Why a sex journal will help improve your relationship

A journal can help improve your love life. PHOTO|FOTOSEARCH

What you need to know:

What you need to know:

  • Research suggests that self-expressive writing can help limit intrusive, negative thoughts and improve your memory
  • Journaling can help you become more self-aware and pinpoint unhealthy patterns that may be negatively impacting your sex life

They say the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or in the case of the journal, a full cycle.

Remember back in the days when we kept discreet records of our lives detailing our thoughts, experiences, and the music that was fuelling our days and our feelings?

Then after some time, keeping a diary became a tad bit dramatic. Multitudes got bored and fell out of the routine. But, now more than ever, at the advice of counselors and therapists, many individuals are warming back to journaling. They are writing to track their career, mental health, dreams, travel, and fitness goals. One aspect remains unexplored and we are telling you about it- sex journaling!

Research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that self-expressive writing can help limit intrusive, negative thoughts and improve your memory, and a study published in JMIR Mental Health shows that consistent journaling can help with stress, depressive feelings, and anxiety.

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.

Meanwhile, improving your working memory can free up your brain for other mental activities, according to Pennebaker's research. This could mean better crushing your job, coping with stress, or, perhaps, connecting more deeply with a partner.

Moreover, journaling 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.

What is a sex journal you ask?

Sex journaling is just that: journaling with a focus on your sex life, your sexuality, and whatever else that means to you. There are no rules while doing it—you get to decide the tone, what to track and when, whom to share it with, and ultimately, how to integrate your findings into your sex life.

A 2016 study by Californian Professor Dr. Gail Matthews on the art of science and goal-setting reveals that you become 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals and dreams if you write them down regularly.

To connect with pleasure, and transform your sex life can be started by a simple task such as writing down your arousal levels, and how you feel with your partner at different times.

"I am a woman on a mission," Felicity Kawira tells me. For the last month, she has been journaling about her intimate experience. "Since I started writing down and sharing my diary with my partner, I feel that we have got better at it."

Catherine Holden, a psychologist and sex therapist with The Almond Tree Wellness Centre, Nairobi affirms the importance of keeping a sex journal. "I recommend it to most of my clients. Many return with positive results—they are happier, the partners are ecstatic and their bond becomes stronger," she says.

Why keep a sex journal

Let us be honest, shall we? 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 nature dictates. Some days you are on cloud erotica, while on other days your body refuses to co-operate.

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 ticks your fancy.

You learn more about your sex drive

"When I started keeping the journal, I realised that there were times I was intimate because I wanted to get over and done with, while there were times, I was in the mood and initiated it. Journaling has helped me to become more aware of my desires and motivations," offers Kawira.

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

Journaling, experts say is therapeutic. Very few of us spend hours us thinking about our sexuality and what we enjoy. True, lots of people spend hours fantasising, but most of us don't think about our sex lives in non-sexual, introspective ways. Having a sex journal gives you that push.

Catherine says the diary will help you to reflect on your feelings and thoughts. "When you write these things down, you can contextualise emotions and put things into perspectives. Further, you'll be able to curate future desires or refrain from some acts."

Sex journaling 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 pretense card.

By keeping a sex journal, it is 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," offers Douglas Logendi, a Nairobi-based sex therapist.

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. You want to read something pleasant, don't you?

Wondering where to start? Here are a few starting points……

  • How was your last sexual experience? How was it different from your first sexual experience?
  • How about your first sexual 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?
  • Did you use any tools or props? How did you like them?
  • How present did you feel in your body?
  • Were there any emotional or physical blocks that you noticed?
  • What sex acts are you currently curious or fantasising about?
  • What struggles have you had with your sexuality?

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