The new year (and the winter solstice that occurs just before hand) is a natural time to reflect on our past and set intentions for the future. For many of us, embracing and expressing our sexuality is something that we've always wanted more of, but have been unsure about what to do or nervous about what could happen in those moments of vulnerability. Here's five tips on how you can feel more comfortable with your sexual self.
We're taught that masturbation is naughty, or that it's for people who aren't partnered, but in reality touching yourself is a sure fire-way to find out what you like and what you don't like. It also helps you find comfort in your own body; when it's just you, you can focus on yourself and stop worrying about someone else's experience.
There's so many ways to get to know your own body, but a nice way to start is by using your fingers to touch all of your erogenous zones. Slowly caress your body, starting at the neck and moving your way down, feeling the different sensations. When you reach a places that feels extra special, stop for a minute and explore.
Of course you can use a vibrator to tease different parts of your body. Our favorites are from Dame, a women-owned brand founded by sexologist Alexandra Fine and MIT engineer Janet Lieberman. Dame is committed to changing the way sexual wellness and pleasure is understood and experienced in the world.
Think about what you can unlock when you spend more time naked, just doing the things you normally do clothed. Of course this can be challenging when you have a roommate or live with family members, but are there moments when you can shed it all? Being naked helps us to normalize our bodies and it removes the stigma that we might feel when nude with others. Our bodies become part of us, rather than separate from us. If you can't make your morning coffee or water the plants nude, can you carve out time to look at yourself naked before or after the shower?
Studies have shown that by simply spending more time naked, we can increase our body image, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Getting back to nature in a very literal sense can make us happy and more comfortable in our intimate moments.
Explore What Turns You On
Beyond pleasuring yourself to find joy and learn about your own body, what else can you do to explore what turns you on? Watching ethical porn is one way to find out what you might like (or not like) to do with a partner/s. This is something you can do whether you're single, dating, or in a serious relationship. Beyond just making us feel good, porn can help us become comfortable with a particular fantasy that we or our partner may have. Pornography also helps to normalize desires.
Think that your fantasy is too much to try out? Perhaps not if you see others doing exactly what you want. You might just pick up some hot tips along the way that will help you feel more comfortable initiating and/or realizing your fantasy.
Shame can be a major obstacle in us feeling comfortable with our sexual selves. From religion to family to the media to that hurtful thing you still remember from middle school, there's so many places and experiences that our shame comes from. Naming your shame, identifying why you feel the way that you do, and where you feel it in your body can help to put the shame to rest. It can take a long time to work through shame, but it can be helpful when it comes to feeling comfortable with your sexual self. Sex isn't shameful; it's a natural part of life. The more that we can remind ourselves of this, the more we will be able to embrace our sexuality shame-free.
Talk It Out
Communicating about what you like and don't like can be wildly intimidating. But if we can't speak to what we want and what we don't want, how will we ever feel comfortable with our sexual selves?
Kris Roudebush, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in serving the LGBTQ community, explains that “The way in which we talk about [sex] will set the tone for how it will be received.” In other words, if you present what you are embarrassed about as horrible and relationship ending, that’s likely what it will be. But, if you present it as part of who you are and something you want to work on, then it’s far more manageable. We need to present these topics not as a hopeless negative trait, but as a normal part of the human experience." In other words, if you present what you are embarrassed about as horrible and relationship ending, that’s likely what it will be. But, if you present it as part of who you are and something you want to work on, then it’s far more manageable. We need to present these topics not as a hopeless negative trait, but as a normal part of the human experience.
One Final Thought
You might feel like you're too much, but could it be possible that is you make others feel seen, particularly people who might feel ashamed or scared or hesitant about coming into their full selves? When we show up in this world as our true selves we inspired others to do the same.