Have you ever wished someone would just give you a handbook about how your sexuality works?
Or a menu of what you like so you can figure out what you want?
Are you on a quest to learn as much as possible about your sexuality?
Or trying to keep your desires front and center while you date and look for a new partner?
Maybe you are exploring a kind of sexuality that’s entirely new to you, like kink, ethical non-monogamy, neo-tantra, or sex with different kinds of partners than you used to, and you want to keep track of what you learn.
Perhaps you want to get better about asking for what you want in bed…
Or put words to that nameless yearning, desire or fantasy that really gets you going.
If any of these apply to you, you might want to write your own Erotic Handbook.
Over the past few years, I’ve supported dozens of clients and students in writing their own Erotic Handbooks. Nearly everyone who is on a journey of sexual self-exploration, or who wants to improve their sexual self-knowledge or sexual communication, can benefit from creating an Erotic Handbook.
Each Erotic Handbook is an eye-opening experience, as the creators learn to celebrate the uniqueness of their sexuality, the specialness of how they do their relationships, and necessity of listening to what their bodies really want.
But what *IS* an Erotic Handbook?
An Erotic Handbook is not a dating profile or personal ad. Those are written with other people in mind, with a goal of attracting a partner of some kind.
An Erotic Handbook is a personal thing, created entirely for you. It is likely you will be the only person to ever see it.
It is a place where you capture the discoveries you make about what you do and don’t like, what’s important to you and what turns you on. It’s a space for you to get clear about how your body works and to be honest about what you need to thrive sexually. It’s where you can celebrate what pleases you, document important facts about your sexual health, and track what matters to you in your relationships.
It’s a living document, one that you can return to, refine, add to, edit, update and change as often as you change.
In its simplest form, an Erotic Handbook is a guide to the most important things about your sexual and sensual self, so you don’t forget them. In a world that de-prioritizes pleasure, creating your own Erotic Handbook is a statement that your pleasure, your priorities and your turn-ons matter.
It can be in whatever format works best for you: handwritten in a special notebook, saved as a Google doc, kept on scraps of paper in a file folder, saved as a series of audio recordings in a folder, or beautifully illustrated in a visual journal.
You can think of writing an Erotic Handbook as a personalized discovery process that is all about YOU.
Why write an Erotic Handbook?
No two Erotic Handbooks are alike, and each one is a unique reflection of the person who put it together. And there are almost as many reasons to write an Erotic Handbook as there are people who create them.
Here are some reasons why it can be a good idea to have an Erotic Handbook of your own:
To get to know yourself better – sexually, sensually and relationally
To make it easier to talk about what you want in bed
To capture the erotic discoveries you make about yourself
To remind yourself of what is important to you in your sexual and romantic relationships
To have a menu of sexy stuff you like and want to choose from, when someone asks you “What do you want?”
To help you build confidence in your erotic self
To support you in maintaining the integrity of your boundaries
To have a place to put important notes to yourself
To collect the results of all those sex and relationship quizzes you like to take
To bookmark sexy stories, images or websites you want to go back to
To see how your interests and tastes change over time
Because it’s fun!
An Erotic Handbook is a fantastic self-discovery tool. It does not have an agenda and never judges you for what you put in it. It is always and entirely for you.
What exactly goes into an Erotic Handbook?
An Erotic Handbook can contain anything you think is relevant to your sexual and sensual self, especially stuff you want to make sure you remember later.
When I work with clients to create their own, the first thing we do is get clear about why you are making your erotic handbook. Having a clear intention will guide you in prioritizing what you want to include.
Some examples of intentions include:
To not lose sense of my sexual self as I date and try to find a partner
To better be able to communicate to my partner what I like and want in bed
To make sure I’m keeping the lessons from all the workshops and classes I’m taking
To observe what does and doesn’t work for me as I explore kink or non-monogamy
To see how my mental and/or physical health affects my sexuality
To keep track everything I need to while dating polyamorously
To take ownership of my sexuality after years in a long-term relationship
To create a menu of sexy stuff I know I like to choose from
Because I always wished I had an owner/operator manual for my sexuality
Whatever your reason for writing your Erotic Handbook, start by writing it down!
After that, anything goes.
From there, your Erotic Handbook can include anything you want. Below are some things you can consider adding. I recommend choosing 3-4 categories to start, and then you can add more as it feels important to you.
Information about you, including identities that are important to you, attachment style, personality information
How you want to feel during sex and what tends to get you there.
Core erotic themes, ie, the roles, narratives or archetypes that consistently turn you on
Your philosophy of sex and/or relationships, including what they mean to you and you want out of your experiences
How you like to learn about sex: books, podcasts, friends, porn, classes, experimentation, etc
How desire shows up for you, including whether you tend to have more spontaneous or responsive desire and what triggers it
Sexual stuff you’re into, including activities, fantasies, kinks, favorite toys, and erotic blueprints
Information about your relationship landscape and how you “do” relationships, including the important people in your life
Words you do and don’t like, including names for body parts, pet names and activities
Your sensual preferences, including how you like to be touched, what you like to be surrounded by, and how your five senses like to be fulfilled
Links to porn, erotica or audio stories you particularly like
What gets you in the mood or “primes the pump” ahead of time
Supplies or tools that make sex better for you, like lube, a special towel or favorite pillows
Safer sex information, including last time you were tested and what for, safer sex practices, what you want to do if a pregnancy happens
Other health considerations, including injuries, limitations or medications that might affect your sexuality
Things you want to make sure you communicate to a date or new play partner, like important boundaries, emergency contact info, allergies, or injuries
How you like to be taken care of, including love languages, aftercare, preferred approaches to apologies
Remember, your Erotic Handbook is entirely for you. It can be just a short page, or many, many pages long. You can type it up, write it up, draw it, or record it. You can include anything that feels important to you and your intention, and ditch the rest. It’s about you having the tools to know yourself in a way that is most important to you.
What will you include in your Erotic Handbook?
Want to write YOUR Erotic Handbook with detailed, week-by-week support from me? Plus lots of sexy prompts, fun quizzes and thought-provoking checklists?
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