Never Fear: Self-care

BY TEAGAN WEBB ’19

Given the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford during the hearings for Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh this week, I have had trouble feeling sex positive. I know many others have found this disturbing news distracting and retraumatizing. I don’t feel like it’s appropriate or genuine this week to talk about how to have satisfying sex. This week, I’d like to discuss self-protection and self-care.

I know that common narratives of self-care include buying face masks and drinking wine with friends. Both activites I definitely suggest. Sometimes after an intense week, I do just need to find joy and solace wherever I can.

But I’d like to also discuss ways to keep yourself from needing to selfsoothe with face masks and wine. These tactics are absolutely important in moments of intensifying panic, but how can we avoid that panic? Uncomfortable situations regarding sexual trauma will not always be easily avoidable given the content of our news cycle. I have found that a certain level of selfprotection from this content has freed me up from painful distractions to the healing process. Some people find engagement in social activism to be very fulfilling. I am personally not in the head space to engage in that and also be a happy, successful student.

Finding and communicating your discomfort is the most essential aspect of self-protection. It can be difficult to say, “I’d like to change the movie/conversation/physical touch,” so my previous partner and I would often make an easier game of it. Whenever I felt worried about my stress level regarding the sexual content of something I simply and playfully said, “less.” You are allowed to say “less” in the form of word blocking or unfollowing on social media. You are allowed to not want every CNN update if getting them means that you will have to spend double the time trying to deescalate. For me, learning to communicate successfully about my trauma has been the most substantial sign that I am healing.

“Never Fear” is a sexual health column run by Teagan Webb ’19. If you have a question you’d like answered, send it to neverfearmhc@gmail.com.

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