May is mental health awareness month and with it, we are discussing Module 3 of the Sex Positive Professional Certification Program. “Positive”, of positive sexuality, refers to the strengths, wellbeing, and happiness associated with the experience and responsible expression of our authentic sexual selves. The module, comprised of written and video content, discusses the interpersonal skills we acquire through BDSM negotiations and practices such as communication and listening skills. It also discusses sex as matter of wellbeing, linking self-care and sex as healthy, and natural.
Having the ability to express our sexual selves authentically is a beautiful gift. In order to cultivate a “positive” sexuality – that is, one that’s approached through the lens of mutual care, communication, and consent while supporting a healthy curiosity of our sexual desires requires the individual be not only privy to what it is they are interested in exploring and their boundaries therein, but also be able to communicate that effectively. In my experience, communication is one of the biggest strengths of a positive sexuality approach. Communication is also a vital and necessary tool that I strive to incorporate daily as a writer, designer, and photographer.
Our health is comprised of many different factors and elements. We take care of each of these different parts of ourselves, well, differently. If one of these parts is out of balance, it begins to place pressure on the rest.
Overly simplified and generally speaking…
- We tend to our financial health by monitoring things like debt and the ratio of our money coming in the door and money going out the door, in both short and long-term timelines.
- We tend to our social health by connecting with our community, loved ones, friends, and family.
- We tend to our physical health by taking care of our physical body and our unique needs as individuals for what it means to be physically well.
- We tend to our emotional and mental health through awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions as expressed in our mind-body (mental stimulus to physical response) and body-mind (physical stimulus to mental response) connections, processes, and responses.
- We tend to our sexual health by honoring ourselves and others’ erotic experiences and expression in acceptance, love, and support of our sexual wellbeing.
What does it mean to be healthy? Well, it depends on who you ask.
We each have unique needs with regard to our physical health.
…and our mental health.
…and our social health.
…and our financial health.
…and our sexual health. Every single one of us.
Positive Sexuality as a Matter of Positive Mental Health
Positive sexuality aids us in discovering who we are as sexual, sensual, beings in a vast and wide array of experiences and expressions. In these many potentials lie innumerable possibilities for pleasure – how we experience it, what sensations we associate with it, and the qualities and activities we experience and assign to something actually being “pleasurable”. In gifting ourselves the acceptance to healthfully explore sexuality and our unique experience and embodiment of what it means, to us, to embrace sexuality in a positive light, we also gift ourselves the ability to take care of ourselves, our whole selves. This incredible gift of self-acceptance allows opportunities for wholeness. In this fullness of expression, we honor ourselves in our fullest of potential and being.
As we come to view health through a balancing of the care of our many facets as human beings, it quickly becomes our duty to take care of those many facets. Self-care sometimes has this connotation of indulgence or selfishness. And yet, if we deny our own self that needed care, that need does not go away – it just gets shuffled onto someone else. Unfortunately, it’s usually those we are closest to and care about the most. Denying our own needs and self-care is not only detrimental to our own wellness, but it’s also inconsiderate to those we care about. Denying your own care like ignoring your care tab and sticking someone else with your care bill.
Learning what our unique sexual experience and expression look and feel like and the ways we can support ourselves and each other in that self-knowledge is an incredible exercise in strength, wellbeing, and happiness.