What comes to mind when you think about self care? A day at the spa? Massages? A Mani & Pedi? Facial? Maybe therapy? But what about Sexual Self Care? An often overlooked form of self care. That is just as or even more important for your overall health and well being. I’m going to share some tips on how to make sexual self care a part of your regular wellness routine.
I’ve been celibate for three years now. You can read about why I decided to be celibate here. This is not my first time, or my longest time being celibate. What I’ve learned every time is that it’s okay to take a break from having sex as it’s not going anywhere. Especially in between relationships. Sometimes we just need time to heal and focus on ourselves without the distraction of men and sex. It’s okay to focus on your needs and be selfish with your goodies. By no means am I being judgmental, or trying to push my agenda on anyone else. I’m just giving a suggestion as celibacy has helped me the most on my sexual self care journey, and maybe it can help you as well.
Get To Know Your Body
Whether you’re in a relationship or not, it’s quite alright to masturbate. Getting to know yourself sexually makes it easier to communicate to your partner your wants and needs. Masturbation helps relieve sexual tension during celibacy, and it’s a great stress reliever in general. Honestly, it’s freeing to put my needs first and not the needs of a man. I’ve had some of the best sex of my life by myself.
It’s important to set sexual boundaries for yourself, and not allow anyone to push or bully you into crossing them. On many occasions I’ve crossed my sexual boundaries and done things that I didn’t really want to do to please a man. I didn’t get any pleasure or satisfaction out of doing these things. And I felt dirty and used after. I never want to feel this way again. When I’m ready to be in an intimate relationship again, I will make my boundaries clear from jump. If my potential partner does not want to respect my boundaries, then he can keep it moving. You’re in control of your body. Never let anyone force you to do anything that you don’t want to, or are uncomfortable doing.
It’s important to use protection at all times. If you’re not married, then you’re single. Both you and your partner. Assume that there is always the possibility that your partner may be having sex with other people. Even if you’re married this can still be a possibility. People lie and cheat. So I’d rather not be burned by naivety. Literally. Openly communicate your expectations about monogamy and make sure both you and your partner are on the same page. In the meantime, use protection. If you decide to forego protection, you and your partner should go and get tested for HIV and other STDs together. Then get tested regularly. I’d highly suggest that you get tested routinely for HIV during your annual physical, whether you’re sexually active or not. It personally makes me feel at ease.
Routine GYN Visits
All women should visit their GYN at least once a year for a general wellness exam and a pap smear. How often you go changes as you get older, or if you have individual needs that require you to go more often.
For instance, I’ve been on birth control (low hormone pills) since I had my son 17 years ago. Although I’m celibate, my doctor suggests that I continue taking them as it helps to regulate my cycle, which has been changing as I get older. For this reason, I’ve been visiting my GYN every six months for the last seventeen years to make sure everything is okay.
Getting regular pap smears not only detects STD’s but also helps with early detection of cervical and other types of reproductive cancers. Regular breast exams by your GYN can also detect any lumps or abnormalities that you may have missed at home. Visiting your GYN regularly also gives you a chance to discuss any issues or changes with your body that you may be concerned about.
As you can see, Sexual Self Care should be a part of your regular wellness routine. Your sexual well being is just as important as your physical, mental & emotional well being. So take care of yourself. Feel free to share your Sexual Self Care Tips in the comments.