My sexual resolutions

Five sex-related promises I'm making to myself for the new year -- and you should, too

Topics: Sex, Love and Sex, Editor's Picks,

My sexual resolutions (Credit: Africa Studio via Shutterstock/Salon)

Last year around this time, I wrote about people’s sexual resolutions for the new year. There were pledges to break dry spells, have more orgasms and abstain altogether. At the time, I didn’t have any sex-related goals of my own, having completely failed at my single sexual resolution for that year (and within days of January 1, no less): waiting before jumping into bed with new partners.

But this past year was different: I waited to have sex for the first time since my first time. (It counts even though it was my partner who insisted on it, right?) I suppose you could say that I’m marginally less cynical about sexual resolutions this year and, as a result, I figured I would make some. This way, on December 31, 2013, I’ll be able to see just how far I’ve come, so to speak, or at least be able to measure how horribly I’ve failed my “li’l Naomi.” (I also appropriately re-christened my vagina this year.)

With the weighty authority of an online sex columnist with a bachelor’s degree in English, I hereby recommend that you maybe possibly consider some of these resolutions for yourselves.

1.) No faking

I’m not just talking about “When Harry Met Sally” fakery, either. There are all sorts of subtle misdirections that people give during sex, out of either a wish to make their partner feel more desirable or to appear more desirable themselves. The occasional disingenuous moan can be practical, even generous and encouraging, but too many can drain the authenticity from sex. It’s like when you’re trying to decide on a restaurant with a new friend and you make suggestions based on what you imagine they want, and they make a choice based on what they imagine you want, based in large part on your projected recommendations of what they want, and then you end up in an illegal backyard butcher shop chewing on boiled horse penis, which neither of you wanted in the first place. For example.

2.) Adult sex-ed

There’s nothing like witnessing, in person, a woman with a speculum and a Hitachi Magic Wand between her legs to make an adult realize how much more they have to learn about human sexuality. That was my experience last month when I attended one of Kink.com’s new sex-ed classes for grown-ups. Not even a pubescence immersed in Internet porn could prepare me for that revelation. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I think many of us could benefit from spending some more time peering into vaginas — whether our own or a partner’s. I’m talking about approaching sex with the curiosity, questions and fascination of a teenager and making up for the likely dismal sex-ed you received in school — whether it’s in a class, a book or, you know, independent study.

3.) Pay for good porn

Lots of people, myself included, enjoy hating on porn — about how bad the acting is, how corny the dialogue, how slimy the men, how fake the women. It’s true, there’s a lot of awful porn out there, and there are a lot of awful things about porn! But the only way to change that is by investing in directors and producers who are trying to do it better, whatever your personal definition of “better” may be. It could be well-treated or autonomous performers, or more artistic or realistic films. Or maybe you just want to see balls-to-the-wall gonzo smutty smut filmed by female directors. Whatever it is, vote with your dollars! I’ve resolved to actually start supporting the kind of brave, quality sexual content that I’d like to see thrive.

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4.) Talk honestly about monogamy

This is perhaps the most difficult resolution of them all. Monogamy isn’t something we’re supposed to talk about; it’s something that is assumed. Discussing its merit would be akin to debating whether vegetables are good for us. Worse than that, because it’s so rarely talked about with any degree of honesty, it carries so much symbolic emotional weight, so when a partner brings it up as a topic of debate, it can feel like they’re screaming, “I don’t love you!” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Monogamy isn’t for everyone, and even those for whom it is right can benefit from talking honestly about it. In my current relationship, we’ve literally spent hours discussing what sexual fidelity is, what it means, how realistic it is and whether it’s a valuable pursuit. There have been moments of irrational insecurity — wait, you mean you find other humans attractive, ever? — but ultimately for me these talks turned the idea of monogamy in this relationship into something that feels really sexy and special. My opinion on monogamy may change a million times over, but this year, and always, I want to dare to talk openly about it.

Let’s make a deal: I won’t judge you for what you choose, as long as you do it with authenticity and honesty.

5.) Get non-sexually naked

I am not “a naked person.” I do not share dressing rooms with friends, take it all off at the women’s sauna or go skinny dipping on a lark. Even disrobing for a massage feels improper. I’m a bit of a nudity prude, which is odd for someone who receives sex toy samples at the office and has a bottle of bacon lube sitting next to her computer monitor — or maybe it makes perfect sense. I’m exceedingly comfortable with eroticized undress, but what about the desexualized naked body? I think it’s worthwhile to challenge our own individual brand of prudishness, whatever it may be.

So those are mine. What are yours?

Tracy Clark-Flory
Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

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