In the words of Salt-N-Pepa, let’s talk about sex, baby. Sexual wellness and pleasure are important aspects of life – but growing up, we were hushed and told not to bring up such a forbidden, inappropriate topic. While times are changing and conversations surrounding sex are becoming more normalised, we still have a long way to go before the taboo completely dissolves.
You may joke around about sex toys or your sex life with your friends over a glass of wine, but how regularly do you practise sexual wellness? Does a slightly bad taste in your mouth arise whenever the word ‘masturbation’ is used?
You’re not the only vulva owner out there who feels that way. However, sexual wellness is a whole world to discover filled with endless pleasure and LOTS of orgasms – and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
But how can we practice this self-loving ritual without feeling a twinge of shame every single time? We spoke to somatic sexologist, Alice Child, to find out.
Why Is Sexual Pleasure Important?
“Sexual wellness is a huge part of who we are,” Alice explains. “It’s not some separate part of ourselves that we can keep closed up in a box until it's time to have sex.”
Alice points out that eroticism helps to fuel our creativity, imagination, empathy, and sense of self. When we are content with our sex lives, our mental and physical health improves, contributing to our happiness levels. This is because sex and masturbation release endorphins, oxytocin and dopamine into our system – commonly known as happy hormones. If that’s not reason enough to grab your intimate essentials like lube and wipes and get to work, we don’t know what is.
What Are Some Ways That I Can Practise Sexual Wellness on My Own?
“The list is as long as your imagination!” Alice smiles. “Awakening pleasure and eroticism in the body and mind can come from many places, and is different for everyone.”
Before you get down to business, Alice explains that you need to carve out time. Make pleasure a daily practice. Turn yourself on with whatever works for you, whether that’s visual or auditory erotica, or even a spicy book like our Girl’s Guide to Getting Off. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to intimate care. After all, it’s called self-pleasure for a reason.
“Masturbate regularly and with variety!” Alice says. Masturbation helps you to learn new things about your body that you may not have realised you find pleasurable. And sex toys are an amazing way to do this.
“Variation is the spice of life - give yourself new sensations and types of pleasure through different erotic tools.”
There are so many women’s sex toys out there. While they’re all targeting different parts of the vulva, they have the same end goal: to make you feel on top of the world. If you enjoy clitoral stimulation the most, you may find a bullet vibrator or pulsating clitoral vibrator the most satisfying. If you’re a girl that gets off with internal stimulation (or a combination of both), then a G-spot vibrator may be for you.
Learn more about which vibrator is the right choice for you and get ready to be swept off your feet – and into the sheets.
When you’re not engaging in self-pleasure, another way to practise sexual wellness is by opening up a conversation with those around you.
“Normalise being more open about these conversations, even if it's just with friends,” Alice tells us. “Sex is a normal part of life.”
How Can I Practise Sexual Wellness With My Partner?
Engaging in sexual wellness with your partner is equally as important as doing it on your own.
Alice says that all of the above examples are still relevant with a partner, but if you’re looking for ways to spice things up in the bedroom, the list is long and sexy. Slowing everything down is one of them.
“Teasing and anticipation is a huge aphrodisiac,” Alice points out. “Slow down sex and foreplay to build more anticipation.”
Talking openly about your sexual desires, such as wanting to incorporate toys into the bedroom, is a great way to practise sexual wellness with your partner. Alice suggests going to a sexologist for more ideas on how to deepen your sexual connection and keep that closeness strong.
I’m a Bit Hesitant About Self-Pleasure. What Should I Do?
This is completely understandable. We still live in a society with a largely negative perception of sex, despite the progress we’ve made.
“Go at your own pace and start with things that give your body pleasure that feel comfortable and fun for you,” Alice says. “Follow sex-positive social media accounts, listen to podcasts to help you feel more comfortable, and reach out to a sexologist if you need support.”
“It's time we saw sex and pleasure as a natural, normal, and healthy part of life.”