Creating New Habits
Your Sexual and Intimacy Goals for the New Year
It’s the new year again and for many of us this means thinking about the parts of our lives that we wish to change or where to make a fresh new start. Resolutions are commitments we make to ourselves and sometimes to others in our lives. I however prefer the term choosing “goals” as this implies process and flexibility while resolutions seem absolute, hence too easily dropped for the year once a workout is missed at the gym, or a “wrong” food is eaten. Goals feel like they can be more fluid- eating well most of the time or working out with variance and flexibility. This way we can work towards the goals we choose and if they are periodically dropped, we can more easily return to them throughout the year, perhaps with more realistic modifications. Regardless of what you like to call them, resolutions, goals, or commitments, here are some considerations for your sexual and intimate life for this year.
Sexual or Relationship Goals
Many of us are familiar with the ideas of setting financial goals, family goals, exercise goals, home improvement goals, career goals, and travel goals. We often overlook setting goals for our sexual lives to keep them healthy and alive. Sexual goals can include those for oneself and/or for a relationship.
For someone who is single with a desire to be in a relationship, we can set goals to help us to meet someone new. In the current age there are overwhelming options to find a potential date or partner. While some still go to bars, speed date events, use personal ads or enjoy online dating, another possibility is a meet-up group or other club/ organization where we can connect with people with similar interests. While these are not dating sites, it can feel more natural to join a community of like-minded folks as a more comfortable way to meet people with shared interests (the outdoors, playing bridge, charity fundraising etc). Although the long term goal may be to find a partner, examples of short term goals may be to get out to a certain number of events or to hire a professional matchmaker, dating coach, or dating service to help overcome resistance and offer skills to help successfully navigate the world of dating.
Beyond dating, we can all have sexual goals for ourselves, partnered or not. We may decide we want to explore our fantasies, or that we want to learn a new sexual skill such as dirty talk or kink, become more comfortable in our body, practice orgasms in new ways, read a blog that asks interesting questions about our sexuality or do our PC muscles/ Kegel exercises regularly.
For Our Relationships
It can be helpful to set goals for our relationships- romantic or not. Without goals we may find that our relationships stagnate as years pass. We may develop a lack of desire to connect and develop barriers to relationships. We can intend to connect more regularly or in different ways with certain people. We can challenge ourselves to be more present and mindful; to listen more in some relationships or to stand up for ourselves and express our thoughts and feelings to others. We can strive to be more compassionate and open when we talk to someone we find challenging, or to develop limits and boundaries on those who don’t respect us. While this may not be the easiest task, it can be rewarding to feel an improvement in our relationships, and to decrease disappointment and frustration in our interactions with important people in our lives.
For romantic relationships, we may choose to “get out of a rut” with our partner. Short term goals can be to: set up more frequent and creative date nights; to set up time and space to communicate with each other about what is working and not working; to be more present during partner sex; to be open to exploring new ways to connect erotically. When choosing goals for a relationship, think about that you love about your connection. Think also about what has changed, what is missing, and what you have stopped doing but used to love. Incorporate the parts that you currently love and what you want differently into a goal(s) and communicate these to your partner if you can. When your partner is aware of your goals, they are more likely to be able to support you in meeting them and you can create some shared commitments together.
Consistently and Lovingly
The objective of having goals is to have something to strive for, to have something to stimulate us and to work on, that gives us satisfaction when we see the difference and feel proud of our efforts. As in many aspects of life, sometimes we can’t meet our goals; other times the outcome is not what we expected, or we have to re-evaluate our priorities. We need to remember to strive while still being kind to ourselves, to simply do our best to improve. With a bit of effort, by the end of the year our new behaviours become easier and more natural. Practice does not make perfect, but it does make habit. And goals of creating new habits are a good place to start.
Carlyle Jansen is the founder of Good For Her, a sexuality shop and workshpo centre in Toronto. If you have questions or comments she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to goodforher.com