BY TEAGAN WEBB ’19
This week I want to encourage readers to think and talk about sex outside of sexual partners, if only so the first time you ask yourself “What do I like in the bedroom?” is not literally in the bedroom. Sex-positive counselor Yana Tallon-Hicks will be conducting a workshop with MoHealth on Oct. 25 in Blanchard 318. I understand this may not be the week to feel positively about sex for some, and there is no shame in coming back to the topic later if that is what’s right for you.
But if you’re interested, this workshop is about sex toys, pleasure and consent. Sexual health traditionally concerns biological processes, but sex itself is far more than just physical. I believe the benefit of seeking sex counseling, even if not in a couple, is immense. Rarely do I consider talking about sex with therapists of mine, because it feels too intimate. But therapy is about mental health, and sexual health is absolutely a part of that, even if you aren’t in a relationship.
Both locally and on the internet, there are plenty of resources for sex-positive counseling. Yana Tallon-Hicks and the network of AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) are great places to start. You can search Western Massachusetts for therapists or workshops, but it’s also worthwhile to check out Tallon-Hicks’ TED talk. Sex positive counseling is about relearning your relationship with sexuality in a space where you can talk about other, less sexy things. It allows sex to be something we talk about outside of high-tension sexual situations with our partners.
I highly suggest also consulting Tallon Hicks’ blog, The V-Spot, and websites like Autostraddle for other boundary-defining tools and sex-normalizing language. If sexual exploration feels daunting with a partner, use the yes/maybe/no worksheet to work out pleasure and comfort on your own terms.
Even if you don’t go to the workshop, use this column as your push to start integrating sexual health into your mental self-care. It’s worth it!
“Never Fear” is a sexual health column run by Teagan Webb ’19. If you have a question you’d like answered, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.