Whether you are interested in becoming a sex writer, are a sex writer, or just enjoy the content, thank you for being here! When starting anything new, we tend to be naïve and overly optimistic about the process. For me, sex blogging was no exception. At first my content was more diary-esque, which many of you loved; however, over time I understood that 1) hearing about a nobody on the internet gets boring fast, and 2) it doesn’t necessarily dissect topics that impact people on a regular basis. Although I will continue to share my personal journey and adventures, I want to broaden the scope to promote the spectrum of sexuality. In committing to this work, my expectations of sex writing became clearer, which brings me to today’s convo: 10 self-care tips from me, a sex writer!
Romanticizing the Job
As humans, we tend to romanticize certain aspects of life, careers being one category. When people find out I’m a writer, they tend to lean in. When they find out I’m a sex writer, they tend to divulge. What people forget is, sexuality does not always paint a pretty picture. Yes, you have sex toy reviews and detailed discourse on pleasure. But where there’s light, there are shadows. Within that rainbow-and-unicorn-world of sex toys and pleasure, also lies something more sinister.
I am a deeply empathetic person – this is both my gift and curse. People’s stories – both beautiful and tragic – sink deep, and oftentimes take a toll. I have spent full weeks metabolizing and working through the emotional impact of other people’s trauma. I am not saying this to sound noble, but to share the consequences this work can have on someone like me. To reduce my empathetic reactivity to a less debilitating level, I’ve constructed self-care rituals. These rituals strengthen my emotional shield, allowing me to show up, lean in, and confront topics such as racism, sexism and internalized misogyny, sexual assault, domestic abuse, homophobia, transphobia; how all these things show up in our world, the damage they do, and the roles they play.
I told you it gets heavy. But here’s how I manage. This list isn’t in any particular order, nor are they all acted upon at once. This is my foundational guide for how I safeguard my health, and approach unpleasantries.
1. Practice Compassion
Every day I make the conscious decision of practicing compassion and curiosity over judgment. I’ve learned throughout my young life that one major prevention of change is attacking another human’s core beliefs or conditioning. Calling someone out in a dehumanizing or aggressive way, even when you don’t agree with them, will only further cement their belief, argument, or behaviour. Having the hard conversations usually takes the most mindfulness. When this happens, I focus on my breath, and search for thought-provoking questions.
For example, I had a conversation with a close friend during the BLM protests. Because we were from different countries, I asked what was going on in hers. To my surprise (and disappointment), she began spewing blame and frustration towards the black community. Like many white folk, she used the fact that she has black family members as a way to circumvent her racism. After she passionately said something like, “I just believe that if you work hard enough, regardless of your race, you’ll get rewarded fairly.” My body was boiling, but if I met her with the same level of agitation, I knew it would escalate. So, despite my sweaty hands and pounding heart, I thought to myself, how can I make her understand that what she said is bullshit, without calling it bullshit? And I calmly asked a question I knew would cut through and resonate: do you feel that way about women?
In other words, did she feel that same rule applied to women in general across time, culture, and history.
As a woman, she has experienced discrimination firsthand. Internalizing this, I watched her entire demeanor change. She said, “I never thought about it like that…” And voila, a door was opened to a bigger, more realistic conversation.
Letting compassion and curiosity lead you, even in the hard moments, usually pays off. As Brené Brown says, “People are hard to hate close up. Move in. Speak truth to bullshit. Be civil. Hold hands. With strangers. Strong back. Soft front. Wild heart.”
Note: No person should have to face threats of violence, violence, or dehumanization. If confronted by either, get help or, when possible, leave. Compassion is not the answer to abuse. Unfortunately, some people are too far gone, and it’s not your responsibility to save them. Your own wellbeing is the priority.
2. Journal Your Demons Away
I read this on Instagram the other day, and it is officially my favorite quote:
“I don’t run from my demons; I learn their names.”– Unknown (please comment if you know where this originated)
It may seem obvious that as a writer I have a journaling ritual. Truth is, I am the grumpiest, absolute worst version of myself in the morning. For that reason, I start dumping my demons onto the page within 30 minutes of rolling out of bed. Not only does it clear my head, but I physically feel lighter on days I follow through with it.
I will be bold and say that writing has saved my life more than once. Journaling has been a major form of that writing. This practice evokes an emotional cleansing, by way of decreasing anxiety, depression, stress, and offering a greater sense of identity. Woah! It clears out the cobwebs of the mind.
When I started my recovery from bulimia in late 2014, I was devout in my journaling. Within a couple of months, my journaling took on a unique form, which ultimately inspired my first self-published novel.
