By Remi Newman, MA
(Sex Education Consultant)
Our sexuality is a complex part of our personality that is with us from birth until death. It includes our anatomy and physiology, our sexual behavior, intimate relationships, sexual values, sexual fantasies, our gender identity and our sexual orientation. Whether or not we are sexually active, we are always sexual beings.
But what does it mean to be sexually healthy?
We might think that feeling sexual desire and getting physically aroused in the form of vaginal lubrication, the ability to attain and maintain a penile erection, and the ability to orgasm are the most important aspects of sexual health. They certainly can play an important role, yet so can appreciating and feeling comfortable in your body, and having the ability to communicate your sexual desires and limits to a partner or potential partner, and respecting the desires and limits of others.
Our sexuality is very individual and changes throughout our lifetime.
If we can continue to embrace our personal expression of our sexuality as we age, no matter what changes our bodies are experiencing, we can continue to experience a healthy and fulfilling sex life.
This is not always an easy task. Growing up, we may have received messages about sex and our own sexuality that centered around guilt and shame. From the media, we continue to get the message that sex is something only for the young and conventionally beautiful to enjoy.
And very few of us have received any sort of quality comprehensive sex education in our lifetimes.
Sex is something that we’re supposed to magically figure out without guidance or teaching. Just like the image of two teenagers fumbling in the back seat of a car for the first time, many of us continue to fumble our way through life when it comes to sex.
I worked with a woman once who was convinced that she should be able to have an orgasm through penetration, although she never did. She had spent many years faking orgasms during intercourse to protect her partner’s ego. She came to the conclusion that there was something wrong with her. As we talked, she revealed that she was able to experience pleasure and orgasm easily with masturbation. There was nothing wrong with her. She was like many women who require some clitoral stimulation for orgasm. But she still had a dilemma-how to bring up the subject with her partner given she had been lying to him for years. We discussed ways in which she could affirm her love and attraction to him and ask for what she needed sexually to experience orgasmic pleasure from their lovemaking.
It’s never too late to learn how to give and receive sexual pleasure, and it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re in a relationship.
Discovering our own bodies through self-love and masturbation is a great way to learn what we like and to keep our sexual flame alive. By giving ourselves sexual pleasure we keep our physiological sexual response cycle active,so our bodies are primed for physical arousal. As Jane says, “Use it or lose it.”
If you have questions or concerns about your sex life or are simply interested in making it better than it is, I am available for private sexuality education consultations for individuals and couples at the office of Jane Kennedy, NP, PC.Remi Newman, MA – Sex Education Consultant
After receiving her Master’s degree in sexuality education from NYU, Remi has spent over a decade providing comprehensive sex education services to people of all ages in a variety of settings, working to help people feel more comfortable in their bodies and in their own sexuality by empowering them with knowledge and providing a safe space to discuss their concerns. Remi offers private sessions for individuals and couples, LBGT, Spanish/bilingual and group classes.