Do you want your next year to include sexual fulfillment? Do you want to improve communication, change your body image, and make more time for fun? What if you could create or welcome into your life a new relationship reality? The Winter Solstice, the time when the new Sun is born, is an opportunity to renew our hopes for a better future.

The traditions I follow mirror the turn of the seasons more than the flip of the calendar pages. For me, the best time for creating plans and resolutions is during the Dark, the weeks and days preceding the Winter Solstice, when our natural biorhythms are encouraging all of us to sleep a bit more, rest a bit more, turn our gazes inward, contemplate our navels – in other words, dream. Focus on ourselves.

One of the benefits of all of the material gift-giving that Christmastime brings is that we turn our attention to the question of what we want. It’s crucial to be self aware, to know what you want, to truly think about it and consider new possibilities. I’ve learned over the years that this isn’t by default a selfish or greedy state of being but a skill that we all need to have. It’s an exercise I need to do every now and again, to just check in with my true self and see if I have what I need, if I’m moving toward getting the things I want that would bring me joy.

For example, lately I’ve been very attracted to all the lovely bath bombs and bubble bars that my favorite cosmetics shop sells. I suspect this desire for more scented things in my bath is really a manifestation of my desire to make time to take more baths, my deep need to make time in my life for relaxation and small indulgences. Similarly, perhaps my friend’s desire for sparkly jewelry is simply an example of her desire to add a bit of sparkle and pizzazz to her life overall. The lesson is that what we want, even small material gifts, can often point towards what our souls are truly longing for – and all we have to do is listen.

The Dark Time also reminds me that I am walking through the world alone, as a single entity. That I am, you are, and each of us is a whole person, a single being, whether we are in a partnership or not. And that if I am in a partnership, I have chosen to be. Happy with it or not, it’s a choice that I have made, and one that I have the control to unmake. Am I happy? What do I want? Am I heading in that direction or did I somehow get off my path? These are the questions that come up in the darkness, when we feel alone.

If you plan to stay with your lover for the next solar year, this is an excellent time to commit to examining and discussing ways that you both can make the relationship better – even if it’s fantastic already. If it’s not fantastic, identify one or two areas you both agree to work on. Mutually come up with no more than a handful of achievable tasks or goals and plan what you’ll do to work on it. Start making your Resolutions for a New Year right now, think about them seriously, and set your intentions for a better year.

All relationships need work and maintenance, just like a car or a house; they don’t happen magically, despite the romantic mythology. Maybe your relationship needs a burst of fun to get you out of a rut, or perhaps you’ve got some ugly underlying issues you need to resolve, or a financial tangle that stresses you both out. Make plans and identify steps to fix those things. Consult professionals for help – you would for your car or house, right?

Think about yourself and your needs, too, and give them equal footing with your relationship’s needs. An equal, healthy partnership is built on two whole people, not two half-people. You must both be mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy or the relationship balanced on top of you two will eventually fall. Now is the time to assess what you need, as individuals and as a couple, and dream up a better future.

One tradition I’ve created for myself and my partner is to do a little ritual at the Winter Solstice; this year, that’s the night of the 22nd. My lover and I turn off all of the electric devices when the sun sets, gather wood for the fireplace, and huddle under blankets in the living room. We use the light of candles and oil lamps, heat our dinner without the microwave, and just spend time together doing nothing. Hanging out, laughing and talking – remember that? At some point in the night we move into a more solemn ritual space and speak our dreams for the coming year aloud to each other. We share our plans and desires for the future.

Eventually we go to bed, leaving one candle lit throughout the night, in the old folk traditions of encouraging the sun to return. (The kitchen sink, bathtub, or shower, is a relatively safe place to leave a lit candle unattended.) We set the alarm to go off when the sun rises and get up to greet the day. We take a moment to honor the returning Light and let the natural power of the days beginning to get incrementally longer, the solar energy and promise of Winter’s end, give fuel to our intentions.

Spending an evening alone in the Dark, honoring myself as an individual and as part of a couple, gives me power to enact the plans that I have made for a better future. The visible proof of the Sun returning, of the annual cycle of growth and rebirth continuing, fuels my own inner journey. I have the power to change, to create the life that I want. To have a better relationship, a better sex life, more satisfying communications, an improved self-image – all of it! To have fun. To welcome joy and embrace pleasure.

Happy Solstice – may the returning Light fuel your journey as well!

Author's Bio: 

Julianne Bentley, the original Wanton Hussy, works with individuals (and couples) who want to bring the passion and joy back into their bedrooms. Drawing on over fifteen years of experience discussing the ins and outs of sexuality, in all its forms, Julianne brings compassion and energy to the process of supporting you in making the changes you need in order to have the sex life you want and deserve.