Relationship Guide Review

Understanding Sex & Sexuality

You’re talking about it, reading about it, and watching it wherever you go. But a lot of what you read, see, and hear about sex and sexuality is inaccurate, confusing, or even harmful. A basic understanding of sex and sexuality can help you sort out myth from fact and help you make good decisions about your sexual health. I grew up in the church, and I can still remember those sessions when our elders would explain what sex and sexuality was all about and in my opinion it honestly sounded like a task and was very boring.

Skin

Our sexuality affects who we are and how we express ourselves. There’s a wide range of how people experience their sexuality. Some people are very sexual, while others experience no feelings of sexual attraction at all. Your sexuality may be influenced by your family, culture, religion, media, friends, and experiences. No matter how important sexuality is to you, we all have thoughts, desires, attractions, and values that are unique.

We grow up in societies that see sex for only persons who are out there, whatever that means, which is indeed very sad. I was surprised when on my honeymoon my wife when we were finally alone, married with no guilt, just curled up and fell asleep, while on the other hand I was good and ready.

That was when my eyes opened and I got to realize that there is a big misunderstanding about sex and sexuality and we should start talking.

The more you know about sex and sexuality, you make better decisions in enhancing your life in general, because this will not only affect your performance in the bedroom but will be observed in the way you work, your schooling and your worship.

So here are some things you should explore:

  • Your body, including your sexual and reproductive anatomy and body image — how you feel about your body
  • Your biological sex — male, female, or intersex
  • Your gender — being a girl, boy, woman, man, or transgender, or genderqueer
  • Your gender identity — feelings about and how you express your gender
  • Your sexual orientation — who you’re sexually and/or romantically attracted to
  • Your desires, thoughts, fantasies, and sexual preferences
  • Your values, attitudes, and ideals about life, love, and sexual relationships
  • Your sexual behaviours — including masturbation

Yeah I know, our religion shy away from these topics, but the more we know about who we are and how to function normally with the information we have at our disposal the more fulfilling our lives will be.

Reproductive and Sexual Anatomy

Couple holding hands with arms outstretched outdoors

Reproductive and sexual anatomy includes the external and internal sex organs and the internal reproductive organs. Women and men have different sexual anatomies.

It’s “normal” to be different — one woman’s sexual anatomy will look different from another woman’s, and one man’s sexual anatomy will look different from another man’s. Reproductive and sexual anatomy (also known as sex anatomy) includes both the genitals that are visible outside the body as well as the internal sex and reproductive organs.

Many people have questions about sexual anatomy. In fact, the most common questions sex educators answer are about sex anatomy. People — especially young people — are often curious where certain body parts are, how those body parts work, and if their body parts are normal. Kids do say the darndest things, “boys have a penis, and girls have a vagina”. I remember that movie.

Understanding Sexual Pleasures

Man kissing girlfriend during picnic

Sexual pleasure is the feeling we get when we are sexually aroused. The sexual response cycle is the pattern of changes in our bodies and in what we feel when having sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure enhances health and well-being. Many of us find that sexual pleasure is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. But there are a lot of mixed messages about sexual pleasure in our culture.

So we may not have a clear understanding of how it works for us or for our partners. We may have many questions: What is happening to my body when I’m feeling sexual? Do all people experience sexual pleasure in the same ways? How is a woman’s experience of sexual pleasure different from a man’s? And just what is sexual pleasure, exactly? Here are some answers.

The erogenous Zones

African American man kissing girlfriend's hand in restaurant

Our erogenous zones are the areas of our skin that are likely to make us aroused when touched. For example, our sex organs are very sensitive to touch — especially the glans of the clitoris or penis. Touching other places on our skin can also be arousing. Other erogenous zones may include our arms, backs, buttocks, ears, feet, fingers, legs, necks, nipples, and vagina, and for some the toes for example.

Any place on our skin can be an erogenous zone. But not all of us have the same erogenous zones. We all have different likes and dislikes about where we like to be touched. So our erogenous zones are unique.

Sex Cycle

Close-Up Of Couple Feet In Bed

The sexual response cycle is the pattern of the way we react to sexual stimulation — even while we’re dreaming. There are five steps in the cycle. They are

  • Desire
  • Excitement
  • Plateau
  • Orgasm
  • Resolution

Some or all of the steps are reached each time we have a sexual experience — with ourselves or with another person. But we can stop at any step. We do not need to complete the cycle to be sexually fulfilled.

We may not be aware of every change that happens in our bodies during sexual response. We experience each of these changes to different degrees, depending on the unique nature of our bodies. And how much our bodies respond varies with our health and age and from one sexual experience to another. For example, women may have less lubrication as they get older or if they are taking certain medicines. This is what generally happens during each phase of sexual response:

Sexual Pleasures are healthy.

Partially clothed young woman straddling young man in car

Sexual pleasure is very important to our emotional and physical health and well-being. If done correctly and taken seriously you can experience what some persons call the bliss.

A healthy sex life — with or without a partner — has been associated with

  • better reproductive and sexual health
  • better general health
  • better sleep
  • reduced stress and tension
  • increased self-esteem
  • a more youthful appearance
  • better fitness
  • a longer life

It is unfortunate that many of us have grown up hearing only about the risks and dangers of expressing ourselves sexually. While those risks are real, it is also true that having sex  — with or without a partner — can be a positive and powerful force in our lives. It helps us create connections to other people and it helps us enjoy our world. So when I asked the question, do you enjoy having sex? the answer should be an astounding YES!

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