Chasing Orgasmic Pleasure Inside and Outside of the Bedroom Changed My Life
by A. Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez



September 24, 2020


8 Minute Read


Chasing Orgasmic Pleasure Inside and Outside of the Bedroom Changed My Life

Couple kissing (Photo courtesy of pexels.com)
Courtesy of pexels.com

It shouldn’t be “radical” to say that I’m a Black woman who wanted to have more orgasms.

But everything that I’ve learned about sex from the institutions – the church, my family, and the way that we educate everyone, especially women and trans/non-binary folks in a stigma-filled sexual education process – suggests otherwise.

Like most folks, I learned early that my sexuality was something to be hidden. The world said that “good girls” couldn’t afford to be sexual. And Black girls already had two strikes against us, so we couldn’t afford any more mistakes. (Ain’t it ironic that I’m writing while listening to WAP?!)

I wanted to be accepted, and I was willing to do whatever it took to achieve goodness. That came at the cost of internalizing a sh*t ton of sexual shame. My relationship with sex was the same as my relationship with the rest of my life. I was lucky to be in the room; there was no way I was about to ask for a seat at the table.

I learned this coping mechanism – aiming for survival as others thrived in their use of me – from the examples of the other Black women in my life. I grew up watching the world extract all sorts of pleasure from Black women – caretaking, emotional labor, sex – with no expectation to replenish what they’d extracted. In return, they got exhausted, but they rarely got pleasure or joy. 

That destiny didn’t appeal to me. But I followed the script of respectability for as long as I could. 

It shouldn’t be “radical” to say that I’m a Black woman who wanted to have more orgasms.

I tried to be respectable and orbit my sexual needs around my husband. And I accepted the lie that my status as a mother meant that my aspirations didn’t matter. 

I didn’t recognize the irritable, resentful person that I became. I decided to make a practice of having regular orgasms – partner optional. I wasn’t prepared for them to change the way I saw pleasure in all areas of life. 

Couple in bed (Photo courtesy of Rawpixel.com)
Courtesy of rawpixel.com

Orgasms brought clarity of mind, reminded me that I could feel sexy for myself, and made it easier to keep my anxiety under control. It returned the sense of control that I hadn’t felt since I’d started a family. Masturbation allowed me to affirm my right to pleasure, regardless of what the world said I deserved.

The power of this reverberated through other areas of my life. I understood that I could manifest goodness through my own means. I realized that with work, I could take this model and apply it to other areas of my life.  

Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes helped me get started. It pushed me to do things that I was interested in but would typically avoid due to parenting. I started pushing myself towards professional goals and traveling that impostor syndrome would have prevented. Each time I said “yes,” a new door opened. 

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I found myself in the company of other Black women who’d also committed themselves to their own “yes’s.” 

The stars aligned for me to attend SisterSong’s ‘Let’s Talk about Sex’ Conference. I went to learn about the legacy of Reproductive Justice. I unexpectedly got a wealth of information on how the myth of scarcity pairs with capitalism to teach us that production comes first, and all pleasure comes second. 

Being in that space that encouraged me to connect with folks of varying identities with the common goal of freeing all people to live self-determined lives was life-changing. The workshops I picked – one on the healing properties of twerking and another that challenged us to lean into vulnerability by being completely naked – taught me that living in pursuit of better sex was selling myself short. 

Having more orgasms was great for getting moments of pleasure. But prioritizing feeling good outside the bedroom showed me that I deserved a life of pleasure.

I didn’t have to carry the weight of everyone else’s negative perceptions of who I was. I was uninterested in holding on to the garments of insecurity, dependency, and self-deprecation. And like those solo orgasms, I could manifest it with my own power.

Orgasms brought clarity of mind, reminded me that I could feel sexy for myself, and made it easier to keep my anxiety under control.

Courtesy of nappy.co

The work continued as I looked for community and other guides to show me what pleasure in action looked like. I signed up for Afrosexology’s Less Oppression More Orgasm and learned even more about the role that feeling good about life played in good sex. The wisdom they shared on the importance of giving myself the space to discover my “yucks” and “yums” paired well with their comments on the importance of boundary setting in sexual and nonsexual contexts. It was immensely validating to learn that I wasn’t alone in having my sex life negatively impacted by oppression. 

These encounters – and a shit ton of Black feminist theory and anything produced by pleasure-activist adrienne marie brown – showed me that the only script I must follow is my own. Being a mother and a wife didn’t have to feel bad. Hobbies – like jewelry making, gardening, and sharing my resistance – gave me the space to recover from caretaking.

Traveling along this journey has brought me more orgasms. But chasing pleasure and setting boundaries is changing my life. It’s my job to take back everything the world owes me – good sex, self-love, rest, and restoration – so my daughter grows up knowing that Black women deserve to live joyful lives.

And if the world won’t give it to me, I’m going to take it.  

One orgasm at a time.