The term “sexual wellness” gets thrown around a lot these days. We even use it often here at Lelo – and for good reason.
We’re in the midst of a sexual revolution. People have more access to sexual education, resources, toys, and more than ever before. There are more honest conversations about what it means to be a sexual human and the many different ways that your sexuality can take shape.
Sexual wellness encompasses so many different aspects of our lives and allows us to explore what it means to be human, in these bodies, connecting with other bodies. So what does sexual wellness actually mean?
The Sex Ed Guide To Sexual Wellness
To answer the question of the day, we’ve turned to the big shots – The World Health Organization. They define sexual wellness as “A state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity.”
Sexual wellness is about how we relate to sexuality, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s how we care for our bodies and our partner’s bodies, and so much more. This is just a beautiful little synopsis of sexual wellness, but it’s time to dive deeper into this broad topic.
What else does sexual wellness entail?
Practicing Safer Sex
We have to start with the basics, and brush up on what you don’t remember, or didn’t learn in sex education. Sexual wellness starts with sexual health.
We say “safer sex” instead of safe sex, because there’s no such thing as truly safe sex. We’re not saying that sex is unsafe by any means, but that there’s always some potential risk to be aware of.
All the more reason to take the steps to be responsible for your sexual health and those you come in contact with. Here are the top ways to practice safer sex:
Use barrier methods like condoms and dental dams (during oral sex).
Get tested for STIs before and after a new partner.
Talk about a plan for contraception if that applies to you.
Remember that practicing safer sex is a form of care. It means caring for your body, your partner’s, and any other future partners either of you may have. Safer sex is nothing to be embarrassed about. It should be embraced as a way to deepen intimacy and communication.
Speaking of communication, that’s next on our list. Sex starts with communication. It’s how you connect with someone initially, how you learn about what they want out of a sexual experience, and how you can communicate before, during, and after being intimate.
Even though communication is such a huge part of sex, it can be difficult to get the hang of it. It’s not uncommon to feel embarrassed, unsure of yourself, or hold back for whatever reason when it comes to talking about sex with a partner.
Communication entails a lot, and it can be an ongoing conversation. Some of the most important things when it comes to communication about sex are talking about your boundaries, consent, what you do or don’t like, and how you feel after an experience.
Still not sure how to have these conversations? Here are some ideas to get you started:
“I just want you to know that I don’t enjoy having my ____ touched. I find it triggering, but I love to be touched everywhere else.”
“I want to know what turns you on the most.”
“Do you have any specific things that are off-limits for you?”
The more you have these conversations, the easier they get, whether or not it’s with the same person. Not to mention, these conversations can be a sexy form of foreplay.
Another highlight on our sexual wellness list is self-pleasure. Self-pleasure, or masturbation is how you get to learn about your body, and what you like or don’t like.
It’s also an incredible way to de-stress, and connect with yourself, and can even help you have better-partnered sex. Self-pleasure gives you the opportunity to understand what you like so that you can better communicate that with a partner – if you want to, of course.
Masturbation for many people starts at a young age and is a key tool for exploring their sexuality. You can always add in a toy to amp things up or try it the old-fashioned way.
Something that holds many people back in their sexual wellness is insecurities about their bodies. When you don’t feel totally comfortable in your body, it’s hard to fully relax into pleasure, especially if someone else is there.
We know that body acceptance is a huge topic that everyone relates to differently, but it has to be acknowledged when it comes to sexual wellness. Let’s make this very clear – everybody deserves pleasure, no matter what their body looks like and what different abilities they may have.
Our bodies are hardwired to experience sexual pleasure, and you deserve to have a healthy connection with that part of you (if you want to, of course). Everyone has their own body acceptance journey, and you can help make peace with yours with tools like reading books on body acceptance, going to therapy, and exposing yourself to the many body-positive content creators out there.
Honoring Fluctuations and Curiosities
We can go on and on about the world of sexual wellness, but the last bit we’re going to touch on (for now) is honoring your fluctuations and curiosities. Sexuality is not stagnant. It can ebb and flow as you change and learn more about yourself and the world.
Your fantasies might change, who you’re attracted to might change, your libido will most likely fluctuate, and your kinks or desires in bed may develop over time. You grow and change as a human so why wouldn’t your sexuality reflect that?
Honoring your fluctuations and curiosities means honoring these changes. Riding the waves of what it means to be a sexual human, and exploring them with curiosity. We’ve just scratched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sexual wellness, but we hope this helps expand your understanding of yourself and how you to relate to your sexual wellness.