With the rise of the sex positivity movement and the media’s spotlight on the importance of sexual health, it’s quite easy to get confused by messages stimulating us to start our sexual exploration. But have you ever wondered where to even start with sexual exploration, what exactly makes up our sexuality, and why you should even care about it? We know it all may sound a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry, We’ve got your back! In this article, we’ll untangle what sexuality is and break down some practical steps to begin your sexual exploration journey.
What is sexuality?
Let’s begin by unpacking what constitutes sexuality. The World Health Organization defines sexuality as a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses:
- Gender identities and roles
- Sexual orientation
They also say that sexuality is experienced and expressed in:
So, what does all of this mean for us? Simply put, sexuality is an inseparable part of who we are and what we do in our lives. Its role and impact aren’t just limited to our sexual health; it’s a core aspect of being human. Ignoring this essential part of life could mean missing out on more opportunities to find happiness with ourselves and others. After all, who doesn’t want to live a happier and more satisfying life?
It’s a bit unrealistic to expect the miscellaneous parts of your sexuality puzzle to naturally fit together without any effort from your side. If you don’t take the time to understand and explore your own sexuality, creating a satisfying sexual relationship with yourself and others can be a challenge.
What to do if you are questioning your sexuality?
Before we dive into practical steps to navigate your sexual exploring voyage, let’s talk about a common challenge one may experience when exploring sexuality: questioning your sexuality. This is something that can happen at any age. It is perfectly normal to question sexuality and feel confused. Figuring out who you are attracted to sexually and romantically might feel daunting and scary in a society where taboos and stigma surrounding sexuality still persist. Here are some things to consider:
- Sexual orientation (who you are sexually or romantically attracted to) is a part of your sexuality.
- Sexuality is fluid, complex, and ever-changing. That’s actually one of the most beautiful things about sexuality. So, if you still don’t know who turns you on, that’s okay! Give yourself as much time as you need.
- There are many types of sexual orientations and identities. Putting a label on yours or not is totally up to you. For some people, a label is really important because it helps them connect to a community and feel included. Others prefer surfing the spectrum of sexuality without any labels.
- Questioning sexuality is a perfectly healthy activity. You shouldn’t be alone in it. Seek out supportive people, explore online resources, and join events and communities where you can get to know people with a diverse spectrum of sexual orientations. At the end of the day, we all want to be seen and understood.
Remember to treat yourself and your sexual exploration journey with self-care and self-compassion. If at any moment you feel it’s too much, you can always stop and take a break. There is no strict timeline.
Tips on how to explore your sexuality and desires
Sexuality happens in you, in your body, and in your mind. That’s why it only makes sense to start exploring sexuality with none other than yourself. And guess what? It’s not a one-time process that you complete and never have to think about again. Your sexuality is always changing, so get ready for a life-long journey. Here are some tips to help you with sexual exploration:
Learn how to be comfortable in your own skin
If you want to have a sexually happy life, it’s essential to learn to feel comfortable with yourself and your body. The media often imposes unrealistic ideals of beauty and sex appeal on us, which triggers body image issues for many people. We all experience things we don’t like about our bodies.
But here’s the thing: Don’t let the outside world dictate how you should look and behave in bed, your sexuality is uniquely yours. Remind yourself that, despite your imperfections, your body is capable of experiencing immense pleasure. Learn how to appreciate your unique features.
Focus on your body’s potential to fill your life with pleasure and joy. To befriend your body, focus on things you like about it: dance, move, touch, and pamper it. Be grateful for your body, as it allows you to experience the beauty and wonders of this life!
Expand your sexual self-pleasure routine
Once you feel more confident in your own skin, it’s time to consciously explore self-pleasure. The fastest and safest way to learn more about your sexuality on your terms is to masturbate. If you already masturbate, you most certainly know the fastest route to a big O!
Our brain tends to stick to the well-known pathways to pleasure. Nothing’s wrong with that. But if you really want to experience more pleasure and learn more about yourself as a sexual being, it’s important to bring more conscious attention and curiosity to your self-exploration.
- Don’t rush to stimulate your genitals. Caress your entire body. Experiment with different types of touch. Alternate the speed, intensity, and pressure. Mentally take note of the type of touch and where it brings you the most pleasure.
- Explore your erogenous zones. Trust us, your body is full of them, and there is a lot to discover!
