We hope that our Summer 2022 issue was, well, a pleasure to read. The “Pleasure” issue explored what it truly means to center pleasure in our lives—how does it transform our social movements, relationships, and bodies? From building resilience to shame to embracing pleasure as part of disability justice, we hope the practical and radical ideas and tools we shared inspired you—or at least sparked some interesting conversations.
The issue also challenged the ways capitalism can restrict our access to pleasure. Consumerism tells us that pleasure will only come from luxurious resort stays and expensive massages, but if pleasure is really a foundational human need, like guest editor adrienne maree brown posited in her feature article, then it cannot be solely accessed by spending money.
In the issue, YES! editors shared their own anti-capitalist pursuits of pleasure. Their answers included taking walks, reading fiction, crocheting, and spending time with kids. But we know we don’t have all the answers—so we asked you, dear readers, to share your favorite free pursuits of pleasure with us online and on social media—and you flooded the comments with thoughtful responses.
We asked: What brings you pleasure outside the bounds of consumerism?
A cup of herbal tea with honey from a local farm, cuddles with my dog and my daughters in bed before sleeping, sitting by the fireplace or the fire pit, making a really delicious meal to share with people I love and enjoying that meal with people I love, listening to someone play the guitar, gardening, long hot baths with salts, herbs, and oils, going for walks in the woods… . I could keep going. —Carolina Miranda, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Not having to perform or produce brings me immense pleasure. Simply being, connecting with nature. —Vee Ramos, Houston, Texas
Dancing! In my kitchen, living room, or in the streets, I love dancing outside with others anywhere a boom box will reach. —Soad Kader, San Francisco, California
The feeling of the warm sun on the back of my neck. I had long hair for decades (long, thick curls so nothing is getting through) and recently had to cut my hair short for medical reasons. I found myself stopping outside to feel how warm and wonderful the sun felt on the back of my neck, reminding me there is beauty in every stage of life. —Rebecca Angel, Albany, New York
Walking through a neighborhood, noticing the details of the season, patterns, quirks, history, people, and presence. —@kelly_world
Hearing babies laugh, seeing dogs wear sweaters (or any clothing), bare feet on good grass, sitting in the sun after being inside all day, seeing elders hold hands. —Stacey Sickler, Fort Collins, Colorado
Laughing till I can’t breathe with my sisters. —Alejandra Cariño, California
Making art that subverts beauty standards. —Jen Noone, Annandale, New Jersey
Making a new friend! —Zahra Khozema, Toronto, Canada
Choosing active transportation. Moving by foot or by bike feels good and structures spontaneity into my routines. For example, I’m more likely to greet people I encounter, or stop to enjoy a park, than if I were in a motor vehicle. Lots of short- and long-term benefits personally and socially! —Lars Åkerson, Harrisonburg, Virginia