"I don't know. I love sex and all but… do you think I'm kinky?"
You probably are if one or more of the following appeals to you:
You like many people realize that there is a great big world of sex and sexual activities that you may be willing to explore but feel a little like you're out of your element. Sexual Abuse & Sex Solutions is here to help you navigate your way back on course. I want to shape your own brand of sexual being, whatever that may look like, even if it does not include BDSM.
Step 1: Develop the Right Vocabulary
Let's make sure we're all working with the same language. A broader vocabulary for what you want and who you are only makes you that much more confident to stand up as your true sexual self. Vocabulary also helps us to communicate our wants and desires correctly to our partners. The world health organization has a great working definition of sex and healthy sexuality. So, we will start there.
Fetishism- a pattern of sexual behavior that doesn't necessarily qualify as a mental disorder. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, known in the mental health community by the abbreviation DSM 5, partially redefines the symptoms that qualify for a fetishistic disorder diagnosis.
Step 2: Think of your Sexuality as a Social Media Page
When I conduct workshops on learning good boundaries about sex and sexting, I always have a conversation with my audience about branding. Everyone has a personal brand and teens are especially good at developing their own personal brand. Think about how you present yourself on Instagram or Facebook. When you take a photo you make sure that your eyes are open, your clothes are put together, and that you look attractive. Any photo that doesn't make the cut, doesn't get posted. Some of us will make a person snap a dozen photos before we land on the right one!
Sexting is another way people show off their personal brand without knowing it. We sext are lovers expecting them to be excited or turned on by our pics but do not always weigh the risk of what we would do if the photos became public. I usually encourage the audience, often teens at this point to consider, what they would want their crush to say about their picture to others. Consider that many people show pictures of their new love interest to their friends for feedback. Most of us are mortified about intimate parts of ourselves becoming public. This should give us pause. What if our crush showed their friend a sext? What would we want our crush to say? "Hey. Do you think they are ____ (cute, fun, hot, etc) we want them to point out our talents, to see us be passionate about a social justice issue, to notice how strong and healthy we look when exercising, to admire our work achievements, to see how well travelled we are, or to laugh at our clapbacks. When you land on the picture that represents your attractive side, think "what does this say about who I am?"
Take those values and consider how you would like to be seen in bed. The side of ourselves we present to our crush's friend may not be the side of ourselves we present to our lover in bed. However, you can often still find an identity in how you like to have sex-- roses and candles might mean you're a romantic. Your sense of activism might come out in the types of clothes you wear, as some sexual presentation are in defiance of societal expectations. For example, not many women are bald by choice, and not many masculine presenting people rock bangles and eyeliner.
By the end of the exercise, we usually have a list of descriptors specific to how we would like to be perceived that is not unlike developing a personal brand of sexuality. (And hopefully not as much reliance on nudes to turn our crushes on)
Step 3: Put in the Research
Now that you have a growing idea of who you are as a sexual being, you must figure out what you like. So put in the research! You might listen to podcasts on sex, love, dating, and relationships to get new ideas. You might attend a workshop offered by a community agency, LGBTQ center, or as posted on the website FetLife to educate yourself further. Classes on specific sexual activities are also posted online at erobay.com and Eventbrite. Read books by certified or licensed professionals who are more likely to give you accurate information about your body, your identity, and its responses. Go to therapy if you have a traumatic experience like an unhealthy relationship preventing you from actualizing your best self. Finally, you can visit your local sex toy shop for books, advice, safer sex practices, leather wear, and a lot more than sex toys and pronographic videos.
Porn tends to be the first teacher for many of us. It is now our responsibility as adults to seek out paid porn on feminist and queer websites instead of downloading whatever we can find on PornHub and Google. What makes a porn site "feminist" you may ask. Generally, feminist porn sites try to combat sexual exploitation by making sure all material uploaded is of paid, voluntary actors. Feminist porn tends to avoid the "male gaze," or shots that make men sole actors on female bodies used as props in hetero-normative sex. In feminist porn, pleasure is often mutual and sex scenes frequently have more realistic plots. Varying body types may be depicted and sex will not center on just a male identified lead. Queer sites follow many of the same principles and are geared towards LGBTQ people, but will also depict opposite-sex couples and vanilla sex. Queer porn is more likely to have actors who are actually queer and into the type of sex that they are depicting on screen so that there is a greater level of authenticity.
The moral of the story is that we are all uniquely sexy. We are on a journey of no distance to find our best sexual selves. What may be sexy for one person may no appeal to the next and that is okay. If you like what you've read but want additional guidance to unpack your sexuality concerns...
Call me for a free 15 minute phone consultation
Sexpert & psychotherapist, Quandra Chaffers, presents Sass-y comments on love, health, and relationships--Comments too tangential or racy for the therapy room.