WTF does it mean to practice pleasure? with Amanda Testa
WTF is a pleasure practice anyway, and why would I want to do one?
Listen in to this Minisode #4 of 6 as I share how a pleasure practice transformed one of my shitty days into a good one, what constitutes a pleasure practice, and how to deal with the fear around pleasure.
Missed the earlier Minisodes?
Catch them here:
Minisode #1: 80s Parties and Reviving Your Desire
Minisode #2: What to Do When Pleasure Feels Impossible
Minisode #3: Pleasure 101
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Amanda Testa is a trusted healer, coach, and guide who’s served hundreds of clients over the years with masterful skills in coaching, pleasure embodiment, and somatic trauma resolution.
After thousands of hours of training in trauma informed sex and relationship coaching, tantric sex coaching, energy healing, somatic trauma resolution, breathwork, yoni egg coaching and more, she’s seen time and time again the magic and wisdom of our bodies.
We all have the ability to return to our blueprint of health, aliveness, pleasure and sovereignty, and you can too.
With her powerful, loving and gentle support her clients find their desire and pleasure again, find safety and bliss in their bodies, and remember they are enough just as they are.
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EPISODE 248: WTF Does it Mean to Practice Pleasure?
Amanda Testa: Hello, and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast! We are back with minisode four of six. This is a small diversion from our usual podcast because I’m dropping in with four solo podcast minisodes on stories around fun and desire, and at the end of this episode, I’m going to invite you into a really fun experience, so tune in.
WTF is a pleasure practice? People keep asking me, “What does this mean? Why? Why would one practice pleasure? What’s the purpose of it?” For those of you who have been following my podcast for a long time, you know, as a sex and relationship coach, I interview experts all the time on my podcast around how you tap back into your desire and how you get your libido back and all the things that we deal with in trying to find our feminine fire again. What I realize is in doing this work for almost a decade, and after thousands and thousands of hours of personal practice, and thousands of hours of coaching others and teaching others, something that I realize is one of the most important things about this work is the practice of it (actually doing the thing). It’s not always easy.
I’ll tell you, the other day I woke up, I had a terrible migraine, I was about to start my period any minute, I was grouchy AF (I didn't sleep at all the night before), my neck was in a crick, I was just not in a good mood, right? It was one of those days where I was like, “Do not look at me. I might rip your head off.” [Laughs] So, I got up at 4:30 because I could not sleep and just decided I might as well get up. And so, I got up, and I was still feeling pretty grouchy, so I decided that I was going to do a little practice, and, granted, at this time of the day, I’m just getting up. I’m feeling a little lazy. I want to just hangout and snuggle the dog for a little bit. So, I usually do that, and then I just allowed myself to kind of move into, “What is it that I need right now? What is it that I really need?”
Well, number one, a good night’s sleep. But I can't get that, so back to number two - what do I really need? I want to feel good in my body. Ugh, well, my neck’s killing me, and my body hurts, so that’s not gonna happen right now. Number three, it’s like, okay, these things may be true, but I know that I can tend to stay in a mood like this for a long time if I don't do anything about it, and I don't really feel good when I’m in this kind of a mood. I’m not really the kindest to my family when I’m in this kind of a mood. I’m snappy and grouchy.
And so, I just allowed myself to journal for a bit, and then, the next thing I know, a couple hours had gone by. I ended up getting sidetracked doing some work here and there. I didn't fully dive into my practice, but I was like you know what? It is what it is. Some days are like this, and then I realized I was still grouchy. My daughter woke up, and I found myself being short and grouchy, and I was like, okay, you know what? This isn't cool.
I had planned on spending the whole day doing work, having quiet time to myself (because my husband was traveling), and taking care of some needs that I had and realizing, okay, you know what? It’s a snow day. My daughter will be home with me all day which is an amazing gift because I love spending time with her, and it’s okay that I also feel frustrated that I’m not gonna be able to get done what I need to get done.
So, I decided to get her situated with some entertainment AKA a screen, and I was like you know what? This is gonna benefit us all if I just take some time and do a pleasure practice. So, what that looked like for me on this fair day was that I went into the bathroom and locked the door. The bathroom is my favorite place to do a practice because it’s the only door in the house that has a lock, but also because I love just to have that escape in the bath. I’m a Cancer. I don't know. I love water.
So, anyways, I get in the tub, and I just allowed myself to release, right? I cried and I cried and I cried, and I just needed to just let these emotions flow, and I cried, and I snuggled myself, and I cried some more, and then I just sat there and just let myself sit and let myself feel the warmth of the water and just be grateful that I’m able to take a warm bath and thankful for the water and thank you for all that made it possible that I could be cozy in that tub.
