It’s a New Year, and as your normal Sexpert is otherwise occupied, it’s a new columnist at the helm here. I did ask them what they wanted to touch upon, they gave me a few quick notes, and I’ll try to stick with where they wanted to go. Don’t worry, dear readers, they’ll be back next issue (and even more so in February – I’ll get back to that later).
As I’m sure is discussed throughout this issue, this is the time of year for resolutions; ‘New Year, New You’. And while I’m sure they all mean well, and though I’m not saying you shouldn’t look at this time of year as a prime opportunity to improve your life in whatever grand way you see fit, I will say that you may be looking at this the wrong way – it’s not ‘New Year, New You’ it’s ‘New Year, Love You’. We, as a generation, as a society, tend to look at ourselves more negatively than we do positively, and spend decades of time on anxiety over our appearance, on changing ourselves, and to that I say: fuck that, love yourself.
If you find yourself among the legions now descending on the Mardyke for the first time outside of exam time, in brand new (or seldom worn) gym wear, then I salute you. The first cut is the deepest, and let me tell you, the muscle-pain after that first gym session is some of the worst pain you’ll feel, but you’ve got to move through it…or don’t. What’s important is you take a look yourself, and find what you is the real you; find what ‘you’ you can love, and work towards that version of you.
This attitude, of learning to love yourself, is an important philosophy to try to apply to your sex life. When talking about self love in the realm of sexuality, it’s not just about masturbation, though that’s also quite important. Generally, in the world, anything about sex is spoken about in hushed tones, if at all; Ireland is especially guilty of this quite frankly mortal sin, with sexual education being lacklustre, if present at all, in Irish schools. Unless it’s illegal, sex is nothing to be ashamed about. Use this ‘New Year, New You’ feeling to think about your attitude to sex & sexuality, and figure out what works for you. Maybe try out some new (safe) things in the bedroom with a consenting partner of your preferred gender; maybe buy that pair of vibrating underwear you’ve been eyeing in Ann Summers; maybe realise that you’re actually gay, or bi, or pan, or ace; maybe you’re a virgin. Sex positivity isn’t just about having lots of sex, it’s being comfortable in your sexual life and feeling no undue shame.
So if you must make a new year’s resolution, make it a pledge to love yourself, in all meanings of the phrase.
Glossary of Sexual Identities
Straight: heterosexual, ie sexual attraction to the opposite gender.
Gay/Lesbian: homosexual, ie sexual attraction to the same gender.
Bi: bisexual, ie sexual attraction to more than one gender.
Pan: pansexual, ie sexual attraction regardless of gender.
Ace: asexual, ie lack of, or a diminished level, sexual attraction.
Queer: a reclaimed slur, now used as an umbrella term for all members of the extended LGBT community.
Cis: cisgender, not a sexual identity, but often confused with ‘straight’. A cis person identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth.
Trans: transgender, also not a sexual identity. A trans person identifies as a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth.