Sex and self
At the core of a healthy sex life is our individual belief about sex, shaped by our experience and the culture in which we live. Sadly some of us hold thoughts and emotions about sex that are clouded with fear of judgement, shame, or insecurity, any of which can negatively impact our sex life and sexual pleasure.
Today is an opportunity to think about your sex life and your personal relationship with erotic gratification. Do you believe you deserve sexual pleasure or are you more concerned in pleasing others and their sexual needs?. What arouses you? Do you trust your partner/s enough to receive pleasure openly? An important part of sexual health is being able to recognise and accept your individual sexual desires. How will you know „what does it for you“ unless you explore and experiment?.
Sexual intercourse is only a part of our sexuality and doesn‘t always provide sexual fulfilment. With the historical and religious focus of sex for procreation in preference to pleasure, masturbation has been demonised. But how can we discover what is arousing to us or takes us to orgasm? If we trust our sexual partners and can communicate our desires openly then we have help in discovering our sexual selves. However, this is not the case for everyone, so masturbation is an effective way to discover what stimulates you. Fortunately hair brushes, vacuum cleaners and vegetables are no longer necessary with the plethora of sex toys on the market! ‚Adult stores‘, once viewed as a realm of sexual deviation, are commonplace today helping to bring sex out of the closet. Whether you like penetration, stimulation, pain or anything else, there is likely a product on the market for you.
Accepting our dirty little secrets
Sometimes we discover things about ourselves that we do not like and this is particularly relevant with regards to sex. Society has determined what is deemed acceptable and normal. If we deviate from these norms then we are abnormal, outcast, a deviate. It can be difficult to accept the parts of yourself you do not like or want but what is the basis for your decision about what is good or bad? Religion? Family? Society?
Over the years I have talked with people who felt that their sexual desires were unique, abnormal, and socially repulsive. They kept their „dirty little secrets“ from EVERYONE including their partners. Some felt shame for their lusts and wanted to ignore the parts of their sexuality they did not like. Trying to bury a part of their sexual self led to emotional difficulties and needless to say, lack of fulfilment. The most interesting fact is that regardless of the sexual interests discussed with me, none of them were unique. There are always others who have the same, or similar desires. So my clients sexual secrets were not so abnormal after all and each of them were surprised to find that they are not an island. This knowledge contributed to reconciling their previous ideas and beliefs about what is sexually acceptable with their personal desires.
If you have your own „dirty litle secrets“ perhaps you should undertake an online search and the results will give you a quick indication of how many people share your sexual proclivities. This may help you feel less of a deviate. As an example take a look at this 2014 article published in Cosmopolitan magazine, 20 Sex Acts You Were Too Afraid to Google (cosmopolitan.com).
Communicating your sexual needs
Taking one-night lustful romps out of the conversation, the next growth element for our sexual health is to be able to communicate our desires, once we know what they are, to our partner/s. This can be more daunting than accepting your sexual cravings. The fear of rejection often dictates our actions. There are numerous anxieties around discussing sexual acts with others such as “Will my partner think I am a freak? Will that be the end of the relationship? Will my partner feel inadequate in satisfying me sexually?
Basically, we fear judgement by others that we may hold for ourselves. What is vital in sexual exploration is exactly the opposite – no judgement. Why should we decide that someone’s sexual interest is wrong or strange or worse?
The answer to these questions and others will be different for different relationships and therefore only you can ultimately decide how you will proceed. Will you have the conversation or ignore and bury your desires? Will you make the decision for your partner/s that your sexual desires are too out there and secretly seek sexual fulfilment elsewhere? Will you trust in your relationship that your partner/s will be non-judgemental and have the conversation?
Clearly there are many choices to be made about if, how, and when, you communicate your sexual needs. Such a broad and complicated topic cannot be covered in a short article such as this. However, the aim of this article is to raise awareness and provoke independent thoughts about your personal sexual health journey.
Wholistic sexual health is at the forefront of Amina‘s objectives. They have committed to sharing information from sex educators, professional sex workers, fetichists and kinksters through their online platforms.
Dr Rachelle Elliott is a sex educator with over ten years experience in the areas of sexual health and polyamory. A focus of her work is on self-acceptance and communicating sexual needs.
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