Celebrating women and our sexual agency

Sexual agency is a crucial aspect to overall sexual health; it is the ability to identify and chose the activities you want to engage in. Just like other aspects of health, sexual agency is slowly developed over time through small, reinforceable habits. In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month in March, we decided to put together a list of 5 easy steps to get you started on building deeper sexual confidence and continue building your own sexual agency:

1. Create a No-Judgment Zone

In other words, don’t shame other women for being sexual beings or for their choices. It can be easy to have opinions on other people’s sex lives or the ways other people present themselves. Don’t do it. Making harsh judgments may come from a place of insecurity and may also breed further self-doubt. Accepting everyone’s right to sexual expression promotes a world where women support women.

2. Masturbate

Fantasy is great escape from real world stressors! Take the time to watch romantic movies, read erotic blogs or books, and focus on things that turns you on. Masturbation has many wonderful health benefits and allows you to safely explore fantasies and see what feels good to your body.[1] 

3. Practice Saying ‘No’

“No” is a complete sentence. Women in particular have been socialized to “give in” or compromise to keep their partners, children, and friends happy even when it means giving into things they don’t want to do. Of course, compromising is good for any type of relationship, but it’s important to do so in the context of healthy boundaries. Learning to say “no” to things that make you uncomfortable clarifies your boundaries and reduces stress.

4. Exercise

It may seem like exercise is on every health blog out there, but trust us, exercise offers so many benefits to sexual health including cardiovascular benefits, flexibility, and confidence.

As Dr. Abrams from The Multi-Orgasmic Woman explains it, “our sexual health is a reflection of our general health”.

If you are taking medications (such as antidepressants) that can lower your libido, exercise is even more important for you. Exercise has been shown to help reduce negative side effects from several medications, including antidepressants, and improve orgasms for women who experience these negative sexual side-effects.[2]

5. Engage in Some Dirty Talk

… or whatever it is you’re craving. Once you learn what feels good, integrate your partner into your routine. If there are new things you haven’t tried before but want to, go for it. The best way to figure out what you like is to try new things. Expressing your sexual desires builds intimacy and pleasure (win, win).

[1] Morin, V., Lavigne, J., Levesque, S. (2017). Female Masturbatory Practices and Sexual Health: A Qualitative Exploration of Women’s Perspectives. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 14(5): e270

[2] Lorenz, T., Meston, C. (2014). Exercise Improves Sexual Function in Women Taking Antidepressants: Results from a Randomized Crossover Trial. Depress Anxiety, 31: 188–195.

About the author

Vanessa Torres, MA

Vanessa Torres M.A. is a sexual health expert whose passions include harm-reduction and individual agency. Her work has been featured in Critical Public Health and the Journal of Homosexuality.

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