Normalize Sexual Wellness in 2022
The most popular New Year’s resolutions or goals, year after year, undeniably revolve around health and wellness. No matter how poor our track record from previous years, we still start each new year with an earnest hope that we too, will be renewed.
It’s such a well-known phenomenon that every January we’re bombarded by ads for gym memberships, exercise equipment, supplements, athletic wear, etcetera, to meet the demand. But for all the concern about wellbeing at the start of the year, the silence around the topic of sexual wellness is still a bit deafening. When we talk about our health, why aren’t we talking about our sexual health? When we create wellness-centered goals, why aren’t we including this incredibly intimate and natural part of the human experience? It’s time we talk about it.
Sex goals and self-care
At first glance, it may seem strange to have goals about sexual wellness. It’s not typically a part of our lives where we consider goal-setting or even think in those terms. Mostly because when it comes to our sexuality, we’d rather not talk too much about it. But fortunately, the conversation around sexual wellness has been slowly opening up and shifting towards the more conventional category of self-care. This shift has been making room for the idea that intimacy and sexual play are integral to our joy and wellbeing, therefore making sexual wellness goals not only conceivable but necessary.
So what can these goals look like? They can be as straightforward as: more orgasms in 2022! Or making sure to stock up on condoms. But also, a sexual wellness goal can be as simple as tuning into our body’s needs for pleasure and intimacy and honoring those needs. In short, doing what makes you feel good.
Sexual self-care? Say more
Previously considered a kink, adult toys, lubrication products, massage oils, and the like, are becoming more mainstream and are starting to be seen as a part of a healthy self-care regimen. This delightful corner of the self-care category is even expanding to include beautifying items for your nether regions like treatment oil for pubic hair. Meaning, if you’re so inclined, your self-care regimen can now include a sheet mask for your face and one for your vagina. We’re not judging. Your sexual wellness regimen is all yours to define.
Sex Goals Part 2: Sex Positivity
Another aspect of sexual wellness is having a healthy mindset about sexuality, often referred to as sex-positivity. Less about supporting the act of sex for pleasure, it's about supporting sexuality as a healthy part of human nature that finds expression on a spectrum, including those who identify as asexual. With sex-positivity, we recognize that sexuality is fluid and exploratory. It can express itself as curiosity, in open conversations with friends or through your online community, in being open to listening to others' needs. There are no hard and fast rules. Like other parts of who we are, our sexuality ebbs and flows, and there is always more to discover if we remain open-minded.
By now, most of us know that setting goals for the new year is mostly an exercise in vanity because let’s face it — our track records aren't so great. So we might experience goal fatigue or think goals are futile. But here’s the thing, even though we hope something fundamental about who we are will simply shift along with the calendar come January, the reality is, change is usually more modest. It shows up quietly, in increments over time, rather than as an overnight transformation. So, when it comes to setting goals for the new year, rather than foregoing them altogether, we say bring them on, but ever so gently. Envision what you want but do it with a lot of self-compassion, love, and easy-breezy energy - especially when it comes to your sexual wellness. Like other parts of your wellness, TLC goes a much longer way than being draconian and judgmental with yourself. Learning to love yourself and take care of your needs takes time and patience.
But what will an orgasm do?
Orgasms sure are nice, but this is not about orgasms, not exclusively anyway. The self-care conversation is bigger than that. Even though we label different disciplines of health into their own categories like physical health, mental health, emotional health, sexual health, and so on, does not mean they are fundamentally separate. A holistic perspective acknowledges that everything is intimately tied together. Just like a person who eats well and exercises regularly can still suffer ill-health because of high stress or lack of sleep, there is a connection to all parts of our functioning that make up our general wellbeing. Our sexual wellness, then, isn’t just about our sexual needs, it includes our need for rest, for laughter, the need to simply feel, love, and live. It includes our resilience in the face of adversity and our emotional intelligence in navigating life. And some orgasms along the way are undoubtedly welcome.
Sexual wellness and self-care in 2022
There’s a reason we keep hearing about self-care. In 2022, it must be acknowledged that we are truly living in unprecedented times. Aside from the pandemic, there's the pressures of social media, the 24-hour access to world catastrophes, the constant bombardment of photoshopped images, and on and on. There’s a collective need for coping mechanisms and tools to help us manage and thrive. Self-care comes in to remind us to have a work-life balance. To meditate or pray. To go for walks and eat well. To connect and share joy and love on ourselves and each other every chance we get. To buy condoms. To listen to desire. To participate in pleasure. All good goals to have.
And if we’re patient, consistent, and generously positive in our outlook, any goal we’ve been hoping for becomes inevitable. It will even manage to surprise us when it arrives, as though it were sudden and unexpected, as though, like our sexuality, it was the most natural thing in the world.