In our perfectionist culture, we feel the need to do everything right by the book. We exercise four days out of the week to be in shape, work over fifty hours to feel productive, and rigidly follow a 12-step skincare routine every day twice a day. This fast-paced lifestyle makes it nearly impossible to take the time to stop and reflect on whether if we are benefiting from these practices that are supposedly synonymous with living well. The truth is, there is no one size fits all recipe for wellness, and this is especially true when it comes to sex.
Sex is one of the most natural human instincts, but it is also taboo. Most of us form a preconceived perception of what sex is or should be based on how it is portrayed in popular culture or discussed in our social circles well before becoming sexually active ourselves. If we want positive results out of anything, including sex, we must first understand what it means to us through research and reflection. That is where sex journaling comes in.
A journal is not necessarily a notebook filled with records of events that took place over the years. Giving your innermost emotions and thoughts a voice, studies have consistently shown that journaling is a mindful practice that improves many aspects of your physical and mental health. While putting things into perspective, writing about how we react to sex helps us identify our feelings towards it through exploring our connection with pleasure and security in our bodies.
The first step is to decide how you want to journal. You can go old-school and purchase a regular journal or a notebook and structure it however you wish. If you are interested in journaling with your partner, you might want to invest in a sex journal specifically designed for couples. If you prefer to track your process digitally, there are so many apps for journaling; your sex journal can be whatever you want it to be!
Before putting pen to paper, ask yourself what you are hoping to get out of this practice. Do you want to get to know your sexual-self better? Is this something you believe can bring more intimacy to your relationship? After figuring out your reasons, set intentions and daily goals to help you maintain the consistency of your practice.
Links To Products and Apps
Unsure of what to write? Start by making a list of questions to use as writing prompts like asking yourself what worked best for you the last time you had sex. Maybe your partner did something that sparked a turn-on; explore that. What else would you have wanted to happen? Is there something new you have been meaning to try? There are tons of questions to ask yourself about how you felt during sex, so get creative and feel free to make up your own questions! Your sex journal isn’t limited to the sex you’ve had with other people, meaning you can also write about masturbation, something you’ve seen or read about that stood out to you, or even your fantasies. Exploring your feelings towards all types of sex can teach you something about what you desire.
- What worked best for you the last time you had sex?
- Did something your partner do spark something for you?
- Is there something new you've been wanting to try?
- How present did you feel in your body?
- Were there any emotional or physical blocks that you observed?
- What are your arousal levels compared to your stress levels and mental health?
Honesty is the best way to ensure you benefit from your journaling practice, meaning a joint journal with a partner might not work for everyone. When you are journaling on your own, you might feel like you are in a safe space which will help you get comfortable and open up. However, if you wish to include your partner in your practice, you might lose some of that security and be less willing to bring things up. Shadeen Francis, L.M.F.T., who specializes in sex therapy and emotional intelligence, suggests partners keep the journal in an accessible spot and decide how regularly they want to use it. You should also consider having a conversation with your partner about how you want to read the journal together to share what you have learned about yourselves and each other.
This journal is a tool for you to discover your sexual pleasure and experiences; therefore, it is useful as long as writing feels good or productive. While it can open the doors for better communication about sex in relationships, remember that this is a mindful exercise you participate in for yourself and should be a place for self-reflection.