October 10 is World Mental Health Day.
Its purpose is to recognize that mental health and care for everyone should be a human right. It’s a reminder that we must work to break the social stigmas surrounding those with mental health issues and recognize that these are a part of the larger goal of overall health for all.
There is plenty of research and information about how mental health problems loom larger within the LGBTQ+ community – depression, anxiety, stress, suicide ideation, and resulting substance abuse, not to mention the difficulties members of this community have in securing proper care for their illnesses.
But this is also a day to celebrate mental health that does exist within the LGBTQ+ community and how that can be achieved through the sexual relationships and experiences that you have every day.
It’s time to be openly proud, sexual, and mentally healthy. Be glad that you are not living 50 years ago, facing intolerance and condemnation from society and the government. Today, your lifestyle is supported by a majority of the American public. This in itself is cause for a celebration of sorts and relieves some of the pressures that used to cause anxiety and stress.
If you are looking to see how you can remain mentally healthy, here is a short guide for each of you to do just that.
First of all, mental health is the key to happiness and productivity for everyone. And research clearly shows that a healthy sex life benefits mental health in the following ways:
Boosts your overall mood, even hours or days after some great sex
It relieves stress, especially coming from other parts of your life
It boosts self-confidence that carries over to other parts of your life
It promotes your ability to express your emotions
So, now you know that great sex is a big factor in your mental health. Let’s look at how you have those experiences. Here’s your guide.
What follows is a 10 - step guide for you to achieve and maintain mental health.
This is especially important if you have recently come out and have worries or anxieties about acceptance. It is also important that you are supportive of those within your LGBTQ+ niche and others on the LGBTQ+ spectrum too. Care and concern for others’ well-being fosters our own emotional fitness.
Any sex that is enjoyable releases endorphins and serotonin before, during, and after. And during orgasm, the hormone oxytocin is released. This little wonder leaves partners in a relaxed and stress-free state for hours, sometimes days.
An additional tip: If you run into a “dry” period without a sexual partner, masturbation is a healthy substitute and will result in the same chemical releases.
Here’s an important point to remember: Nothing is off limits if it satisfies you and your consenting partner.
You may be into one-night hookups, casual sex with those you date, friendships with benefits, threesomes, group sex, or a monogamous sexual relationship. Go after what you want and satisfy those desires and needs. Pursuing and achieving goals is an activity that improves mental health.
Identify what exactly you are looking for in sexual connections and experiences. Are you looking for simple hook-ups, casual dating/sex, friends with benefits, or are you seeking longer-term relationships built on both sex and romance? You can’t connect with the right sexual partners until you do this.
Now, in terms of where to find them, there are options for you:
Sign up on online dating apps. There are bunches that support the LGBTQ+ community specifically. You can create a profile and state your preferences for matches, even in your own locale, so that you can “date” online and then arrange for in-person dating.
You can check with friends who may have acquaintances or come across others who may be compatible
There are chat rooms and even local clubs and organizations where you can hook up or just give and receive support and validation.
There are lots of gathering places – specific bars and clubs, saunas and fitness centers, etc., usually in more major urban areas, if you should live close by.
If you do hook up with males or females through any of these sources, make sure that they want the same things you do in terms of sex and/or romance. You don’t want misinterpretation or awkward misunderstandings.
There’s an old saying that still rings true – “Try it, you may like it” – and it certainly applies here.
You may have been rather “stuck” in traditional forms of sex – two partners in bed engaging in pretty standard sexual activities. It can be a bit boring and lead to mental apathy too. Have you thought about how trying new things might give you a more positive outlook?
Researchers say that trying new things can result in fun and pleasure. New sexual experiences can contribute to fun and pleasure and thus to greater mental health.
While this was mentioned above, it bears repeating. Get a well-illustrated book on sex positions, get online and research them, or watch some kinky videos. There are so many different ways to have sex and such a huge assortment of toys and other devices, that you could probably do something different every day of the year. Every time you have a new sexual experience that you enjoy, your positive attitude shines forth. Let it shine a lot!
You could have a bunch of “zones” that you aren’t even aware of – nipples, ear lobes, toes, navel, and more.
Tell your sex partner what you have discovered, and have them experiment with ways to get your amazingly aroused by experimenting on these zones, using kissing, sucking, nibbling, biting, clamps, etc.
Masturbation can produce the same “feel-good” hormones and chemicals that sex with a partner does. In fact, there are other benefits too:
It can actually improve sex with a partner, especially if you learn some new techniques that get you aroused. And mutual masturbation is a huge turn-on for many couples. You should try it.
Masturbation can increase your ability to reach orgasm when you do have sex with a partner – and that’s a good thing always
“No man is an island” is a famous quote from long-ago poet, John Donne.
But it is a universal truth. It means that we cannot live in isolation from emotional connections with others. Our mental health depends on it
Here’s what the research says about people being connected to others:
They have lower rates of anxiety and depression
They have higher self-esteem
They have higher levels of trust in others
They have far lower rates of suicide and/or suicidal ideation.
If you value sexual experiences that focus on “one-night stands,” then be certain that you have emotional connections with others that satisfy your need for “belonging” and support. These can be non-sexual friendships you have developed, chat room groups you have found on online dating apps, etc.
You do not need emotional connections to have amazing sexual experiences, but they should be there in other parts of your life to support your mental health.
You may identify as a specific gender, but you may find that, as your experimentation and new sexual experiences move forward, you find yourself attracted to other gender identities – trans, polysexuals, threesomes, bisexuals, etc. Don’t fight these attractions and urges. Denying yourself sexual pleasure can leave you emotionally frustrated.
In this age of sexual fluidity, you do not know what your permanent and final destination may be if you even land on one during your lifetime. Many do not.
Accepting your feelings and having sexually fluid experiences improves your sense of self – achieving that is one of the most mentally healthy places to be.
This guide is certainly not the full range of achieving and maintaining your mental health. There are so many facets to this health, but there is one overriding concept. People need to find ways to reduce anxiety and stress in their lives and take action to infuse feelings of happiness, well-being, and joy. This in turn will bleed over into all other parts of their lives.
With all the discussion of the mental health issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community, it’s refreshing to know that you can boost your mental health by pursuing and enjoying all of the sexual experiences you want. That’s what sexual freedom is all about, after all, and that freedom can put a smile on our faces, a spring in our step, and an optimism that all mentally healthy people have.
Take the tips in this guide and celebrate your mental health. It should put you well on your journey to achieving and maintaining a mentally healthy you.
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