We’ve all been there, maybe you’re sick, maybe it’s a super-stressful time at work, maybe you’re going through a break up- there are a million and one (and probably more) reasons that it can can happen – sometimes we all feel hella unsexy. Now I’m not talking about “Whoops! didn’t brush my hair before I walked my dog!” unsexy here, I’m talking about when you feel like there’s just no way anyone will ever find you sexually appealing again. I’m talking about when you feel like sex is a foreign concept. I’m talking about those moments when you kind of just want to hide from it all and the desexualized feeling that can come with it. Is there anything we can do about that? I think so and I have put together this list of self care strategies for when you’re feeling completely unsexy.
1. Take Care of Yourself
At times like this it’s really easy to let routines fall by the wayside but after a couple of days of ignoring your usual cleanliness and beauty rituals things can go downhill quickly. Let me pause to be perfectly clear – I am not about to tell you to keep yourself pretty because pretty = good or some nonsense, I have practical reasons for bringing up your beauty rituals (or whatever the more masculine-identified among us call beauty rituals… upkeep?) I’ll use myself as an example: When I fall into this state and abandon all routines my skin suffers terribly. I stop moisturizing and drinking enough water and it gets all dry and flaky and patchy. Then it breaks out. Then I look in the mirror and my face is broken out and like 4 different colors, also the really dry parts hurt. This doesn’t help with the not liking myself thing I already had going on and when I get back in the swing of things it takes a while for it to go back to normal (and did I mention it actually hurts?).
You’re going through a rough time as it is, we want to not make that worse, right? So identify the parts of your routine that are vital to maintaining your baseline “okay” state – I’m not asking you to shoot for “I look awesome!!” just maintain. I do exactly as much as it takes for my face to not start hurting – I won’t be on the cover of any magazines but the small amount of taking care of myself keeps me out of pain and makes life easier when I get back to it. So, whether it’s shaving, exfoliating, conditioning or maybe just plain old showering do as much of it as you need to keep yourself feeling like you.
2. Treat yo’ Self (well)!
This sounds kind of the same as the last one, but it’s actually very different. Allow yourself some luxury- even if it’s small. Accessible luxuries are super-important. Why? Because if you are continually telling yourself that you don’t get to be treated well because of well, whatever reason (yes, even budget) you are telling yourself that you are worth less than other people and don’t deserve to feel good. Find your accessible luxury. It can be totally free- just something that makes you feel like you are treating yourself well. My accessible luxuries have included hot baths, rosemary picked from the local park, cream in my coffee (instead of my customary almond milk), and, most recently, a $20 duvet cover for my beloved (ancient) down comforter – it was a cuddling game-changer. Nothing huge but they all gave me comfort and broke me out of the “I don’t deserve to be pampered because I’m broke/lazy/not thin/whatever other thing I was freaking out about at the time” trap.
I’m not saying stuff is the answer, just being kind to you. And Parks and Rec agrees with me….
3. Clean up
Yeah, I know, I’m telling you to work and that may sound like the last thing you want to do but hear me out: When you look around you and see a sea of dirty clothes and dishes it can be hard to not feel like part of a big pit of gross and that’s not helping your state of mind(for me the sink full of dirty dishes always makes it worse) so, get rid of that mess. Start small. Spend 5 minutes at a time making parts of it go away. Do it while you are doing other things and don’t think you have to tackle any part of it all at once: Making a trip to the bathroom? Squirt some toilet cleaner in the bowl! Heading into the kitchen anyway, bring some dishes in with you. Waiting for your coffee to brew? Wash a couple of dishes. Then you can go right back to your cocoon. Eventually you’ll be cocooning in a much more serene space.
4. Masturbate (if that’s a thing you do)
This is a time when masturbation can fall by the wayside but it’s a great way to stay in touch with your sensual side and bring yourself some pleasure. Take your time and allow yourself to really feel all the sensations as they occur. Make it a time for connection with your body. I know masturbation isn’t everybody’s thing but, if it’s something you are into, it can be a fabulous way to remind yourself of the sexual pleasure you may feel disconnected from right now.
5. Give Yourself a Break
If you remember nothing else from this list, remember this: wherever you are, it’s okay. You might not be up to doing a single thing on this list and that’s okay. You might do nothing today but breathe in and out and that’s okay.
At times like this when we’re cocooning, for whatever reason, that feeling of desexualization can feel like an added insult to our injury but give yourself a break. Remember that you are still you and this feeling, while a very real and valid experience, is just a feeling. You have not been changed into someone else. You are still there- you just need some cocooning time, so, give yourself a break.