I had intentions of writing a blog post about sex and birth control, but as I started compiling my thoughts I was overwhelmed with how many directions I wanted to take this. With that being said – expect multiple posts.
“Your interest in sex is an important measurement of health.” – Dr. Jolene Brighten
There’s a lot of words that I’d use to describe the general consensus around birth control, sex & sex drive, but one that comes to mind in bold letters is confusion. Confusion dipped in shame.
We’re afraid to talk about it. We’re embarrassed to ask the questions. We’re awkward, confused, unsure and most importantly – mislead.
And so we throw the idea of a great sex life into a box, wrap it up, put a bow on it and toss it on a shelf as if it’s a gift that someone else should get to have.
I have something to tell you – the gift of sex is for YOU.
I know, I know. It’s so hard to un-do the stale middle school sex-ed, the fear of getting pregnant, the idea that all men want is sex & the pressure that it has to be something spectacular every single time.
I’m no sex guru. In fact I used to hate it myself. But I’m here to hopefully help you shift your perspective just enough, so that sex can stop being a point of friction in your life.
First things first. You need to re-paint your picture of what sex is.
I grew up in a household that painted the picture that sex was something to joke around about. Shows like Family Guy & Futurama pretty much sum it up. There was usually an open conversation happening about something related to sex, but it was always in a joking manner. It was just never regarded as something special or intimate or enjoyable. It was just something you did; like brushing your teeth.
In my young adult years I was heavily involved in church. So I was stuck somewhere between “sex is a joke” and “sexuality is frowned upon.” I wasn’t “allowed” to look or feel sexy. The idea of sex was very much so a forbidden fruit that was hush, hush.
When I became an adult, I disregarded sex. I shrugged it off as unimportant. It was something that I could live without and I often talked about it in that way. “I could never have sex again, I’m just doing it for him” is the kind of lingo I’d use as a 21-year-old married woman. If you can’t enjoy sex at 21, then at what age are you supposed to?
When cracks in my marriage started to become noticeable, I realized that intimacy was something that I had to re-configure. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life with a hole in my life where good sex (and a good sex attitude) should have been. A void that I was trying to fill, constantly with other things. The human body craves to be loved and desired. Our souls need to feel connected to another. It is why sex should be regarded as precious & sacred, because we need it to survive.
So I did some work. I did some research. I opened up to my therapist about it. I “un-packed” my hangups on sex. I learned about my own body and I learned that the lack of desire that I was feeling WASN’T MY FAULT & IT WASN’T BECAUSE I DIDN’T LIKE SEX (but we’ll get to that). I practiced talking about sex, something that I was mortified to do before. I used to say “peepee” because I was too afraid to say the word vagina. Like, come on.
As much as my dad would joke when I was a little girl, I’d hear him say things like “she needs to get laid” because a woman was acting miserable, I think he may have (of course unknowingly) been onto something… Maybe depression and anxiety is staggering because our ability to connect is plummeting.
Intimacy is not weird;
Intimacy, by definition, is closeness. That’s it. It doesn’t say intimacy = sex. They are not interchangeable words. They are not apples to apples. Intimacy is a closeness. Sex can involve intimacy, but you can certainly have sex and not have intimacy at the same time.
You’d be lying if you said that you don’t care to be intimate with someone else, because that would mean that you have zero desire to connect to another human being. And at our core, that’s what we were designed to do. To be clear – that does not mean you want to have sex with everyone. But it does mean that you have a desire to be noticed, to be seen and to be touched.
Cue – NST. Non sexual touching. You know… the church hug. Where you awkwardly side hug so that your parts don’t touch. Trying to be as least sexual as possible.
Ha. No, I’m kidding. But kinda not… non sexual touching is key. We are SO afraid to touch each other in non sexual ways. Maybe hand holding is a better example. Or looking into someones eyes when they’re speaking. Giving them your full attention.
In the same way that parents hold their babies and comfort them/show them love – we need to be comforting others/showing others love. I’m not saying to go swaddle someone, but maybe you could put your hand on their back and comfort them when they’re talking to you about something difficult.