And then I got out, rinsed off in the shower, and then I just kind of gave myself a massage, right? I just intentionally took my lotion and rubbed it in with love and care, and I intentionally went slow so I could just be kind and nourishing to myself, right? That’s what a pleasure practice is about. It’s meeting yourself where you are. People think, “What’s going on here? What do we do?” What you do is you meet yourself where you are, right? You give yourself what you need in that minute. You take the time to slow down, to listen to your body, and to tune into what it needs.
So, for me, what I needed was gentleness, slowness. I needed just presence, and I needed some alone time. And so, I created that environment for myself and, granted, this only took about 30 minutes from start to finish so it’s not like I was in there for hours, right? One show. My kid watched a show. I was able to take care of myself.
And when I emerged from that bathroom, I was a totally different woman, you know? I had a lot more patience, and I apologized to my daughter for being crabby and short, and she understood. She was also crabby because she wanted to be playing with friends and was mad no one wanted to drive in the snowstorm. And then we were able to turn it around, and the neighbors invited her for a playdate, so she got to leave and do some things, and I got to have my client calls without interruption, and it was great.
Needless to say, when you can shift your personal experience, when you can shift your own physical state, it makes a difference in what happens around you, right? We often don't give ourselves the permission or the time to do that, and I see this all the time with my clients, with my friends even, right? We have the best of intentions, but we don't always do the thing, and I like to use a gym analogy because I think people get this.
You can read about the gym. You can learn about muscles. You can read about what happens when you go to the gym. You can read about the results people get when they go to the gym. You can listen to podcasts about working out. You can do all of these things. You can go hangout in the gym and just watch what people are doing. You can see what people are up to, right? But unless you're actually lifting the weight or moving your body on a machine or taking a class at the gym, learning how to stretch, your body is not receiving the benefit, right? You’ve got to actually do the thing.
The same thing happens when it comes to pleasure, right? You can read all the books, you can listen to all the podcasts, you can do all the things, but unless you're actually making the time to do the practice, dropping in to be with yourself and your body and give it what it needs, then you aren't gonna be able to get the same result, right? Of course, yes, you need to understand your body and you need to deal with all the things that are standing in the way, right? It’s not so easy, believe you me, I know.
And so, that’s why I created this pleasure membership because I know from my own experience and from thousands of clients that when you actually make the time to do the thing, you get the result on the other side of it, right? Just like going to the gym, on the other side of a practice you feel more connected to yourself, you feel more present, you feel more alive, you’ve got this little refreshed energy bubbling through you. One of the things that people often ask is, “Well, why don't I just go to the gym? Why would I do a pleasure practice?” Well, the difference is, oftentimes, again, we always feel like we have to be productive. We always feel like we have to be doing something. We feel like, “If I’ve got free time, I need to make the most of it. So, if I’ve only got an hour, then I need to work out because that’s the only time I’m gonna have it and then I won't get my exercise in.” That is true, but also, do you make time to be with yourself? Most of us don't. Most of us don't know what we truly need, what we truly enjoy, what our bodies want, what we need, and so, when you make that intentional time, it is amazing what happens on the other side if you give yourself that permission.
Again, as I mentioned in the last episode, when I first started doing this work, I was mortified. I was embarrassed. I get it, right? There is a lot of shame around our bodies. There’s a lot of shame around our sexuality. There’s a lot of shame around pleasure. Even that word itself can be very hard to take for some people, and that’s why I feel it is so important because, really, it’s all about just making yourself feel good, and that’s what it means to practice pleasure. It means doing the thing, sitting down with yourself. Here is the beauty. What does it look like? You show up, you're on Zoom, no one even sees you or hears you because it’s webinar style when I teach class unless at the end you want to come on and ask a question or if you ever want to share, you're always welcome to raise your hand and come on. Of course, if you don't want to, you don't even have to.
So, it’s very, very private, and basically, what I do is I lead you through a meditation. There’s a grounding process just to get situated into your space, and then there are some invitations of how you can tune into what your body needs and offer yourself what your body needs. So, it’s very much at your own level, and people take it on all kinds of levels, right? Maybe you will just relax and listen to it like a meditation. Maybe you want to dive fully into the breathwork. Maybe you want to just journal or draw during it. Maybe you want to touch your body. Maybe you want to have multiple orgasms. Whatever it is, right? There are levels of what you will do during your time, and you get to choose what that looks like. You get to be in charge. That’s the beauty of it.
