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Sexual Self-Care Woman in Bathroom

At this point, it’s pretty obvious that “self-care” has become one of the hottest buzzwords on the internet. (Particularly during a time when we’re all hunkering down and don’t have much else to do besides facemasks and Netflix binges). That said, in the myriad activities that fall under the self-care umbrella, sexual self-care practices are too often thrown to the wayside. 

Furthermore, what even *is* sexual self-care? No, it’s not v-steaming (jury is still out on that one), nor is it given your penis a face mask. (Is that even a thing?) Sexual self-care is understanding your sexual needs and desires and making an effort to understand and check in on your sexual preferences. It also includes doing things to proactively nurture and sustain your sexual health. Below are some of our top tips for maximizing and prioritizing sexual self-care. 

Establish a routine. 

Whether you’re trying to sustain a meditation practice or a workout regime, routines have been proven to help folks stay on track with their goals. And so it makes sense to incorporate a ritual (even a small one) in order to prioritize your sexual self-care. This could look like setting aside 15 minutes every day for a sensual shower or masturbation session. Maybe you take a look in the mirror and practice positive affirmations to help you navigate through insecurities. 

In any case, making time each and every day to practice sexual self-care can leave you feeling empowered and pleasured. 

Notice and work through sexual shame. 

If you have shame surrounding sex, you are NOT alone. Many of us were shamed for something we did as a child or came from a fear-based sex education program. Shame can also occur at any moment in our life—like if a partner told you that you were “loose” or laughed at your penis. 

Part of sexual self-care involves working through shame and rekindling a sense of confidence. Finding confidence looks different for everyone, but we suggest making a list of the things that make you feel GOOD and PROUD in your body. If your shame stems from a specific or repeated issue, therapy can also be a wonderful option. 

There’s also no shame in looking for help from products or tools. A lot of our penis-owning audience report on feeling inadequate because they climax early, or can’t stay hard. (If this is you, you’re not alone.) Products like Promescent delay spray can be a wonderful asset in helping you last longer in bed and have a better, more pleasurable experience with your partner, ultimately fostering connection and confidence. If you’re a vulva-owner and having trouble reaching orgasm, you might consider adding a small vibrator to the bedroom. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using a toy during partnered sex, and you might actually find that it brings you and your partner closer together!

Do your kegels. 

Consider the kegel like a yoga class for your genitals—seriously. When you practice kegels, your pelvic floor muscles become stronger and you become more mindful about your sexual pleasure. This is important because over time, or due to circumstances like pregnancy, childbirth, or weight gain, the pelvic floor can weaken, leading to discomfort or even urinary incontinence. 

Enter the kegel. Kegels are great in that they help improve blood circulation to the pelvic floor, increase arousal, and strengthen your orgasms. (We like that.) And contrary to popular belief, kegels are not just for women and vulva-owners! Men can do them too. For all genders, start by making sure your bladder is empty, then sit or lie down. Tighten the pelvic floor muscles, then hold tight and county for 3 to 5 seconds. Relax the muscles and count for another 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times, three times a day! 

If you REALLY want to amp up your kegel game, we highly recommend calling in some reinforcements, specifically Yarlap. It’s an award-winning kegel exercise device that basically does the workout for you and ensures you’re doing it correctly. And when you’re committed to your kegels, you’re committed to your sexual health.

Think proactively about your health.

We’d be remiss not to include the health portion of sexual health here. Whether we’re talking about testing for or avoiding STIs, proper hygiene, or general safer sex practices, an ounce of prevention always beats a pound of cure. This starts with being prepared and proactive. 

Communicate your health-conscious decisions with your partners (always without shame or blame) and make sure you’re both on the same page. Don’t ever be afraid to ask someone about STIs or utilize condoms, but avoid using words like clean or dirty as they contribute to certain stigmas associated with STIs. 

