5 Tips for Making a Positive New Year, New Sex Life Resolution List

With the start of a new year comes self-improvement season! While habit making – and bad habit breaking – doesn’t require a special date to begin, it’s nice to have an excuse to sit down, evaluate things, and come up with a list of potential aspirations and goals. I do it every January or February, and it helps set the tone for the rest of the year. 

In addition to my regular resolutions, I try to make one specifically for my sex life. It’s a great way to blow the dust off my routine and see where I’d like to make some intentional changes. Maybe I need to explore my partner’s kinky curiosities more, or look at ways to refresh my sex toy collection to inspire new ways to fuck. Maybe I need to reconnect with my body, and figure out ways to incorporate more self-love into my self-lovin’. Maybe I need to revisit some things I’ve been too shy to try… 

Do any of those goals sound like something you should think about doing too? Then you should be making a list too! 

So how do you make sure your goals and resolutions are sex positive and not pressuring or presumptuous? Here’s 5 things to keep in mind:

  1. Make realistic, flexible goals. 

The best kind of goals are the ones you can achieve within reason, or the ones with wiggle room so you can adjust as you go along. 

Am I really going to have the time, patience, and desire to “try every position in the Cosmo Kama Sutra” this year? Is doing every single one going to be a fun experiment, or something that takes all the fun out of sex? Will I get discouraged and quit completely if I fall behind or keep running into positions that don’t work for me?

Consider setting gentler or more generalized goals, like “experiment with new sex positions.” You can still use the Cosmo Kama Sutra as inspiration, but you won’t feel as boxed in. Sexy aspirations should motivate you to experiment and explore, not become a source of stress or shame because you can’t live up to them. Many of us already struggle with sex negativity, we don’t need to pile on more unrealistic expectations.

  1. Prioritize pleasure, not performance.

Too often, our goals miss the forest for the trees. “Become a master of oral sex” might sound like a sexy – even admirable – resolution, but what is it actually prioritizing? Because it’s not you or your partners’ satisfaction. It’s a goal that relies on a shallow, idealized view of sex, where sexual skills are linear and everyone wants the same thing. But sex isn’t a game with winners. Sex is an experience. 

Sexual satisfaction doesn’t require “mastering” anything (unless [you’re into that]), or even orgasms. Sexual satisfaction looks differently for everyone, but generally it’s when you come away from the experience having enjoyed yourselves.

Better goals would be: “focus on and explore what pleases my partner(s) orally,” “get better at reading my partners’ pleasure cues during oral sex,” “normalize talking openly about our sexual needs.” Another example is instead of saying “last 45 minutes in bed” (which isn’t something everyone is physically capable of, let alone enjoys), you can “find ways to decenter orgasms/ejaculation in my sex life.” These shift the focus away from “skill” and prioritize communication, exploration, and pleasure.

  1. Resolve to try new things!

Whether it’s rimming, puppy play, trying out bigger sex toys, or gender role play – there’s almost certainly something new you want to try this year. No matter how well-traveled you are, or how vanilla your tastes run, you will never run out of things in your wheelhouse to try. Sex is an infinitely malleable activity. 

When making my own list with my partner, they told me, “I want to try to make more time for experimenting with rope bondage. It’s a fun, intimate way to bond with you. I’d also love to get a fucking machine. I've always wanted one, and what better way to make it my year?”

“I want to be naked during sex more often in 2021,” says Chase Tramel, a kink educator and sex blogger. “I’m working to embody my pleasure and my partner’s pleasure, not only rationalize and THINK about pleasure. I’m declaring 2021 the year of my somatic pleasure exploration.”

“Neurotypical culture pushes the idea of spontaneous sex, but my partner and I are both neurodivergent and spontaneous sex doesn’t really work for either of us,” Izzy of the sex blog Dildoodler explains. “In 2021, we’ve started experimenting with scheduling sex in advance. So far, it’s worked out great and is way more enjoyable for both of us!”

  1. Make resolutions with your partner(s), not about them.

If your New Years Resolution list involves another participant, like lover(s) or play partner(s), they need to be part of the list-making process. “You can’t just give your partner a grocery list of kinks and expect them to replicate your fantasies,” I pointed out in Communication in BDSM: Negotiating Kinky Play. “You have to recognize and prioritize your partner’s agency in every step of the negotiation process, because their interests, preferences, and comfort zone are just as important as your own.”

Not sure how to get your partner(s) on board with making some sex-related resolutions and goals? Introduce the idea as an opportunity to share new interests and fantasies. “What’s something you’ve always wanted to try in bed?” is a relatively easy way to start the conversation. If you need help taking a deeper dive, here are a few more:

  • What’s an aspect of your sex life that’s been neglected recently, and how can you bring it back?
  • Are there non-sex sexual or romantic intimacies you’d like to make more time for? 
  • What kind of sex toys would we like to add to our collection this year?
  • How can we make our sexuality part of our daily life (such as taking time to flirt more)? 
  • Is there a frequent argument we have about our sex life? What can we do to both feel heard and resolve it?
  1. Pencil in time to research and self-reflect.

Sex resolutions shouldn’t just be about having sex. You should also consider making resolutions about your sexual health, keeping connected in the longterm (if that’s your relationship type), and about learning more about sex… and yourself

“Go out of your way to expand your understanding of sex. I didn’t know about the clitoral complex until fairly recently, despite having a clit myself. Being aware of just how expansive the clitoris is has completely changed how I approach pleasure,” I confessed in Sexual Wellness: Embracing the Value of Sex and Masturbation. “If I didn’t start regularly consuming feminist, sex positive media and keeping up with sexual health news, I would have remained tragically unaware of my own body. So pick up a book, watch a documentary, read a magazine! Sex is worth learning more about – it’s a fascinating and personally beneficial subject.”

When talking about places to get a steady stream of insights on sexual health, I wrote, “Youtube channels like Sexplanations, What’s My Body Doing, Tawney Seren, Watts the Safeword, and Nadine Thornhill all offer unashamed, uplifting information that can reaffirm a curious, positive attitude about sex. (Sexplanations’ own catchphrase – stay curious! – is a constant reminder that sex is a delightful adventure.)” You can also take an online class from an inclusive sex educator, try out a Kink Academy subscription, or read Haley Hasen Uncensored’s latest contributions to the Peepshow Toys blog.

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