Reviving Pleasure After Pain

africanspirituality decolonize genderfluid gendernonbinary guiltfreepleasure heartsdesire liberationtheology neocolonial neoqueertheory pleasureablehealing pleasureactivism pleasurepolitics pleasurepositive queerpolitics sexualhealing sexualtraumaresources shadowworkspirituality Jan 05, 2022

What constitutes pleasure after the pain of sexual trauma? The other night, I had an interesting dream: I was at a hotel and they had an issue with receiving my payments. So they connected my heart (spiritually) to their system and I had to wait for the machine to come back on in order to finish processing what I owed and leave the facility. I kept trying to laugh/hang out with friends to raise my vibrations, hoping my joy could pay off my debt and I could once again belong to just myself. It didn't work.

As a person who is on my sexual shadow work journey looking to heal childhood trauma and contemporary sexual/bodily violations, I am constantly having to redefine my idea of what my pleasure looks, feels, tastes and is like in spaces where the boundaries of who I am are constantly tested and often challenged: the bedroom, the workplace, the media, the church, educational institutions, health institutions, etc! 

Why is it as a black queer, who is constantly seeking play in redefining my gender, that I have to battle with the rest of society to have my pleasure honored/validated instead of extracted for the gain of others? My dream suggests capitalism is at the heart of the issue (pun much intended); I don't denying this. However, to simply place such a dynamic energy such as pleasure into a cage policed by capitalism, alone, would do an injustice to the liberated spirit of who pleasure has been, is and is becoming. 

To decolonize pleasure, we have to lean into our hearts and understand what it is that we want. To do this, we have to experience the pain of reconnecting with our bodies post the pain of trauma, whether it be our trauma and/or intergenerational, especially in the context of sexual assault, violation and trauma. The pain provides insight into something precious that was rendered void along our life's path. 

That is what sexual shadow work is: reclaiming pleasure in the midst of pain to say that the present us is worthy of experiencing the magic of a freeing existence, no matter the "price," even when that means facing our deepest fears, worries, anxieties and stressors. For me, I've had difficulties during my sexual healing journey because I always felt I had to pre-pay for the liberation of my pleasure and this mentality created an arrested development in accessing my joy in the present. The key part I am still coming into understanding is that this is MY joy, which means Spirit has already bestowed it as a gift to me before I ever entered this life and before trauma tried to take it away.

Lost pleasure is stolen pleasure, and through us seeking our own inner healer and believing we have the power to return back to our wholeness (which never was broken as long as we have existed), we can always take that pleasure back. It's a part of us just as much as every other part of us defines who we are. It might have just transformed and may take some self-rediscovery to understand what it looks like in our now. 

Fear is often the gate keeper of our pleasure in a neo/colonial society that benefits from us never truly knowing ourselves (and in essence, we never truly know our power). Great leaps of faith into an enjoyable existence help us to bridge the gap of who our traumas say we are versus who our most authentic selves (in our highest frequencies) actually are based on timelines steeped in self-harmony worth relishing.

I honor and recognize the lessons of my pain, but my pain is not me. My joy, my pleasure, my power, my liberation comprise the foundation of my identity and all the possibilities of the manifestations of me. That is what it means to be divine incarnated and as deities in flesh, don't we owe ourselves everything our hearts have ever desired?

Check out the YouTube video in connection with this piece (

If you are interested in learning more about divining deeper into your manifestation journey this new year, feel free to sign up for a tarot reading or the "Intro to Sexy Shadow Work" Course ( 

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