By Lily, Already Pretty Contributor
Welcome back, everyone! I hope the first part of this trek has been enlightening and helpful. I imagine there may have been a few times where you had to stop and rest. There were most likely times where you felt incredible with your progress and even times where you questioned what the heck you were doing.
If you are just joining us, welcome! To recap the first part, I discussed how the journey of being brave in the bedroom first begins with the self- you! In doing so, we can form a solid foundation to build upon. The foundation consists of self care, confidence, self esteem, body image, and knowing thyself. If you missed the first part, you can read it here.
It’s time to continue on, shall we?
Daring to be YOU
1). Authenticity & Vulnerability
Every time I ask what being brave in the bedroom looks like, I hear “leaving the lights on.” I couldn’t agree more. Allowing our authentic self to be seen in the flesh is one of the bravest and most intimate things we can do. That being said, it isn’t always the easiest because it can leave us feeling very vulnerable. There can be worry and fear that the person/people you are in front of may run away in horror or disgust; that they will reject you. Here is what I can say: they want to see you, they are there because they want to be. And if for some reason they run, this tells you that they don’t deserve to be with you.
Tip: if the lights are too much in the beginning, perhaps try using lamps with softer lighting or using candlelight. As you begin to get more comfortable with the light, I encourage you to allow more light and see how you feel and how it impacts the experience.
2). Self Exploration
Did you know that our pleasure is our responsibility? This means that if our sex life isn’t what we want it to be, it is on us to make changes. I remember the first time I heard this and truly processed this concept. It was so empowering and continues to be.
In order to obtain the pleasure we desire, we first must know what we like and don’t like. This also includes knowing every inch of our body and how we want body parts incorporated or not. This is where self exploration is necessary. When is the last time you got a hand mirror out and explored your lovely bits? Have you ever? Get to know your body, every part of it, especially your genitals.
As you do this, I also encourage you to explore self pleasure (most commonly referred to as masturbation). What arouses you? What turns you off? Self pleasure is a safe place where you can try all kinds of things to determine if they are things you enjoy or ever want to do with others. Remember, this time and space is yours to spend however you like, there is no right or wrong way to do it.
3). Self Advocacy
We are our best advocates and the only way to ensure that our needs will be met by others is to communicate them. Once we know what it is we need and desire, we then have to share them. It can sound like, “I really like to have my neck kissed and caressed, it really helps me get into the mood.” Verbalizing – or communicating our needs in other ways – can feel a little awkward at first, but like most things, with regularity it becomes more comfortable.
This concludes the second part of our trek. Again, I encourage you to begin to implement and incorporate these suggestions and notice how you feel once you do. Keep in mind that just like any other trek, you may need to sit down and take a rest. You may have to ask for help. You may surprise yourself in your abilities. Be gentle with yourself. Be open to the process and to the feelings that may emerge.
Next up, I will discuss sharing all of this with a partner.
As always, I welcome all feedback. I would love to hear how this journey is going for you and any suggestions you may add.
Until next time,
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Dr. Lily A. Zehner is a therapist who specializes in sex, intimacy, and relationships. Her private practice is located in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. She holds a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Human Sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy from Regis University.
She is passionate about living authentically and helping clients do the same. She believes that letting our real selves shine is the key to self-love and finding true intimacy with others. She believes all bodies are good, beautiful, and perfectly imperfect. At times she struggles with this about her own body, but self acceptance can be a challenging road and it’s one she’s willingly chosen.