Monday, May 24, 2010

The power and experience of Sexual Health

A mentor (who I greatly respect) and I have a running debate between the need to learn about sexual health and the need to experience sexual health. While we might argue the nuances, I think we agree that both are important. Much of my work in the writing/blog is about providing basic education regarding sexual health. Recent feedback from a client is that I use too many big words. Rather than interpret her words as an attack, I am impressed with HOW MUCH she wants to get this stuff. Her words brought into clarity the need to help people experience sexual health as much as it is important to educate people about sexual health. Here are some thoughts on how to move forward in your experience of sexual health.

1) I’ve said it before, and it is worth repeating. Give yourself permission to be a sexual being. Sexuality is a normal, vital, and positive aspect of your life. Too many people suffer pain when they think about sexuality.

2) Ask, “Say’s who?” One of the earliest questions a child learns is “why.” Plenty of stories are available where eventually an exhausted parents says, “Because, and eat your carrots!” The question applies to the realm of sexuality. Challenge most, if not all, of the messages you have heard about sexuality. This doesn’t mean you have to discard the beliefs. Instead, understand both the letter and spirit of the messages. The ultimate goal of monogamy isn’t about control as taught in many religions, but rather about a profound love.

3) Sexual Health is a journey. Today’s thoughts are for today. What you like today is for today. What you want is for today. Too often we loose sight of today, and “catastrophize” every sexual experience. We attempt to project into the future today's experience, and often that projection is full of assumptions resulting in a failure of living in the moment. As the 12-step saying goes, "One day at a time."

4) Balance is important in the journey. Too often we look ONLY for perfection, and if perfection is not possible, the experience is BAD, SINFUL, and UNHEALTHY. I place good/bad sexual experiences on a different continuum then the continuum of healthy/unhealthy. You can have a sexual encounter that feels good but is unhealthy (think meth/sex), and a bad experience that is healthy (think too tired to function, but emotional intimacy).

5) Experiment. When you watch a child in a playground, they meander through all of the play areas. They might stop at the swings, or the merry go around. Next the may check out the slide, and perhaps build something in the sand. When they like something, the child stays in the area. If a bully or something is unpleasant, the child moves on. So to is it important to experiment in the realm of sexuality. Check out what you like or don’t like. Enjoy the positive experiences, and let go of the unpleasant experiences.

Enjoy your journey in sexual health. My hope is that you have great experiences along the way. Sometimes the only way we know what is sweet is because we can compare it to what is sour.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to post or email.

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