If you want to show up for more pleasure, love and connection in life, one of the skills to work on is recalibrating towards pleasure. This means noticing both what you desire AND noticing what you are enduring silently.
Do Not Endure. Enduring is all about suffering patiently, and often silently. You do not ever need to endure discomfort or pain to get to pleasure. We do not need to endure sexual attention to be polite. You do not need to endure minor discomforts out of fear of “breaking the mood” And yet so many of us endure discomforts, pain and abuses – because we haven’t had permission or the skills to recalibrate towards pleasure.
In this episode we talk about how to learn to recalibrate towards pleasure – choosing to move together towards more pleasure, more joy and more love – without shying away from the hard stuff in life. When we show up more fully for pleasure we can also show up more fully for the rest of what life throws at us.
Other Speaking Of Sex Episodes Mentioned:
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Chris Rose: 00:00 Welcome to Speaking of Sex with the Pleasure Mechanics. I’m Chris.
Charlotte Rose: 00:04 I’m Charlotte.
Chris Rose: 00:05 We are the Pleasure Mechanics. And on this podcast we have explicit soulful conversations about sex, sexuality, bodies, pleasure, love, relationships, how we treat ourselves and one another and more. All to equip you with what you need to know to live and love in your world. Come on over to pleasuremechanics.com and check out all of the resources we have awaiting you. Go to pleasuremechanics.com/free to get started right away with our free online course, the Erotic Essentials.
Chris Rose: 00:39 On this episode we are going to be talking about an attitude adjustment that can make a huge change in your experience of pleasure, sex, love, and it kind of spiders out to every part of your world, I have noticed. It’s a concept that once again we developed on the massage table. It was a gift from learning massage that then has changed the way we touch and love and live. Before we get started, I want to remind everyone that we are a community supported erotic education podcast.
Chris Rose: 01:16 Community supported meaning we have no corporate sponsors, we are funded entirely by you, our listening community. And we offer this podcast week after week for free and in the hopes that it gets out to many people who can benefit from it. We want it to spread far and wide. That’s why it’s free. And in turn, we trust that those of you who can will support our work and show your love and show up for deeper levels of engagement with us. You can find all the ways to do this at pleasuremechanics.com/love, where you can show your support for this show with a monthly pledge via Patreon at patreon.com/pleasure mechanics or dive deeper into your erotic journey and sign up for an online course with us or just show us some love by leaving a rating or a review on the podcast platform of your choice.
Chris Rose: 02:13 Always to show your support and love for the work we do at pleasure mechanics. Yeah? So let’s get on with our community supported erotic education, shall we? All right. So on last week’s episode we talked about giving and receiving pleasure, giving and receiving, touch, giving and receiving attention and all of the dynamics we can pay attention to when we drop a little deeper into the roles of giving and receiving within our sex lives, within our love lives, within our relationships.
Chris Rose: 02:49 How do we give and receive time, attention, touch, pleasure? And we invited you all into explore these things with a three minute practice, a three minute exercise of giving and receiving affection of touch. And we’ll drop a link in the show notes page, you can go to last week’s episode page and download also an audio guide to set you up at home for exchanging this experience, for experiencing a three minute exploration of giving and receiving affection of touch. And I kind of knew this would happen because I facilitated this game in enough workshops that immediately in my inbox were questions and testimonials about all of the stuff that comes up in the simple container of a three minute touch exercise.
Chris Rose: 03:44 And it doesn’t really matter for this episode. But just to say, for those of you who didn’t hear it, this exercise is as simple as asking, how can I offer you touch for three minutes? What would you like to receive for three minutes? And then you set a timer and you negotiate what you both can show up for. Stroking a hand, a foot massage, holding you in the lap while stroking the hair, all of that kind of stuff. And what we notice in trying to do something like that with full attention for three minutes is a ton of emotional stuff comes up about this experience of giving and receiving pleasure. It is not as simple as luxuriating in one another’s touch for three minutes.
Charlotte Rose: 04:29 And that’s the beauty of the exercise is you get to see in an uncharged way or as least amount of charge as possible. It’s not like you’re having full on sex and you’re both naked and there are all these other distractions and feelings and emotions that come up, but it’s a contained experience where you get to see what comes up for you and your partner and the space between you. It is an amazing experience to get to fine tune and pay attention to what is in the way, in other moments, but in a format where you can then talk about it or pay attention to it.
