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There’s an abundance of articles about living your healthiest life, living your best life, living your sexiest life.

There’s no one correct way to embody your healthiest sexual life. Finding yourself and what works best is a journey, learning from others and making a path to living honestly.

One of the things I like to impose on folks is that *you* are the one that knows you the best. You know what feels good (or doesn’t) in your body, what you want more of, and what you want less of.

Think about these words: “healthy,” “sexual,” and “self.” What do they mean to you? (Not what you’ve seen contextually or someone else’s definitions.)

Sit with them. What do these concepts mean to you?

Often, I see folks trying to do what others are doing, and it more often than not ends up being out of alignment with who they are.

What does the word “embody” mean to you?

Words have meanings that transcend their written definition or cultural connotation; we can access and realize deeply personal emotional ideas when we use specific terms.

Comments can also come with many stigmas. And when you put them together, you can end up with a few crossed wires.

Take time to consider each word, thought, and feeling that comes up from thinking about these words that heavily affect self-perceptions.

We often absorb others’ thoughts, ideas, and feelings, either independently or passively. I want you to take some time for yourself. Connecting to or embodying your sexual self is a solo project — but it’s one that you can invite others to join you in.

Sit down and write a list of the types of things that you find sexual. There are no wrong answers. Permit yourself that maybe your list might only be two things. Know that it’s OK, because you haven’t explored everything or discovered every single option that will get you the feelings you want.

It’s time to do some research, and where better to start than with a “Yes, No, Maybe” list?

What is it? Great question! The “Yes, No, Maybe” list allows us to think about different sexual acts we may not have considered yet.

It allows our brains to go, “Oh, I didn’t know even that was an option, but I’m feeling a ‘HELL YES,’ and I’d like to try it.”

These can also be fun for date nights: Print multiple lists out and do them with your partner(s) and exchange. You might just open up a door of fun, and learn new things about your date(s).

Creating a list allows you to get outside your head, which can also help you get outside your comfort zone. Not to a place of possible danger, but a place of exploration and understanding of your wants and needs.

Before you invite anyone else into your magical aura, spend some time there with yourself. Have a date night with yourself to truly explore all the things you know you like and maybe the things you want to learn more about.

Remember: This list is about you.

You know how I said words have meaning? It’s true! Think about the word “embody.” As defined, it’s intended to be an “expression of,” “includes,” or “contains something.”

If you want to embody a healthy sexual self, you must actively engage in yourself. This self-date can look however you want it to, but it helps to break it into a few stages: the warm-up, the action, the climax, and the reflecting period.

The warm-up

This is what gets you in the mood, brings you into your body, and allows you to be present, connecting to mental and physical sensations.

It could be a nice shower or bath utilizing some of your favorite products… Or those products that you keep saving for that special occasion. The occasion has arrived.

Maybe the warm-up is dancing in the kitchen while cooking for yourself or eating your favorite takeout meal. It’s whatever allows you to feel excited, happy, and present.

The action

Check in with yourself and be honest. Would you like to play in sexual energy spaces or sensual energy spaces? They might seem similar, but you’re here to figure out what you want, so you’re narrowing things down.

Sexual areas may be focused on sexual activities, on certain types of pleasure or acts. Sensuality may just be focused on sensations, literally just about you feeling and receiving touch for the sake of that type of enjoyment.

These can intertwine and be combined, whatever way makes you feel good.

Again, be honest. Start by saying out loud, “This is for my embodiment of connection and pleasure. I also permit myself to stop when I am ready to.” It sounds like a small thing, but validation and affirmations can be so helpful.

The climax

This doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily have an orgasm. It may mean that, if that’s what you’re seeking, the climax is when you’re actively engaged in the chosen activity.

Maybe you found different sensations that you want to explore. Or you bought new toys to play with or decide to pull out your favorites.

The climax is when you’re genuinely immersed in an activity that allows you to feel good. An exercise that enables you to feel seen, supported, and heard by yourself. Permit yourself to try new things, do the things you love already, and stop whenever you’re ready to.

Sex starts in the brain; we can often get lost there.

The reflecting period

You’ve just enjoyed a few hours with yourself. You may have learned new things you liked or discovered that you no longer like something anymore, both of which are amazing for your personal sexual health development.

Think about how you need to be held right now, or what you need to feel comfortable at this moment. It may be a particular blanket, stuffed animal, TV show, or song. The sky is the limit here.

What allows you to ground yourself and enable you to stay present? That is what this time is for; it’s for you. To find a connection in the embodiment of what you can offer yourself.

There are many things that you can do to feel genuinely healthy in your sexual embodiment. Permit yourself to try new experiences and ways of thinking about your sexuality at your own speed. And let it happen the way that feels natural and comfortable.

I say “permit yourself” often, not just in exploring your sexual embodiment, but in life as well. There are enough places and people in society that expect you to live a certain way and do things that don’t always honor your independence.

What would happen if you just permitted yourself to live? To be happy, to explore? To take all these words that drive us and put them into action for yourself? I invite you to learn new aspects about yourself, enjoy yourself, and love yourself a little more.

Jimanekia Eborn is a queer, trauma media consultant, comprehensive sex educator, and sexual assault and trauma expert who has worked in mental health in sex education and sexual trauma support for the past 13 years. Jimanekia is the founder of Tending the Garden, a supportive space for sexual assault survivors of different marginalized identities, and the co-founder of Centaury Co., a company bringing increased representation to the field of intimacy coordination in the film industry.