Healthy Sexual Expression During Covid
The disease Covid-19 needs little explanation. It has affected nearly every country on the globe. However, Covid-19 has also influenced life on a micro level. People are forced to stay at home, which influences finances, parenting, and social connections. However, Covid-19 also affects sexual expression. If you’re someone who cares about sexual satisfaction, this article is for you. Specifically, this article is going to discuss ways to have healthy sexual expression during Covid-19.
What is Healthy Sexual Expression?
Before going forward, it’s important that everyone is on the same page. Therefore, what exactly is “healthy sexual expression?” Sexual expression is the behaviors that stem from a person’s sexual attitudes or beliefs. In short, it’s how a person conducts themselves sexually. So what’s “healthy” sexual expression? Healthy sexual expression is engaging in activities that do nurture and support your emotional, mental, or physical health. Here are some examples of healthy sexual expression.
- Expressing your sexual boundaries before sex happens
- Obtaining and giving clear consent
- Speaking up during sex when something feels uncomfortable
- Asking what your sexual partner want/needs
- Masturbating in a personal setting
And here are some examples of unhealthy sexual expression.
- Having sex when you don’t really want to
- Spending more money on cam performers than you’re comfortable with
- You or your partner ignoring your desire to have sex with barriers (e.g., condoms, dental dams)
- Spending hours looking at porn at night instead of sleeping
- Having sex when only one person is intoxicated
- Breaking promises or relationship boundaries (e.g., infidelity, lying about using porn)
Those were simply some examples; many more exist. Ultimately, healthy sexual expression does not present substantial risk to your emotional, mental, or physical well-being. Despite some misconception, the same goes for BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, Sadism and Masochism) and most kinks. Though some of the activities may contain some risk, healthy BDSM mitigates harm through clear consent, communication, and other factors.
Determining What’s Healthy
After discussing what healthy sexual expression is, how can you determine healthy sexual expression? One important thing to do is to focus on the facts. Pay attention to what’s objectively happening. This can include the structure of sex, its frequency, as well as the specific behaviors. Imagine that you’re creating an objective list of your sexual behaviors. How would you feel about what you wrote? Here’s an example.
- I masturbate 3-4 times a week
- I spend about 30 minutes masturbating
- I hook up with the same person once or twice a week
- Sometimes, we get high before having sex
- I feel more comfortable waiting for a sex act to be over than to express my discomfort with it in the moment
In addition to being objective, place someone else into your shoes to determine your sexual health. Essentially, if your best friend were doing all of the same things that you were, would you worry about them? Would certain behaviors seem excessive, or would you celebrate their sexual expression? After you have asked yourself certain questions, what determined your answers? Let’s use the above list to make this more concrete. Masturbating three to four times a week can be a form of healthy sexual expression if it’s desired and within the person’s control. Meanwhile, not speaking up during sex can disrespect the person’s boundaries, making the act unhealthy.
To help determine your sexual health, you can also focus on your feelings. Specifically, concentrate on the emotions that come up before, during, and after your sexual behaviors. If you feel excited before the activity, aroused during it, and satisfied afterwards, you are likely expressing yourself in a healthy way. Here are some emotions to consider.
Excited, Happy, Disappointed, Irritated, Anxious, Content, Eager, Lustful, Melancholic, Embarrassed, Guilt, Proud, Enthusiastic, Curious, Anger, Fearful, Shame, Disgusted, Elated
And here is an example of how the assessment could look.
Activity: Having Sex with a New Person During Covid
Feelings Before: excited, apprehensive, eager
Feelings During: elated, ecstatic, passionate
Feelings After: relief, satisfied, worried
Keep in mind that this assessment is subjective, and therefore limited. For instance, a person could feel intense guilt engaging in a healthy sexual activity, and vice versa. Therefore, focusing on the facts, examining your feelings, and externalizing your situation are all three strategies to help determine your healthy sexual expression. Now that you have an understanding of what healthy sexual expression is, the next article will guide you on how to apply healthy sexual expression during covid. If you need further assistance on determining your sexual expression, schedule a session with a therapist at www.therapyinphiladelphia.com.