The year 2016 is young, slates are clean, and intentions have been set. Many of our resolutions are old, but inspiring repeats that have to do with nutrition, breaking unhealthy habits, sleeping more, saving more, and accomplishing personal goals. Where does your sexuality factor into all of this? If you're reading this article, I'm guessing it has a least some importance within the grand scheme of your life. If you haven't already, perhaps now is a good time to set some intentions to nourish your sexual being. Here are some ideas, but feel free to create your own!
1. Communicate More
When having sex, do you have moments when you wish your lover would slow down, speed up, touch you more lightly, massage your clit from side to side rather than in circles, or whatever else, but you're either too shy or uncomfortable to say anything—perhaps out of fear of ruining the mood or hurting their feelings?
Well, first of all, perfect and seamless sex only happens in the movies, but it doesn't even happen there because there are edits and fade-outs or whatever. Sure, there are those golden moments when everything just magically clicks with no instructions necessary, but it's unrealistic to expect every (or even most) sexual experiences to be like that.
Secondly, the more you communicate with your lover about how you like or don't like to be touched at different stages of your sexual cycle (arousal, plateau, orgasm, resolution), the more they will know and the less they will need to be told. That is one of the beauties of being sexually familiar with each other. However, we are often in different moods with different sensitivity levels, so we will always need to do at least some communicating, but at that point it won't matter as much because by then we're old pros and it feels like a natural part of our sexual experience.
The way we communicate may have some influence on whether our partner's feelers get hurt. Generally, phrasing things in positives (rather than in negatives) not only creates a much better vibe, but also is much more useful. For example, instead of saying, "That doesn't feel too exciting," say "I would love it if you massaged my clit/cock/Mrs.Peter/[fill-in-the-blank] a little higher up and a little more firmly." A partner who values your sexual pleasure would welcome helpful instructions!
Communicating also means letting our partners know when things feel good! This can be with verbal acknowledgement ("Oh, that feels nice." "Please, don't stop", "Yes!") or with non-verbal communication such as a little moan or sigh.
2. Explore More
There are many avenues to travel down for sexual exploration. New sex acts, new partners, partners of different genders, new roles, fantasies, and so forth.
Are you always the more dominant one in bed? Flip it over! Exploration does not necessitate a partner. Solo exploration can sometimes be the most enlightening. Have you always been curious about anal stimulation? Don't need a partner for that! A nice beginner butt plug will work just fine.
Mindfulness can breathe freshness into any aspect of our life. For most of us, it is difficult to remain mindful all day everyday, so it is helpful to start with little goals. One exercise can include applying mindfulness to our sexual selves. Pay attention to the nuances and textures of various sensations on the body. This can be practiced while engaged in sexual activity, or while sitting at your desk and paying attention to the way the crotch of your pants feels as it's pressing up against your vulva/penis. How about during your morning showers? How do your soapy hands feel as they're working lather all over your body? Observing ourselves in this fashion tends to slow us down, giving us more opportunity to experience the sensations of our bodies in ways we often take for granted. This can be quite enlivening for some of us.
Many of our sexual thoughts and feelings are fleeting. Like a little breeze, they blow through us as we look at some random image on a magazine cover while waiting in line, or perhaps a suggestive looking vegetable. Observe these moments, and you may discover that sexuality is an indistinguishable part of the rest of our lives and an integral part of our beings.
Society gives us positive validation when we devote our time going to the gym to tone our bodies, read books to refine our minds, or spend time at work to strengthen our financial health. However, there is a shroud of secrecy when it comes to devoting time to activities that help us develop as mature sexual beings. Telling a co-worker that you need to carve out some more time to exercise will be met with a nod of understanding. Now try telling them that you need to carve out more time in your week to work on some new sexual techniques? (I'm sure we all have a least a few friends who would understand completely.)
Similarly, many people are given the message that its acceptable to spend a pretty dime on a pair of concert tickets or a fancy meal that lasts all of one evening, but not so much on a solid sex toy that can entertain or bring you and/or your lover pleasure for months or years to come (pun intended).
Give yourself permission to treat your sexuality and sex life with the same care you would your career, health, family, mind, and spirit. Go ahead and put sexuality on that work-life balance pie chart.
Ally Booker is a pleasure activist passionate about educating herself and others on cool sexuality related things like communication skills, creating and respecting boundaries, sexual self-determination, destigmatization, gender and sexual expressions, sex toy use and safety, and all the other mechanics of pleasure. You can often find her at her Tucson shop, Jellywink Boutique, 418 E. 7th St.. You can reach her at 777-9434 or AllyBooker@Jellywink.com.