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SEX FILES: Brave new dating world coming in the new year


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If you’re reading this, it means you survived another year of “unprecedented times” and frankly, you deserve a medal.

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With the New Year upon us, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about what we learned from 2021 and what nuggets of wisdom we want to bring with us into 2022.

Over the course of 2021, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to a host of amazing sex and relationship experts. So without further adieu, here’s some of the best sex and relationship advice we should all consider embracing in the New Year.

If you feel insecure about your body, reduce social media usage.

Given everything we’ve been through, it’s natural that our bodies have gone through some changes. If you’re looking to feel better about your body, experts suggest tuning out social media.

“We all have different body types, yet social media tends to focus on one or two particular body styles as “ideal.” When we look at these illusory, air-brushed images, we naturally feel inferior and unattractive,” says Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist, speaker, and author of the upcoming book, Date Smart .

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One of the easiest ways to feel better about your body is to stop following social media accounts that make you feel bad. “Many of my clients feel better about their own bodies when they reduce or eliminate social media use. If you choose to use social media, engage with content that makes you feel good about being you,” says Manly.

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For better sex, practice the “six minute rule.”

After-care is just as important as foreplay. “Men and women are much more likely to be satisfied if they engage in six minutes or more of post-sex affectionate behaviour,” says Dr. Robin Milhausen, a sexologist and professor in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph.

This can include cuddling, kissing and other forms of intimacy. Even if it’s a casual encounter, “it can pay great dividends when it comes to attraction and closeness, but you only have to invest six minutes in being kind, cuddly and affectionate after sex. Both of you are likely to feel better about the encounter,” says Milhausen.

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It’s not you, it’s online dating.

If you’ve ever felt disillusioned by modern courtship, do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of Nancy Jo Sales’ recent book, Nothing Personal: My Secret Life in The Dating App Inferno . In it, Sales argues that online dating apps weren’t designed to have our best interests at heart. Hence, the reason they make many of us – myself included – miserable.

“These (dating) platforms have really robbed us of the pleasure and the excitement and the fun of dating. It’s not fun anymore,” says Sales. Instead, “it’s exhausting for everyone because we are labouring. We are actually paying [online dating companies] in time, data and money to allow us to do the work for them.”

If you feel like dating apps are compromising your mental well-being, take a break or step away altogether. As Sales reminds us, we all have a choice.

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“Your choice can be to say no,” she says.

Learn how to make yourself happy first.

Lastly, prioritize your own joy and pleasure, in the bedroom but also when it comes to life in general. When you stop trying to mold yourself into what you think other people want and instead focus on what makes you happy, magical things begin to happen. You become happier, more confident and other people start to take notice. I call this process, “becoming the person you want to date.”

If you’re struggling with loneliness or just the pandemic-ness of life right now, I encourage you to tap into the things that make you feel most like yourself, and do more of those things (Yoga! Figure skating! Twerking! Hanging out with cats! Opulent ball gowns in the daytime!) I’ve said it before, but depriving other people the fullness of who you are as a person, does yourself and the world a disservice. So, let your freak flag fly my friends. You might just catch someone else’s attention in the process.

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