The holiday season is here and it’s time to talk about self-love during the holidays! Some really interesting questions came up. Let’s start at the beginning: What is self-love?
What is self-love, and how can it be expressed?
Self-love is any act you take to care for yourself and your needs. There are many ways to do this. We often refer to self-love in the context of sexual wellness as masturbation. This is a great way for you to show yourself love. But it can be so much deeper than that. It can be asking a partner for the kind of sex you want or saying ‘no’ to partnered sex you don’t want. This can also refer to things non-sexual like sleeping, exercising, and meditating.
It is difficult to practice self love with a partner.
Yes! And even more so during the pandemic! I tell those in long-term live-in relationships that they need to be apart. No matter your particular situation, whether it’s one night off a week, weekend, or month, communicate the importance of having time apart from each other, and then logistically work that out. Although people talk about 5 love languages, I believe that alone time should be the sixth love language.
What advice can you give for making time for self-love amidst all the holiday visitors and vacations?
The holidays can be a crazy time for people in many ways, so you might not have as much time as you normally have, but it’s equally important to find some time for yourself. So, when you’re not visiting someone or hosting, find an afternoon to peel away for some alone time.
What long-distance sex toys do you recommend for couples?
Any app-controlled toy would be a great option for long-distance partners. The app can control the toy either in the room or on the person.
What lubricants would you recommend to people who experience increased vaginal dryness?
There are a lot of reasons why someone might not be lubricating, and it doesn’t matter. No matter how much or little you’re lubricating naturally, you could benefit from using lube. Lube is self-love. The type of lube you choose is a matter of personal preference. It all depends on how your vagina responds to it. I personally like the LELO lube, but there are so many good ones on the market, so it’s a bit of trial and error to find the one that really works for you.
Does the stress from the pandemic make it more difficult to have an affair?
Absolutely. I mean stress is a very powerful force, whether it’s from the pandemic or other things going on in your life. Stress definitely decreases people’s desire to have sex and their ability to orgasm.
My libido has dropped so much. I used to practice self-love a lot, but can’t anymore… why?
Many other factors can impact sex drive, including your relationship dynamics, body images, mental health, medication for physical problems, antidepressants and physical health. I’d recommend seeing a sex therapist to figure out what exactly is going on.
I would never do any self-exploration on my own! How can you get in the mood alone?
Different things work for different people. Reading erotica, watching porn and just fantasizing are my favourite ways to get into the mood. I also love taking long, luxurious baths, going naked around the house, and wearing anything that makes me feel sexy. Sometimes even just grabbing a toy and starting to provide stimulation can kick in that desire even if you didn’t have it before.
¿Cómo puedo hacer que mi pareja acepte los juguetes sexuales? How can I convince my partner to allow me to use sex toys?
This is a question that comes up every time I do these Q&As, and I know it can be challenging. Some people, men, in particular, can feel a little threatened by them or don’t know what to do with them. It is possible to make them into amazing tools that will increase your pleasure repertoire. You can give them the power to play with these toys and create a more intimate and fulfilling sexual experience.
I don’t enjoy masturbating. And I don’t understand why.
There are a lot of people who don’t masturbate for all sorts of reasons. It could be shame, body image issues, or simply that you haven’t find the right type of stimulation or context that works for you. It may even just be how you’re wired.
Sometimes, I get swollen when I masturbate. Is this normal?
I’m not a medical doctor and I also don’t know exactly where you’re bleeding from or how much you’re bleeding, but I would say that it is not normal to be bleeding during masturbation. So, if that’s happening, please go see your gynecologist.
Can stealthy affairs be considered a form of self-love
This is a great idea for self-love. I can see how it would feel to you, or self-love you give for the benefit of the relationship. Your partner may disagree. People who desire to have more relationships would prefer to be open and honest in their affairs, rather than in a closed relationship. But, that’s not the reality that many of us live in and I acknowledge that.
Zhana Vargalova, PhD is a NYC-based sex researcher. She studies casual, nonmonogamy, sexual orientation, and other forms of sex. She is a Cornell University graduate in Developmental Psychology. She teaches Human Sexuality at New York University and also runs the Casual Sex Project. This project allows people to share their real hookup stories. She currently writes a book and provides daily sex education via Periscope live streaming.
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