The Joy of Self Care & Toys
It's playtime! But what does that mean to you? Sex therapy is more than just talking about problems. It's also about finding what feels good to you—so you can have more tools for tuning your mental health and wellbeing.
Personally, I like to dress up and feel empowered in my sexiness. Sometimes putting on a mask or outfit lets me escape for a while into roleplaying another persona that doesn't share my usual struggles. Helps me relax.
In a different way, I also do small daily self-care rituals—like spending a few extra minutes in the shower with a body scrub. Or taking a nice long walk. Or deadlifting in my home gym with some wild music blasting. These things make me feel good in my body, bringing confidence and delivering a jolt of good brain chemicals like endorphin and dopamine. That way I can present my best self for sex therapy and coaching sessions—not to mention parenting and partnership.
Self care means a lot of things—meditation, tactile mindfulness, healthy diet & exercise, dedicated "me" time—but any sex therapist would tell you that self-exploration is a key element of mental health.
How exactly you pursue that deeper self-awareness is part of your personal mental health journey. But it always starts with deciding to learn more.
Too many of us grow up with inadequate education and crippling cultural constraints around self pleasure. Effectively blocking us off from a major avenue of self care. Women especially are taught to suppress their sexuality and avoid their pleasure bodies.
Which is a shame because we have the only organ whose sole function is pleasure.
Read more about sex-positive self-care and learn to know yourself a little better.
Loving the Mirror
Sex therapy often involves looking in the mirror (literally and figuratively) to reflect on what makes you you. All the unique experiences—both positive & negative—that contributed to who you are today.
Self awareness is the first step toward mindfulness which is crucial for any mental health growth. Understanding your self and your body can help you feel empowered and present in the moment—so you can achieve whatever it is you're seeking.
Learn strategic self-reflection with these 3 sex-positive coaching exercises for mindfulness & affirmation.
Self Sensate Focus
Sensate Focus is a relationship therapy technique for helping partners connect through non-sexual touch.
It can also be adapted for solo use—for exploring how different kinds of touch feel over every inch and crevice of your body.
In relationship coaching I urge partners to practice some form of self sensate focus to help them communicate better what feels good and what to avoid.
Here are some suggestions for how to begin...
Understanding the Clitoris
Most people think of the clitoris only as the sensitive little button in its protective hood. But that's just the tip...
It's true that mental state plays much more into female orgasms than for males. But when the clitoris is activated during arousal, understanding the deeper parts of the organ can help individuals and partners adjust their positions, angles, and rhythms to engage all the different parts and play the goddess music this lively little instrument was designed for.
Want to know how to get better at cunnilingus? Start here.
Always Masturbation Month
Masturbation is one of the most common things we never talk about. Yet the porn industry is booming and sex toy companies are blooming like dandelions. So why do we have such a hard time talking openly and directly about masturbation?
Because our cultural suppression runs deep. It wasn't more than 2 generations ago that women were getting hysterectomies as a way of curbing "hysterical" libidos.
But suppression causes shame and shame is intensely unhealthy in terms of cortisol and self-loathing.
The great thing about masturbation is that it releases the same brain-boosting chemicals as sex (e.g. dopamine & endorphins) so if you can see beyond the cultural shame and view moderate masturbation as a mental health tool for stress, your creativity and confidence will thank you.
The tricky thing about masturbation is that it can become addictive—like any reward system. Learn more about healthy masturbation here:
Let's Talk About Porn!
Though we don’t like to talk about it, we watch a LOT of porn. Up to 20% of internet searches are for adult content. PornHub boasted over 80,000 visits per minute in 2019.
Then they realized they were hosting millions of videos that didn't fit their definitions of consent—and deleted a vast chunk of their content and toughened
So what about all those people who were taken advantage of? Their videos are gone, but their trauma continues. How can you be sure your porn use is ethical? Can pornography be sex positive?
Sex Tech & Fidelity
Human sexuality has always pushed the edge of technological advances.
Pornography appeared with the earliest art forms. From the start of the internet, a significant portion of global server space has been devoted to more and more realistic depictions of sex. And now we have AI sex dolls and immersive live chats and wifi sex toys you can operate from another continent.
But at what point is it too realistic? When does it cross the line into infidelity? These are things we as a culture of individuals have to start talking about.
The Art of Gifting Sex Toys
Surprising your intimate partner with a sex toy isn't always a good idea. But the right sex toy can be an empowering gift.
Like most things in sex therapy and coaching, it starts with direct communication. Think your partner could use a new self-care tool? Talk to them about what you'd like to get for them and ask for their input.
Want some ideas for your conversation? Start here:
Got a fantasy to share or enact?
Here's a fun self-guided communication tool to help
Get Lipservice for DIY relationship communication and sex therapy exercises about fantasy, desire, verbal connection, and other ways of living your intimate truth.