3. Anti-Anxiety Check List
If you went into my phone and opened Notes, you would see the following:
This includes questions that assist in reducing anxiety and reconnecting with reality. It also has reminders of what brings me joy and prompts me to recite the things I have control over.
My Life Rules
This note lists affirmations and philosophies I live by. When my mind is racing, I tend to repeat these things to myself until I feel my body calm down.
My friends and family are the most important aspect of my life. Since my recovery, I have been diligent in surrounding myself with people whom I trust and bring out the best in me. This note includes personal, positive messages they have said or sent to me over the last several years. I look back on this when self-validation doesn’t cut it.
I always have a list of resources on hand in case I, or someone I love, is in need. One I come back to often is Centre for Clinical Interventions, as it has free workbooks available on a variety of topics, mental illnesses, and dysfunctional behaviours.
4. Designated Confidants
Regardless of what our body and mind tell us, being alone during difficult times decelerates healing. Having a few people whom I trust, especially in vulnerable moments, has been advantageous in maintaining my mental health. My confidants include my husband, parents, siblings, and my dearest friend. In the past, this has also included professionals, such as therapists and dieticians. Only you know who and what is best for you.
5. Social Media Happiness Hacks
I am meticulous about what I consume online. I use specific resources for my sex writing research, and rarely engage in conversations about sexuality (both negative or positive) on social media. For me, social media is an energy vampire, and therefore I use it strictly for the blog, connecting with this community, and satisfying my shoe addiction. I do not engage in triggering shit, because it’s a time-sucking rabbit hole, and my energy and talents are better spent on writing unconventional stories and thought-provoking articles for you.
Seriously. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. No naps, and fewer migraines. Coffee for the win!
7. Boundary Town
Being a sex writer is not an invitation for people to sexualize me, nor does it authorize others to intrude on my personal life. I decide what I share online.
I recently received a question from a guy I went to high school with. He asked, “I was wondering if you would ever consider posing nude? Getting an Only Fans account?” My response was, “As much as I support that work, it’s not my path. Hope you find what you’re looking for!”
Truth is, if he’d asked in the first year of me publishing this blog, I may have said yes. Why? Because I wasn’t clear on my vision for Quean Mo, and had untapped internalized misogyny. Now, three years in the making, I know that my passion lies in writing about sexuality and supporting sex work from the sidelines. Being asked questions of this nature does not shock or appall me. People have the right to their own curiosities, and so long as they don’t send unsolicited images, videos, or messages of body parts, behaviors or graphic sexual offers, I tend to respond kindly.
Knowing my boundaries in this arena has alleviated pressure and helped me grow. Boundaries convert to self-respect and confidence, and everyone’s boundaries are different!
8. Sensitive Subject Matter
In the same vein as social media, I’m very conscious about general media I consume, such as film, tv, music, etc. To safeguard my own mental wellbeing, I do not subscribe to media with certain portrayals of violence, or the sexualization of womxn. I try to keep myself apprised of the artists that arebehind media I consume, and refuse to support predators, chauvinists, or racists. I understand I am not perfect at this but do my best to evaluate the quality of the media I consume, and the person(s) behind the making of it.
9. Body Break
As a sex writer, I understand the importance of physical health, and how deeply it’s connected to mental health, and overall wellbeing. Since I spend the bulk of my day in front of a computer, getting the minimum amount of exercise and sunlight is a necessity. I have a sensitive digestive track and am prone to migraines. Although coffee is a cure-all most days, getting off my butt and under the sun is a foolproof action to alleviate stress, discomfort, and clear my brain.
10. Dress Up No Matter What
Even as a work-at-home freelance writer and blogger, I make the effort of getting dressed up. Not only does it signal a shift from groggy-ol’-morning me, but I genuinely feel more alive and productive. I’m a shoe addict, so the idea of wearing one of my favourite pairs is enough to motivate me, but match that with ripped black jeans, and a snake-skin blazer…? I feel like a million bucks at my own dining room table.
Peace Over Pain
Being a sex writer is something I am grateful for. The opportunities it’s led me to, the people I’ve met because of it, have enriched my life in ways I can’t quite explain. It has been a personal-growth journey, as much as a writer’s journey. Without building self-care rituals, I would’ve travelled down much bumpier roads, hitting more dead ends. So, whether you are a sex writer or not, let life bring joy, choose peace over pain, and take time to define your 10 self-care tips…
Until next time,
Fuck well, friends!
Quean Mo xx
So, tell me, do you have any self-care rituals? If not, what is one thing you could implement today?
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