Sex and Mental Health: An interview with Shari Klein, founder of the Pleasure Society
What actually is the Pleasure Society?
The Pleasure Society is your sexuality curator in helping you explore your sexuality in the form of pleasure products, services, stories and experiences. It's a platform where you can explore this part of yourself in a diverse, inclusive and free way. The Pleasure Society has a website where stories, playlists and events are shared. Every month founder Shari Klein hosts Radio Pleasure Society on Echobox. During each episode she dives into a subject around sexuality; often with a guest, sometimes alone. The Pleasure Cards are the first self-created and produced product by the Pleasure Society - a card game to deepen your sexuality with either your partner(s) or friends in an easy going and playful way.
Why is the Pleasure Society so important?
The Pleasure Society aims to break taboos around sexuality, intimacy, pleasure and all themes that lay in between. It's important these topics are openly discussed more, because our sexual wellbeing is just as important as our mental and physical wellbeing, but often overlooked or not taken seriously. The Pleasure Society uses creative forms of expression and a positive point of view on sexuality to open up this conversation. Always keeping in mind that the topic of sexuality can be triggering and painful for those that don't have a very positive experience with it. We respect these boundaries and personal histories.
Do you think there is a link between sexual health and mental health?
Absolutely! If you're not in a mentally good state, this often directly has an effect on your sexual wellbeing and mindset. I remember when I got into a mild depression about 6 / 7 years ago. My entire sexual drive disappeared. At the time this feeling made me very nervous, because I had never experienced this before and thought it would stay like that forever. I quickly learned that this was my way of coping with my depression. My entire system and body just said: Not now. I learned a lot about the connection my mental health has with my sexuality during this depression. I didn't desire any form of sex and didn't even feel the need to masturbate. When I got out of this depression I felt so much weight come off my shoulders when I found out that it was a phase, and that that space and time was needed to get out of a dark place.
If people, particularly women, were more open and confident in their sexuality and sex lives, how would that impact their mental health and wellbeing?
Obviously, this would impact their overall wellbeing and mental health in a very positive way! But as I said earlier, sometimes it works the other way around: your mental health isn't doing so well, so this affects your sexuality and sexual desires. This doesn't have to be a big problem, and is something that we should respect and take time for. In particular women non-binary and trans people should be kind to the needs they feel in the moment. This can change over time, even over the course of a day or within an hour. I believe that learning to listen to what our desires and needs are in the moment will positively affect our mental health and sexuality.
What do you do to take care of your own well-being (particularly mental health)
I listen more to what my body needs. Does it need rest? Does it need a good dance? Does it need to get a massage or some extra warmth (a cuddle can do wonders)? I think taking rest is probably the best thing I've been doing for my overall mental health and wellbeing. Rest can take different shapes and forms. Sometimes it's sleeping in, sometimes it's going to bed early, sometimes it's both ;)
The Pleasure Society: