"Sweet Feast" is by Minxi Chua
This piece has been shared with Panther Daze Designs as part of our Community Blog - where we encourage our community to participate in the discourse of body positivity and diverse conversations on sexuality.
My first orgasm felt like an indulgence. Too good, almost; so good I was sure it could not be good for me. A cocktail of ecstasy and shame. Many pleasures in life give me this sensation. Salted caramel ice cream on molten chocolate cake. The last pink, juicy strawberry from a carton shared with friends, which they happily leave for me, but which I do not eat, because I never finish the last portion of anything, for fear of appearing greedy. Sex, in general. But specifically, orgasms, and even more so when I am alone. In these moments, I feel and feel for no one but myself. At once the actor and spectator; the subject and the specimen.
All this to say that masturbation is an all-encompassing pleasure, the ultimate expression of narcissism. And self-love—the sweeping, indulgent sort, which grows and overflows, into an ocean of transformative power—is also something we are taught is too good for us.
Or, rather, for which we are not good enough.
Childhood for me was a series of restrictions. Those around food were especially stringent, and especially observed, by the omnipresent eyes of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nannies, teachers, doctors, classmates, and even the occasional stranger. I was scolded for eating too much and too eagerly. The foods I loved, I was warned, would one day kill me. Sugar would give me diabetes. Dairy would give me diarrhea. Carbohydrates—in particular bread and pasta, which in my household were considered foreign cuisine, invasions to our superior Chinese diet—were the worst of all.
My mother was convinced spaghetti gave women mustaches.
“Do you want to be fat and manly?” she asked me, her tiny mouth curled in disgust.
“No,” I answered, because I did not want to disgust my mother, or anyone else who might be watching. The daily, necessary act of eating meals had become a performance I was determined to master. And so too with other aspects of my body, as I grew older, riper for consumption.
My first time having sex left a sour taste in my mouth. The boy finished without touching me, and I thought: Okay. That’s over. Not so bad, right? Next time, I’ll push through too.
Sex is an endurance game. Some will read this as a euphemistic joke. Many will not. They will know that it is a phrase can be all too literal. These are the women who fake consent, gritting their teeth behind their smiles, because they are too polite to say no, or don’t, or stop. These are the women who fake orgasms, because female pleasure is seen as an indulgence, not a necessity. These are the women who order salads even though they are starving. No dessert for me, they insist. No, no, I’m done, I promise. I’m satisfied.
Now that I am older, I have realized that I am responsible for my own satisfaction. It is a responsibility I savor with relish. A sacred duty, almost; something so rich and delicious, I must lavish it with the keenest appetite. The world wants for us to be hungry. Society demands that we are always craving, so that it may fill us with empty nourishment. Peers and authorities observe us without interruption, monitoring our every opinion, movement, and meal. This is our modern reality—where man consumes man, consumes woman, consumes the earth and spits it back out, used and unwanted.
So, when I am alone, I indulge myself, with cream and leather, flesh and seed of every fruit and lover. I eat, and I fuck, and I live. I allow myself the satisfaction.
There are sweet feasts laid out before us all. We only need to reach out ourselves, and take them into our own hands.