I’ll admit it. I haven’t always felt like an athletic or coordinated person. I get confused during team sports whether I am in the game or just watching. While I may not be trying out for the olympics any time soon, I do love the concept of fitness. I like the feeling in my body when I have been eating well and getting regular exercise. I love the idea of having a basic skill level that prepares me for my day to day life as well as random adventures I might stumble into. I like feeling healthy and capable.
As a sex educator and therapist, I think it can be valuable to apply the idea of fitness to your sexual life. So often we think about sex as something we “have.” Have you been told you “have” too much, not enough or not the right kind of sex? Maybe instead of questioning the kind of sex we are having we could benefit from taking a moment to examine who we are and who we want to be as sexual people. Where does sexual fitness fit into this? Let’s look at the definition of fitness:
The condition of being physically fit and healthy.
The quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.
Do you currently feel healthy as a sexual person? Healthy can look different for every individual. Are you happy in your sexual life right now? Do you currently feel fit as a sexual person? Do you feel you can fulfill your sexual desires in a way that makes you happy? Does expressing your sexuality make you feel more whole or vital? If not what goals might help make you feel empowered and satisfied in your sexuality?
My personal concept of sexual fitness includes:
Stamina-The ability to maintain a satisfying sexual relationship long term.
Strength-This includes both inner strength and muscular strength. It is important for your health to cultivate and maintain good muscular strength in your pelvic floor muscles (see next month’s blog post for more on why these are important and how to strengthen them). I also value inner strength such as being pleased with my sexual self esteem and sexual self concept.
Flexibility-I value feeling comfortable enough with myself as a sexual person that I can stretch my limits somewhat to try new things and accommodate my partner’s wants and needs.
Safety-Knowing when I have reached my limit. Boundaries are important too! Sometimes we need to know what lines we don’t want to cross and what activities would actually make us unhappy. Knowing when we need to say “no thank you” is just as valuable of a skill as being able to be flexible and try new things.
These are some of the things that are valuable to me but of course each person has their own needs and priorities. What are yours? How do you feel like you have achieved sexual fitness in your life?
photo from Elephant Journal
Laura Rad has been educating herself and others about sexuality for over eight years. She co-hosts the Sex is Fun and Strong, Sexy & Stylish podcasts available for free on iTunes. Laura is also a sex and relationship therapist in Minneapolis, MN. Find more info about her work at www.edgewisetwincities.com.