10 Self-Care Tips from a Sex Writer

In front of a forest green background, a young man stands, holding a sign that reads "# take care of yourself."
Photo by Mikael Blomkvist on Pexels.com

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 can lose it’s appeal quick, 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’s darkness. Within that rainbow-and-unicorn-world of sex also lies something more sinister.

Empathetic Reactivity

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 toxic empathy to a less debilitating level, I’ve constructed self-care rituals. These rituals strengthen my emotional shield, allowing me to show up and confront topics such as racism, sexism and internalized misogyny, sexual assault, domestic abuse, homophobia, transphobia; how all these things appear 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 the hard stuff within this arena.

1. Courage, Compassion, Curiousity

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

Every day I make the conscious decision of practicing these three things: courage, compassion and curiosity. Courage to show up, regardless of the outcome. Compassion for the stories of others and myself. Curiousity over judgement.

These are the values I hold near and dear to my heart. 

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. These questions are laced with compassion and curiousity. For example:

I had a conversation with a close friend during the beginning of the George Floyd 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, followed by this passionate statement: 

“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 — she’d dig her heels in, and I would’ve failed in sparking any kind of change

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 with her.

“Do you feel that way about women?”

As a woman from a small town, she’s experienced frustration over the traditional mindset her family and colleagues have regarding sex and gender roles. Asking whether she applied the same rule to women across time, culture, and history, was sure to have an impact.

As she internalized this, I watched something shift, and then she said:

“I never thought about it like that…” 

Voila, a door opened and it allowed us to have a 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.”

❤ What difficult conversations have you been avoiding? 

❤ How can you best apply the three C’s to that conversation?

Note: No person should ever have to face threats of violence or dehumanization. Compassion is not the answer to abuse. Your own safety and wellbeing is the priority. It is not the job of the oppressed to take down the oppressor.

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

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 honour this practice. It also saves my husband from dealing with, what he calls, the beast.

I will be bold and say that writing has saved my life. More than once. 

Journaling has been therapeutic. When I write freeform, and allow my conscious to give way to subconscious ramblings, it’s like an emotional cleansing. I find answers to things that give me anxiety; I find confidence and a greater sense of identity. 

Journaling clears out the cobwebs of my mind. 

❤ Does it do the same for you?

In late 2014, when I started my recovery from bulimia nervosa, I was devout in my journaling. Within a couple of months, my journaling shaped itself into a novel. When you release yourself on a page, the creative consequences are as possible as the emotional healing… 

Journaling has power!

❤ Do you have a journaling ritual?

❤ What is your practice for “cleaning out the cobwebs”?

❤ What lesson has come from your journaling practice?

“If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels.”
―Tennessee Williams.

3. Anti-Anxiety Check List

If you went into my phone and opened the Notes app, you would see the following:

Anti-Anxiety Q&A

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.

Family Reminders

My family are the most important aspect of my life. I use the word “family” in a non-traditional sense. Since my recovery, I have been diligent in surrounding myself with people whom I trust and bring out the best in me, which doesn’t always include blood relatives. In many cases, your chosen family can be better for your wellbeing than your bloodline.

These reminders include personal, positive messages my family has said to me over the last couple of years. I look back on this when self-validation doesn’t cut it.

For example, a past employer (now friend) told me on numerous occasions that I reduce her anxiety just by being in the same room: “You’re such a calming presence.” This meant a lot to me.

On another occasion, a close friend said, “in conversations you can be very quiet, and people who don’t know you are like, ‘who is this gorgeous human?’ And then you open you mouth and it’s like BOOM — a fog horn goes off, and everyone’s like, ‘Shit, she’s intelligent!’”

If your community isn’t vocal about these things, that’s okay. Reach out to your closest people and ask the following questions:

❤ What am I good at?

❤ What do you like most about being my friend?

❤ How do I make your life more enjoyable?

Self-Help/Therapy Resources

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.

I have also used and recommend Better Help and 7 Cups. Fortunately, prioritizing mental health is more acceptable these days, therefore seeking a professional is less stigmatized. Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do, not only for yourself, but for the people you love. If you can show up for yourself in this way, you’ll have a greater capacity to show up for those who matter.

4. Designated Confidants

Photo by Thoma Boehi on Pexels.com

Regardless of what we tell ourselves, being alone for extended periods , especially during difficult times, can decelerate healing. 

Having a few people whom I trust, especially in vulnerable moments, has been advantageous in maintaining my mental health. My confidants include a few close family members, my husband, and several dear friends. In the past, this has also included professionals, such as therapists and dieticians. 

