If you’re like me and got stuck with no toilet paper in March, you may find yourself planning a bit more than you used to. Maybe you have a plan for exercising or eating healthy, but what about your sexual health? This area of our lives is often neglected, but is just as deserving of our time, attention, and care. In fact, our sex lives are often a reflection of the rest of our lives.
So as you’re taking stock in the new year, don’t leave out your sexual health. Here is our list of items to add to your your sexual health 2021 plan:
1. Make those appointments.
Many of us have been putting off routine medical care due to the pandemic, but as vaccines are more widely available, it will be much safer to go to the doctor. Now is the time to make appointments for pelvic exams, prostate exams, and STI checks. Remember, taking care of your body is as much a part of self care as bubble baths.
2. Check your prescriptions.
If you have an IUD or Nexplanon, take a moment to check when your method will expire and get that date into your calendar so you don’t forget. If you’re on the pill or another method, make sure you know when you’ll need to get a refill and set reminders to schedule your appointments.
3. Stock up!
Why not use those gift cards to get more lube or condoms so you’re ready to go when you need them? If you’ve never purchased lube before, welcome! Lube helps reduce uncomfortable friction and increase pleasurable friction. It is awesome and should be on everyone’s bedside table.
4. Check in with yourself.
The new year is a great time to do a self inventory of your sexuality. Take some time to think about how this past year went for you. Maybe you discovered something new about yourself or tried a new activity. Maybe you loved being alone or had a hard time talking with your partner. Reflect on where you’ve been and set some goals for the coming year. Do you want to meet someone new? Try something new? Learn something new? Love your body more? Just make sure these goals are focused on you.
5. Check in with your partner.
If you have a partner, the new year is a great time to have a “state of our sex life” conversation. It’s a chance to talk about what’s working well and what you might want to change or try. To take it to the next level, schedule one of these conversations every three months (at least) to stay connected with each other all year. If you’re single, now is a great time to think about your relationship to, well, relationships! What are you looking for in a partner (if you’re looking)? How do you want to try to meet people this year? And most importantly, reflect on what you need in order to feel ready to partner up.
6. Get to know your body.
Masturbation relieves stress (and cramps!), helps us get to know our bodies, is a safe space to try new things, a great way to experience pleasure, and is just all around a lot of fun. As the late, great Btty Dodson said:
“Masturbation is a meditation on self-love. So many of us are afflicted with self-loathing, bad body images, shame about our body functions, and confusion about sex and pleasure, I recommend an intense love affair with yourself.”
Whether you’re new to masturbation or a seasoned aficionado, make 2021 the year you commit to loving yourself more. Because you deserve it.
7. Try one new thing.
Sexuality is a journey, not a destination. There are always new things to learn and try partnered or single. Whether you’re buying your first sex toy, trying a new position, or being truly vulnerable with your partner, make a promise to yourself that this year you’ll try one new thing. Shake off any routines you may have gotten into and see what it feels like to travel down a new path, without any expectations.
Focus on your pleasure and you will change your relationship to your body. Make time to talk with your partner about sex and communication in your relationship will improve. Often it’s a small change in a usually neglected area of our lives that can have ripple effects we never would have anticipated. So here’s to a new year and all that it will bring. I’m hoping yours is filled with increased love, pleasure and joy. You deserve it.