For most adults around the world, physical intimacy is an integral aspect of their lifestyle, representing a great source of pleasure and happiness. However, when it comes to individuals who are struggling with mental health issues, sex tends to be yet another part of their life that is impacted by these problems, requiring additional knowledge and support in order to foster a healthy sex life along with their mental well-being.

Physical intimacy is a state of mind

While we tend to consider sex as a physical act that relates solely to our bodies, the truth is that intimacy is dependent on our minds just as much. In fact, our feelings and our thoughts are essential aspects of achieving arousal, regardless of our gender, which is why physical intimacy can be difficult to foster for many individuals who are battling mental illness.

Disorders such as depression and anxiety, for instance, tend to impact one’s libido in a negative way, often overwhelming individuals with intrusive thoughts and low self-esteem, which in turn prevent them from being comfortable enough to have sex or even relaxed enough to enjoy intimacy. On the other hand, mental health issues like mania might cause people to seek risky sexual behavior, leading to unprotected relations, violence, or even bodily harm.

However, one of the biggest issues might be the social stigma surrounding sexuality and mental health. As long as there’s understanding, inclusiveness, support, comfort, as well as establishing and respecting personal boundaries between sexual partners, the stigma can be overcome more easily, and individuals might become more eager to engage in healthy sexual activity.

Sensuality as an aid in intimacy

Contrary to popular belief, real sex differs greatly from the experiences portrayed in the movies, no matter their nature. Real-life acts of physical intimacy can involve anything from laughter, fun, and creativity to clumsiness, mishaps, and mistakes, as well as fluctuating libido levels. These are all completely natural aspects of sexuality, and are necessary for a healthy intimate life.

In case you are currently struggling with arousal or the ability to orgasm, focusing on sensuality and some of the more natural aspects of sex might help to take the pressure off the act itself. This could mean sharing other forms of intimacy with a partner, such as intimate massages, naked cuddling, or synchronized breathing. However, it could also mean exploring your own sensuality by spending some time alone with exciting sex toys for women that will allow you to get to know your body on a deeper level, and become more comfortable with your sexuality.

Regardless of what you opt for, only when you change your expectations of sex can you truly be able to relax and enjoy the variety of pleasures that accompany this act of physical intimacy.

Fostering sexual health and positivity

Having a positive outlook on sexuality generally means accepting the fact that sex is a good, natural thing no one should be ashamed of. This assertion entails the belief that physical intimacy is an expression of our sexual orientation, gender identity, as well as our desires, and is therefore an essential aspect of any healthy lifestyle.

By educating yourself and having a more positive outlook on sex, you will be able to make more informed decisions and enjoy intimacy on a deeper level, which can be incredibly beneficial for anyone struggling with mental health issues. While you could do this alone, by expanding your knowledge, a good psychologist or sex therapist might also help with sex-positivity.

Although mental health problems can affect our lives in unexpected ways, there’s no denying we all deserve the right to fully appreciate and enjoy our sexuality.