Our sexualities are as diverse as they are complicated. Ever fluctuating and evolving through our lives and experiences, your sexuality can affect all areas of your life, especially when neglected. There are so many ways to explore and engage with your capacity for sexual feelings other than partnered sex.
Of course masturbation is at the top of the list. Masturbation can be beneficial no matter your situation, sexuality, gender, or experience. This mood boosting, libido enhancing activity can help relieve tension and stress while boosting sleep patterns and productivity. Never tried it before? It’s never too late to create a bond with yourself via self pleasure. Furthermore, your relationship status doesn’t have to dictate if you masturbate or not. Your choice to pleasure yourself says nothing about your relationship, only about your relationship to yourself. Check out our article “16 Reasons to Masturbate” for more information.
Further Exploration: Expand Your Masturbation Habits
Since most habits around masturbation are formed within our early years, it can be hard to branch out and ‘mix it up’ if you’re used to making yourself climax a certain way. However, expanding play outside your comfort zones can have its benefits. First off, the power to come in many different ways aids our needs for diversity and excitement during sex. It also allows you to have a range of options when trying to orgasm with a partner. Pushing your masturbation boundaries also allows to discover new ways of feeling pleasure. Never used a vibrator? Treat yourself to one. Can only come in a certain position? Try gradually changing your position during masturbation. Want to explore orgasm via different erogenous zones other than your genitalia? Try mixing nipple or anal stimulation into your next self-love session.
2. Erotic Art
If something exists sexually, it’s surely been explored in some art form. Whether it be a painting, music, poetry, or photography, erotic art can be a great way to explore sexuality through someone else's lenses (literally). Wandering around most museums, especially contemporary, you’ll usually stumble upon something of the erotic nature. Better yet, make a special trip to museum that solely celebrates sexuality. A few in the US include the Museum of Sex in NYC, the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach, the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago, or the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas. If a museum trip is a little out of your way, a stroll through the erotic art section of your local bookstore will suffice.
Further Exploration: Create Your Own Erotic Art
Find something you really enjoy in the world of erotic art? Contribute your narrative and create your own sexy work. Once you distance yourself from the pressure of having to create a masterpiece, exploring your sexuality via an art form can be very freeing. Have a fantasy you’ve yet to explore in the real world? Paint what that would look like. Want to relive a special sexy experience you hold dear? Write an inspired poem. Want to honor your body for taking you on such erotic adventures? Capture your beauty in a picture. Remember these expressions can be personal, meaning you don’t have to show them to anyone if you don’t want to.
Porn can often get a bad rap. While it shouldn’t be a substitute to sexual education nor a standard to hold your own sexual experiences to, porn is an amazing form of entertainment that can give us insight as well as pleasure. Pornography allows us to explore fantasies via performers and, if selected ethically and appropriately, can support diversity of sexual narratives. Do you watch porn? What kind of porn do you enjoy? Where is your porn coming from and who makes it? Are you wanting to branch out into new areas of pornography?
Even though the internet is overrun with pornography, it may require a little more digging and opening your wallet to explore some ethically made porn. Some great resources include Frolicme, Lust Cinema, X Confessions, TrenchCoat X, Pink Label TV, and Crash Pad Series. Furthermore, Patreon and Findrow are great ways to support independent porn makers and erotic content creators. If print is more your thing, check out the amazing Math Magazine.
Further Exploration: Porn In Public Or Creating Your Own.
If your overly comfortable in your porn watching routine, you need to mix it up! A great way to broaden your erotic horizons if to watch porn or erotica in a public or communal space. Many independent or indie theaters have special weekly or monthly erotic screenings. There are also many erotic film festivals, like Dan Savage’s “Hump Fest”, the New York Erotic Film Festival, the New York Queer Experimental Film Festival, Cinekink, SF Transgender Film Festival, the Berlin Porn Film Festival, and many more.
Another way to explore porn as it relates to your own sexuality is to make your own! If this peaks your interest, don’t think you need to create an elaborate production. Your smartphone and your imagination are all you really need. Film yourself masturbating to visually discover the ways you enjoy pleasure or plan an erotic film where you explore a fantasy you’ve yet to try.
4. Read about your sexuality
There are so many books about sex, love, sexuality, sexual experiences, and gender, you’re bound to find a few out there to suit your needs. From how-to guides to memoirs, there is a plethora of information at your fingertips via the world of literature. Diving into a book can be a great way to discover fantasies and well as gain knowledge about experiences your looking to try. My personal favorites are “Sexual Intelligence” by Marty Klein, “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, ‘The Purity Myth” by Jessica Valenti, “Sex for One” by Betty Dodson, “Transgender 101” by Nicholas Teich, “Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme”, “The Ultimate Guide to Kink” by Tristan Taormino, “Perv” by Jesse Bering, and “The Happy Hooker” by Xaviera Hollander.