If you’re a vulva-owner, you’re also susceptible to things like yeast infections, BV, and UTIs. In addition to peeing after sex and wearing clean underwear, you might consider adding a supplement like Uqora to your post-sex routine. It’s a drink mix that was developed by a chronic UTI sufferer as a proactive and healthy way to flush the urinary tract after sex, exercise, or anytime you need extra support.

Trust us, when you’re confident you’re doing what you can to stay healthy, you’ll be able to enjoy sex without stress, which is definitely a form of self-care.

Get regular check-ups and talk to the professionals. 

While we’re on the topic of protecting yourself sexually, be sure to get your parts checked out! Regular check-ups with medical professionals are a crucial aspect of maintaining sexual health and therefore a great way to practice proper sexual self-care. If you don’t vibe with your doctor, or you don’t feel like you’re getting the info you need, find a new one. Your time is valuable and should not be wasted on doctors who won’t give you the love and attention you deserve. 

When our penis-owning or male-identifying friends are experiencing sexual deficiencies, a trip to the doctor may be what’s needed—but not wanted. Thankfully there are male-focused telemedicine services like New England Low-T Center that specialize in testosterone optimization and vitamin therapies, all of which are handled virtually. Whether it’s fatigue, low libido, or sexual performance concerns, they can help you sort it out without stepping foot in an exam room.

Prioritize pleasure. 

One of the best ways to practice sexual self-care? More masturbation. And if you’re thinking, but I already have a great masturbation routine, consider mixing it up! Trying a new method means learning about your body and your desires, which is a great way of caring for your sexuality.

There are SO many great toys we could recommend, but if you don’t own a Magic Wand, get on that. It’s a toy that belongs atop everyone’s nightstand, and is great for both solo and partnered play. This is the Cadillac of vibrators. The cream of the crop. Your clitoris (or your lover’s) won’t know what hit ‘em. 

At the end of the day, the most important thing you can do to practice sexual self-care is make time for you and your sexual self. Recognize that sex is an important part of our lives and that you deserve to feel seen, understood, and educated when it comes to your sexuality. Now go get some “you” time.

— 

Amanda Kohr is the Content Coordinator at Sex With Emily. Find her via Instagram at @cozycarvan.

Girls kissing in lights

Sometimes, sex isn’t the easiest thing to talk about, especially when you’re young. As we grow up, teachers, families, and mentors are a wellspring of experience and knowledge that we siphon information from on the way toward adulthood. But one thing that would make for better sex ed is understanding the concept and understanding of sexuality. 

After all, how many adults today have been properly educated about the social, emotional, and psychological components of entering sexual adulthood? How many of us have been formally taught comprehensive sexuality? Whether or not you have, our sexuality is a crucial part of our development, and access to this education should be widespread and accessible.

The Sex-Ed I Remember…

When you think of classic sex-ed in middle school or high school, what do you remember? For me, there’s one day in class that immediately comes to mind. My science teacher put in the VHS tape labeled “The Miracle Of Birth.” I giggled uncontrollably along with the rest of my 7th-grade class and watched the whole bloody “miracle” through my fingers. At the time, it was utter nightmare material. Only years later did I realize this video showing was less about education and more about fear. It was a tactic meant to scare me away from sex, not educate me about having it. 

Leading up to this rite of middle-school passage, we got a brief biological explanation of the physical act of sex and its purpose as it relates to the procreation of species. I was lucky enough to also be given a little information regarding contraception and STIs. This was all definitely important stuff, but there is so much more to be learned about sex than anatomy and physiology. What we need is age-appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education. But what exactly is that? 

What is Sexuality Education?

The study of sexuality is an ever-evolving process. The more we learn about ourselves as a species, the more we have to teach our youth. So there’s no one correct and complete definition of Comprehensive Sexuality Education. 

