How many times a day do you hear people refer to “self-care” or “mental wellness”? I’m sure it’s a lot. Awareness of these practices is increasing as people become more in tune with the importance of mental health. There is one aspect of mental wellness you may less familiar with, and that’s sexual wellness.
Although not a mainstream concept yet, it is gaining momentum as wellness gurus and sexual health experts advocate for increased awareness. Now, you are probably wondering – what is sexual wellness? It’s not just about cuming and having great orgasms, although that does help! Sexual wellness is emotional, physical, and mental, all connecting to your sexuality.
Unfortunately, sexual wellness isn’t a part of your standard sex-ed curriculum, and it’s a damn shame. It is SO important. Here are just a few of the reasons why sexual wellness is incredibly important:
- An abundance of research has found that sexual pleasure improves sleep quality, strengthens the immune system and reduces depression and anxiety.
- A studyon 200 high-earning women between the ages of 35 and 64, found that the majority of women surveyed believed a fulfilling sexual relationship to have positively influenced their career.
- According to a Harvard Universitystudy those who experienced sexual satisfaction lived happier and longer lives. This study followed people for 80 years and the results found fulfilling sexual relationships were the key to longevity.
Does this mean to live longer, be happier, and make more money, you need to have more sex?
Um, yes, kinda. But, it is a little more complex than that. Sexual wellness involves deeper concepts including intimacy, self-worth, and satisfaction. Fortunately, even if your sexual wellness isn’t as good as it could be, there are ways to improve it.
Self-Exploration: Explore your body and learn how to satisfy yourself.
If you don’t know how to satisfy yourself, it will be really difficult for someone else to. With no time constraints or interruptions, explore your body and what feels good. Trace circles around your nipples, then head south to explore your clitoris, vagina and see if you can find your G-spot. You can do this with your fingers and some lube, or invest in a vibrator. Using a vibrator like the Rabbit Vibrator will increase your chance of orgasm and increase your sense of sexual satisfaction. Due to its special design and stimulators, it will help you discover more than your fingers can. Sexual satisfaction doesn’t need to come from someone else – you can satisfy yourself. To find your G-spot, head inside and up behind your public bone. There is a small, fleshy patch there that can trigger orgasm. Getting to know your body through exploration will help you develop a more positive attitude towards pleasure.
Self-Education: Learn the things you were never taught growing up.
Unfortunately, unless you actively seek out an education in sex, you won’t get it. A survey on women and sexual education found that for 77% of the women, pleasure was never mentioned during their sexual education. For 70% of the women, consent was not mentioned either. Pleasure and consent are everything and yet rarely discussed. Even if you did receive some form of education on sex, it might have been distorted. For example, if there is a lot of shame around sex and women’s bodies, you may not feel very uncomfortable with your own body and sensuality. Read blogs, articles in magazines, or even order a book online from Amazon. Give yourself the education you never received or un-do the toxic one you did have.
Self-Awareness: Identify if you need professional support and reach out.
Although reading outside sources can help, sometimes we need a professional's assistance to undo some of the damage we’ve endured. If your mental health was suffering, you would reach out to a mental health professional. It’s the same thing for a sex therapist. Perhaps you experienced sexual trauma or intimacy challenges. These roadblocks or negative associations can harm your relationships, quality of life, and well-being. A sex therapist is a trained professional; a psychologist who specializes in sex. They are experienced in helping individuals overcome challenges pertaining to sex. If you are experiencing physical concerns like pain every time you have sex, you can speak with a pelvic floor therapist or physician.
Self-Advocacy: Communicate with your partner and express your needs.
If you find it difficult to discuss consent, boundaries, and pleasure with your partner, it may be worth pursuing the step listed above. It doesn’t come easy to everyone, but it is so important! According to many sex experts, communication is vital for sexual satisfaction. As much as it is physical, sex is also emotional, so if you feel emotional intimacy isn’t there, it could be impacting your sex life. Communicating about sex isn’t something that should not exclusively be done with a new partner; it is incredibly important to have these types of conversations with long-term partners as well. With time, your sexual needs and how you like to be pleasured will change. By increasing your communication, you can increase your sexual satisfaction and wellness.
Perhaps one day, we will hear sexual wellness discussed as often as we hear about mental wellness. It does look promising. In fact, there is a sexual wellness festival run by TedX speaker Erin Chen. Erin has long-term goals with this festival and is doing it for future generations. She wants future children to be able to grow up without feelings of shame and embarrassment when it comes to sex. She wants to empower them to have fulfilling sexual experiences and relationships when they get older, whichever way that looks like to them. As Erin takes on sexual wellness on a global scale, you can do your part at home with a bit of erotica and your beloved vibrator. Sexual wellness is multifaceted, and as much as it influences different aspects of your life, it is also easily influenced. If you consider your sexual wellness to be less than optimal, try one or all of the strategies listed here because you deserve it!