Sexual Self-Knowledge: Why is it So Important?

Sex is an important part of who we are and we must improve our sexual self-knowledge to enjoy it to the fullest.
Sexual Self-Knowledge: Why is it So Important?
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 28 March, 2023

Sexual self-knowledge is important beyond sexual practices. It’s necessary to carry out a process of reflection and introspection that allows us to discover ourselves in this aspect: it is sexual self-knowledge.

Often, we immerse ourselves in sexuality guided by inertia, by what we think it should be and disconnected from our real preferences and sensations. This can lead to sexual dysfunctions, personal and couple dissatisfaction, and even risky behaviors. In order to prevent this from happening, we propose some keys to self-discovery.

What is sexual self-knowledge?

This term refers to everything we know (or should know) about ourselves with respect to our sexuality. How we are in this area, what we need, what we like, what our preferences and rhythms are, what we think and feel about it, how we perform and what we could do to live a fuller sexuality.

These are questions that many people do not have answers to because they have simply never asked themselves. Nobody teaches us how important it is to live our sexuality with awareness, to know and respect ourselves and to see beyond mere genitality or the simple sexual act.

There are several valuable points that we should address regarding sexual self-knowledge. Below, we talk about some of them.

Pareja vive su sexualidad en plenitud.
What we like and what does not make us fulfilled in sexuality, is not always clear to everyone.

Sexual self-knowledge is about exploring your anatomy

A fundamental step is to know in depth the body, its parts and the functions of each of them. Although it may not seem like it, there are many people who do not know enough about their anatomy. This can compromise their enjoyment.

Looking in the mirror, self-exploration or educating yourself with information from reliable sources is very necessary. In addition, there are small gestures and routines that help us increase body awareness, connect and feel more confident in our skin. For example, massages, stretching or dancing.

Discover your sensations

When talking about sexuality we tend to focus too much on the genitals. We forget that many areas of the body are erogenous and susceptible to arouse desire and provide pleasure.

To know what are those points in you, you need to allow yourself to explore and feel, both alone and as a couple. Caresses, kisses or erotic toys can help in this task.

What do you think about your body?

As we said, sexuality is not purely physical. Our thoughts about it play an important role.

Self-image (the way we perceive our body and how we value our appearance) has been found to have a great effect on our ability to enjoy sexuality. A poor self-image can make us feel self-conscious and self-conscious, leading us to restrict or limit sexual encounters or make us experience them with shame and embarrassment.

This is why it is important to work on it. Thus, stop judging yourself and criticizing your appearance. Learn to love your body even with its imperfections and thank it for allowing us to feel and enjoy ourselves is very beneficial.

What’s your sexual self-knowledge?

Sexual self-knowledge also implies a reflection on the information we have about sex. Sometimes this information is biased, insufficient or full of taboos that limit us.

In this aspect, there are several points to address and they are the following:

  • Sex education and some of its basic concepts, such as consent, protection against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy prevention.
  • The idea of coitocentrism, so present in our society, which places penetration at the center of the equation and relegates other sexual practices as necessary as they are pleasurable.
  • Also, the myths and taboos regarding different practices, games and preferences. It is essential to remember that any consensual activity that generates enjoyment and does not cause any harm is legal.
  • Understanding the importance of communication and sexual assertiveness to achieve the enjoyment of those involved in the encounter.
  • In short, to banish the fear and shame to communicate, ask, feel, set limits or dare with new proposals.
Pareja homosexual que vive su sexualidad.
Understanding preferences and shifting the focus away from coitocentrism are healthy practices to enhance enjoyment and self-esteem.

Identify your preferences

A final essential step is to identify what your preferences are. That is, what things turn you on, give you pleasure and feel good to you; what are your limits, your needs and your rhythms.

At this point we are not just referring to knowing what your erogenous zones are, your favorite positions or the way you like to be stimulated. It is also important to address the social and affective area.

For example, there are people who are comfortable having casual relationships without commitment; there are also others for whom this is uncomfortable and even emotionally damaging. Respecting your needs in this regard is very necessary in order not to force yourself to do something you do not want to do, just because of social pressure.

Likewise, the frequency with which you want to have sex is also a point to explore. Thus, each person’s preferences are different and all of them are legitimate; there is no right and determined number of sexual encounters.

Try to connect with your needs and sensations and identify what it is that you desire.

Read What Is Sexual Repression and What Causes It?

Sexual self-knowledge frees us and allows us to fully enjoy sex

In short, if you are experiencing any kind of difficulty or dissatisfaction regarding your sexuality, it will be very positive for you to start a path of sexual self-knowledge. Thus, turn off the autopilot and start to get to know yourself, to question yourself and to connect with your body, your desires and preferences.

In this way, you will feel much more comfortable and confident. You will also be able to communicate better with your sexual partners.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.