The idea is to extend the teaching beyond the limiting themes of abstinence and anatomy. It’s to empower and encourage young and/or sexually inexperienced people to learn about components of sex that have been traditionally labeled as “taboo” or in some cases, irreligious. It’s teaching that instead of something that happens TO you, sex will be something you will determine for yourself. Yes, it’s sex. But it’s also sexual health, sexual identity, and sexual wellbeing and so much more.

So let’s get a little more specific. What are some components you might find in a Comprehensive Sexuality Curriculum?

Gender Identity and Orientation

Gender is a complex, hot-button issue right now socially and politically. As our society progresses, the concept and definition of gender are almost constantly in question. A fully-formed education on sexuality would address the role of gender norms in our society, and the idea of gender as a social construct. This includes the expectations and values that we place on ourselves and each other with regard to perceived gender. 

It also extends to gender biases and gender inequality. Of course, a parent can raise their child how they want and can instill their own values into their offspring. But young people should at least be taught what the terms cisgender, agender, non-binary or transgender mean if for any other reason, to perpetuate the principle of acceptance and inclusivity. 

Beyond gender, learning about sexual orientation and identity should also be a huge component of sexuality education. LGBTQ+ youth are among the most bullied and alienated kids in the world. More often than not, they suffer this torment without even knowing what’s happening in their psyche. The spectrum of sexual identity and attraction is becoming common knowledge. In all education, diversity should be celebrated through positivity and appreciation. Just as we laud diversity of race, religion, and ability, we should also laud diversity of orientation and identity. 

Pleasure

Contrary to popular belief, this DOES NOT mean teaching young people how to experience sexual pleasure. Adding the concept of pleasure to sexuality education means positively encouraging young people to seek enjoyable sexual experiences. 

Let’s be honest, sexual curiosity is born from a biological urge to seek pleasure. This is not a secret we should keep hidden away from the unknowing. If we’re truthful about healthy sexual behavior, we’ll be working against negative feelings of shame and guilt around sex. Sex is a natural part of adulthood, and young people shouldn’t feel intimidated or scared of it. Nor should they feel guilty for wanting to feel good, whether it’s through masturbation or partnered sexual activity.

Contraception & STI safety

Safe sex might sound like an obvious topic to cover in sex ed. But get this: In actuality, only 39 states mandate HIV education. And only 22 states are required to teach HIV education that is “medically accurate”. That means that teachers are legally allowed to lie to students about HIV.

When it comes to contraception, only “20 states require provision of information on contraception,” while “39 states require provision of information on abstinence.” Sure, this is an improvement from the days where abstinence was the only method of birth control that any educator spoke of. The truth is, however, that in many parts of the country, this is still the case. 

There are still 9 states with absolutely no requirements of sex or HIV education. Within those 9 states, 5 of them are listed in the Top 12 states with the highest teen birth rates. The reality is that teenagers are going to have sex. It is their right to be educated on how to do it safely and responsibly. 

Puberty & Body Acceptance

An often overlooked component of sexuality education is a detailed understanding of how the human body changes during adolescence. Puberty is weird, uncomfortable, and confusing! Any level of understanding would, I’m sure, be welcomed by your average pimple-faced, armpit-sniffing teen. 

Biologically, puberty is a precursor to reproductive maturity. Hormonal and bodily changes that teens and pre-teens go through are directly related to their sexual experience. Understanding the function of all the weird things happening can help young people walk through this transition with less shame and more acceptance. 

Consent and Sexual Exploitation

If there’s one thing that I would have benefitted most from in sex education class, it would have been consent. It is unbelievably pertinent to the sex lives and sexual safety of young people. As a young person exploring my own sexuality, I found myself in so many situations in which my consent was compromised or unclear. At the time, I blamed myself for being fickle or careless or slutty. When in fact, I was just uneducated.

I wasn’t alone. Most of us weren’t taught the importance of intention and integrity when it comes to sex. And far too many times, things got out of hand and out of control. 

