Sex ed is a huge part of growing up that is consistently left behind by schools and adult authority figures. It’s often not taught at all by schools, and kids are left to figure out the process of sex and taking care of themselves and their partners on their own. Besides this (for those of us that have had the privilege of learning sex ed), sex ed curriculum is pathetically lacking in teaching students about queer sexual health, consent, and women’s reproductive health to name a few.
Another aspect of sex ed that isn’t talked about even as an adult is mental health in terms of sexual health. This plays into talking about consent, and how we actually feel about our latest sexual interactions.
The big question is what is the relationship between you and the person in consideration, and how is being intimate with them making you feel? An example of this is having sex with a person you have feelings for, but aren’t sure if they’re reciprocated. It might be good and fun for a second, but it’s good to analyze if the physical aspect is worth it and whether the attachment you have towards them is affecting your sexual enjoyment.
Make up and break up sex are advertised as “the best kind,” but when you really stop and think about it, is it that great? Having sex while going through turbulent emotions isn’t that fun for me and it falls along the lines of feeling like a coping mechanism for those emotions. Breakup sex will 9 times out of 10 only hurt more in the long run, especially if you still have feelings for each other and even more if it’s a toxic relationship you’re trying to get out of.
On the flipside, some of these emotions are great for other types of interactions, especially towards some kinks or fetishes. All I’m saying is taking the time to see what we actually want and what is good for us (a.ka. Sexual self care) is a good idea.
3. Dry spells
As a woman I’ve been conditioned towards thinking I need to play into my partner's’ sexual fantasies, or be a stereotypical sexual object in order to please them. The fear of the “sexless marriage,” proliferated by the media is alive and real, and the fault of the sexlessness falls onto the person saying no which is a problem that feeds rape culture.
It may seem dreary to fall into a dry spell, but here’s a few things to think about. First of all, a good partner will never make you feel bad about saying no to sex. A good partner will not take this as a cue to cheat on you because they aren’t having sex. If they do these things, it is an indicator that you deserve better and most importantly it is NOT YOUR FAULT. Lastly, if they are doing these things, they are basing your worth as a partner on your sex appeal.
4. Unresolved issues
Sex has been misrepresented as a “vice,” despite it being an everyday way humans exist and find joy in life. This doesn’t mean that sex can’t be used in an unhealthy way. If you find yourself feeling unfulfilled or unhappy after, during or before sex listen to yourself and try to understand what about it is stirring up these emotions for you. An absence of sex, a lot of sex, and a “regular” amount of sex can all be unhealthy if the way you’re feeling about it is hurting your overall mental health.