When it comes to sex sometimes you just need a change.
It could be because of heavy feelings you have about it stemming from sexual trauma, a bad break up, issues with one’s body or simply not having very much information around sex, beyond “do not talk to boys or get pregnant”. Or it could be because the sex you are having is a is a little “meh”.
For whatever reason, sometimes what you need is to hit the reset button.
Like everything else in our lives sex is something we can work and grow at and make increasingly better as our bodies, lives and tastes transform. After eight years in the sex-positive game, recently this is just what I did.
An interaction with someone I really liked left me questioning a lot about the way I viewed sex, especially in my private spaces. It was all very well and good for me to give a Zoom talk about “owning your sexual pleasure” when I hadn’t dealt with my own internal infernos brought on by years of witnessing and being in toxic relationships.
So, I decided to hit the reset button. But first I needed to take stock of what I had in my sexual pantry: namely what my ideas and notions about sex truly were. Conducting an audit the ways we think about sex is always best, and sex educators such as Ev’Yan Whitney ask us to take stock of our sexual wants and desires, pushing us to ask questions such as:
- What kind of sex do you want to have?
- How do you want to feel when you’re having that sex?
- How do you want your partners to make you feel when you’re having sex?
- What pleasure do you want to experience, explore, unlock, be curious about?
- What kind of relationship do you want to have with your body?
Often, we are simply plodding through life; not truly taking stock of how we are doing our thing until something dramatic happens — like needing to fix a relationship. It can be an overwhelming, scary and labour-intensive to try to look at your sex life and think about how it could be better or different.
Where do you even begin? Sure, you could watch some mainstream porn but that is not the best source of information when you are trying to grow a better, more holistic sex life. Should you google articles? Listen to podcasts? Send a friend a panicked voice notes?
You can do all of the above — and more.
Researching sex is one of the first crucial steps to taking control of your sex life and creating the sort that you want. Find out what is out there.
Feminist porn is a good source if you are more of a visual learner. Not only does this type of porn represent different types of bodies and sexualities, but also gives a more empowered kaleidoscope of pleasure and experiences. It’s not always easy to access, but you can find lists on the interwebs that rate the best porn sites for women (because, let’s be honest, most porn is made with the male gaze in mind), which have the possibility of expanding your horizons and in turn, your portfolio.
The literature about sex and sexuality is also growing at an exponential rate. Books such as Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng’s Dr T: A Guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure and my own Quirky Quick Guide To Having Great Sex offer reams information about how to take your sex life to the next level, while helping you understand the foundations and notions that should be the bedrock of a happy, healthy sex life.
Social media is also your friend. There is also a host of social media spaces that cater to the need for sex-positive content, including The Spread, a page run by Kenyan sex-positive, kinky podcaster Kaz Lucas; Kim Windvogel’s Blazingnonbinary, which ran a series called Sunday Sex Service, and, for something colourful, the Hola Africa page, which serves up everything from videos to memes to TikToks.
Another crucial step is having open and honest conversations with the people you are having sex with. Not only about the wet and wonderful things you may have stumbled across, but also about any possible hang ups, insecurities and hesitations. Having intentional conversations is the cornerstone for any rocking sex life. Sure, these conversations can sometimes be hard, awkward and uncomfortable, but there are ways of getting around that.
Your phone is a powerful tool, on which you can type things in “notes” that you can either draft into an email or message or use as talking points. You can send a voice note if face to face engagement seems daunting. You can also find and send articles that say what you want to say (for example, sending an article on the joys of pegging)
Another step is the one that is thrown around a lot: masturbate. This is not to say that it must be a whole dog-and-pony show, with candles, lube, your strongest vibrator or a brand-new pussy pocket: it is simply about spending time with your body; checking in with everything and seeing what feels good. This can happen in the shower or when you are about to fall asleep. And for people with penises I would recommend going beyond just beating your meat — you are an entire living, breathing being, with multiple erogenous zones. Check out a few of them occasionally.
Taking stock of your sex life and subsequently applying upgrades might not be something you think about but, if you are willing to put in the work, it is worth it.