A big part of mental health is having a healthy sex life, but, for some reason, our sexual selves are often left out of any discussion about our mental and physical health. Maybe it’s because it makes some doctors or therapists – or us – nervous. Well, it’s time to get over those old 20th century taboos and welcome our sexual expression as a wonderful and essential part of who we are. So, let’s talk about sex…
We have a lot to celebrate as men and women alive in 2016. Let’s count our blessings: due to (1) longer lifespans, (2) overall increased physical health and (3) if we are LGBT, we can be out as our forefathers and mothers never could.
It’s all too easy (and popular) to focus on what’s wrong with our sexual lives. There are so many articles about AIDS/HIV, STDs, impersonal hookups, sex addiction…you know…but how often do we focus on what’s right with our sexual lives? How often do we let ourselves celebrate sex and look at how much we enjoy it, how sexual expression can help us emotionally and even help heal us physically?
To do this, it helps to let go of old ideas about sex. Regardless of our age – most of us have a lot of old negative beliefs about our sexual selves and embarrassment about some of our sexual histories and fantasies. However, it’s not so easy to give up our old beliefs about sex. So let’s start right there…
Most of us get our fundamental ideas about sex from our childhood. So ask yourself:
What are my family beliefs about sex?
How have these beliefs helped me?
How have they held me back?
Take a look at your current sexual life. Ask yourself:
What do I have to celebrate about sex?
What are some of the most wonderful sexual experiences I’ve had?
How have these experiences changed me?
Are there any obstacles you have to celebrating your sexual self? Consider:
What stands in my way of enjoying a terrific sex life?
Am I holding onto any old ideas that hold me back sexually?
Do I have any physical challenges that hold me back sexually?
Celebrating your sexual fantasies: can you enjoy them without all that old 20th century guilt and shame?
Do I let myself have sexual fantasties? If so, do enjoy them?
What are some of my fantasies about sex?
Have I ever fulfilled a sexual fantasy? When and how?
Are there any sexual fantasies that I would really like to experience? If so, how could I make them a reality?
Celebrating a well-balanced sexual life: In my humble opinion, a well-balanced sexual life involves our head and heart, not just our genitals.
What role does your head (thinking) play in your sexual life? Do you want it to be more or less involved?
What role does your heart (feeling) play in your sexual life? Do you want it to be more or less involved?
What role do your genitals (libido) play in your sexual life? Do you want them to be more or less involved?
How can you balance your head, heart and genitals to make your sexual life really alive?
A happy and healthy sex life is a major part of our mental and physical health. If we are willing to see our sexual expression as a wonderful and essential part of who we are, we have the capacity to be mentally and physically healthier than ever before. So, let’s stop focusing on what’s wrong with our sexual lives and – instead – let ourselves celebrate sex and let our sexual expression help us heal emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Note: a terrific book to help you explore your sexual side is “The Erotic Mind” by Jack Morin, PhD. This paperback book is worth buying just for his amazing questionnaire on sexual fantasies.