Yes, you heard that right – sex. It’s high time we normalize the conversation around sexual wellness. Sexual wellness is an important and often overlooked component of a healthy, thriving relationship. It involves having clear communication around wants and needs in the bedroom between two partners. Such a dynamic can be difficult to achieve due to the stigma that often exists regarding sexual conversations, yet the benefits are expansive. Founders of Made Hot STHLM AB and trailblazers in forging healthy relationships, Anna Nowak and Alicia Berg, are showing us how to have a healthier relationship with sex.
“Sexual wellness is being in a healthy, thriving relationship where you and your partner have clear communication about your needs before, during, and after sex,” explains Nowak. “It’s important to have clear and healthy conversations about what you want to do, what you want to explore, and what you want to educate yourself on.”
The S Word
The stigma around sexual wellness is a problem that affects many people on a global scale. It can often be traced back to the culture or country in which someone was raised, with certain countries emphasizing more traditional values and beliefs concerning sex. Sometimes, these traditional values are passed down from family to family, leading to an environment where topics such as sex are seldom discussed and seen as shameful or sinful.
“I was born in Poland, and sex is not open for conversation. It is assumed that when you get married and have sex for the first time, you will automatically know what to do. Unfortunately, your family isn’t teaching you anything, and neither are the schools. Not anything of real value in this area anyway. And that is frightening,” says Nowak.
A lack of real sex education in schools often reinforces this stigma, creating a situation where young people have no reliable source for information about healthy sexual behavior or practices. Without any real guidance on important topics such as contraception, consent, and pleasurable options in the bedroom, it becomes easier for negative stigmas around sexuality to take hold and remain unchallenged.
“Nobody is teaching how the dynamics in a healthy relationship are supposed to be. For example, how can we be intimate with our partners and not just in a sexual way? It’s not just about a man’s pleasure but a woman’s as well. So often, both sexes are afraid of speaking up and explaining what they want to feel and explore because we have been taught that we are not supposed to,” says Berg.
It is important to consider the stigma surrounding voicing our needs and wants in the bedroom. Many people feel uncomfortable discussing these topics with their partners, fearing being judged or rejected due to societal perceptions about sex. This can lead to a lack of communication in relationships, ultimately negatively impacting sexual satisfaction and pleasure. And we all want more pleasure, right?
Normalizing the Conversation Around Sexual Wellness
When it comes to normalizing sexual wellness within a relationship, there are several steps you can take: start small and be open-minded; create space for honest communication about sexual desires and boundaries; take time to explore fantasies together in a safe environment; practice listening to one another without judgment.
“Ensure you open up the conversation at the right time and place. There is no point in starting a sexual wellness conversation when you are feeling like it, but your partner is a million miles away in their head. It won’t go well,” shares Berg. “Start small. For example, many card games on the market will make exploring sexual conversations fun for both you and your partner.”
Why is sexual wellness so important? Well, developing healthy attitudes towards sex and exploring different aspects of it can help foster better self-esteem, more fulfilling relationships, and improved overall well-being. In addition, creating an open dialogue around sexual wellness can benefit both individuals involved. Practicing healthy boundaries, developing trust with one another, and exploring different fantasies are just some of the ways that relationships can become more sexually fulfilling and satisfying. Furthermore, it’s been shown that couples who practice good sexual communication tend to have less overall relationship conflict.
Normalizing sexual wellness within a relationship is essential to creating an emotionally supportive atmosphere where both partners can express themselves freely. It’s important to remember that developing good sexual communication is a process that takes time and effort. However, the benefits of both physical and emotional satisfaction outweigh any discomfort that may come up during the process. With dedication, self-awareness, and open communication, couples can reap the rewards of a healthy sexual relationship, and the benefits ripple reaches far beyond the bedroom.