Chris Rose: 05:05 Right. Or at least notice, and this is the beauty of a one minute exploration or a three minute when we create this container on purpose and say we’re just going to do this for one or three minutes with our full attention. You can pay attention to all of this stuff that’s there all the time between you, that’s within you and your relationship to pleasure, and you see it. You’re like, “Why can’t I just receive a foot massage for three minutes without thinking, are they really into it?” Are they okay? Has it been three minutes yet? Am I taking too long? My feet must smell, the chain of thoughts that can go through your head.
Chris Rose: 05:48 What are they going to want next? All of the thoughts that can go through your head in the simple one or three minute time-span of trying to focus on pleasurable touch. One of the things that comes up again and again and what we want to talk about today. So we could talk about 25 different themes that emerge in the giving and receiving explorations because it’s on both sides. There’s distractions when you’re giving pleasure too, there’s emotional resentment and anger that can surface about old stuff that hasn’t been resolved.
Chris Rose: 06:23 There can be floods of desire that come up as soon as you have permission to focus on pleasure, you might be feeling waves of things underneath that touch. So much can emerge. What we want to talk about today, and this word I heard in several emails was the word endure. I was so surprised that it was only three minutes. It felt like it took forever. I was really enduring their touch or I was really enduring having to give this touch for three minutes, I wanted out.
Chris Rose: 07:02 So this word endure. When I saw this, it immediately reminded me of what I now call the pleasure precepts. These ideas that we learned through erotic massage. We refined on the massage table in our thousands and thousands of hours of giving massage. And these lessons that carry out with us and one of those primary lessons is do not endure. And the word endure means to suffer patiently and often silently. So this is what I want to talk about. And in doing so, I want to be very clear that we’re not talking about repressing negative feelings or emotions. It’s rather the opposite.
Chris Rose: 07:50 When we say do not endure, and let’s start at the massage table. One of the primary invitations when we were inviting people onto the massage table is do not endure any discomfort. If you are a little chilly, let me know and I’ll turn the heat up. If you’re a little hot, I can adjust the sheets. If pressure is feeling too hard, let me know and I’ll adjust. If you want something deeper, feel free to ask. When you’re on the massage table, it is so clear that this is your experience and I’m bringing all of my skills and attention to making it as good and healing as possible for you.
Chris Rose: 08:31 So let me know how that could be even better, right? The flip side to do not endure is how could it be even better. And the thing you notice on the massage table is when one person is in discomfort, both people feel it. Meaning if I am massaging someone’s shoulder and it’s not feeling quite right to them, I’m not quite on the spot they want touched or it’s too deep and too tender or not deep enough and they’re craving more, as the masseur, I will feel that in my hands.
Chris Rose: 09:07 I will start noticing this isn’t quite feeling as good as it normally does. And then if they can bring their attention to that, ask for what they need to make it even better. If they do not endure their discomfort, we adjust for comfort and we both sink in a little deeper and notice it. And you’re like, “That’s the spot.” And then they start melting. They’re like, “That’s the spot.” And you’re there together.
Chris Rose: 09:35 And this is one of those skills of how you build that capacity to learn what feels good in your hands as you’re massaging is that communication, verbal or otherwise, where you’re both adjusting for comfort. You’re both adjusting away from pain and discomfort and towards pleasure, comfort and calm. Okay, so that’s on the massage table. Do not endure. In bed it shows up in a million ways. You’re trying to focus on pleasure, you’re trying to have sex with one another. What are you enduring in order to try to get to the pleasure.
Charlotte Rose: 10:16 Or to try and be polite and not hurt your partner’s feelings. I feel like that’s a really big emotional piece that is often in the way. You are really trying to be compassionate and make sure they have a good experience of pleasuring you. This is so common.
Chris Rose: 10:33 I was going to baby step up to that. Like start with, you’re in bed and you have to pee and you feel like the moment is fragile and so you kind of try to hold in your pee because you don’t want to lose the opportunity to have sex. That’s enduring. And if you just say, “Baby, I’ll be right back. Do you need anything from the kitchen?” And you go pee and then you come back with a glass of water for you both and then you’re back in it. You are going to have a better time together.
Charlotte Rose: 10:59 Because there isn’t something that is taking your attention away from the pleasure and the experience of being together.
