Here, Par Femme's resident Sex Educator, Cheryl Fagan
, explains how all sexual beliefs and behaviors fit into one of the Circles of Sexuality.
Sexuality is part of who we are as a person. Western sex ed scratches the surface of enormity of what sex encompasses. Sex is more than the physical act of bodies coming together, sex has to do with gender, pleasure, intimacy, attitudes, beliefs, erotica, and so much more. It’s a lifetime journey learning about our sexual selves. By building sexual knowledge and self-reflection we can become more liberated and empowered sexually.
There are different parts to our sexuality, and they all play a significant part in our sex life. All sexual beliefs and behaviors will fit into one of the Circles of Sexuality. The five circles are: Intimacy, identity, sensuality, health and reproduction and sexualization. Below are some short summaries for added context:Intimacy
is about being vulnerable, sharing dreams and fears. It’s your ability to truly connect with someone. Identity
has to do with being male/female/intersex and gender roles.Sensuality
is about how one feels in their own skin and their self-esteem.Health and reproduction
has to do with pap smears, access to contraception, and so on. Sexualisation
is the shadow part. On one end of the scale it’s flirting and the other end is sexual exploitation.
The five circles work as a foundation for me as a sex educator. This allows for a holistic approach to sexuality education. The more you understand human sexuality the more empowered you are to make healthy choices, but not ONLY that, the more you’re able to have a satisfying, shame-free, and fulfilling sex.
Questions to consider in terms of the five circles of sexuality;
1. Which feels most familiar?
2. Are there any of the circles that you didn’t think of as sexual before?
3. List behaviors you think fit into each circle and consider. This can help you to see where you would like to grow in your sexuality to maybe limiting beliefs you carry and would like to challenge. For example… When it comes to sensuality having a basic understanding of your anatomy can help you appreciate your body, for example, becoming cliterate helps you to learn what you find pleasurable, and your level intimacy with a partner can determine how confident and comfortable you feel to be able to communicate what you like.Cheryl Fagan is a Sexologist and Founder of On Top, with an academic background in Psychology and Sexual and Reproductive Health. You can (and should!) follow her on Instagram at @cherylfagan, or, find her work and Closeness: Card Deck at On Top.