Ska Kei New/Shutterstock
Source: Ska Kei New/Shutterstock

The new year is a great time to think about what you want to cultivate more of in your life, and to set intentions that will help you do that. As you’re considering this, don’t forget to include sex and relational intentions!

I prefer to think about intentions rather than goals because goals signify something that has an end, while most of the things we can do to increase our quality of life require an ongoing commitment and practice. The person who wants to lose weight can’t lose the weight and be done working at it once the scale reaches their desired number. The person who wants more friendships and connections can’t meet new people, develop friendships and be done (unless they want short-term friendships). Also, by setting intentions, you can give yourself credit for all the progress you make, rather than waiting to feel good about yourself when you reach some end point (that you may never reach).

Taking care of your sexual self takes intention, practice, and commitment. It’s an important part of who we are, and an area of life that we can greatly benefit from when we show up and open ourselves to all that sex, intimacy, and relationships have to offer.

In this new year, you can increase your sexual wellness by following some or all of the following tips:

1. Make friends with scheduling sex. Some people love to schedule sex, while others find it uncomfortable for a variety of reasons. It may not be what you would prefer, but for most people, if things don’t get scheduled they don’t get done. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the more comfortable it will become. Over time, it may become something you look forward to! You can’t reap the benefits of sex and intimacy if you don’t make the space to experience these things.

2. Create desire, don’t wait for it. You don’t need to feel desire to have sex. You can show up with your partner, and create desire by starting to touch each other, kiss each other, relax together, and opening up to the pleasure of sensations. When you do this, you may find that you create desire, and you continue to go forward toward sex (whatever that means to you). Or, you may find you can’t get into it, so you stop and show up another time to try. It’s normal not to have desire for sex at your beck and call. It’s also normal if you do have it. But you don’t have to wait, you can create your own.

3. Take care of yourself. If you’ve been having any pain, physical discomfort, mental discomfort, emotional discomfort, etc., make this year the year you take care of yourself. Contact doctors and/or therapists, and get yourself the care you need. If you’re struggling with issues surrounding sex, you can’t enjoy yourself. It makes it hard to relax; it makes it hard to be playful; and it makes it hard to explore your sexuality and sensuality. You deserve to feel pleasure and to be pain-free. Help is available. Overall, wellness is the greatest indicator of sexual wellness.

4. Honor your need for safety. Think about what you want and need in order to feel safe with yourself and your partner while being intimate. Make sure you don’t dismiss your needs. You matter, and you deserve to get your needs met so that you can enjoy intimacy.

5. Communicate. Make this the year you start talking to your partner(s) about sex, your needs, their needs, etc. It can feel very vulnerable and uncomfortable to tell someone what you like and what you don’t like. You may worry you’ll scare someone off or hurt their feelings. But the more you keep things to yourself, the more unenjoyable sex can become, and the more likely you are to begin feeling resentful toward your partner. For your wellness, the wellness of your relationship, and of your partner, start talking more.

Of course you never have to wait for a new year to begin making changes for yourself. However, the new year is here now, and it’s a great opportunity to begin.

What will you do to increase your sexual wellness this year?

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