Young people fall victim to sexual exploitation every day. One place where this is extremely evident is on college campuses where one in five women experience sexual assault. It’s imperative that we teach sexual safety in order to reduce this number and promote healthy interactions between sexual partners. 

Healthy Relationships & Romance

Ah, puppy love. Learning to form our first adult relationships happens early for some. If that growth were accompanied by lessons learned about how to have healthy relationships, imagine how many traumatic experiences could be avoided. 

Sexuality education would address the ways in which sex, love, and dating are both related and independent from each other. Handling the emotions that occur alongside sexual desire could potentially curb heartbreak, rage, and maybe even save a few young love stories from sad endings. 

Whether love is happening or not, the emotional component of sex should not be ignored. It should be explored, studied, and paid attention in an encouraging and positive environment. 

Why Do We Need It?

We need comprehensive sexuality education because quite frankly, it doesn’t exist. Not on a large enough scale where its benefits can be measured and calculated.

Our society is progressing. Growth is inevitable. Our standards of sexual education should mirror the progress that we are showing. Think about the good it could do. Maybe comprehensive sexuality education would help a trans kid to rethink their suicidal ideation.  Maybe it would save a young girl from being a victim of revenge porn. Maybe a son or daughter or person could teach their parents something that they never knew about acceptance and identity. After all, knowledge is power, right? 

Laurie Magers is a comedy writer and actor living in Los Angeles. Her favorite color is red and her favorite food is crab legs. Check out more from her at www.lauriemagers.com.

black sex education blog sex with emily

illustration by Jen Pearson IG: @iamjenpearson

Growing up I never received formal sex education. I had conversations with my mom about my body, and relationships, and sexual activity. But we never went much deeper than the surface. What I’ve learned since then, is that Black sex education matters. And sex education for Black people needs to go so much deeper than the surface. 

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What I've learned about my sexuality blog sex with emily2020 marks 15 years since I created the Sex With Emily podcast. I created it because I wanted people to feel safe hearing about, talking about, and learning about sex. In my time working in the sexual wellness industry, the entire world has grown so much in the way of inclusion, acceptance, and openness about sexuality. I’d like to think I played a small part in that. 

But as my company has grown, so have I. I’ve learned so much about myself since starting Sex With Emily. So in celebration of my crystal anniversary, I’d like to share with you all what I have learned about my own sexuality.

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kids parenting blog sex with emilyMay is Masturbation Month. And now with Covid-19, everyone is stuck at home. Your adolescent kids might have been feeling stifled and also discovering some of their, well, urges. What a great time to discuss masturbation with the whole family! 

But seriously, having an authentic and candid, yet age-appropriate discussion with your kids about masturbation is one of the biggest gifts you can give your children. It sets them up for a better perspective on sex in general and also can help boost their self-esteem.

Here are some tips on how to approach this sticky (sorry couldn’t help it) subject.

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On today’s show, Dr. Emily is joined by Dr. Lanae St. John – a sex educator & intimacy coach – to talk about her new book READ ME: The Parental Primer on “The Talk” – to help all of you parents out there have the right terminology and knowledge to talk to your kids about sex, intimacy, and relationships.

Click Here to Subscribe.

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How can we get the proper sex education to our kids through the school system? Erotica Filmmaker Erika Lust & I discuss the importance of answering sexual related questions our children have thoroughly & compassionately. Because if it’s not being taught, or if there is no ongoing conversation, then the first place teenagers turn to answers is porn (which might be entertaining, but it’s the last place to go for education.)

For more about Erika Lust, click here.

To subscribe to the SWE YouTube Channel, click here.

foot fetish blog sex with emily

Photo by Rodolfo Clix from Pexels

I have to admit – while I love my body, I don’t really like the look of my feet. So, when I get hit up by people with a foot fetish, it always baffles me.

Today we are diving into the fascinating world of fetishes, in particular, you guessed it, a foot fetish!

Join us in learning all about what a foot fetish is and isn’t.

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