Each year, new year’s resolutions are made across the globe to lose weight and fix physical details about ourselves. There is no problem with doing so but only if it’s a decision that is truly wanted. Society has always had a way of making us feel as though gaining extra pounds leads to the end of the world and to be looked down upon, causing body dysmorphia and self-loathing. Diet culture and fatphobia thrives off of allowing us to feel undesirable and that our lives would ultimately suck if we do not conform to “standard” body structures. The same can be said when it comes to sex. Too much sex makes us subject to ridicule and having too little makes us prudish. In the Black community, gaining weight and having sex freely for the sake of pleasure is traditionally greeted with such vitriol. But why? 

We battle oppression and hatred for parts of ourselves due to a systemic, white supremacist structure that brainwashed us to do so. However, we must relearn that there is only one entity that has power over our physical bodies, and that is ourselves. Body and sex positivity are newly defined but historically practiced and inextricably tied, particularly for Black women. From Ma Rainey to Megan Thee Stallion, there has always been a desire to look down on Black women who enforce authority over their bodies. But shouldn’t we all have complete body autonomy? The answer is yes. 

With the rise of social media, the hashtag #bodypositivity sparked a movement of people finding beauty in how they were made—loving each curve, stretch and dimple on their body. 

As we move into a fresh new year, try out these tips to reclaim your power through adapting a sex- and body-positive mindset that is sure to boost self-confidence and morale.

Buy Clothing That Makes You Feel Powerful

You should always strive to fill your wardrobe with items that make you feel confident. The more you learn to dress for yourself and what makes you feel bold and free, the less you care about what society thinks and start living life for you.

Fashionistas like Kellie Brown are doing their damn thing on the fashion front while promoting that you can be stylish at any size. Block out the haters and just have fun with dressing up.

Create a Personal Sexual Wellness Practice. 

Health is wealth. It is important to establish health practices, such as getting routine check-ups and taking vitamins, to stay well. This is also the case when it comes to sexual wellness. Getting frequent STI/HIV testings, setting aside time weekly for self-pleasure and advocating for sexual reproductive justice are all examples of where creating a healthy sexual wellness practice can start.

Also, check out digital platforms like KIMBRITIVE, which are redefining what sex means and are offering accessible options to dismantle negative perceptions surrounding the topic.

Affirm Yourself

The digital world can be a scary place, especially with the over-saturation of images depicting "perfect" bodies on social media and superficial ideals surrounding sex being consistently perpetuated online. The key to interacting with these outlets while embarking on your sex and body positivity journey is filling your timeline and digital space with influential figures who reflect this liberatory mindset such as Sonya Renee Taylor's brand The Body Is Not An Apology, Jessamyn Stanley, sex educator Ericka Hart, and Alishia McCullough.

To start, try taking a deep dive by way of Instagram or YouTube to gain inspiration and affirmation.

Get Jiggy With It 

When's the last time you stood in front of a mirror, naked, and checked yourself out? Taking complete inventory of your body is one of the most scariest yet most brave and liberating things you can do for yourself. Instead of wasting time loathing and despising your form, try complimenting it instead. Tell it that you love it and that it is strong and powerful. Turn up the music and dance around naked. This will help you relax and get comfortable to begin your corporal love affair with your true self.

Set Boundaries and Respect Them

Whether it’s checking family members who comment on your weight or exploring what you like in the bedroom, boundaries are important. Setting boundaries help keep you safe and set the tone for those around you to treat you properly and with the respect you deserve.

Remember, everyone has the right to feel comfortable in their body, whatever its shape or form. Walk tall with these tips in 2022 and love on yourself heavy, whatever that means for you.