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It’s a new year and a new you and you’re ready to embark on a journey to discover, explore and unleash your sexuality! However, with all the crazy media messages about sexuality that bombard us on a daily basis, it can be confusing for women to determine what it really means to be sexually empowered. Sexual empowerment simply means owning every aspect of your sexuality. It also means being aware of how your sexuality impacts your life. When we buy into the negative messages that society imposes on women, we somehow lose our way by trying to fit into these stereotypic images of sexuality that subdue our self-esteem and confidence. Well the great news is that you don’t have to stay bogged down by these messages and images, you can reclaim your sexual self today! Check out these sexually empowering tips:

1. Become Intimately Acquainted with your Body. Knowing your body and maintaining your sexual health is extremely important. In order to experience pleasure, you have to be intimately acquainted with your body. Understanding your reproductive system, sexual response cycle and how your body changes during each cycle is the hallmark of sexual pleasure. Learning about what feels good to you can increase your chance of experiencing sexual pleasure with sex partners because it enables you to communicate your sexual turn-ons to your partners. Our bodies are a temple. We only get one, and there is no refund or exchange policy on our body, so we have to treat it with the utmost care and respect. If we do not take care of it, then who will?

2. Embrace Your Sexuality! Be comfortable with who you are as a sexual being and your sexuality! That begins by first loving ourselves, understanding that we are sexual beings, and giving ourselves permission to discover, explore, and unleash our sexuality. You cannot truly share your sexuality if you are not comfortable with who you are, you cannot negotiate safer sex nor can you talk to your physician about your sexual health. Honor your sexuality by creating an empowering sex-positive mantra. Make it a priority to look in the mirror each day and repeat the mantra. This will help you to reaffirm your sexuality on a daily basis.

3. Let Your No Mean No! Part of being sexually empowered means making a decision and sticking to it. If you are not ready for a relationship or ready to have sex; Don’t settle! Stay true to your real desires. If you give in to your hormones just for the sake of an orgasm, you will end up regretting it later. Learn to identify your triggers so that you can put a plan in place to avoid those pitfalls. For example, if you know that when you go out to the club you are likely to have a few drinks and end up leaving with someone to have sex, then the club is a trigger that you need to avoid and replace with a less sexually charged activity.

4. Take time to get to know your partner. What is the rush? Sex, especially casual sex, does not come without a cost and that cost could just be your life. With every potential sexual encounter you must ask yourself if this orgasm is worth my life. Are you willing to die for sex because that is essentially what you are saying when you fail to ask your sexual partners questions about his or her sexual past. When you enter into a sexual relationship, it is extremely important that you take the time to get to know your sexual partner. As difficult as it may be to ask these questions, it should become a habit. At the end of the day, if you cannot ask your partner these questions then maybe you should not be having sex with them.

5. Love Yourself Enough to Not Put Yourself at Risk. Practice safer sex. Failure to do so may result in dire consequences, like becoming infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Learn how to negotiate safer sex condoms, dental dams and lubes! Eroticize safer sex and turn it into a game that both of you will enjoy. Above all, know your value and worth, respect yourself and your body and be very cautious about who you share yourself with. Remember in addition to HIV, there are three additional sexually transmitted infections – HPV, Hepatitis and – Herpes, that do not have a cure. Being infected with an STI that does not have a cure can cause signicant implication on your future relationships. Don’t allow love or your hormones to get the best of you. Take time to protect yourself. You are responsible for your sexual health. Ten, fifteen maybe twenty minutes of pleasure is not worth your life.

6. Keep It Sexy Even When No One Is Looking. Being sexy is just as important for us as it is for our partner(s). When we look good, we feel good and are more likely to exude confidence. Another important aspect of being sexy lies within our attitude. Sexy is absorbed by character. Sexy is laughing, it’s crying, it’s patience, it’s a look, it’s purpose, it’s the way you move, it’s confidence, it’s passion, it’s knowledge, it’s love, it’s living, it’s owning who you are and so much more! The core of who we are as women lies in the unique way we express ourselves. It is the attitude of confidence. It’s celebrating yourself, flaws and all. While the word sexy may include the word sex, it does not mean that sexy is synonymous with sex! Push yourselves to move pass society’s definition of sexy. Create your own brand of sexy this year! One that involves your mind, your self-esteem, your confidence, your positive attitude, your spirituality, and your passion and zest for LIFE!

7. Communicate With Your Sexual Desires. We all want to have great sex! However, great sex doesn’t just happen like it does in the movies. It requires some work and effort on our part. While it may be challenging to communicate your sexual desires to your Beloved, it is absolutely necessary! Often times we set our relationships up for failure because we don’t to talk to our partners. We just “expect” them to somehow know everything about us. Don’t expect your Beloved to be a mind reader! You have to communicate with each other about what turns you on and off because what worked with one partner may or may not necessarily do it for the current partner. Be very specific about what you need. Rather than criticizing your Beloved about the things that you don’t like, instead tell them what feels good and that you want more of it.

8. Give Yourself Permission To Experience Pleasure. Growing up many of us was taught that sex was something “bad,” “wrong,” or “sinful.” We were taught that good girls don’t, and if we do that we are sluts. It’s time to let go of all that negative baggage you’ve been carrying around for years and give yourself permission to enjoy sex! After all, we were created as sexual beings. In fact, women have the only organ in the human body that solely designed for pleasure so why shouldn’t we enjoy it?

My Beloved, this year, I challenge you to let go of all that “stuff” that you have learned about sexuality over the years! Open your minds, do the work and begin to see yourself in a brand new light – as a sexually empowered woman who is taking control of her LIFE!