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  • Writer's pictureAshley Floyd

Types of Sexual Self-Care

Ashley Floyd, LMFT

Before we can dig into what exactly sexual self-care is, we must have a shared understanding of what self-care itself is. To put it incredibly simply, self-care is whatever you do to take care of yourself. Uh… duh? you say. To which I say, have you really thought about what that means, to care for yourself? Because a lot of times, people think self-care is going for a walk and taking bubble baths. And, to be fair, it is, but it is also so much more than that.


Caring for yourself also includes making sure you’re drinking enough water, deciding to call a friend when you’re feeling lonely, setting boundaries even when it’s difficult, and addressing your physical and mental health needs. It’s like taking care of a small child, or a plant, if you prefer. What are its base-level needs? What does it need to flourish and grow? What can you provide to help with that? You’re basically like your own Tamagotchi.

Sexual Self-Care

So, if self-care is caring for ourselves in all ways, what is sexual self-care? Well, taking care of your sexual self of course. Uh… duh, you say again. To which I say, excuse me I’m getting there. Sexual self-care asks what does your sexual self need to be okay at baseline? What does your sexual self need to thrive? What can you do to encourage your sexual self to be present, authentic, and happy?

This will look different for EVERYONE. What your sexual self needs and wants is going to be personal to you. So, take the suggestions below as starting points, and explore further what you personally need in your sexual self-care.

Base-Level Sexual Self-Care

We want to make sure that your sexual self is feeling good on a base level. This means addressing any physical pain or discomfort you feel around sex. This may include seeing a doctor or a sex therapist or figuring out ways to engage in sex that aren’t painful for you. You can take care of your sexual self by making sure they are not in pain.

Hygiene and regular showers are another important part of caring for your sexual self on a base level. It is important to note here, though, that vulva-owners don’t need to go beyond washing the external genitals with soapy water, as the vagina itself will self-clean. If you are noticing a significant change in discharge or smell, be sure to see your doctor. And, speaking of, getting the recommended exams and STI screenings is another great way to care for your sexual self.

Emotion-Level Sexual Self-Care

This type of self-care, sexual and otherwise, usually requires more work as it typically requires you to get uncomfortable. As it relates to sexual self-care specifically, emotion-level self-care may include addressing feelings of shame around sex and sexuality, healing from trauma, communicating with your partner(s) about your wants and needs, setting boundaries and saying no, or letting yourself say yes.

Your sexual self can’t be free and authentic when it is holding on to shame, anxiety, and fear. Care for yourself by doing the hard work needed for your sexual self to heal.

Spiritual-Level Sexual Self-Care

Spiritual sexual self-care is where life feels yummy to me. It involves tapping in to whatever form of spirituality you ascribe to in order to give greater meaning to your sexual experiences (be they alone or with a partner/partners). The first step to doing that is getting clear on what sex, sexuality, and pleasure mean to you. What does it mean to get to experience pleasure? What does it mean to be in your body, in this time, with someone else or by yourself?

If it feels good for you, try leaning into your sensuality. What makes you feel ooey-gooey? How can you treat yourself like the sensual being that you are? If you can get clear on this, try bringing it to a partner and notice how it feels for them to treat you that way.

Why It’s Important

Your sexual self requires care to operate at it’s best. If this is an area of your life that you want to thrive in, you need to care for it.

Importantly, there may be times where you don’t want to engage with your sexual self, for a multitude of reasons, and that is totally okay.

But when you do want to engage with your sexual self, practicing sexual self-care will help you to be more present for your pleasure, more grounded in yourself and in your body, and better able to discern your authentic sexuality so you can thrive.

If you would like to discuss your sexual self-care practices, please give me a call to set up your free consultation.

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