back to ba(sex): new year’s sexolutions
Readers, Lipsters, friends: the year of 2015 is well and truly upon us. As your New Year’s resolutions give way to the reality of work and play, I thought I’d impart on you some potential resolutions regarding your sex life. In a bit of a tongue-in-cheek start to another year of Back to Ba(sex), here’s a list of ways to live that do not involve you having to say a stern ‘NO’ to delicious food, alcohol, cigarettes or lying in bed all day flicking through your Instagram feed while people hashtag their outdoorsy, fit-spiration images with ‘This is Livin’ Barry’.
Alas, this article comes after the midnight countdown and kisses, but better late than ever! (FYI, I was toying with having it published 69 days into the year instead of now.) These suggestions are not here to infringe on your choices for your body and relationships – you certainly won’t be held on keeping these goals. They are, instead, things to be mindful of when you’re feeling sexy. Without further ado, I bring you a number of ‘sexolutions’ I would recommend since I began exploring the realms of sexuality for Lip.
Sexolution #1: I will love (read: touch) myself
These sexolutions are suggestions for you, so if you thought I was not going to talk about self-sex, you were misguided! I have said it before and I will say it again: masturbation is healthy and what’s more, it’s fun. It helps you get in touch with what you like. If you know what you like, you’re more likely to be able to direct a partner as to how to please you. Explore with your masturbation as you would do with your other sexual relationships. Just keep tabs on becoming a narcissist *cough*.
Sexolution #2: I will discuss consent with my partners
Our feminist axiom ‘JUST ASK’ comes to mind. However, in our Western societies, we’re very preoccupied with spontaneity in our sex lives. This means, beyond enthusiastic cries of ‘yes’ or passionate reproaches of ‘no’, we may not feel the need to constantly identify whether a sexual behaviour is welcomed. If impulsiveness is something you or your partners value, have a chat with them about what cues you both feel comfortable with to indicate they are a consenting adult – whether they’re verbal, visual or anything else. This ensures you can maintain your guise of living in the moment without breaching any personal boundaries. One example I remember hearing of was a woman who had discussed wearing a certain silky robe to bed when she wanted her boyfriend to tie her up.
Sexolution #3: I will be more vocal about what I like and don’t like
This is a subset of discussing how to show consent. Do not be afraid to chat about your heart’s – or rather, your nether region’s – desires. If you’re too shy to talk about your fondness for a certain act with partners face-to-face, consider taking a consent survey online. Sexual compatibility sites like Mojo Upgrade allow you to identify what you and your partner (at this stage it only takes into consideration two partners) are mutually willing to explore without exposing something that may make the other party uncomfortable. Alternatively, consider email. Your voice deserves to be heard.
Sexolution #4: I will practise safer sex
Your health is yours alone to take control of. Use condoms, dental dams and even gloves – yeah, gloves – to minimise your risk of passing on or being exposed to a sexually transmitted infection during a broad range of sex acts. STIs are nothing to be ashamed of but they do pose a number of potential health complications to you and your partners, plus financial burdens for treatment. Perhaps one of the best ways to practice safer sex is to study up on just what it may entail for your selected sexy behaviours, regardless of your sexual identity or STI status. If you and your partners don’t want to use barrier methods, sexual health bodies advise you undergo STI testing and discuss whether your relationship is mutually exclusive before frolicking in such a manner.
Sexolution #5: I will get tested for STIs
Thanks to the ravages of sexual taboo, STIs do not seem to be something we want to know about. By visiting your GP or an appropriate clinician for a sexual health check-up, not only are you doing yourself a massive favour, but one for your past, present and future partners. Regular STI testing can help put your mind at ease and ensure infections like HIV and chlamydia are nipped in the bud (the longer you’re unaware of your sexual health status, the higher the risk of complications from infection, especially for these two STIs.)To reiterate, STIs are nothing to be ashamed of and are easily treated in Australia, so make sure you discuss any current diagnosis with partners who may be affected. Again, ensure that you and your partners get tested for STIs prior to indulging in unprotected sex with them.
To give you an insight into my own testing rituals, even though I practise safer sex, I get tested three months after each partner to ensure I minimise the number of people I would have to tell if I were to receive a positive diagnosis. Why three months? A number of infections, notably HIV, have “window periods” wherein they may not be detectable to pathologists. After three months, it’s likely the results will be accurate. That being said, if you need to get tested sooner, do it and discuss a follow up with your clinician. If you can’t front your doctor or the clinic and demand a test, there are also more discreet options like SmartSex which can help you out.
Sexolution #6: I will not let my body get in the way of me having a good time
This is obviously a grand attitude to have in the bedroom and beyond. Our bodies are capable of experiencing pleasure whatever our size, gender, STI status and physical ability. Never let anyone shame you for the body your spirit inhabits, but most importantly, do not shame yourself. Your worthiness of a libido, pleasure and intimacy is not dictated by – to paraphrase Caitlin Moran – the kind of jar your brain is in.