Let’s be honest: 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year for many of us. Though we may have started with a list of lofty goals and ambitious new year’s resolutions, most of these flew out the window in March—along with our travel itineraries and yearly planners.
If 2020 taught us nothing else, it’s that even the best laid plans go awry, as the saying goes. Couple that with the fact that less than 10% of resolutions are met, and we’re set up for a less-than-hopeful outcome.
So for this year, we recommend a different approach: throw out the resolutions and commit to the one thing that truly matters––self-love.
Why is self-love important?
Self-love has become sort of a buzzword in the realm of mindfulness and psychology. But what does it really mean, and why is it important?
Basically, self-love means taking those warm feelings you direct towards cherished family and friends and applying them inward: valuing your worth, accepting who you are, and showing yourself respect and kindness. It also means prioritizing your needs, appreciating and applying your talents and strengths, and taking care of yourself so you can reach your full potential and thrive.
When we love ourselves, we’re able to enjoy a healthy perspective on life. We value our needs and wants, and we strive to achieve our goals. We maintain healthy relationships, and we know how to set boundaries to avoid others taking advantage of us.
Having a strong sense of self-love helps us with our sexuality as well. We’re comfortable with our sexual needs and desires, and we’re open to exploring them with ourselves and others. Because we’re not hyper-focused on pleasing others to our own detriment, or worried about what our lover is thinking, we can relax and enjoy the moment.
What does self-love look like?
Self-love manifests in many ways. Here are some that we think are important.
- Accepting yourself for who you are
- Holding yourself in high esteem
- Striving to be your best self
- Acknowledging your flaws and areas of weakness
- Accepting and appreciating your body––for how it looks, but also for how it serves you––physically, sexually, and every way
- A healthy, fulfilling sex life
Self-love techniques and mantras to implement this year
If you haven’t been taught to love yourself, or if you’ve gone through some hardships in your life and are feeling low, achieving self-love can feel like an unattainable goal. The good news is that there are some simple things you can do to get started.
Be gentle with yourself.
Many of us are way too hard on ourselves. When things don’t go as planned, we mentally berate and beat ourselves up for every small mistake. We strive for a stringent perfectionism that we’d never demand of others.
This year, let’s try a gentler touch. Show yourself some kindness. Take the compassion you’d show to a friend who’s suffering—calm words of understanding; a dose of encouragement; heck, even a bouquet of flowers!—and extend it towards yourself. You can still acknowledge your feelings (e.g., “I’m mad I made that mistake!”) but then move beyond self-pity and wallowing into forgiveness and self-care. This ability to quickly bounce back and move forward will improve your mental outlook, strengthen your resilience, and improve your overall wellbeing.
Similarly, when feelings of self-doubt arise, acknowledge them but then remind yourself of the talents you possess and all the accomplishments that have gotten you to where you are today.
My pleasure counts!
Say it with me: “My pleasure counts!” Make this your new mantra.
And we’re not just talking about sexual pleasure, but anything that brings you satisfaction or joy.
Just like we mentioned in a previous article, Increase your arousal: 10 ways to get turned on more often, we recommend making a list of what fills you up inside and brings you joy––from the small, everyday things like the scent of coffee brewing to the large things, such as completing a lifelong goal.
Refer to this list often to reflect on how these pleasurable experiences make you feel. Engage all of your senses when doing this—how does each item on your list look, smell, or sound? Awakening our senses to everyday pleasures helps prime our sexual arousal as well.
Another key to improving your sexual arousal starts with self-acceptance, both mind and body.
We addressed the mind in the point above; now let’s focus on your body.
Consider the idea of showing your body some “radical self-love”, a term coined by feminist author Sonya Renee Taylor in her groundbreaking feminist movement and community, The Body Is Not An Apology. The idea is to love your body as is and exist in it unapologetically, despite the demands placed on us to desire a body based on societal standards of conventional beauty.
Here at Emjoy, we offer a Becoming body positive challenge to get you started on this journey of loving your body as it is. Audio sessions in this challenge include:
- Compliment yourself – Self-worth
- Nourishing your self-love – Body acceptance
- Thankful thinking – Neutralize with positives
- Does this still work for you? – Examine your beliefs
Once you’re moving closer to body acceptance, you’ll naturally become more comfortable with seeking pleasure with your body, for yourself and with others.
Start exploring your senses and discover a new world of pleasure with Emjoy’s Increase your daily pleasures challenge with the following sessions:
- What felt good – Pleasure memory
- Daily pleasures – Be in the moment
- Feel good with someone – Social pleasures
- Sensual pleasures – self-love
Now that you know how to find pleasure, you need to make time for it! Here are some ideas on how to do that, for those of us with ample free time to those of us with packed agendas.
Find 5 minutes to do a quick, de-stressing activity such as mindful breathing, stretching, reading, or enjoying some treats.
Schedule time into your day/week/month.
Let your family know it’s non-negotiable.
Get up early/stay up late.
Take a few extra minutes to relax and enjoy some quiet alone time.
Go for a walk/run.
Spend some time in nature.
Explore a new hobby or activity.
The new year is a great time to explore something new!
This doesn't have to be a fancy or lofty artistic endeavour. Even doodling on your planner or brainstorming ideas can help your brain fire off those synapses that make us feel better and more productive.
Take a bath.
Relax and refocus.
Read a good book.
We all need a break from reality once in a while. And audiobooks are great for the time-strapped among us––you can listen to it while driving, running errands, or even cooking.
Read or listen to erotica.
Speaking of books and stories, erotica is a fantastic way to escape and get in the mood. For those who prefer to listen to their stories, check out our article on audio erotica for more on this emerging medium.
Try out a new toy.
Have your sex toys become stale? It’s time to try something new! The world of sextech is exploding, and there’s so many options out there.
Close the orgasm gap once and for all.
You’ve probably heard of (and likely experienced) the orgasm gap––the fact that men climax much more often than women do during sex. Studies vary, but the most common statistic is that men orgasm around 90% of the time and women around 65% (with lesbian and bisexual women slightly higher). That’s a lot of wasted feel-good opportunity!
The key to your pleasure is clitoral stimulation––which, sadly, often isn’t the focus during sex. This year, commit to caring for your clitoris to achieve that ultimate O more often. Check out our article on the best sex positions for female orgasm, as well as the audio sessions on orgasm in the Emjoy app. There’s something for everyone: the lowdown on orgasms in general, how to handle orgasm anxiety, and what to do if you’ve never had an orgasm. Ring in the new year by turning that frustrated “Oh no!” into a purring “Oh yesss!”
So this year, throw out that resolution rulebook! May you find 2021 filled with a little less pressure and a lot more self-love!