Our upbringing and environment have a profound influence on the development of our sexual attitudes and behaviours. They can affect our sexuality in many ways, including the way we learn about and explore our own sexuality, how we form relationships, and how we understand and express our sexual desires and needs. Especially, parental messages about sexuality that are coveyed to us verbally and nonverbally have a significant effect on our thoughts about sexuality later in life which in the end might restrict our sexual self-exploration. Consecutively, restricted sexual self-exploration might lead to a low understanding of our own sexual needs. 

Sexual Self-Awareness

Sexual self-awareness is being aware of your own sexual thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. It includes understanding your sexual values and beliefs and knowing how your sexual behaviour might impact your life and relationships. It also includes being aware of how your sexuality affects your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Improving sexual self-awareness could be a way to understand one’s sexual needs and much more. 

Sexual Needs are Unique

Everyone’s sexual needs are unique, and everyone experiences and expresses their sexuality in diverse ways. That is why there is no definitive answer to “How can one better understand one’s sexual needs?” that could be applied by all but exploring different options to increase sexual self-awareness can be a good first step in helping you to better understand your own sexual needs. There are a few things you can do to become more sexually aware:

First, you can practice being more present during sex. 

This means being in the moment and focusing on your body and your pleasure. Pay attention to your body and what feels good. This will help you to get more out of sex and to have a better understanding of what is working for you and what is not. Some people find that practising meditation or mindfulness can help them to be more present both in sex and in life. Thus, you might want to try it out!

Another thing you can do is to experiment with different things with which you are comfortable.

 This includes trying new positions, experimenting with different forms of stimulation, new sex toys, trying new partners, and exploring different fantasies. It can be scary to try new things, but it is important to be open to new experiences to become more in tune with your sexual needs and desires.

Finally, be sure to communicate with your partner(s). 

This includes talking about what you like and do not like thus far in your sexual encounters, as well as any concerns you might have. This way, you will also allow/encourage your partner(s) to share their side of the story. Remember, it is particularly important to understand and respect their sexual needs and boundaries. It is also important to remember that everyone is different and that you should never pressure your partner(s) into doing anything with which they are not comfortable. This communication will help to ensure that both you and your partner(s) are getting the most out of your sexual experiences.

Experiment and find what works best for you and always remember to be safe while doing so by using protection when engaging in sexual activity and getting evaluated for STIs regularly. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Seray Soyman is working as a Trainee Psychosexologist within the Willingness team, providing psychosexual education and sexual support sessions, as well as delivering training and workshops. She is also pursuing her master’s in Clinical Psychosociology at Sapienza University, Rome. Seray’s research interests are sex-positive behaviour, sexual habits, LGBTQIA+ studies, and sexual communication.


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