Words by: Lauren French, MSexol (Curtin) Australian Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine
As we are easing into 2023 and the year of pleasure I want us to call out the narrative of needing to start the year going full throttle. It's always the same conversations as soon as a new year hits, whether it's about fitness, nutrition, career or socialising, there’s this pressure to start the new year strong. But what if, instead of focusing on this rushed feeling, we decide to savour?
Savouring is often highlighted when talking about food, and let’s not pretend that food isn’t a huge space of pleasure! So I want you to think, not of the best thing you’ve ever eaten, but of something you have regularly that you love.
Something you’d have at least once a
week that brings you pleasure.
For me, it’s a soy, 70% dark hot chocolate from my local cafe. I’m not a coffee person (scandalous I know), so to still experience something delicious and hot, I’ve embraced the pleasure of chocolate. But when I think back to my most pleasurable drinking moment, it’s not the take away I grab on my way to work, but a time where I can focus on presence and slowness.
When I stop past and enjoy the convenience of a take away cup, the actual act of drinking gets jumbled in with the mundane daily chores. I’m not focused on the drink, the flavour, the pleasures I love, because I’m busy driving or doing the groceries or talking to someone! It doesn’t give me the pleasure hit I know it can.
So this year, maybe not every time, but I invite you all to think of when you can take the time to be present when you taste. Focusing not on the million things we need to do in a day, but slowing down the pleasure of the experience. Savouring.
Mindfulness is a pretty well known practice at this point. We’ve all tried an app, started a daily practice, and probably then realised how hard consistent mindfulness is. But mindfulness is such a great tool to enhance our pleasure, because how
can we fully experience pleasure if we’re
not present for it? If we get so caught up
in our mental thoughts, worries, or
future planning, we miss the pleasurable
moment right in front of us!
So the act of savouring, of focusing on presence and slowness, is a beautiful form of mindfulness. Take a sip or bite of that regular favourite, and try not to think of anything other than what your feeling. Don’t start planning to to do list, check in on the aroma you're surrounded by. What’s your bodies reaction to this small slice of pleasure? Even if its only a few minutes out of your day, by taking the time, savouring the moment, you’re adding more pleasure into your life. And this year we all want more pleasure!
Lauren French is a proud First Nations woman, a member of the Society of Australian Sexologists & a clinical Sexologist working with the Australian Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine. Lauren is also a sexuality educator with Body Safety Australia, a non for profit organisation specialising in childhood sexual abuse prevention.