- Use the mirror to explore your genitals. For some people (especially vulva owners), it’s hard to embrace and acknowledge the beauty of their sexual parts. Not only can you learn more about your anatomy to enhance your sexual pleasure, but it’s also a great practice to help you release shame and become more self-accepting.
- Change your usual location. Switch things up! If you usually masturbate in bed, try the shower. If you lay on your back, try on the side, standing, or sitting. Let your pleasure potential expand.
- Take things to the next level and use a sex toy. There are a lot of sex toys designed for various types of stimulation that help elevate your sexual experience.
- Embrace sensuality. Observe your body’s sensations. Slow down. Music, scents, fabrics, temperature changes, and varied touches are the sensual elements that can turn your self-pleasure routine into an unforgettable exploration of your sexual universe. Engage sensually with all five senses.
Explore the world of sexual fantasies
Fantasies are a natural part of human sexuality. They enrich your sexual experience and help you uncover your sexual desires. They also bring spark and novelty to a relationship with a partner.
The common misconception about fantasies is that if you fantasize about something outside of vanilla sex territory, something is wrong with you. Chances are quite high that your fantasies aren’t that rare, and many other people get off from the same imaginary sex activities as you do.
So, relax and let your erotic imagination roam freely. Here’s how to explore your sexual fantasies:
- If you struggle with having any sexual fantasies, consider checking out ethical porn or erotic movies. Explore various categories and see what sparks you. Some people prefer reading or listening to erotica; this way, they have more freedom to create their own private “movie” in their heads. Get inspired by erotic art in all its forms: photography, sculptures, paintings. Observe what ignites your sexual interest.
- Write down your most repeated fantasies and analyze the core themes. Are you getting turned on by power dynamics? Perhaps romantic details? Or maybe having sex in unusual places is your thing. There is no right or wrong here, your sexual fantasies belong to you and only you. Moreover, you don’t have to enact your sexual fantasies in real life. Besides being an amazing source for your sexual exploration, they can also be used for your sexual anticipation and excitement.
Explore sexuality in a relationship
If you have a partner and are ready to experience shared sexual exploration, start gradually. If you’ve never done it before, maybe skip the direct and blunt statement like, “Hey, I wanna try a threesome this weekend. Are you in?!” First of all, not everything that you like and want your partner will be willing to try. And that’s perfectly fine. We are all different. For some, it takes time to adjust to a new sexual idea; they might even experience confusing feelings about it at the beginning. But with the right approach, you’ll have more chances to get your partner on board with your new sexual discoveries and suggestions.
If you’d like to discuss your sexual preferences—be they types of stimulation, sexual positions, or activities—start with a playful invitation to explore. Make a game out of it. For example, “What really turns me on?”. Take turns sharing your ONs. Share something that doesn’t make you overly nervous. Listen. Maintain an open mind! Finish the game by asking, “What are you excited to try next time?”
The keys to efficient sexual communication are openness, honesty, compassion, and patience. If today your partner doesn’t seem interested in what your sexual “heart” desires, give them some time. Whatever you decide to explore together, make sure you are aware of each other’s boundaries and you are both genuinely excited to try it. Remember, sex should be fun and playful, so try to focus on these elements when engaging in shared sexual exploration.
Experiment with others
In case you are not in a relationship or you’d like to explore different types of relationships with new people, approach it with self-care and consideration for both yourself and others. Be honest about your intentions. If you are just curious about sexual experimentation with another gender and are new to this, do let other people know. Be mindful of your own feelings along the journey. Regularly check in with yourself. If, at some point, the exploration feels overwhelming, you have every right to stop at any moment.
Before engaging in any sexual encounters, especially those involving new partners or experimenting with kinky activities, openly discuss your mutual sexual boundaries and preferences. Consent and safety should be the pillars of any sexual exploration. Experiment in whatever way, or with whomever, you’re comfortable with. Because you totally deserve pleasure in all its forms!
Having questions and doubts while exploring your sexuality is normal and natural. The starting point of any sexual exploration should be the recognition that sex is an area that deserves no less attention than all other areas of life. Take your time. Be gentle with yourself. Nothing is set in stone. What excites you today may bore you tomorrow. There’s always something new, exciting, and curious to discover about your sexuality. Allow yourself to acquire the mindset of an adventurer and have fun!
Disclaimer: #Dating’s blog posts are for you to view at your discretion, and the sexual health insights presented are for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and readers should seek professional guidance if appropriate.