Irving Najman, LMFT, CSAT
Updated: Apr 7, 2021
Healthy Sexuality is a concept that many of us were not taught, have misconceptions about it, or feel uncomfortable with. Growing up, perhaps sex was something that our families did not talk about. We often learned about sex on our own, or explored it with our friends, or acted out with anonymous people. Oftentimes, we had the negative belief that sex was shameful or dirty, especially if we were already engaging in compulsive, demoralizing sexual behaviors that went against our own values.
As we began having relationships with others, we brought all that baggage and negative messages about sex with us and we had no idea what healthy sexuality really was. Remember, we are Sexual Beings. It is in our DNA to feel attracted to another and procreate, but sex is not only about reproducing. Learning about our healthy sexuality can expand our understanding of how it touches many areas of our lives.
In subsequent paragraphs, we will explore how healthy sexuality is about attraction, connection, learning, communication, vulnerability, respect, responsibility, identity, and exploration. Healthy Sexuality is also about spirituality and sharing common values.
Every species on earth was designed to be attracted to members of their own group for that species to prosper and survive. Due to thousands of years of evolution & social interaction, humans are hard wired to be attracted to their own and not just for the purposes of procreation. People are attracted to other individuals for connection and a sense of belonging. They are also attracted to each other because they are physically and sexually aroused by them. So, healthy sexuality is about defining who you are sexually attracted to and who you want to connect with. It is about letting go of judgments and standards set by society of who you are supposed to be attracted to.
Healthy Sexuality is about communication. As mentioned earlier, sex was something that many families did not talk about or feel comfortable with. In your quest to learn more about healthy sexuality, you want to comprehend what sex is and feel comfortable communicating your desires to your partner. It is about being vulnerable with your partner and sharing your sexual fantasies together. Healthy Sexuality is also about intimacy, meaning finding non-sexual ways that you can physically express your feelings of attraction and desires to your partner, such as kissing, holding hands, cuddling, or giving massages to each other.
Two other important characteristics of having a healthy sexuality are respect and responsibility. Listening and respecting each other’s boundaries regarding sex are essential qualities of having a healthy sexuality. It is about being attuned to your partner’s verbal and non-verbal cues as to what limits he or she wants to incorporate into your sexual life.
Healthy Sexuality is also about consent and respecting your partner’s wishes to have sex or not to have sex. Being responsible when having sex with your partner is about using contraception, such as condoms or the pill. Respect and responsibility also play a role in your own sexuality by ensuring that any sexual acts you perform on yourself such as masturbation or self-stimulation are safe, sensual, and nurturing.
Healthy Sexuality is also about feeling comfortable with and appreciating your body, and being willing to do the same with your partner's body. It is about being able to touch your body and allow yourself to feel the sensations and pleasures that comes from nurturing your body without any shame or judgments. Healthy Sexuality is about accepting who you are and what you feel.
Sexual Identity is also an integral part of having a healthy sexuality. Embracing your sexual identity is a healthy sign of knowing who you are and finding joy & fulfillment in your sexual feelings. It is about acknowledging your individuality and how it relates to your sexuality. Healthy Sexuality is about refusing to conform to society’s norms regarding what your sexual preferences and identity are supposed to be.
Healthy sexuality is also about exploring. Just as there are numerous ways to enjoy sex, there are also several healthy ways to explore your sexuality, such as with yourself, or with your committed partner (opposite or same-sex gender), or with other individuals, or within a polyamorous relationship, as long as your consensual exploration is done safely.
Honoring and respecting your partner’s values and spirituality can also enhance your healthy sexuality. Remember, in addition to being Sexual Beings, we are also Spiritual Beings. It is about understanding that having sex with another person is a way for humans to connect their bodies with their souls. Having sex with someone you love and respect can be a spiritual experience. Healthy Sexuality is about respecting other people’s values, cultures, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.
Consequently Healthy Sexuality is not only about having sex – it is a very complex issue. Healthy Sexuality is about discovering the beauty and wonder of experiencing all aspects of your sexuality.
As you continue on your journey of self-discovery, honor and embrace your sexuality. Keep learning about your healthy sexuality and communicating it to your partner. Continue exploring your identity. Carry on expressing your feelings and appreciating your body. And most importantly, have Fun being Sexual!!