Understanding and Exploring Your Sexuality: A Holistic Perspective
By Beatriz Martinez
reviewed by amadou barrow
The process of exploring one’s sexuality is unique to each individual, and it’s essential for our health that we are connected with who we are, as well as aware of what we enjoy and what we don’t enjoy. Exploring our sexuality is not something we do only during certain periods of our lives, such as initial sexual encounters in our early years; it’s a continuous process. Even after having had sexual experiences, your personal preferences and desires may change over time. And you are the only one capable of discovering what works for you to have a healthy sexual life.
Feeling self-conscious or guilty
Often, we stay in our comfort zone when we don’t feel capable of trying something new, as it feels safer. But our comfort zone can evolve over time, as it changes along with our life experiences. Thus, if we challenge ourselves to explore and change with it, we can welcome new and unknown experiences that will become our future comfort zone. In other words, our comfort zone is something we create and not something we are given.
Regarding sexuality, challenging yourself and trying new things will allow you to truly know your body and desires. However, you may very well find different obstacles along the way.
- Taboos: Sexuality is a taboo in many societies, in which talking about sex is not a common topic of conversation. If one doesn’t feel comfortable talking about it with others, it may even feel inappropriate for some to engage in inner dialogue about sex or fantasize about experiences they would like to have with their partner.
- Lack of information: Because sexuality is still taboo in parts of the world, many may not be well-informed from a young age about how sexuality influences overall health. Because of this, when it comes to exploring our bodies or our personal desires, some might feel guilty. Nevertheless, it is important to deeply know ourselves, including that part of ourselves that involves our sexuality. This exploration allows us to ultimately have a deeper understanding of our identity and sexual orientation. These are all important aspects that need to be addressed to achieve a meaningful, purposeful, and joyful life.
- Self-confidence: The way we feel about our body and personality can also influence our sexual journey. The fear of rejection, insecurity about one’s body image, or feeling too shy, for example, can prevent us from fully exploring our sexuality.
Communication is vital
Communicating personal concerns and needs is vital in order to enjoy the positive outcomes of a fully explored sexual life. It might feel challenging to talk about sexuality, but being open to healthy ways to explore, discover, share and trust ourselves and others will improve your wellness and the quality of our relationships.
It is important to share any concerns you may have with people in your life that have a positive influence on your attitude towards sexuality and relationships. Of course, not everything needs to be shared, and you can decide what you think you should keep private at any time. Your sexuality can be a deeply personal and unique experience for you. In any case, discovering and communicating what brings you healthy sexual fulfillment can be beneficial for you and your relationships.
What can you do to explore your sexuality?
- Journaling: Writing allows us to explore our emotions. Communicating with our inner self enables us to deeply connect with our minds and bodies. Sometimes we are not aware of our feelings and thoughts until we write them down.
- Tantra yoga: This practice can enable us to deeply connect with and fully understand ourselves. By reducing stress and anxiety and promoting a better understanding of yourself, you can improve your confidence and boost your sexuality.
- Podcasts and books: There are different sources of information about sexuality and how to explore it. Even though it is a personal process, external help from professionals on the topic could be just what you need if you’re having trouble going it alone.
- Experts: Speaking with an expert can improve your understanding of sexuality and how to develop healthy sexual habits and practices. The field of sexual health is vast, and professional guidance and support can be a great help to your sexual health journey.
Healthy sexuality is a very personal process that requires emotional awareness and sometimes courage. You might already feel and discover sexual fulfillment with a consenting partner. Or you may have others help you discover your sexuality. Neither of these scenarios may be enough to completely answer all of your questions. Your desires and preferences are really intimate, something only you can experience with your body and emotions; aspects that others cannot know as fully as you do.
I am a journalist specialised in international relations, and writing is my absolute passion. I translate my knowledge and feelings into words, a process that has become my profession and at the same time my personal healing practice. I believe that being curious about what surrounds us is the key to educating ourselves and to further being able to express it to others. I love reading and am mostly interested in politics, human rights, social movements, and the passionate world of health.
My areas of expertise center around climate change and global health; Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH); environmental and occupational health; health education and promotion; and health risk communications. I have experience as a lecturer at both university level in the area of health psychology, health education & promotion, water supply & sanitation, biostatistics, epidemiology and research methodology. I have published several scientific manuscripts in various reputable journals on maternal & child health morbidities and mortalities in LMIC settings. I am a passionate digital health enthusiast with a special focus on holistic wellbeing at all levels.
Crespo-Fernández, E. (2018). Taboos in speaking of sex and sexuality. The Oxford Handbook Of Taboo Words And Language, 40-60. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198808190.013.3
Onyehalu A. S. (1983). Inadequacy of sex knowledge of adolescents: implications for counselling and sex education. Adolescence, 18(71), 627–630.
Publishing, H. (2021). Improving your self-esteem can improve your sex life – Harvard Health. Retrieved 10 March 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/improving-your-self-esteem-can-improve-your-sex-life
UNESCO (2018). International technical guidance on sexuality education: an evidence-informed approach. Retrieved 10 March 2021 from https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000260770