We need to practice NST. With and without the people we plan to have sex with.
I think that in a world where there’s such a big question mark on sexuality and no one is really sure how to feel about how they feel (or how other people feel, for that matter), we have become paralyzed when it comes to touching. We are so afraid to be mistaken that we have grown cold. And it is ruining our sex lives.
Hear me – there is nothing wrong with giving someone a hug. There is nothing wrong with walking arm-in-arm with your best friend of the same sex into a restaurant. You do not have to assume that just because you make out with your significant other, that sex has to follow.
Intimacy is necessary.
All they want is sex;
If you’re struggling to like sex, I have some heart advice.
First & foremost, it’s really important for you to drop the assumption that all men are pigs, that all they want is sex & that you’re doing them some sort of favor by filling that need. You will never achieve a dreamy sex life if you deep-down think that the person you’re having sex with is inherently bad. It starts with you.
It is true that there are men that fit the bill of all of the above. But it is also true that they could just be coming off that way to you, because that is the picture you already have in your head about sex. Because that is the story that you are already telling yourself or have already been told.
I believe shifting your sex perspective is so powerful that when you truly have that ah-ha moment, your significant other magically starts to do things differently. They start to use words of affirmation. They grab your hand in the car. They seem more approachable when communicating. Could it be because the change that you want to see in another person starts within yourself? Maybe.
I don’t buy into the notion that men are “just men” and that they are clueless when it comes to love, intimacy, sex & giving a shit. I think they want to give a shit, but they’re a lot of times just maybe not quite sure how.
I can’t tell you how to close the gap between where you’re at right now with your sex life and where you desire to be. But I can tell you that your first step is YOU. Really get honest with yourself about your attitude towards sex… Is it healthy? Do you actually believe that you deserve a great sex life? Are you projecting assumptions onto your significant other because of how you feel? Because of how you think you look? Because of your level of confidence? Have they actually told you that all they want is sex?
Probably not. But listen – it’s okay. It is not your fault that you’ve been programmed this way. And there is absolutely something that you can do about it.
Embrace your femininity;
I’m not suggesting balls-to-the-wall feminism. At all.
But if you’re reading this, and you’re a girl (which I’d assume if you’re still with me, that you are) – it is your birth right to embrace your femininity.
You know… the things that make being a girl great.
This is going to sound silly, but it actually works. I read in a book (and I wish I could remember which one it was), that if you want better sex you need to embrace the feminine things about you. Go get your nails done.
Shave your legs.
Dance around in your underwear.
Take bubble baths.
Buy new makeup.
Get your eyebrows done.
Literally, anything that – if a man did it – it would no longer be sexy.
Think about that.
It is proven scientific fact that women have a harder time getting off than men do. It’s not that you can’t enjoy sex, you just have to know how to enjoy sex. Embracing the things that make you love being a girl is a great start. There is something really empowering about feeling your best. It feels good to feel sexy. It feels even better when your significant other notices. And I’m not talking about what society says is sexy.. I mean what you think is sexy.
I think I’m passionate about this whole topic because when you boil it down, a great sex life is the heart beat of self love. You have to fall in love with yourself first, desire yourself first, know yourself first… before you can ever place an expectation on someone else to. Having great sex is self care. Getting your mindset to the point where you can genuinely enjoy sex is self love. Your body is not broken, your story was.
We stem from a puritan society, so even still today talking about sex is sort of a taboo thing. Even in the privacy of your own home with someone that you trust deeply. But some of the BIGGEST hang ups on sex are a result of lack of communication.
Mostly because us girls expect our minds to be read. I get it. But in order to achieve the sex life of your dreams, you need to put words to what you like, don’t like, want to do, are comfortable doing and don’t want to do.
Believe it or not, talking about sex is embracing intimacy. Which as we discussed above, is so key for enjoying your sex life.
Keep the conversation light & confident. This is YOUR sex life on the line.
If you’re jumping on the wellness train (which, in 2019, who isn’t?) and you’re not concerned about liking sex, then it’s time to make it just as much of a priority as your spin class or green juice.
Your attitude towards sex is essential to living a life well-lived.