“People make all sorts of resolutions about their bodies and their lives but neglect sex,” laments Brenda Kerber, commenting on North America’s annual tradition of declaring self-improvement wishes.
Kerber is the owner of The Traveling Tickle Trunk, a company that runs sex-positive workshops and sells sex products online, through parties and, starting in early February, at their new store on Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue.
Of all the questions she hears in a year from her clients, including queer women and men, the number one query is “What is wrong with me?” To that she responds, “nothing is wrong with you, you just haven’t figured out what works for you.”
The new year, she suggests, is as good a time as any to start figuring it out. Already well into 2009, many New Year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside. But as Kerber suggests, it is never too late to reconsider your resolutions and make new, sex-positive New Year’s resolutions.
“I love the idea of people putting effort into sex,” gushes Edmonton-based Dr Brian Parker, a clinical sexologist and sex educator, “because people forget that sex takes work.”
To start that work, Kerber has some recommendations: “resolve to allow yourself to play more without reservations, resolve to take care of yourself more sexually and resolve to acknowledge who you are, what you like and then plan for it.”
Of the people asking what is wrong with them, most assumed that they must have been doing something wrong because they are not 100 percent satisfied with their sex lives. “They expected everything would fall into place,” says Kerber.
Both Kerber and Parker believe that the real work of sex begins with individuals exploring their own body and finding out what works for them.
According to Babeland, a company that “sells sex toys to a passionate world,” vibrators are good on any number of male body parts including “on the perineum (the skin between the anus and the balls),” which the Babeland website promises will “send a buzz toward the prostate, a much-overlooked male erogenous zone.”
Speaking of the prostate, Kerber notes sex is a great way to achieve a popular New Year’s resolution towards better health. “Regular ejaculation reduces the risk of prostate cancer,” she says, adding that for everybody, sex releases endorphins that make people feel better while reducing stress. She also recommends that for women, “masturbating can alleviate menstrual cramps.”
For some, the new year could be a time when they decide that sex is too much a part of their lives. For people worrying about sexual addictions, Parker recommends they consider whether or not sex is negatively impacting their lives or the lives of those with whom they are having sex before they jump to the conclusion that they have a problem. Traditionally in queer cultures, having a lot of sex is socially acceptable. But as queers continue to integrate into traditional spaces of society, some may feel pressured to question their own beliefs and norms.
The best way to deal with those issues is for queer people in 2009 to further explore their erotic and possibly intimate sides. “Trying something new can result in having great sex,” explains Parker, “because it arouses the biggest sex organ we have — our brains.”
Parker suggests people try things that they would not normally do. “People get into a sexual routine, products can help break the monotony,” he says. Introducing toys, props and objects like whips, feathers and even condoms into sex can create new and exciting dynamics.
He suggests guys can jerk off while wearing or smelling a condom, and they can rip up a condom and use the base of it as a cock ring. All of which eroticizes the condom and makes it a sexual toy on a person’s own terms rather than as prescribed by health and government officials.
Embrace, a game created by Parker, is described as a “sensually stimulating board game where players move throughout the board revealing sexually intimate thoughts and feelings, and performing erotic challenges with one another.”
Embrace is recommended by Kerber and represents another way that people can build up their sexual repertoire and open new doors of pleasure and self-improvement in the new year.
“The people I know with fewer problems,” says Kerber, “are those that are the most comfortable with themselves, including sexually. Sex is absolutely vital to our lives and is related to so much — we treat sex like it is just icing on the cake when really we could be thinking of sex as an ingredient of the cake.”