Chris Rose: 11:05 Exactly. And in the dual model control of arousal, there will be a link in the show notes page. In the dual model control of arousal this is the stuff that puts the brakes on. I’m a little too cold, I’m a little too hot. I have to pee, I’m thirsty. My partner has bad breath. All of these things that put the brakes on that if you can just deal with it first, it takes some pressure off the brakes and you have room for more gas. You have room for more pleasure because as Charlotte said, the distractions but also the things that are just causing you minor discomfort or minor displeasure, they matter in your erotic experience. And we are trained to endure them.
Charlotte Rose: 11:49 Think about how often in work places people need to pee and you tell your body like, “I’m just going to ignore you because I really need to finish this work thing.” And we are trained in every part of our life to endure all sorts of things and so it is a real intervention that we do in our own bodies and in our relationships to choose to turn towards pleasure. To choose to allow ourself to tend to our body in moments where our body is asking for that. We are trained not to speak honestly about what would feel good, what isn’t feeling good. There are ways to do that politely and compassionately because always our partner is actually wanting us to feel good and they may not know how to get there and it is a team sport. It’s a team effort to get to that pleasure.
Chris Rose: 12:42 Well this is the relational pleasure aspect of it. What I was saying on the massage table of, if the massage isn’t feeling quite right, both people will notice if they’re paying attention. In a relationship, in a sex act, if something is not feeling quite right, if both people are paying attention, you both notice it. And I have noticed when we get over this idea of politeness and get real with each other, there is a tremendous relief. If you can say to your partner like, “This all feels really good, but can I take your hand and adjust it a little bit? Right there, keep going honey.”
Chris Rose: 13:22 They know this then feels better. They watch your arousal open up and their worst fears were not confirmed. Because in the absence of an explanation, if you notice your partner is distracted or not feeling that into it or something isn’t feeling quite right, our imaginations can fill in that blank. And this is where a lot of performance anxiety comes up, a lot of just shame and social stuff in the bedroom where we’re like, “Why isn’t this feeling quite right to both of us?” Because we don’t have the opportunity often to have a really open, honest conversation, what would make this even better?
Chris Rose: 14:02 Where are the points of discomfort? What does your body need to feel more relaxed, more pleasured, more comfortable, safer? This is not the sex culture we have inherited. Notice how different all of these conversations feel from perhaps your experience of the bedroom where the expectation is once things start heating up, you don’t really talk about it, you make a ton of assumptions. You go through a script and you try to eke out as best an experience of that as possible. This idea of both people showing up with the skills to be like, “This is what I need, this is what I don’t want.”
Chris Rose: 14:42 I mean, it’s amazing how simple these things are and yet how foreign they are to our erotic experience and that’s why we practice them. That’s why we do it on purpose. So we build those skills together in less charged environments. You don’t jump into cunnilingus and then try to learn communication skills. That could be really hard for some people. For others, not, and this is the other thing to notice. How have you been socialized and trained to speak up for your own comfort versus how have you been trained to endure?
Chris Rose: 15:18 Not all of our bodies are trained at the same way in this culture. So notice what you endure. Notice how much you endure. Notice your patterns of enduring. And the other thing I want to really say here is enduring is not about repressing discomfort or shying away from it. It’s going really towards it. Noticing your own discomfort and with compassion and kindness being like, “What’s there? What do I need to feel more present? What do I need to feel more focused, more relaxed?”
Chris Rose: 15:55 Because we’ve been naming all these examples of like you need to pee, you need a pillow, you need more or less pressure, but there’s also really big things you might need in your relationship. And that is some of the stuff that might surface as you’re trying to pay attention to touching one another as you’re trying to have a better sex life. Sometimes it’s the relational stuff that needs small or really big adjustments.
Charlotte Rose: 16:23 You’re speaking about things like resent.
Chris Rose: 16:25 Power dynamics, money stuff, family stuff, all of those stuff, all of the relational stuff that you might have been enduring that you might not have been always calibrating back towards your own pleasure. The things we let slip over time for years and years that can accumulate and then show up in emotional barbs in the bedroom. But also I want to make clear in these re-calibrations. When we say do not endure, do not endure. The first thing is noticing your discomfort and the ability to notice your discomfort, to notice pain in your body and turn towards it and be like, “What are you trying to tell me? What adjustment do I need?”
