brings us aliveness, contentment, joy – so that we do not settle for suffering or fighting for crumbs,” states Brown.

Weren’t most of us taught by this patriarchal world to suppress our sexual energy and erotic powers?

An empowered Brown reminds us that “there is no way to repress pleasure and [still] expect liberation, satisfaction or joy.”

In this generous gift of sharing her pleasure principles, Brown documents her quest with excerpts, essays and reflections gleaned from numerous feminist luminaries. As a facilitator, Brown credits “writers like Anais Nin, Erica Jong, Andrea Dworkin, and Alice Walker [who] changed my mind about what sex could be.”

Brown’s mission is multifold, and her fearless sharing of compelling women’s works is key to our own self- discovery, sexual empowerment and strength as females. I am forever grateful for her exposing me to the great Audre Lorde!

Impossible to paraphrase the power of her words, I’ll share some of my favorite lines from Audre Lorde’s 1978 essay Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power

“As women, we have come to distrust that power which rises from our deepest and non-rational knowledge.”

Lorde speaks of our feminine instincts, cravings, and feelings for they are suppressed as seemingly unimportant or inferior to factual knowledge.

“But the erotic offers a well of replenishing and provocative force to the woman who does not fear its revelation, or succumb to the belief that sensation is enough.”

“The very word erotic comes from the Greek word eros, the personification of love in all its aspects – born of Chaos and personifying creative power and harmony.”

“The erotic is the nurturer and nursemaid of all of our deepest knowledge.”

“For as we begin to recognize our deepest feelings, we begin to give up, of necessity, being satisfied with suffering and self-negation, and with the numbness which so often seems like their only alternative in our society. “

The power of the erotic, openness and sharing begins within each of us. Erotic energy is a life force. Grow and trust visionaries such as Lorde to help guide us in “reassessing the quality of all aspects of our life.” Nourishing ourselves through exploration and sharing, we will truly learn to trust the powers within our body and gain erotic aliveness. Use this newfound energy to create genuine change within your world.

Share this site   and/ or Lorde’s entire piece with a friend? Sharing is love.

Check out The Sensualogist bookshop for Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good and more.


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