Selfcare has been getting a lot more traction and appeal within the past few years. It’s so trendy that it’s even trendy to talk about how much it’s trendy **insert sideways laughing emoji.** But seriously, self-care has become a major part of our lives and is a much needed tool for getting through the stressors of life. It’s something that I’ve incorporated into my daily life and encourage EVERYONE to practice!
Self-care is about more than just manis, pedis, bubble baths and spa days. Although, all those things can make you feel calm and luxurious! The term “self-care” was birthed out of medical necessity for those who did not have access to formal medical care. It has now morphed into this and so much more. Self-care is about managing our entire well-being not just the outward appearances. It’s about ensuring that all areas of our lives aren’t being neglected and we can be our best selves.
As Black women, self-care is of the utmost importance as we have to deal with so many microaggressions related to our gender, race, and sexual orientation. Managing these daily reminders of oppression and the effects of patriarchy can be exhausting. And on top of that, we are often the main breadwinners of our households, caregivers to sick loved ones, and climbing the ladder of success in our careers.
One of my favorite quotes about self-care comes from the great Audre Lorde who stated “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare” In a society that expects Black women to care for everyone else but themselves, it is important that we especially take moments to ourselves to recharge our energy. We aren’t expected to prioritize our own needs and health concerns. This is why we end up with higher mortality rates and chronic illnesses. It’s rare for us to practice self-care on a consistent basis and its even more rare for us to practice sexual self-care.
Sexual self-care is the focus on our overall sexual health and sexual pleasure. This includes our reproductive system, sensuality, and sexual behaviors. I like to see it simply as ensuring that our sexual needs are met.
With self-care encompassing so many areas of our life, it’s not uncommon that they overlap. When we work on one area of self-care, we may also indirectly work on another. Experiencing various forms of sexual pleasure have been found to improve moods, increase energy, reduce headaches and cramps, as well as boost confidence. Relieving emotional and physical tension allows us to show up as our most authentic selves and have better relationships with the people in our lives.
Here are just a few sexual self-care practices you can try to incorporate into your daily/weekly/monthly self care routines:
Masturbation- Solo sexual play is one of the best tools to get to know your body and it likes and doesn’t like. And of course, who doesn’t like a good orgasm?!?! Orgasms don’t necessarily have to be the goal of your solo play session but it can definitely enhance it. If you have never experienced an orgasm, and you want to experience one, it’s important to explore what some possible causes are. I always recommend going to your doctor first to rule out any physical or hormonal issues. Then if thats clear, find a sex therapist to help you explore any mental or emotional concerns that can be blocking your sensual blessings.
Self genital checks- take a hand mirror and explore all areas of your genitalia. You can include a chest check as well. Take note of any lumps, bumps, the direction of your hairs or its smoothness if you are hair free, its color or any other distinguishing marks. Learning how to recognize what is normal for you and what isn’t can help you spot any abnormalities that may be a symptom of other health concerns.
Body scrubs and massages- This can be done by you, your partner (s), or a professional. My favorite way to scrub and massage my body is at a Korean Spa. Korean Spas can be inexpensive and provide you with the space and tools to do your own scrubs or the professionals to do the scrubbing for you. If you do it yourself be sure to moisturize well afterwards with your favorite oils. That’s what really helps you feel like a pleasured woman.
Dancing in the mirror naked- Whenever a client comes to me with complaints about lowered self-esteem, body image concerns or low libido, I ask them “when was the last time you danced in the mirror naked?” Many of them just look at me and laugh but after they have gone home and tried it out for themselves, they always come back raving about how much it boosted their sensual energy. Not sure what type of music to groove to? Check out this playlist for some of my favorite songs to dance to in the mirror.
Express yourself!- Sexual expression focuses on ways we communicate our sexuality to the world as well as the sexual activities we engage in. Finding safe spaces to explore the sexual activities that you enjoy the most or want to learn more about can make you feel powerful, seen, and more confident in who you are. This can be attending munches, taking a burlesque style dance class, or putting on your favorite sexy outfit.