Having had an eating disorder, and experiencing that depth of self-loathing, my detector for worrisome thoughts or feelings is quite sensitive. In other words, if I’m starting to “spiral,” my body will pick up the ques and alert me. 

What does this look like exactly?

Around the holidays, in December 2020, I started descending into despair. My thoughts were becoming increasingly dangerous — I started envisioning a dim future. When this happens, my body pulls me down. I mean it feels like the ground has a hold of me, and is physically tugging. When this sensation arrives, my body numbs out and fires a warning to my brain, which came to me as, “be careful where you step next, this terrain is unsteady.”

I immediately called my parents. They had supported me through my recovery, and possessed the tools to meet me where I was at. Together we worked through the issue, and created a plan. 

Not everyone has this experience, the detector, nor the tools to assist in a crisis. That’s okay. Having even one person who knows you, who you can lean on, and help find the support you require is a beautiful thing.

Don’t underestimate the impact of someone who cares.

❤ Can you name one person you can lean on during hard times? 

❤ If not, research a support group or community you could get involved with.

5. Social Media Happiness Hacks

I am meticulous about what I consume and who I speak to online. 

I use specific resources for my sex writing research, and rarely engage in private conversations about sexuality on social media. 

For me, social media is an energy vampire, and therefore I use it strictly for blogging, connecting with my 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.

❤ How much time do you spend on social media? 

❤ Are you careful about the content you consume?

❤ Could you be more vigilant in protecting your mental energy in this way?

6. Pleasure is Your Compass

We live in a world that demonizes sensual pleasures, specifically of the erotic sort. Pleasure is a right, not a privilege, but with it comes responsibility. 

As many of you know, I am a Sexy Traveler. What that means is, I travel the world seeking adult spaces and events, and report back to you

A critical element of sexy travel is ethics — understanding the laws in the places I visit, especially surrounding human rights, the approach to sex work, and the prevention of human trafficking. Being vigilant about my pleasure’s impact is critical because I refuse to be feeding a cycle of oppression and violence.

Pleasure is a life source. My greatest pleasure is found in erotic experiences and community.

❤ Give yourself permission to seek pleasure!

❤ What does pleasure look like to you?

❤ How can you make more time and space for it this week?

7. Boundary Town

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

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!”

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. I believe people have the right to their own curiosities, and I want to live in a world where these questions can be asked freely, so long as they use respectful language and honour the answer.

Knowing my boundaries in this arena has alleviated pressure and helped me grow. Boundaries convert to self-respect and confidence.  

❤ What are your values and how can you implement boundaries around those?

❤ What boundaries would make your life easier to navigate?

❤ What area of life are you missing boundaries? (Physical, spiritual, emotional, sexual, intellectual, financial/material, time).

❤ For more help on boundaries, check out this article: The 6 Types Of Healthy Boundaries & How To Maintain Them

8. Sensitive Subject Matter

In the same vein as social media, I’m very conscious about general media I consume, such as books, film, tv, and music. 

To safeguard my own mental health, I do not subscribe to media with certain portrayals of violence, or the objectification of womxn — specifically through the male gaze. I try to keep myself apprised of the artists that are behind 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.

This includes porn — check out this article on how to watch porn ethically!

❤ Do you practice media literacy?

❤ Could you increase your porn literacy?

❤ Where could you be more conscientious in your media consumption?

9. Body Break

As a sex writer, I understand the importance of physical health, and how deeply it’s connected to 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 am prone to migraines, so staring at screens is not conducive to feeling good.

While I work, I set an alarm every hour and a half. When this goes off I take ten minutes to stand up, walk around, and stretch. 

❤ What does your body break look like?

❤ What is one action you can take today to show your body love?

10. Dress Up No Matter What

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Even as a work-at-home blogger, I make the effort of getting dressed up. Not only does it signal a shift from the beast to sex writing Quean, but I genuinely feel livelier and more productive. 

I’m a shoe addict, so wearing one of my favourite pairs is enough to motivate me. Match that with ripped black jeans, and a snake-skin blazer — you got me feeling like a million bucks in my own home.

❤ What outfit makes you feel the best?

❤ Do you have a particular style that feels most authentically you?

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. 

Call of the Quean is, in essence, a personal-growth journey, as much as a writer’s journey. Trust me when I say I don’t always get it right. But, my self-care practices have enabled me to make the needed mistakes, as well as recognize my own gifts. They are a safety net for the moments doubt seeps in.

Whether you are a sex writer or not, do your best to choose peace over pain by defining your very own 10 self-care tips — and feel free to share one or two in the comments ❤.

Until next time,

Fuck well, friends!

Quean Mo xx

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