A little while ago I had the surprising realization that as of now, I have been sex free for 2014. This is the result of a journey I started since being single for over a year, the longest I’ve been single since I was 19.
Honestly, it’s been good for me. I feel more empowered, sexier, and emotionally healthier than ever before. A former relationship serialist, learning to be on my own and taking care of myself has been an invaluable experience. In this past year, I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself using yoga philosophy and learning how to treat myself and others with integrity, honesty, love, and mindfulness. As someone who has a history of tumultuous relationships, I wanted to work on myself so that I could go into my next relationship with a healthy, sustainable, and happy mindset.
Through this journey of practicing self-love as a single person, I’ve learned a lot of lessons. The biggest has been that sex is actually a bigger deal than we make it out to be. If the 20s are about sexual exploration and no-strings-attached relationships, the 30s are about making it count and investing in yourself and your relationships. As I near my 30s and reflect on my sexual experiences from a more yogic perspective I have a different viewpoint. Here’s what I’ve learned on my journey so far:
1. Keep your value high.
Sex is a super intimate experience. When you give yourself to someone carelessly or without a real intention, you essentially start lowering your own self value and perception of quality. When you don’t know someone that well or aren't invested in them, you're spreading your energy thin and making yourself less available to fully give to someone who is better suited to you. Save your energy for someone who is really worth it. You’ll increase your own sexual value and have more to offer.
2. Casual sex is not a valid way of getting to know someone.
In the dating world, sex can be as casual as getting dinner or grabbing drinks. What if the expectations were different? What if people got to know each other first and then had sex based on personal chemistry instead of the other way around? Even the most intense sexual connections can fade over time, so getting to know someone can really help build a healthy foundation for a long term sexual relationship. Having that emotional connection is what can propel excitement and genuine long lasting intimacy versus casual sex with someone that you barely know.
3. Create strong boundaries and find ways to communicate effectively.
Sex is not a show and it’s not a competition. It’s a union of two people. Both parties should be equally active participants and feel satisfied by the experience. Sex doesn’t have to look like a porn to be good and boundaries and comfort levels should be discussed gently, carefully, and with respect. It also takes time to get to know someone and learn how they communicate, so, if you don’t get a really good vibe from someone, don’t have sex with them. If you don’t like them in conversation, chances are you probably won’t like them in bed either.
4. Sex does not solve loneliness.
If you're a single person and feeling lonely, having sex with someone may seem like a great solution. In reality, having sex because of loneliness creates an imbalance: you're taking yourself out of the moment and acting for selfish reasons which isn't fair to either you or your partner. Instead of sleeping with the next available person, try calling a friend, join a club, go on a walk, read a book, or go volunteer. There are tons of ways to connect with other people in meaningful ways besides sex. Learning how to deal with yourself is the best way to be happy and healthy whether you're already in a relationship or preparing for your next one.
5. Keeping your numbers low eliminates awkwardness, drama, and weirdness.
If you keep your numbers low, chances are you'll also minimize the likelihood of making regretful decisions. Being mindful of who you sleep with helps eliminate potentially bad situations down the road. For example, you may want to sleep with your cute co-worker for fun, but what if one day you need that person for a reference, or they become your boss? Also, avoiding these types of situations clears up more head space to pursue more productive things like kicking ass at work or picking up a new hobby you've always wanted to try.