Blog Sexual Health  Holiday Self Love with Dr. Zhana

Holiday Self Love with Dr. Zhana

Blog Sexual Health  Holiday Self Love with Dr. Zhana

The holiday season is here and it’s time to talk about self-love during the holidays! I got some really interesting questions. Let’s start at the beginning: What is self-love?

Blog Sexual Health  Holiday Self Love with Dr. Zhana

What is self love and how to express that?

I define self-love as virtually any act that you do for yourself, to show to yourself that you love yourself, you’re taking care of yourself, you’re taking care of your needs. And that can range, there are so many different ways to do it. In the sexual wellness space, we often talk about self-love to mean masturbation. And that’s certainly a wonderful way to give yourself some love. But it can be so much more than that. It can be asking a partner for the kind of sex you want, saying ‘no’ to partnered sex you don’t want. It can mean things that are non-sexual, like making time for sleep or exercise or healthy eating or meditating or any of those things that make you feel good and like you’re care of yourself.

It is hard to get to self-love with a partner around.

That is so true, and even more so now during the pandemic! Which is why I always tell people in live-in, long term relationships, you have to find time apart from each other. I don’t know what your particular situation is and how you can manage that. Whether it’s one night off a week, one weekend a month off, one or two weeks off every month… you have to communicate the importance of having time apart from each other, and then logistically work that out. People talk about there being five love languages, but I really think that alone time should be the 6th love language.

With all the visiting and visitors, what advice do you have for carving out time for self-love?

It’s the same with visitors and visiting people during the holidays. It can be pretty crazy during this time for people. So you might not have as much time as you normally have, but it’s equally important to find some time for yourself. So maybe one afternoon a week or one night a week when you don’t visit anyone, when you don’t take care of anyone. Or if you’re visiting someone for multiple days, you just say, look I need one afternoon just to myself.

What long-distance relationship sex toy do you recommend?

I think any app-controlled toy is an amazing option for people in long-distance relationships. So you can have the toy in or on you, and your partner can be controlling it using the app. Of the LELO toys, the Remoji Picobong line is the one to go with. 

What lubricants do you recommend for women who experience an increase in vaginal dryness?

I honestly think that using lube is an act of self-love when it comes to sex. There are a lot of reasons why someone might not be lubricating enough, or at all, and it doesn’t matter. No matter how much or little you’re lubricating naturally, you probably need lube at least sometimes. Lube is self-love. Which one is very much a personal preference: which consistency you like or smell or taste or how your vagina responds to it. I personally like the LELO lube, but there’s so many good ones on the market, so it’s a bit of trial and error to find the one that really works for you.

Is the stress of the pandemic something that would make it difficult for me to orgasm?

Absolutely yes. I mean stress is a very powerful force, whether it’s from the pandemic or otherwise in your life. Stress definitely decreases people’s desire to have sex and their ability to orgasm. 

My libido’s dropped so much. I used to practice self-love a lot, but can’t anymore… why?

There are so many other factors that can affect sex drive: your relationship dynamics, body image, mental health, being on anti-depressants, physical health issues, medications for physical health issues, and so on. I’d recommend to go see a sex therapist and see what exactly is going on.

I never want to do any self-exploration by myself! Tips on getting in the mood when alone?

Different things will work for different people. Some of my favorite ways to get in the mood are: reading erotica, watching porn, just fantasizing, taking a nice long luxurious bath, walking around the house naked, or just wearing like a silky, satiny robe that feels sexy on your skin. And sometimes even just grabbing a toy and starting to masturbate, starting to provide stimulation can kick in that desire even if you didn’t have it before. 

¿Cómo puedo hacer que mi pareja acepte los juguetes sexuales? [How do I get my partner to accept sex toys?]

This is a question that comes up every time I do these Q&As, and I know it can be challenging. Some people, men in particular, can feel a little threatened by them, uncomfortable, they don’t know what to do with them… So the way to do it is to present them as these amazing tools that can increase the pleasure repertoire for both you and them. And also to involve them, like they have agency in this, you can empower them to use these toys on you and you can kind of co-create this expanded, elevated type of sexual experience. 

I don’t enjoy masturbating. And I don’t understand why. 

There are a lot of people who don’t masturbate for all sorts of reasons. And I don’t know what your particular situation is: it could be shame, it could be body image issues, it could be that you haven’t found the right type of stimulation or context, or it’s just simply how you’re wired Blog Sexual Health  Holiday Self Love with Dr. Zhana

Sometimes I bleed when I masturbate. Is that normal?

I’m not a medical doctor and I also don’t know exactly where you’re bleeding from and how much you’re bleeding. But I would say it is not normal to be bleeding during masturbation. So if that’s happening please go see your gynecologist. 

Can stealthy affairs be a kind of self-love?

That is an interesting idea for self-love. And I can actually see how that would feel like self-love to you, or even self love that you do for the good of the relationship. Of course, your partner might disagree with that. And you know, ideally, people who want to have extra relationship affairs would be able to do them openly and honestly, as an open relationship, as opposed to a stealthy infidelity. But that’s not the reality that many of us live in and I acknowledge that. 

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