Alone or with a partner, it’s easy to feel discouraged in the bedroom. We tend to feel like we are the ones at fault if we don’t get turned on by basic sexual play and touch, whether we’re exploring with a new partner or a longtime love. But we should be softer on ourselves — and make sure not to blame our partners, either.
Our sexuality covers such a broad spectrum. Sexual arousal is about exploration, open mindedness, and communication. Not all of us are turned on by the same things, and we don’t have to be turned on in the same way as our partners in order to be sexually or physically compatible. In fact, discovering what turns us on — or what turns our partners on — is part of the fun in intimate relationships!
If you’re feeling unsure about what gets you going, take things slow with yourself. Don’t feel that you need to fake it (it’s pretty impossible to fake genuine sexual arousal) or that your sexuality is inadequate if simple, straightforward, sexual touching doesn’t immediately work for you. Take some time alone with yourself to explore what feels good.
Try caressing yourself in less obvious erogenous zones to see what feels nice. It may not be immediate sexual arousal with yourself, but you’ll quickly find what feels nice, or relaxing, or even slightly titillating. Be intentional, loving, and forgiving.
A large part of reaching climax — or simply becoming sexually aroused in and of itself — is being present within your body. And to be present in the moment, we must relax. When we hold tension in our bodies — in our jaw, our shoulders, and yes, our pelvic floor — we can struggle to reach the peaceful mental state of accepting incoming pleasure. Try breathwork in the morning, and supporting your diet with relaxing herbs like ashwagandha or reishi if you’re someone struggling with stress or anxiety.
If an erotic shop is something accessible to you, try going in and speaking with an associate. They are trained, experienced, and non-judgemental, and they are there to help you, in any way shape or form. You can even get more comfortable by communicating your initial discomfort — tell them you are new to this experience, and you’re interested in trying something new. They can help guide you in the right direction so that you can elevate your self-exploration and see what sensations appeal to you. If a store is not accessible to you, customer service for online shops can be very knowledgeable as well. Explore your options so that you can explore yourself.
The internet has given porn a bad name. But it’s still an art form, and there are many tasteful options out there! Try searching for some beginner content on a safe, ethical site to see what flips your switch. It might surprise you to understand what power dynamic turns you on, and how mental and emotional arousal can be — rather than just physical.