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Cory Silverberg

Three Notes to Yourself on Sexual Resolutions

By January 1, 2011

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January 1st isn't the only New Year's Day in my life, and sometimes, just like other holidays, it can feel a bit forced. I know this is true for lots of people who have other calendars and other new years rituals, but I also know that for lots of us, it's hard not to start thinking this time of year about the year that has passed and the year to come.

I don't know how many people include sex in their new years resolutions. They're usually there in mine, when I make them. And so I thought I'd share one way of developing some sexual resolutions if you've never done it before (or even if you have but are looking for new inspiration).

Resolve to Treat Yourself
Particularly in the west, our sexual focus tends to be on being a great lover for someone else. It's all about making your partner go wild in bed, finding their "secret spot", or compromising your own desires to meet their needs. What these prescriptions lack, among other things, is balance. Take a few minutes to think about how you treat yourself sexually. When you think of your own sexual desires, do you judge yourself harshly? Do you feel embarrassed or ashamed about the things you want? Whether or not your sexual interests are something that can or should be played out, they are yours, and they do not make you a bad person.

Think about what you're missing in your life, what you'd like to be experiencing more and less of in 2011. This might be something very specific (like a sexual activity you want to do, or want to stop doing) it might be general (like wanting to feel more, or have more time to daydream and fantasize). Now, write it down. And the next time you're bored, or feeling stuck as to what to do next, find that paper and read what you wrote. It may or may not still be something you want to pursue, but remembering and reading our own desires can be a great kickstart.

Resolve to Treat Others
How do you want to treat others sexually this year? Others might be partners, or strangers, it might be your kids or your parents, whoever you interact with directly, when you interact with them around issues of sex or gender, think about the power you have to choose how you're going to treat them in those interactions. Thinking about this resolution I immediately think of Kate Bornstein's writing and work. One of Kate's prime directives is that we should all try not to be mean. It's not as clear cut a value as it sounds at first, but the questions it begs are, I think, a great way to start being more thoughtful about the way we treat others.

Think about how you'd like to interact with others when it comes to sexuality and gender. Are you someone who feels uncomfortable with the topic and wishes you could be more comfortable? Do you think of yourself as an over sharer? Maybe you'd like to have more patience, or give people a little less of your time. Maybe you want more boundaries, or not so many. Take some time to think about how you'd like your interactions about sex to be different this year, and write down a few sentences or bullet points that describes your wishes for the coming year. Then the next time you're about to go into a social situation where you think to topic, or possibility of, sex is there, pull out the paper and read over what you've written.

Resolve to Communicate about Sex
Thinking back on 2010 what strikes you most about the ways we talked about sex and gender? What do you think of how these topics are discussed in the mainstream media? If you engage in life online (via Facebook, twitter, etc...) how do you feel sexual topics are talked about in those settings?

Whether your sexual conversations are with yourself in the shower, with a family member or partner, with co-workers, or with the general public via a blog, Facebook page, twitter account, or more formalized media outlet, think about what you'd like the sexual conversations in your life to be more and less about, and write it down. Then the next time you're about to start a sexual conversation, refer back to what you wrote. Is the way you're about to start communicating about sex in line with your wishes for the new year?

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