It can be hard to set aside the time to think critically about your sex life, both with activity partners and alone. This month, Autostraddle’s Masters of Sex Cure Month Experience will help you make that time.
We’ll lay down the week’s assignments each Monday for the rest of the month. Each week will have assignments that will be for just you and some that will be more effective if you do them with an activity partner (though you can do almost everything either alone or with one or more partners! Follow your arrow.). They’ll all work together to help you feel more centred in your sex life, no matter what it looks like, and to make positive changes both during the month and after it.
Visit the comment thread each week for moral support. You can also address questions to @autostraddle on Twitter, and address questions and bragging to the #AutostraddleMastersOfSexCureMonthExperience tag on Tumblr. Let’s get started!
Autostraddle’s Masters of Sex Cure Month Experience: Week 1
Keep A Sex Diary
Keeping a diary (journal, notebook, log, annotated calendar, etc) is a great way to figure out where your sex life is now and to track how it changes over time, especially over the course of a month in which you’re going to think and do a lot of things related to sex.
That’s why you’re going to write in a sex diary every day this month. Use whatever form of diary you’ll be most likely to stick with, whether it’s an app, notebook, annotations in your calendar, running file on your computer or series of numbered post-its. It can be detailed (“masturbated for half an hour in bed before getting up to sexts from last night”) or vague (“masturbated in bed”) or explicit (“used the Mona 2 with lube on my g-spot and a little on my clit reading sexts from [redacted] about fucking in a bar bathroom and came four times before the battery died”), though including more details will be more useful later. All you need to include, though, is two pieces of information: what you did/thought/said/felt/etc., and what time you did/thought/said/felt/etc. it at. Sexy actions and thoughts and feelings and fantasies, and relationship actions and thoughts and feelings and fantasies are all on the table — the goal is to see where you are sexually and emotionally now and to articulate and chart your desires so you can figure out what might affect them, whether you are where you think you are, and what changes you might want to make.
Clean Your Room
You don’t need to deep clean your bedroom, but tidying, picking up and some light scrubbing will make it a much better place to be, and will make you feel more aware of and focused on your self and your space.
- Pick up and put away anything that can be picked up and put away.
- Tidy any surfaces that have anything left on them.
- Wash your sheets, pillows and any covers or blankets. If your other laundry lives in your bedroom, wash it too.
- Dust everything.
- Sweep, vacuum or/and mop your floor. Do whatever you need to do to make it clean enough that you’d still use a sex toy you dropped on it.
- Put away your cleaning supplies and laundry.
- Make your bed.
Establish Grounds For Communication
This is the hardest thing you’ll have to do this week, and the most important.
Part of improving your sex life involves improving communication with anyone involved with it. If you’re single, this means getting better at being honest with yourself about what you want and being willing to pursue it. If you have one or more activity partners, it means making sure all the pieces for talking about sex (and anything else) are in place.
Even if you’d both rather have delicate conversations, you need to be direct, straightforward and super clear about how you want to talk about sex. You should always be direct, straightforward and super clear, but if you find it difficult, talk about that. And then be direct this one time anyway.
- Decide what the best medium and circumstances are for talking about sex, for you — in person, by phone, by email, definitely not by work email, by text, by sext, only at night, never during or immediately after a meal, whenever you’re not on a date with another partner, after coffee and before lunch, in the car, never in the car, whatever. Some people can talk in detail about sex any time anywhere, but discussing the circumstances under which you’d each like to talk about sex can make the eventual conversations themselves a lot better. Then set aside one of those ideal times this week for the rest of this conversation.
- If you’ve been unsuccessful at talking about sex in the past, think about why. Did you feel unable to express what you wanted? Were you unsure about what you wanted? Even if you felt like your partner was unresponsive or shut you down, try to frame this — both on your own and with them — in terms of your successes and failures at talking rather than their successes and failures at listening. Write them down on an actual piece of paper and face them head on. Then think about what you need to change to get better.
- Strategize with your partner about what to do if the conversation goes awry for whatever reason, whether because one of you really doesn’t want to try something the other suggests or because someone’s mom called. Talk about ways to make it less scary for either of you to ask for things. Again, some brainstorming on paper alone can help — think about how you can react in a positive way to suggestions you’re not into, and what reactions from your partner will make you feel good or terrible.
Find Two New Sources That Make You Think About Sex
Magazines, podcasts, twitter accounts, blogs, youtube, etc., can all be great resources for learning about sex, but they’re also great for seeing how other people think and talk about it, which can make you better at thinking and talking about it.
Rather than researching a specific topic, look at something that addresses a wide range of subjects. Ideally, whatever it is will let you read/watch/listen on an ongoing basis, or have archives so big it makes no difference.
I’m not going to give you a ton of suggestions, because research is part of this, but some of my favorites are Adult Magazine, Why Are People Into That?! and Ask A Queer Chick. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that Savage Love was the root of a lot of people of a certain age who are now great at talking about sex, so if you’re really lost, start there.
Bonus: Take A Sexy Bath
If you’re finished everything else and want extra homework, scrub down your bathtub or shower (maybe wipe down the rest of the bathroom while you’re in there) and take a bath or shower with your fingers, waterproof sex toys and/or activity partner(s).
All images in this post via shutterstock. Feature image of the Pleasure Chest by the author.
Autostraddle’s Masters Of Sex Cure Month Experience is inspired by Apartment Therapy‘s January Cure.