For quite the conservative society that we live in, allow me to be a little unconventional and ask; why is sex talk such a taboo? Even amongst married couples and those in long-term relationships, this tends to be a hush-hush conversation, only to be held in certain confinements.
I recently watched a hit series on Netflix called Sex Life and boy did that get me thinking. And before you label me naughty and whatever else prejudicial judgement popped up, I simply mean it gave me an idea that may help us and those coming after us get out of the funk we at times find ourselves in, especially long-term partners.
This part of our lives that we’d rather blissfully not talk about is one that causes way too many rifts so it then hit me, why not do what I do best when I can’t talk? Why not write down your thoughts? We have all gone through the journalling phase as we grew up.
However, much like those very personal inputs you guarded with your life back then, why not try a sex journal in your adulthood?
What is a sex journal you ask?
Sex journalling is just that: journalling with a focus on your sex life, your sexuality, and whatever else that means to you. There are no rules while doing it and you get to decide the tone, what to track and when, with whom to share it with, and ultimately, how to integrate your findings into your sex life.
We may want to have all the control over many things including our sex life, but like many things in life, our pleasure will rise and fall according to what nature dictates. Some days you are on cloud erotica, while on other days your body simply refuses to cooperate.
If you’re open to the process, a sex journal can help you reflect on your experiences, desires, and fantasies. That way, you know exactly what tickles your fancy. “I would keep one because I’d like to refer to it when I want to spice things up and also because it sounds like something I would enjoy doing,” says Nikki Kassim, a local businesswoman.
A safe space
I bet you thought I would get into the ins and out of sex but I would much rather explore the benefits and ways of creating a safe, secure and comfortable environment for you and your spouse or partner and maybe just for yourself, to understand yourselves better.
This could range from anything about preferences, places, fantasies, no-go areas, vulnerabilities, and any other thing that makes you tick.
It is not purely negative or positive that you only put in the best and worst experiences; rather it is your safe place to put down all that concerns your body and mind.
For example, women are in large ruled by hormones throughout the month. We have high and happy days, cool, calm and collected days and we have days that even the devil himself wouldn’t try us. Based on my little yet ever-evolving understanding of the female species, I have come to appreciate just how helpful a sex journal would be.
“Sex communication affects individuals in both positive and negative depending with their personalities and orientations,” explains Mr Justus August, an Applied Psychologist for Hatua Therapies & Consultancy in Tanzania.
“For introverted individuals, they tend to find it difficult to communicate their desires or dislikes about sex openly and as a result when forced or ought to communicate, this lowers their self-esteem which will directly affect their feelings when it comes to sex,” he says.
“For extroverted individuals it is likely to affect them positively if they have extroverted partners. A sex journal may prove beneficial to some people but this is subject to culture as sex is to some extent guided by cultural principles.”
Deep seated conditioning
Opening up to having a conversation about sex leaves one feeling vulnerable and exposed. This I attribute largely to the deep seated cultural, traditional and religious conditioning.
For many, it is either religion guides you to do this and culture or tradition guides you to do that; but when it comes to not talking about sex, these factors somehow find symphony and merge into one guide.
Men, unlike women, rarely have the sex talk or at least to the degree that the girl child is taught. Women are taught in kitchen parties and have all sorts of racy conversations at saloons but men don’t have similar platforms.
“I think sex miscommunication affects individuals in a sense that most of them end up feeling trapped in a cave that they cannot get out of and for men it’s even worse and is one of the reasons that lead to infidelity and people deciding to try things out with partners outside of their relationships,” says Michael Baruti, host of Men, Men, Men, The Podcast.
“Since talking about sex is a taboo even in adult relationships, the failure to explore what you and partner both want just because you can’t communicate about it might be very detrimental for any relationship,” he adds.
Many of these relationships end up in a funk, stagnant with couples being sexually bored and some find alternative ways to deal with their boredom and dissatisfactory situations.
Journal your way into a sexscapade
In the Netflix series, Sex Life; the young wife and mother of two, finds herself sexually frustrated with a less than attentive husband. Even though her life is the stuff of jealousy and she has all the money, time and luxury she could want, she feels her life still lacks something.
She then begins to journal her past experiences and one day, after being so exhausted with mother duties, forgets to shut down her laptop as she went to put the baby down and fell asleep as well.
When she came downstairs in the morning, she was horrified to find that her husband had read her entries. He however surprised her and used it as a manual to better their sex life.
The beauty about this series was that it is based on the true story and events of author B.B. Easton in her memoir, ‘44 Chapters About 4 Men.’
There are plenty of benefits from owning a sex journal. Some may be long-term, short-term while others are mutually beneficial for both you and your partner.
You learn more about your sex drive
By tracking your sex life, you can be able to see the patterns that influence your decisions in the bedroom.
A sex journal can help you process your experiences
Very few of us spend hours us thinking about our sexuality and what we enjoy. True, lots of people spend hours fantasizing, but most of us don’t think about our sex lives in non-sexual, introspective ways. Having a sex journal gives you that push.
When you write these things down, you can contextualise emotions and put things into perspectives.
Sex journalling might make it easier to communicate with your partner
Many women are coy on sex matters if the tens of posts I have come across on various social media platforms are anything to go by. You are thinking, “If I tell him that I don’t like it this way, it may cause a rift between us.” For peace to reign, you play the pretence card.
By keeping a sex journal, like our lead from Sex Life, you leave a subtle invitation to your partner to learn more about you and your body. For openness, it is best that both of you keep the journal and exchange notes. That way, it is a win-win situation.
A sex journal prompts you to think of new things
You review your journal, but then you note that in many entries the pattern is leaning in one direction. Boring, right? A sex journal is your rescue. Because by noting the patterns, you can spice things.
Now more than ever, at the advice of counselors and therapists, many individuals are warming back to journalling.
Journalling for some, myself included, has been stress relieving and helps put down things and thoughts that you may otherwise forget. This will help you keep track all toxic traits and other behaviours you may want to change and may also give you something positive to look back on and pat yourself on the back for in terms of growth and advancement.
Those mental health benefits go far beyond your brain. Studies show that reducing intrusive thoughts, ditching toxic, self-deprecating habits, and controlling stress can all improve your libido and help you connect deeper with your partner.
Helps you track traits
Moreover, journalling can help you become more self-aware and pinpoint unhealthy patterns that may be negatively impacting your sex life, such as the partners you’re choosing, the boundaries you’re setting or lack thereof, insecurities you might have, and so on.
If you have a tendency to project past insecurities onto new people, a sex journal will definitely help you pinpoint these weak spots and that state of vulnerability just might be the turn the page you so desperately need to break out of that cycle.
Wondering where to start?
Incase by now you have decided to give this absolutely crazy idea a chance but you are still unsure of how to go about it, here are a few questions that could guide you;
• How was your last sexual experience? How was it different from your first experience?
• What were you taught about sex as you grew up? What did you not know that you feel you needed to know?
• What are your arousal levels during different times of your menstrual cycle?
• What are your arousal levels compared to your stress levels and mental health?
• How present did you feel in your body?
• Were there any emotional or physical blocks that you noticed? How deeply are they connected to your upbringing?
• What acts are you currently curious or fantasizing about?
• What struggles have you had with your sexuality?
As era evolves into the next era, there are lessons we need to be adept at teaching our young ones because burying our heads in the sand simply means that the world will do the teaching for us and if our experiences are anything to go by, the world isn’t such a kind teacher.