As we usher in a new year, it’s an opportune time to reflect on our overall well-being, including our sexual wellness. Setting intentional goals for sexual wellness can be a transformative and empowering endeavor, paving the way for enhanced pleasure, improved communication, and a deeper connection with oneself and partner. Sexual health is part of your overall health but can be easily overlooked. Owning your pleasure and body allows you to validate your experiences and feel more sexual satisfaction. Let’s explore the different ways you can move towards sexual authenticity and sexual freedom.
Start the year by prioritizing self-exploration. This involves getting to know your body, understanding what pleases you, and cultivating your desires. Set aside time for solo exploration, perhaps through mindful masturbation, to better understand and connect with your sensual areas. Mindful masturbation helps you learn to focus on the physical sensations your body offers and to practice removing distractions that can get in the way of focusing on pleasure. You can also explore potential sources of pleasure such as introducing sensual items to stimulate parts of your body such as different textures (e.g., fabric textures, feathers, lotions, oils) to your body. Buy a new try, use a new lotion, lube, or buy an outfit you feel sexy in. Exploration doesn’t have to be focused on your genitals either. Allow yourself to connect with as many parts of your body as possible. Once you have some ideas, especially new ones, for what pleases you, share them with your partner.
Establish Open Communication
Cultivate a culture of open communication about sex with your partner(s). Set a goal to regularly discuss desires, boundaries, and fantasies in a non-judgmental and supportive manner. Creating a safe space for dialogue fosters understanding and strengthens the emotional connection within the relationship. Establishing open and honest communication channels encourages a safe space for discussing vulnerable topics. Actively participating in conversations about your desires fosters mutual understanding and can lead to more satisfying sexual experiences. Partners can’t read your mind and need to know how your body responds to their touch. It is common for something to be arousing one time and then less so the following time you do it. Talking about sex before, during, and after can help you and your partner learn about your bodies and create a safe place to share what does and doesn’t feel good.
Invest in Pleasure-Centered Practices
Make pleasure a priority by exploring and incorporating positive sensual practices into your routine. This could include sensual massage, trying new sexual positions, or introducing elements of kink that align with your desires and fantasies. Embracing pleasure as a central focus can enhance overall sexual satisfaction. In addition to trying to spark your senses, playfulness and consensual teasing can be another avenue to explore. Being playful with a partner can spark another source of pleasure that adds connection beyond physical intimacy. Allowing your selves to play together creates a place of trust and safety that may also allow for further communication as suggested in the previous section. Fun is an essential part of connecting with others. It brings about pleasure, safety, and connection.
Integrate Mindfulness into Sexual Experiences
Explore the practice of mindfulness during sexual experiences. This involves being fully present in the moment, focusing on sensations, and letting go of distractions. Mindful sex can deepen the connection between partners and heighten the overall experience. Distractions (internal and external) are the main source of sexual challenges. Practicing distraction management while solo and then with a partner can significantly improve sexual satisfaction. Being present and letting go of anxiety, self-consciousness, and insecurity will allow you to focus on the physical sensations in your body and feel the pleasure it provides during sex.
Create a Sensual Environment with Limited Distractions
Transform your physical space into a more sensual environment that enhances your sensual awareness. This could involve incorporating soft lighting, using sensual fabrics, or introducing aromas that enhance the overall ambiance. Ensure the space can manage any potential distractions. Practically speaking, do you have a lock on your door if you have kids? Pets can also be a distraction. Do you have a way to keep your pet busy or put them in an area where you won’t be accessible? Is the temperature in the room comfortable and allows you to focus on the sensual pleasures you have in the space? Being cold can quickly become a challenge to experiencing pleasure. Perhaps a basket of items next to your bed or a comfortable space with different sensual options. A sensually focused environment can positively impact your mood and contribute to a more enjoyable sexual experience.
Cultivate a Sex-Positive Mindset
Enhance your sexual well-being by embracing body positivity and self-love. Set a goal to appreciate and celebrate your body for its unique beauty and capabilities. Adopt a sex-positive mindset that embraces diversity, inclusivity, and a non-judgmental attitude towards various expressions of sexuality. This can be accomplished by noticing the language you use and spending time reflecting on your own biases and judgments about different expressions of sexuality. Read a new book on a topic that feels outside of your comfort zone. A few interesting books include:
Reading books that challenge your current mindset will allow you to expand your understanding and awareness of the other ways people can express themselves. It may also become an opportunity for you to explore yourself. Consider a goal to engage in practices that promote self-love, such as affirmations, self-care rituals, and choosing media that celebrates diverse body images.
Explore Erotic Education
Dedicate time to educate yourself on eroticism, sexual anatomy, and different aspects of human sexuality. You can attend workshops, read literature on sexual wellness (see book list above), and engage in ongoing learning to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the multifaceted world of eroticism. You can also infuse excitement and novelty into your sex life by exploring new experiences. OMGYES.com is a great research-based resource for individuals and couples looking to learn more about their bodies, pleasure, and new techniques to try. They frequently expand their offerings and are worth the one-time fee for lifetime access. Another way to explore is to try new toys, games, or clothing to spice up your solo or partnered sex. Too Timid is a great company that offers a wide variety of toys for all genders and relationships. They also value accurate information and inclusivity.
Prioritize Mental and Emotional Well-being
Recognize the connection between mental and sexual health by prioritizing your overall well-being. Set goals for stress and anxiety management and address any mental health concerns that may be impacting your sexual experiences. Anxiety is the primary factor in sexual challenges. Emotions can become a reason to use sex to cope by escaping negative feelings. Emotions can also keep people from allowing themselves to feel desire and pleasure. A busy brain makes it difficult to focus on the pleasure offered by your body. Negative thoughts or unrealistic expectations of ourselves and/or partners can further impact one’s sexual satisfaction. If your mental health consistently impacts your sexual life, it may be helpful to cultivate resources to support relaxation, positive self-talk, and open communication. Meeting with a sex therapist may also be helpful.
Prioritize Sexual Health Check-ups
Prioritizing sexual health ensures that you can enjoy a worry-free and confident approach to your sex life. There are a few medical professionals that are important to one’s sexual health. To name a specialized few: OBGYN, Urologist, and Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists. Your PCP is a great resource to support you with screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and discussions about contraception options. Depending on your genitals, seeing a specialist (OBGYN vs Urologist) will also ensure that your sexual functioning and hormones are optimal. A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist can help both men and women with strengthening pelvic muscles as well as learning how to relax them. They are great resources for those with urination and bowel movement challenges. They help you connect your mind with your pelvic area as well as help with some kinds of sexual dysfunction such as pelvic pain and erectile dysfunction. It can be helpful to schedule regular check-ins with these professionals to ensure that your pelvic area and genitals are healthy.
Embarking on a journey of sexual wellness goals for the new year is an empowering step toward self-discovery and fulfillment. By prioritizing the areas discussed above, you can foster a more satisfying and enriching sex life. As you embrace the new year, may your path to sexual wellness be marked by self-love, connection, and the pursuit of pleasure. Sexual Health and Healing LLC has many options to support you with meeting your sexual wellness goals.