Sexual Healing For Self-Care

By Maryam

Lanai Daniels, an NYC based sex educator and one of our contributors, dives into sexual healing as an empowering form of self-care.  

On Saturday, August 12, I traveled to New Women Space to attend an event called “Sex as Healing: Better Sex & Self Care Workshop”. Facilitated by Charlie Trotman, the purpose of this workshop was to encourage participants into using self-care techniques to make sex more of an experience than an act. As a sexually active woman, I was excited to attend this workshop and get a better understanding of my own sexual values and practices.

During this workshop, Charlie guided us into a visualization meditation about the best sex we ever had. As I sat in my chair and began to visualize all of the little details about this juicy experience, one revelation came ahead. The realization was that putting my sexual desires first was me honoring myself. What made this particular sexual experience the best I ever had in the past 9 years was that it was all on my terms,  and thus, I experienced an orgasm like no other. As a Black femme, I have learned that it is ok for me to want sex and orgasms in the ways I want them to be. I give myself permission to crave pleasurable sex and to allow my desires to exist as they are.

After the meditation, we all moved ahead to group discussions. The first question Charlie asked to us was “What or who do you bring into your sexual spaces?”. My response was my sexual agency because I felt no shame in desiring the kind of sex I want and making decisions that would help me get the kind of sex I want. That moment in the workshop was revolutionary for me because not only was I asked a question I don’t get asked as a Black femme, but I felt comfortable standing in my truth as I answered the question publicly.

The second question was a bit challenging to answer, though.

After everyone had a chance to respond to the first question, we were all asked to describe who or what do we bring into our sexual spaces that don’t make us feel good. As soon Charlie asked us this question, my mind went to my mother. Growing up, the sex talk I had with my mom consisted of three words: “Don’t Have Sex”. As a young girl, the Iessons I received from my mother offered no support or guidance as I was trying to figure out what to do with my developing sexuality. While I don’t carry those lessons with me into my adulthood, I can never forget the lack of information coming from my very first life teacher.

As we were getting close to the end of the workshop, Charlie asked us what do we change the people and things that don’t make us feel good in our sexual spaces. In front of 10 people in the room, I shared that what I didn’t receive from my mom as a young girl is what I’m giving to myself as an adult woman. I’m creating my own sexual story that is separate from my mom. I’m choosing to educate myself about the ways I can lower the possibilities of being pregnant and being infected with STIs while allowing my desires to be what they are and standing proud of my desires.

Furthermore, I walked away from the workshop, with a clearer perspective on how I can use sex as a part of my own healing from the trauma I face living in today’s society. In a world that wants to rob me of my agency over my body, sex is a way to reclaim that power and give myself joy and pleasure on both good and bad days. Sex is healing for me because it’s a tool to remind myself that I’m deserving and worthy of putting myself first.

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