But it’s the intentional time set to learn something new, the intentional time set to just be with your own self to process emotions, to move through stress, to have fun, and to do it in a community that is supportive because that is the key, too, is that we have so much shame and guilt around taking time for ourselves, so much shame and guilt around pleasure, and when you can show up, claim that you're taking this time for you, and be supportive in it, it’s amazing what happens to the shame.
It starts to dissipate, and I can tell you right now, I mean, I am a debutant from Georgia. I have had a lot of unlearning that I’ve needed to do over the years in many different areas, and if I can do it, you can do it. Anybody can do it, and it’s so funny because this is something I hear from my clients time and time again.
One of my dear friends and clients, Jen, was just telling me, “What I always love about you is because, yes, I’m always nervous moving into something like this, and what I’ve realized is that I trust you, and I trust your leadership, right? And I feel like you always have the perfect practice to get me invigorated and ignited again, and immediately, your disarming and charming style welcomes and warms people to you, so it’s a unique talent that you can combine that vulnerability and also the warmth to help us have more connection to ourselves and to increase that self-care, that self-love piece.”
I think that’s one of the things that I just want to address is the shame or the fear, right? We’re always gonna have that show up when we try something new, and this isn't for everyone, right? This isn't for everyone, but the thing is that for the people that do want this, you are gonna love being able to have this supportive environment.
Why is it worth it? Well, because from surveying past clients and students, some of the feedback people always say is they feel more self-love, they feel better in their body, they feel more relaxed, they feel more satisfied both alone and with a partner in intimacy, the feel more powerful, they feel more confident, they feel more creative because our sexual energy and our creative energy are so intertwined, they feel more connected to their bodies, they're able to work through shame and guilt, they're able to feel less pain, they're able to feel more worthy, and they're able to shift into a completely different state of mind for the better.
Like I was mentioning earlier on my story of being grouchy AF and turning that around through a 30-minute practice, and granted, I’ve done this work for so long. I’ve done thousands of hours of my own personal practice which enables me to have a really strong transmission which means if you're in my presence, you're gonna get the benefit even if you're listening like a meditation, it’s like having that wisdom imparted through the intention, through the sacred space, through my voice, through the practice that you receive. So, even if you just show up, no matter what it looks like, you're gonna receive something.
So, these are the things that are possible, and it’s also not a magic pill, right? I can't guarantee you anything, but what I can do is if you make a commitment to show up for yourself again and again, if you make a commitment to meet yourself with compassion and patience no matter what shows up, that is success. That is the key because what you're gonna learn to do is meet yourself with compassion. You're gonna learn to hold yourself if you have emotions come up.
You're gonna learn to laugh your ass off and have fun. [Laughs] You're gonna learn that you get to be celebrated in having pleasure. One of my students the other day posted about how, “I love that I was just able to take an hour for myself in the middle of the day, even when I had kids home from school, and just be able to drop into a breathwork practice, drop into relaxing and moving through some things, which I needed to, and I came out a totally different person.” That, my friends, is the beauty of this. That’s the beauty of this!
And so, I just want to invite you. If you're feeling called to explore what a pleasure practice can mean to you, what consistently showing up for yourself in a way that feels doable two times a month, that is doable for most people, right? If you can't be there live, you can always watch the recordings. Sometimes people would prefer that. They want to watch the recordings on their own. But sometimes people want to be together, and, again, it’s so private. No one even sees you. It’s a webinar style on Zoom is how we meet, and it’s so much fun. I love, love, love. This is one of my favorite things in the world to do.
I have always been an instigator of fun, a leader of fun. I think in one of the personality profiles I did with Sally Hogshead I’m the people’s champion which means I love to gather people for a cause, right? This, my friends, is the cause of having more fun in your life, feeling more connected in your relationships, enjoying your life because, really, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. I love, love, love when I talk to clients and they're just beaming because they feel so much more connected and happy in their life. That is what I love to see, and even if it’s just, “I’ve made a lot of strides!” I have been able to really overcome some horrible self-talk that I used to have around my body. Again, it’s just what’s possible when you commit to being loving and even if loving feels hard, just acknowledging what’s alive for you and being with it so you can move through it and have the invitation and be taught the ways how to do that through practice.
So, I would love for you to get your ass in here to The Pleasure Foundation and have some fun with me! We’re gonna be starting on January 31st! So, that is right around the corner, and if you are feeling called, please, you can check out more and learn more at www.amandatesta.com/tpf as in The Pleasure Foundation. You’ll find a lot more information. If there are more questions that you have, you can always reach out to me. Send me a DM on Instagram @abtesta if you have questions. I’m sending you lots of love. We’ll see you on the next minisode!