Further Exploration: Read About Other Sexuality Or Book Clubs
Educating yourself about someone else's sexual experiences or outlook can act as a mirror to your own. No only will it expand your knowledge, reading about sexuality other than your own can enhance empathy, understanding, and ultimately your ideas of inclusion. It can be especially enlightening reading from the viewpoint of your partner or people your attracted to or sleeping with. Creating a book club is also a great way to further explore gaining sexual knowledge via literature. Processing and discussing books together can help expand concepts you may have missed, give input on circumstances you don’t understand fully, and create a sense of community around ideas.
5. Attend A Sex Party
The popularity of sex parties are on the rise, as singles and couples take their sex out of the bedroom and into clubs, parties, hangouts, meet ups, and kinky venues. Not only is this a great way to enjoy a little exhibitionism or voyeurism, sex parties allow like minded people to meet and mingle in a safe, consensual, and sexy atmosphere. Having sex in a shared space can be a scary thought for some, therefore most parties encourage first timers to observe before they dive in. Some clubs and venues even offer kissing or flirting parties for a newbie to dip their toes in. Sex parties happen all over the US, while most permanent venues are located in large metropolitan areas. For more tips on sex party etiquette check out our blog “So you want to have group sex”.
Further Exploration: Participate, Explore Kink Parties, Or Throw Your Own
Once you’ve checked out the scene and become comfortable, expand on your participation or find an event that suits your particular desires. Once you get to know a few people, you’ll most likely be invited or informed of other parties. There’s a party out there for every fantasy. Want to try BDSM? Kink and fetish parties are a great way to learn new skills as long term players love to share. Into feet? Foot worship parties allow those who love feet and those who love the attention to mingle and meet. Turned on by nature? Forest hangouts and eco-sexual events combine the fun of a sex party with the pleasure of the outdoors. Can’t find a party? Consider throwing your own! The book “The Ethical Slut” is a must for further exploring sex parties.
6. Take a class
Like any other skill, developing skills around sexuality can benefit by taking a class. There are many classes, demonstrations, panels, speakers, and lectures to suit all needs and tastes. Some good places to look are at local sex stores, colleges & universities, social centers, and via class finding websites. Find educators via social media or sign up for the mailing lists of your favorite authors and speakers to keep informed about upcoming events.
Further Exploration: Attend A Workshop
Much like a class, a workshop usually focuses on a skill, however offers you more of a ‘hands on’ experience. Workshops can be great way to expand your knowledge, learn as you go, and also make new friends with similar interests. Hands on workshops are common in more metropolitan areas, but for those living outside the big cities, weekend getaway workshops are a great way to immerse yourself in a new sexy skill.
7. See A Therapist
Let’s face it, most of us could benefit from giving our sexuality some support. With astonishing rates of sexual violence in the US, combined with harsh cultural stereotypes, and topped off with sexual based discrimination, many of us deal with some combination of shame, fear, and/or unhealthy expectations around sex. Spending some time talking to a therapist or social worker about your sexuality and past sexual experiences may allow you to process, learn, and evolve your understanding of your own sexuality. The right therapist can help guide us past so of the road blocks that are preventing us to enjoy sex fully, engaging in a relationship, or developing your self esteem. Seeing a mental health professional is never a sign of defeat - it’s a positive commitment to yourself.
Further Exploration: Join A Support Group
Finding community via support groups can be an amazing aid in nurturing your sexuality. Sharing experiences with people who truly understand your circumstances can be empowering, enlighten, and informative. There are many meetups defined by someone’s sexuality, from their sexual preferences, sexual experiences, physical boundaries, and personal preferences. Meetup.com can be a helpful places to find these groups as well as the events sections of your local clinics, and community centers.
8. Move Your Body
The essence of sexual pleasure is a positive body image. Engaging your body and moving it in ways that feel good is vital in creating and maintaining this positive image. Finding the kind of exercise or daily movement that works for you can mean some trial and error, however it’ll be worth the hunt. Some people enjoy the endorphin burst of high impact cardio, others enjoy the slow burn of weight lifting. Getting out in nature by taking hikes may be right for you, or creating a spiritual connection via yoga might hit the sweet spot. Either way, try to incorporate your favorite ways to move your body into your routine to avoid it seeming like a chore or an afterthought.
Further Exploration: Make Your Movement Erotic
Are you interested in exploring sexual sensation via movement and breath? There are a few methods that can take your body affirming activities to the next orgasmic level. Tantra maybe the most commonly known method and can be adapted for every experience. Read Barbara Carellas’s amazingly inclusive book “Urban Tantra” as a starting point. Orgasmic yoga, naked yoga, and energy orgasm meditation are so great avenues to explore new ways to feel and enhance pleasure.