A reader asks:
How can I develop a healthy, happy, exuberant sexuality?
Here is a very brief (because I’ve been working for 12 hours straight today and I’m exhausted) set of suggestions for people who have the same question:
The first step is look at the things that have prevented you from developing in the direction of sexual health. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How did you learn about sexuality?
- Were there any early traumatic experiences?
- What words were used in your family to discuss sex?
- When did you realize you were a boy / girl? How did it make you feel? What set of characteristics was associated with this gender in your family? With gender relations in general?
- What early images do you associate with sexuality?
- How comfortable are you with your body? How happy are you with your body?
- Looking at yourself in the mirror naked, does that give you pleasure or not?
- Were there any traumatic sexual experiences in adulthood? Sexual rejection, sexual failure, etc.
- Do you have religious conditioning that makes you see sex as dirty, etc.?
- Health issues?
Obviously, I’m not suggesting you tell me all these things. This is for your own personal consideration. This is crucial process because without understanding the causes of the problem, one can’t hope to address it.
Then the next step is to learn to feel comfortable with your body. Here are some of the things you can start doing on a regular basis:
- Walking around the house (if you live alone) naked for 1 hour each day does wonders for people. I’ve seen it happen: completely anorgasmic people turn into wildly sexual creatures.
- Explore sensual experiences. Dedicate an entire night once a week to enjoying every sensual experience you can imagine on your own.
- Make a list of bodily pleasures you can enjoy (alone is fine at this stage) and enjoy at least one of them once a day.
- Spend some time each day caressing your face gently while looking in the mirror. If you feel weird doing all those things, you have found the root of the problem: it’s discomfort with your body. Start proceeding in smaller steps to reduce the feelings of weirdness. Five, ten minutes per day. Then, when the feelings of embarrassment diminish, it can be done for longer stretches of time.
A healthy self-esteem is crucial for sexual success. If you have low self-esteem:
- Analyze when and how it originated. Who made you feel like you were not good enough since early childhood?
- Remove as many sources as possible of low self-esteem from your life. If, say, you have a friend who likes to put your down or make little criticisms of your appearance, intelligence, etc., the best thing to do would be to stop seeing them, at least for a while. If you have many friends like this, ask yourself what makes you seek reinforcement of your low self-image.
- Find activities that make you feel good about yourself and in which you excel. If there are people who criticize you for enjoying these activities, try to avoid these people, at least for now.
- I know it will be difficult at first (believe me, I really, really know) but whenever somebody is critical of you and tries to put you down, you need to stop listening. It’s like medication that is bitter but you have to take it.
Of course, this is just a beginning but it’s a good beginning.
Maybe I’ll write more about this when I’m less tired.