September 4th was World Sexual Health Day.
I am a little behind with this post. But let’s talk about sexual health anyway! It happens to be my favorite topic.
What is sexual health? The World Health Organization describes it like this:
What is your sexual health like? Let me ask you a few questions and you can assess.
- What’s your relationship like with your body? Do you love it or hate it? Do you love parts of it and hate other parts of it? Or do you ignore it all together? I think most men and women struggle to some extent with their bodies. Societal programming about what a beautiful body, a desirable body should look like is ever present, even as it changes from generation to generation. Family expectations too run rampant. What if you don’t look like anyone in your family? Judgments abound. It’s hard to have sexual health when we judge our stomachs, our breasts, our legs. And how intimate are you with your own vulva? Have you looked at it, appreciated its beauty? Woah! Have I gone too far?
- Do you enjoy your own sexualness? Face it, we are sexual beings. From the moment we are born we are sexual beings. Our bodies are designed for pleasure. Our senses are potent. Tasting, feeling, seeing, hearing and smelling. Yes, these senses help to protect us, but they also please us. Being sexual doesn’t necessitate copulation or any other touch from another. It doesn’t necessitate touch from ourselves to ourselves. But you have a body. My interesting point of view is that it was meant to be enjoyed.
- What are your relationships like? The kind of relationships that you have with others are probably the most indicative of the relationship you have with yourself. Feeling unheard, abused or maligned? What are the ways in which you are not listening to you? Are you ignoring that small voice inside? Do you have symptoms in your body that are talking to you and which you are not hearing? Do you bad mouth yourself? Sometimes we are our own worst enemy, and if you actually listen to your self talk, you might make sense of what we hear in our external world.
- Are you safe in your sexual relationships, or do you hold trauma in your body? 1 in 5 girls are victims of childhood sexual trauma. If you haven’t been sexually traumatized, you likely know someone who has been. And if you weren’t sexually traumatized, it doesn’t mean that you weren’t traumatized in some other way. That trauma can get in the way of your relationships and your sexual relationships. Opening up to someone sexually requires trust. And we need to trust ourselves to know what we know most of all. How often have you cut off your awareness for that connection with another? And are there traumas that you aren’t even aware of that may be inviting healing today?
- Do you recognize your potency? We are potent beings. Our bodies possess the capacity to heal. Our wombs create and grow new life. This potency attracts many experiences to us. It attracts our partners, our friends, our sexual experiences. If you were more aware of this potency, what might you choose? Me, I think I choose more fun, more playfulness, more connection, more pleasure . . . more sex. Because, bottom line, sexual health also means being willing to be sexual in whatever way that we choose throughout life.
How’d you do? How do you want to do?
I am an advocate of taking all health into your own hands. Our bodies are amazing. Our sexuality and sexualness are amazing. Take your body as a whole. Take your life as a whole. Don’t segment it. What if you chose for you? What if you took care of you? My belief is that sexual health ripples out from there.