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WOMEN (12)

From Socrates to Bertrand Russel, the aphorism “know thyself” has come up time and time again. Mainstream media preaches countless practices people should explore to encourage self-reflection and self-knowledge — meditation, exercise, vision boards, etc. — yet they tend to omit one essential human activity that requires experimentation and exploration: sex. We are too often taught that this topic is taboo, but in a 2019 Kinsey Institute study commissioned by Jasmin, they found that people who have a positive view toward their sexual orientation and sexual practices were more likely to report greater life happiness, higher self-esteem, and less loneliness, social anxiety and depression. This is why it’s crucial to discuss sex and the sex-positivity movement so we can continue to normalize the topic and open the doorway for people to comfortably and authentically learn about themselves.

Building off the ideas of Esther Perel’s seminal book, “Mating In Captivity”, sex helps people gain a clearer understanding of themselves and promotes self-awareness and self-love. It’s a tool that breaks through the constraint of thought and language. In the words of Ms. Perel: “We no longer plow the land together; today we talk. We have come to glorify verbal communication. I speak, therefore I am. We naively believe that the essence of who we are is most accurately conveyed through words”

Indeed, our restricted lexicon can only take us so far in identifying and defining who we are. Words alone can even result in false assumptions based on the narrative we tell ourselves and others. Our bodies and emotions can’t lie, which is why sex is a useful tool to learn about what we like, don’t like, situations we feel comfortable in, and ones in which we do not.

It’s important to address that sex-positivity extends beyond the act of sex itself and strives to include the normalization of eroticism, sensuality and fantasies, which help to reveal our innermost desires. Before the sex-positive movement, erotic fantasies were seen as “dirty” and symptoms of a sick and unsatisfied mind.  Health experts disagree. Psychoanalyst Michael Bader explains that “our fantasies allow us to negate and undo the limits imposed by our conscience, our culture, and our self-image.”

Fantasies allow an escape and an opportunity to reverse roles imposed by our routines. Fantasies can help to explore a role in which the individual is totally in charge. If one’s personal life requires them to constantly take care of others, fantasies allow for the taking care of by another. The role-reversing potential is limitless. It’s one of the safest, yet wildest and most liberating ways that a person can be him or herself and explore new areas of their personality.

Sex also provides humans with an opportunity to strip away norms set forth by society and the media. There are countless sexual preferences, body types and genders for which people are attracted. Now more than ever, there are resources that allow individuals to explore these preferences in a safe space free of judgment. Leading voices and groundbreaking new online webcam platforms like Jasmin.com and Live Jasmin, are daily providing opportunities to discuss, learn, experiment and explore ways to enable the public to comfortably approach the topics of sex and relationships.

Our attitude toward sex inevitably trickles into our everyday lives and experiences.  Sex and sex-positivity empower us to love ourselves and be more accepting of others as what happens behind closed doors materializes our feelings and emotions in a rich and tangible way. This is why it is so beneficial to dedicate the time to explore preferences, identify wants, and be vocal about both. Like many things in life, the process is ever-evolving and requires a positive and open dialogue, the opportunity for experimentation, and above all, learning and acceptance of who one truly is.

 Author: Guillaume Tanferri Co-writers: Fernando Garcia and Gary Kovacs

How technology is saving relationships during COVID-19

It’s hard to find an area in our society that has not been impacted by COVID-19. Adjusting to the “new normal” has been easier for some sectors and social institutions than others. For instance, grocery stores around the world quickly adopted face masks, gloves, and disinfectants to ensure their safety. But what about our more immaterial institutions? How can intimacy, love, and relationships protect themselves during COVID-19?

Some might think it’s frivolous to think about feelings during a pandemic, but we can now see that strict social distancing has real, tangible effects on our well-being. Apart from depression and anxiety, loneliness has been linked to somatic illnesses like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. You may be safe from the virus but staying far apart from your loved ones can also have devastating effects. As we tackle this pandemic, loneliness has slipped under the radar and become a silent presence in our everyday lives.

Luckily, technology bridges the gap between us and those around us. Your opinion matters, your feelings matter, and it’s more important than ever to find someone that can listen to you. Social media platforms are finally making good on their promise to bring people together. Instant messaging apps can get you in touch with your family and friends. But, after sharing another story about the movie you want to watch or your dinner plans, the crazy cocktail of boredom and fear can still linger long in your heart.

New digital platforms are quickly stepping up to better fill the needs of those looking for deeper connections with new people. For example, Jasmin.com lets its members talk to influencers about any topics they’d like. Through messaging and video calls, members can enter a safe space with an influencer where they can openly talk and pass the time.

Perhaps this is the future of intimacy and relationships. Less focus on massive social media platforms and more on one-on-one connections. We will no longer find solace in massified, video calls with 9 little screens serving as a succedaneum for our friends. Status updates sent to thousands across the globe will start to lose their luster. It will be just us and somebody else we really care about, crafting a special relationship and caring deeply about each other. Ironically enough, this harkens back to a time before the mass adoption of social media.

Through video calls, pop ups and notifications, technology is helping us keep the flame of our precious, one-on-one interpersonal relationships more alive than ever. Sending a personalized video for someone’s birthday means a lot more now than before. Even a simple “Hey, how are you?” can instantly brighten up someone’s day. People are getting very creative with how to bring people into their homes via cell phones: Should we video call while I cook dinner? Should we share a screen and watch a movie together? Maybe we can video call so you can help me cope with the stress of leaving my house. With someone by our side, it seems like we can finally tackle this crisis one day at a time.

Technology is helping us realize that nothing brings people together like a shared experience. Whether they be good or bad, knowing that someone is going through something similar instantly bridges any distance. If you want to keep your relationships alive during this time, be thoughtful, be patient, and think about others first. Empathy will always be the only way to get near to someone’s heart, but technology is helping us express that empathy when we need it to show most.

So, what can you do right now to safeguard your intimacy and relationships? For the first time ever, it’s OK to talk to strangers on the internet. They won’t be strangers for long once you share your feelings and experiences with each other. Loneliness is a real problem but having a phone with the right websites or apps can keep it at bay. So tap to reach out. Find a new chat partner. Send a message, a photo, or a video and be a beacon of light in these dark and uncertain times.

 Author: Guillaume Tanferri Co-writers: Fernando Garcia and Gary Kovacs

 1 Brody, Jane E. “The Surprising Effects of Loneliness on Health.” The New York Times. The New York Times, December 11, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/11/well/mind/how-loneliness-affects-ourhealth.html.

CHANGE THEIR WORLD. CHANGE YOURS. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.