Why You’re Responsible For Your Sexual Pleasure
This article has been adapted from the original article 'Everyone Is Responsible For Their Own Pleasure' by Swell, Dame Wellness.
When it comes to sex, we tend to think our pleasure is dependent on our partner ‘doing it right'. But, if we shift our perspective - and give ourselves control over our orgasms, not only does sex become a lot more empowering, but we can also make sex a whole lot more pleasurable.
Especially when studies show that actually, many women aren’t orgasming with their partners (we're talking heterosexual couples here). Just 65% of people with vaginas orgasm frequently during partnered sex, versus 95% of men…This is what we call the pleasure gap.
So, what can we do about it?
While it’s important that men (cis-men) learn about the female pleasure centers, it’s just as important for women to understand how they best reach orgasm - so they can have the kind of pleasurable sex they deserve.
Dr. Britney Blair, Lover co-founder and Clinical Psychologist, says this idea of a partner (mostly cis male) being in control of giving a woman an orgasm “ties back to the days when women were property.” Women, she says, were expected to “give” their partner their bodies, and the partner would “give” them an orgasm in return.
And while nothing alone can undo a long history of social conditioning - there is one thing we can do to help make sure our pleasure is a priority and that's to masturbate.
“Partnered activity is great, too,” Dr. Blair says. “But masturbation is the single best thing people with vaginas can do for their sexual wellness.”
Get familiar with your body
First up, Dr. Blair suggests that we should be masturbating with an “arousal scale” in our mind. With zero being not aroused at all, and ten being orgasm.
As you start pleasuring yourself, notice where different types of touch bring you on the arousal scale. You might find rubbing your clit gently brings you up to a four. Experiment with changing the speed and pressure too, and see if it can take you up to a five or six...
Trying out different kinds of stimulation will help you find what works for you - every woman is different, and for each woman, they may have many routes to orgasm - so have some fun.
Dr. Blair also recommends kegel exercises to help build your pelvic floor muscles, increase awareness of that part of the body, and up the frequency and intensity of orgasm.
Get in tune with your mind
Start getting engaged with fantasy, and find out what turns you on (and what turns you off!). That includes watching porn, reading erotica, or even just thinking of a sexy scenario in your head. For many people, simply engaging with a sexy thought can push them from an 8 to a 10 on the arousal scale. And, this is a great skill when it comes to partnered sex.
To be clear, “there’s absolutely no such thing as a thought crime or a fantasy crime,” Dr. Blair says. “It’s perfectly okay and sometimes a great idea to use fantasy to bring you over the climax. Some people think it’s cheating to think about the hot mailman — or whatever your fantasy is — but it’s totally okay.”
Get to know your partner
And, when you’re ready to go from solo masturbation to putting into action all of your new knowledge with a partner, Dr. Blair suggests starting with mutual masturbation. It can feel vulnerable at first, but it’s a great way to show each other what works, and what doesn't.
“Lean into your vulnerability a little bit,” Dr. Blair says. “That’s the point of growth.”
Prioritize your orgasms!
Finally, we encourage you to prioritize your pleasure and try to avoid putting pressure on yourself to orgasm. Our ability to orgasm is dependent on a whole host of factors (stress and hormones to name a couple), sometimes it will be easy and other times not, but just be sure to enjoy the process, and don't feel disheartened if it doesn't always go to plan.
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