Chris Rose: 17:09 The second thing there, and this for me is the most important step is externalizing. So when we say do not endure, it’s the part about suffering patiently and silently. If you’re going to suffer, let’s do it together, right? If you have a discomfort or pain, noticing it and then expressing it to a partner, to a loving friend, even just to yourself. Saying it out loud, acknowledging it, changes your relationship to it and it makes it something you’re not enduring.
Chris Rose: 17:44 This became really clear to me as we were preparing for this episode and I was thinking about, I developed all of this skill and this practice for years and years and then I got sick and I live in chronic pain. So there is pain we cannot change. There are things in our relationships we cannot change. That doesn’t mean we have to endure them. We can be with pain, we can be with discomfort, we can be with sorrow and sadness. All of these things. We can be with them with just as much love and attention as we are with the pleasure and joy and ecstasy. And in fact, we’re required to do both. That is part of the practice is showing up fully for both.
Charlotte Rose: 18:29 But then there’s pain and discomfort that can be altered and changed.
Chris Rose: 18:33 Right. And the wisdom to know the difference.
Charlotte Rose: 18:36 Exactly. Chronic pain is its own experience, but things like I am caring for a child and holding them in a certain way that is beginning to hurt my back. I have urgency and choice over readjusting them so that my body is comfortable again, but I can still offer the loving kindness that I want to to my child. Those sorts of experiences where you can reposition your body, you can go get a drink of water. As a massage therapist when you are giving touch and it starts to feel uncomfortable in your body, the first thing to do often is adjust your body.
Charlotte Rose: 19:15 Your body position is often off and beginning to cause discomfort and that’s something that can be brought directly into the bedroom easily, but it’s often not something that we would think of. If we’re ever watching porn there is no readjusting for comfort that we are seeing or getting used to as an idea. So bringing that idea into your bedroom that if you are ever uncomfortable and giving pleasure starts to feel off, consider readjusting your body’s position, right?
Chris Rose: 19:45 This is both partners, both and always. Adjusting for comfort, do not endure, recalibrating towards pleasure. You can see how these micro adjustments count over time and are constantly inviting and this is an attitude, right? This is an attitude we adopt and then practice over time and then start getting used to and start strengthening the skills of. And we’ve been talking a lot about the recalibrations, the little adjustments that can make a huge difference to allow you to show up.
Chris Rose: 20:18 There are also really big changes that need to happen sometimes. Renegotiations like midstream, like I consented to this, I thought it would feel good, I just need to stop right now. And the ability to stop something lovingly and stay connected is also one of those huge skills because you will not be enduring minutes or hours of a sex act that you no longer want. But we got to get back to the politeness thing because this is where… Like if in your body, the idea of stopping a sex act with your partner midstream sounds like, “That would be kind of scary.” It is. It is scary sometimes to say what you need to adjust for comfort, to speak your own needs and trust that your partner will be okay with that and stay connected to you.
Chris Rose: 21:11 And again, on the massage table, your massage therapist isn’t going to storm out of the room if you say, “Can you move on from my feet? That’s not feeling quite well.” And yet still a lot of people don’t say it. A lot of people will endure a foot massage they don’t want. Instead of retaking that five minutes back for their butt where it was feeling great. But in the bedroom, if your partner’s going down on you and you’re like, “I’m just not into this right now.” How many of us endure it until we can politely pivot? Instead of either making those little calibrations, telling them what would feel good or making the huge, “I don’t want you to go down on me.” I actually would much prefer you doing this, this, or this. Just notice the lack of these communication skills in our sex lives, in all of our sex lives.
Charlotte Rose: 22:05 And something you can remember is in those moments where something is not feeling good to you as a receiver and you would like to shift because you do not want to endure, but you’re not quite sure what to do, a good idea is to ask for stillness. You can ask your lover to just take a breath to hold still and just be quiet for a moment and just pause. And in that pause you can see does your body want anything else? Is there something else you’d rather? But you might not be able to jump to asking for that while you’re still in an act that isn’t feeling good. So just ask for a pause, a moment of stillness.
