A nationally respected sexologist and social impact entrepreneur, Rebecca Alvarez Story works with womxn, couples, and teens to help them navigate a variety of sexual wellness topics and find holistic ways to maximize their sexual agency. She is the founder of Bloomi, the first online multi-brand marketplace for intimacy to revolutionize the sexual wellness category.
2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. Stress, loss, and isolation have all negatively impacted our mental health and overall wellness, which, in turn, puts a strain on our relationships and sex lives. When we are dealing with high levels of anxiety and sadness, it's challenging to be "in the mood" or have the energy to do nice things for yourself or your partner. However, the silver lining to this challenging year is that we are all more in tune with our bodies, and our ability to reset will be more important than ever.
If you're in a more acutely aware state of low libido, there are a few simple steps you can take to help yourself get back on track. These acts will help you achieve your sex goals going into 2021, but also think more broadly about your intimate health and intimacy practices. Here are five tangible steps that will help you feel good and begin enjoying the sex life you want again in 2021.
Make the Switch to Clean Intimate Care Now
What we eat, breathe, and put on our skin matters–and what we put inside of our bodies matters just as much, if not more. Vaginal tissue and vulva skin can absorb chemicals into the bloodstream within seconds, and pH and microbiome are important to maintain but easy to disturb. If you want to enjoy a fulfilling sex life, the products you are using in intimate areas of the body matter. When you use clean intimate care products, you reduce the risk of infections, pH imbalance, hormone disruption, and other health issues that can negatively impact your sex life and sex drive.
Reflect on Your Intimacy Goals
Intimacy, I find, is usually at the core of what we crave in order to enjoy pleasure and sex. It refers to anything that fosters closeness or connection, and most of the time doesn’t involve being physical or having sex. Going into 2021, take a few days to think about how you want the new year to feel when it comes to sex and intimacy. Do you want more sensual moments with yourself? More frequent date nights? More pleasure? Deeper conversations? Fostering various types of intimacy will help you create a more holistic and deeper connection with yourself, your partner(s), and nurture your sex drive.
Types of Intimacy
- Physical intimacy: Enjoying physical touch, including massages, cuddling, sexual touch, hugging, or caressing.
- Emotional intimacy: Feeling comfortable sharing candid thoughts and feelings. There is effort and affirmation to emotionally care for someone’s feelings and create a safe space for honest dialogue.
- Intellectual intimacy: A cerebral connection where meaningful conversations about viewpoints, life goals, and beliefs are valued.
- Spiritual intimacy: A mutual admiration and respect of beliefs and purpose.
Give Yourself 30 Minutes of Pleasure and Healing Every Day
For anyone who wants to increase their libido, start by assessing your solo-sex practices. You are your best sex partner and should enjoy pleasure often—every day, in fact. Here, the homework is simple. Make a list of 30 things that make you feel good and set aside at least 30 minutes a day to do at least one of them. Sexual pleasure and masturbation should be part of some of those practices, but they don’t all need to be sexual or physical.
Check in with yourself before and after your solo time. Ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now?” or “What would make me feel better?”. Claudia Lira, LCSW and creator of Opal Moon Wellness, led a Bloomi Session called Restoring Balance, where she explained how stressful moments throughout the day can become stored in our bodies when we don’t complete the cycle of stress. We need time to heal and release stress in order to come back to baseline. Similarly, if you don’t check-in with yourself often and incorporate pleasurable things throughout the day, your pleasure feelings can be blocked in the body and more difficult to tap into.
Hack Your Desire Levels
There are two main ways our libido ramps up: spontaneous desire and responsive desire. Spontaneous desire is when you have an instant, out-of-the-blue desire for sex. In this model, you want sex, and the body quickly starts to heat up with our arousal process: blood flow, wetness, racing heart, and more. However, it’s difficult to experience this type when you are stressed or exhausted.
The second, and more common experience of desire during stressful times, requires you or your partner to be more intentional. Responsive desire is when you begin by physically arousing your body in order to get your blood pumping and build your desire for sex. Some ways you can begin the arousal process include things like: massage (try giving yourself a sensual breast massage or asking your partner for a full body massage), reading or listening to erotica, making yourself a delicious cheese plate with wine to arouse your taste buds, or playing a date night game with your partner to stimulate new conversations.
Get the Tools You Need for Better Sex
This is the part where I shamelessly tell you to go shopping for yourself or send a wishlist to your partner. If you want to explore intimacy in new ways, connect more deeply or try new things, you’re going to need inspiration and tools. Be proud to buy a lubricant, arousal oil, toy, book or anything that will motivate you to build intimacy.