Show #224 – Talking Pleasure with Jia Dr Gottlieb


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And on this week’s show!

What does pleasure mean for you? This week we kick off a series to optimise life – call it upleveling, deepening our sense of well being and satisfaction or cultivating happiness and more pleasure, we’re exploring it all in the next few shows, and on this show, I interview Dr Jia Gottlieb on the topic of pleasure, a subject Jia has studied for decades which has culminated in this wonderful new book “Ahhh… The Pleasure Book”. We explore the pleasure and pain connection, addiction, guilt, and shame surrounding pleasure, why it means so much more than sex and food, and how to look at pleasure from physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual perspectives to feel more deeply at peace, content and alive in your life. Now doesn’t that sound wonderful? Enjoy the show!

The questions I asked Jia:

  • You were young, healthy, had sporting promise as a half back: what did a motorcycle accident in your youth do to change the trajectory of your life? And when did the drive to become a doctor come to light? 
  • Practising as a doctor, seeing patients, did you feel you were given all the tools required to help them – what was missing? 
  • Why did you feel pleasure was a missing link in the health/thriving in life narrative? Was it something you were seeing in the clinic with patients? A personal longing and exploration? 
  • When you first started asking people about what first came to mind when you said the word “pleasure” the majority of people said sex followed by food and a few other fleeting sensory experiences. 
  • You also noted that with the explosion of happiness research, we all seem far more comfortable talking about happiness and our personal cultivation of it, than we do pleasure because shame and guilt are associated with the word. It smacks of instant gratification in our minds and therefore we should probably feel guilty about it: What are we getting wrong in trying to separate happiness and pleasure out from each other? 
  • There are physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual pleasures – do we need a few of each in our lives? Is it a good way to build a bit of a ‘table’ of sorts to reflect on where we might be missing pleasure in our lives? 
  • In your book you share the 7 immutable laws of pleasure – how did you arrive at 7? Can you share them? 
  • What is the relationship between pleasure and pain? 
  • I know a lot of people, especially women, or people caring for children or an elderly parent, who lead large chunks of time feeling guilty about experiencing pleasure: How can we cultivate a ‘right to pleasure’ and prioritise it, when our culture shames us for taking personal time out, having fun “You’re not working hard enough… There’s no time for games… suffering and grinding in life is noble… selflessness is seen as a positive character trait – it’s toxic but it’s a big shift: What are the pleasure-cultivating baby steps? 
  • How do we balance pleasure through our life without becoming selfish and disconnected – without making it the ‘me show’ – where does the cultivation of interconnectedness fit into the pleasure picture? 
  • How might we embark on a journey exploring pleasure in our own lives? Obviously, step 1: read your wonderful book, but I’d love for you to share with your readers how things might look to do this work, with your help? 

Other helpful links:

Learn more about Dr Jia Gottlieb and his work:

Grab a copy of “Aah: The Pleasure Book” at Booktopia.

Join him on Instagram @drjiamd and on Facebook

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Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet


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