Chris Rose: 22:46 In mindfulness, we call this the mindful pause. The ability to slow down and pause so you have a moment to pay attention. And we should just say here, this opens up this whole other skillset, this skillset of interoception, the skillset of paying attention to what’s happening inside your body and then expressing it is a huge skillset that we’re all going to work on together in this world. Because as we say this, notice what your body wants and then ask for it. We shouldn’t pretend that that is easy or simple all the time.
Chris Rose: 23:24 Sometimes it can be, “I need to pee,” I’m aware of, “I need to pee,” let me go pee. Other times it’s very subtle, but as you practice this, you get better at noticing and you get better at trusting the results of your recalibrations because that’s the beautiful thing that happens here, is when you adjust for comfort, you hit the just right place more often. And those recalibrations, it’s kind of when they say a plane recalibrates hundreds of times towards its destination. When we take off into the pleasure zone, we don’t always know exactly the route that we will get to our pleasure.
Chris Rose: 24:09 And sometimes it’s like, “Well, what about a little of this?” Nope, this way, okay, this way we’re going to do more of this and this is interesting. I don’t know, we’re over here now and then we’re back. There’s a lot of recalibration in building mutual pleasure and we have to build that skill. And one of the best moments to recalibrate is when you notice you are enduring. So again, just to bring this back to this idea of enduring, the first thing about do not endure is to notice when you are enduring.
Chris Rose: 24:40 When you’re getting touched, when you’re having sex, out in life, in all of your social relationships, and this is not the first moment of discomfort. We can notice those first moments of discomfort, but then enduring is when discomfort becomes suffering, becomes suffering patiently. When will this be over? When will I be freed of this? Those are those moments to really snap to attention and be like, “How do I make this even better? How can I recalibrate away from the suffering and towards comfort, connection, pleasure, joy.”
Chris Rose: 25:20 Sometimes it’s as simple as moving a hand, one or two inches. Sometimes it’s changing your whole life, but all action within that spectrum is welcome because it brings you both closer to that moment of pleasure. It’s a gift to both of you. So when we say we’re trained to be polite and this is like we’re trained… Social politeness is like, “I’m so over it.” Because think about a dinner guest. Where do you want to go for dinner? I don’t know, wherever you’d like.
Chris Rose: 25:50 And then you take them to your favorite restaurant and they’re like, “I don’t like spicy food.” But I didn’t tell you that. And if I had known that I would have taken you a different place. Politeness often creates dissatisfaction. I don’t want you to be polite with me. I want you to be real and compassionate and kind. So fuck politeness in the bedroom. Start showing up with a lot more kindness and compassion and understanding and see what happens. But we’re back to do not endure.
Chris Rose: 26:21 So the first thing here is going to be noticing what you are enduring already and again, with that kindness and compassion, you got to be compassionate with yourself because you might have been enduring shit for 20 years and as you feel that, you’re going to be pissed, you might go into mourning, you might go into a certain grief cycle, you might get angry, but just know we’re all trained to endure. We’ve all been trained into this. It’s not you that is broken within this. It’s our sex culture and this is one of those keys that can help us all recalibrate how we do sex, how we think about sex, how we approach sex back to a more compassionate human place. Do not endure discomfort. My friends.
Charlotte Rose: 27:07 It’s so helpful to remember the piece that when one person is uncomfortable and enduring that it makes it less pleasurable for the other person as well. Even if they can’t articulate that or they don’t know why something feels off. It’s valuable to remember that you become an ecosystem of sorts and it is affecting both of you. So you’re doing yourself and your partner a favor to figure out the recalibration for both of your pleasure.
Chris Rose: 27:37 Yeah, and sometimes again, this can be quick and sometimes it’s going to be massive. Sometimes if you ask finally and speak up for what you want and your old scripts don’t work, that can cause fallout. And you both in that call to figure out what would work for you right now. What would make this even better? And I like these as kind of the flip sides of the coin. Do not endure. And then from that place, what would make this even better? It’s a kind question. It’s a question we can all be curious about. We hope this has been helpful to you as you explore touching one another with more reverence and paying attention to your pleasure more deeply. We are here for you. Be in touch with us. Again, come on over to pleasuremechanics.com/love to find out all the ways you can support this show and engage more deeply with us and be in touch with us. We love to hear from you. I’m Chris.
Charlotte Rose: 28:36 I’m Charlotte.
Chris Rose: 28:37 We are the Pleasure Mechanics.
Speaker 2: 28:38 Wishing you a lifetime of pleasure.