Welcome to 2019! For a lot of people, it’s a time where they’re setting new intentions, focus words, or goals for the new year. If one of your goals is to experience more pleasure, take a new approach to your sex life, or something similar, here are some tips and thoughts about how to craft a new year’s resolution for your sex life that will hopefully help you work toward it.
First, some evergreen thoughts on what effective goal-setting looks like in general from your favorite highly effective person and mine, Heather Hogan. In her Doing the Damn Thing series, she says research tells us this about goals:
+ You’re more likely to accomplish them if they’re specific and positive. (I will get onto The Great British Bake Off.)
+ You’re more likely to accomplish them if they’re measurable. (I will win a local baking competition with my spiced orange Chelsea buns.)
+ You’re more likely to accomplish them if you anchor them to a specific place and time. (I will bake ten hours every Sunday for five years.)
+ You’re more likely to accomplish them if they’re reasonable. (Okay, I will bake three hours every Sunday for one year.)
+ You’re more likely to accomplish them if you write them down.
Wise words! That said, here are some jumping off points for setting forth toward your true heart’s and/or libido’s desire.
Figure Out What You Want
Duh, this is the big one. Do you want to be having more sex? A different kind of sex? Sex with different people than you are currently? A better or more satisfying solo sex life? Experience a new kind of sensation or try out a new technique? Give something you’ve been interested in a shot to see if you actually like it? Do you want to explore or reinvigorate your sex life with a partner or partners?
There are a lot of options! And no need to limit yourself with them, at least not at this stage. Make a long list, journal about it, watch a lot of exploratory porn about it. As you’re thinking and listmaking, are there themes emerging? Things that keep coming up? Maybe this whole stage is overwhelming and much harder than you thought, and you are finding it impossible to even know. In that case, you are actually done early because you know what your resolution should be: finding out more about what you want or want to try. Fun! Here’s a worksheet to help you think about what you might be interested and also perhaps communicate it to a partner; and here’s some great advice about how to talk with a partner about wanting more sex or what you want them to do to you. Just some ideas!
Figure Out What That Would Look Like
The hardest part of setting any kind of goal is translating the abstract into the concrete. “Be successful” isn’t a goal that really makes sense; it’s too broad and there’s no clear way to tell whether you’ve accomplished it or not. The goal that starts out in your head as “be successful” works better on paper as “finally publish the final chapter of your Lost & Delirious Vampire AU masterwork,” since it’s clearly defined and concrete. Similarly, “have better sex,” as an example, is probably not your best bet. What does that actually mean to you? Having more orgasms? Providing more orgasms? Laughing more during sex? Winning some sort of medal? Being concrete is good, but being harshly demanding of your body or your brain and heart isn’t; try to avoid things like asking your body to respond to things in a way you know it just doesn’t, or put pressure on yourself to like something you don’t. Deciding that 2019 is gonna be the year you squirt when that historically hasn’t been the case for you is potentially unnecessarily demanding of yourself, for instance. Think about how to frame what you want in bed in ways that are realistic and also fair to yourself and your partner(s); maybe in that situation what you really want your goal to be is “2019 will be the year I enjoy myself trying to squirt, whether or not that happens.”
Maybe part of this process is realizing that there are other factors outside of the literal bedroom that are in play; if you want to be more in the moment during sex and less in your head, maybe your resolutions include some ~sexy mindfulness practices~ or ~sexy seeking treatment for your anxiety.~ Sex and bodies are part of the entire rest of our life, too; sometimes the absolute best thing you can do for your sex life is something like quitting your stressful job or addressing your dysphoria.
Figure Out What You Can Do to Get It
The thing about setting goals is that you can really only do it for yourself and about things you can control, and sex involves bodies and (sometimes) other people, which are kind of outside your zone of influence. You can’t control what other people want or do, so resolutions that require that aren’t going to work; “in 2019 I will get fingerbanged in the bathroom of my local Whole Foods” is an admirable goal, but depends on several factors that aren’t up to you, like a willing partner and the availability of the Whole Foods bathroom on any given day. Although you cannot, unfortunately, manifest somebody in your life who will ravish you in exactly the way that your Root & Shaw fantasies prescribe through sheer force of will, you can look at your own choices and decide what you can do to make it more likely. If you’re frustrated that you can’t seem to find anyone to top you, maybe noting explicitly that you’re a bottom in a dating profile would be a start. If you feel like you’re stalled in your sex life with your partner and can’t figure out why, committing to being communicative and vulnerable with your partner about what you want is a good step forward. If scheduling constraints are a factor towards a goal of “have more sex,” perhaps you can shift your goal in a more attainable way, such as “be more present during sex,” or “keep it going longer once you start.”
A lot isn’t in our control, including sometimes our own bodies, but we can focus on what is, and start there. The most attainable goal isn’t focused on a result, but on an action we can fully commit to taking, regardless of how it works out. What can you do either right now or over the course of the next year that would give you some agency over bringing this part of your life closer to where you want it to be?