Sunday, November 1, 2009
Sexual Health, Part III: AROUSAL
A sensual caress, a driving sloppy kiss combined with a strategically placed tweak, or an experienced fondle, and you’re off to the races in the relentless quest for the BIG-O.
If that scenario describes your foreplay routine, you’re not alone. Most couples report very little pre-entry behavior. Perhaps it’s no coincidence then, that a very large number of American couples also classify their overall sexual practices as mundane – average. It turns out, a ton of couples would rather watch a movie, have a snack, or even read a book rather than have sex! A whopping 50 percent of women (half) have told whoppers, admitting that they have faked an orgasm at least once in their lives. Even sadder, a staggering 30 percent of US women report being unable to climax consistently, or that they have NEVER experienced an orgasm with a partner.
As a result, the sex-help genre has burst onto the scene, overflowing bookshelves like a damaged condom. There have been more of these published on how to jump-start the jumping, than there are vibrator batteries in the landfill. If those books worked, then why are so many titles added each month?
I believe they do not work, because they do not address the real problem: sensuality leading to sexuality. Most of these books describe mechanics, which is fine for robots, but not so good if you’re trying to help flesh and blood men AND women freely and joyously give and receive pleasure to each other and ultimately climax. In my view, most of these books are SO much less-than-erotic, that they have actually become sex-(text)books, which equals BIG-YAWN, not BIG-O.
If you pick up one of these dusty tomes (instead of a date), thumb through and see if it arouses you. Arousal. You do remember arousal? It starts somewhere south of your ears and spreads north, warmly – very warmly – then gets even warmer until it consumes you with desire, an incendiary heart-pounding, screaming need that only fucking RIGHT-NOW-IMMEDIATELY-THIS-VERY-SECOND will fill.
I truly believe that we have forgotten how to turn each other on. Arousal is vital, because without it, there will can be no BIG-O; the best you can hope for is a little-o; but more than likely there will be a no-o.
It was easy when we were younger, or in a brand new relationship. Hell, when we were younger, the problem was not being turned on, it was being able to turn off. Sadly, most adults have not updated their sexual techniques since then, and too many men have learned about sex only through watching or reading porn. Guess what, women in the real world aren’t porn stars, with perfect silicon Snowball (remember those cake, marshmallow and coconut treats from childhood?) boobs that look like they were stuck on their chests using Mighty MendIt (Surely, men aren’t fooled and turned on by these, are they?). Their cunts are perfectly shaved or trimmed, and they don’t come and scream by the old in-and-out after five minutes of uninspired, sweaty pounding.
By the same token, men in the real world aren’t porn stars, either. I’ve yet to encounter a man capable of holding back after a 10 minute blow-job by woman who has the throat of an eel, or who is hung like the Incredible Hulk on steroids!
If we really, really want good, even mind-blowing sex, we have to throw out these tired stereotypes. He have to relearn, or learn for the first time for that matter, what it truly takes to arouse and to be aroused; from seduction to the bedroom and beyond. I believe that opening yourself up to great sex, truly opens up your life to all of its amazing possibilities.
For the next section (sextion), I want to specifically address women’s arousal. Now, for you guys out there, don’t think I’ve forgotten about you, because the truth is, you need to know this information, too. The simple truth is: the best sex can only happen when BOTH partners are as turned on as possible. Let me repeat that: The wetter, the better!
So, my dears, just what makes you wet?
If this question makes you uncomfortable, well, I think I know why. Women of my generation were raised with THE RULES regarding sex. You know the ones: Good Girls never, ever touch themselves “down there,” in the “nether regions,” no exceptions. Good Girls (the marrying kind) who want to be respected by boys (who are all sexed-crazed) do not give in – ever! Once those aforementioned Good Girls are married, they become Ladies, and Ladies must never, ever feel lust, appear to enjoy sex, but must instead endure “it” for the sake of her brutish husbands.
We were told (quite smugly, actually) by our Good-Long-Suffering-Sexually-Repressed-Mother-Role-Models that Men are so very different (worse) than we Women (good) because Men need “it” and we don’t. Nonetheless, Wives should be careful to fulfill their Husbands’ unsavory appetites, while Wives must pretend that they have none of their own. And, for God’s sake, Wives must try to force their Husbands to strictly adhere to the approved of Missionary Position. If possible, Wives should withhold their “favors” so that intercourse occurs as infrequently as possible.
Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit! Women deserve pleasure just as much as men. Pleasure is a fundamental right of all created beings, I know this because that’s how the universe hardwired all us. Did you know that the ONLY reason, medically speaking, for the clitoris to exist is to give pleasure to its owner? Did you know that the largest number of nerve endings are centered there than anywhere in a man or woman’s body? That’s right, women have the capacity to have more intense orgasms than men do! Did you know that having sex, makes you want to have more sex? Did you know that the G-Spot is real, and can enhance the sexual experience of some women? Did you know that a whole lot of women can ejaculate just like a man, provided they’re turned on enough and relaxed? Did you know that some women who do not orgasm with only penetration, will experience crashing good orgasms if they include clitoral stimulation? And, did you know that women can have multiple orgasms, but most men can’t!
(Important FYI: It now appears, that women who can consistently orgasm with vaginal penetration alone have a vaginal opening that’s closer to the clitoris than women who cannot. Meaning, when a cock or a dildo is used to penetrate these type of women, their clitoris is stimulated at the same time. Most women are NOT built this way, and cannot orgasm with vaginal penetration alone. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THESE WOMEN, they should simply add clitoral play into their sex lives.)
So, what does all of this scientific information mean? That women are designed for ultimate pleasure. Hallelujah my sisters, do I hear a chorus of angels singing yet!?
If this is all true (and it is), then why do women have so many problems getting off? I think it’s because of shame, everyday stress, and an cultural indoctrination that women must always please their partners, but not insist that their partners please them.
If stress, repressive and judgmental sexual mores weren’t enough, there are numerous issues that further complicate the sexual health and well being of women.
The most obvious, and the one that receives the majority of public attention, is body image issues that impact sexual health. It is primarily women who are affected, but research shows a growing number of men also struggle with achieving the unachievably “perfect body.” Celebrity idolization, again the porn industry, and parenthetically the fashion industry, have all contributed to this sad result.
Obviously, it’s really difficult to climax if you’re worried that your butt’s too big when you’re in the middle of having sex.
The absence of a secure sexual identity also can mess with sexual health. Women or men who go through life suppressing their true sexuality, whether homosexual or bisexual, are guaranteed to perform poorly in bed, and any pleasure will feel hollow at best. Repressing sexual identity is a crime against nature, not the other way round.
There is also an ever-increasing, alarming number of women who report having suffered some sort of sexual abuse or trauma in their lives. Generally, women who have been sexually victimized have a long road of healing ahead before they will be able to achieve happy, healthy, orgasmic liftoffs, with or without a partner. I’m not talking out of my ass on this one, folks: I was sexually molested by the janitor at my elementary school for several years when I was a child. It was a very long time before I could allow myself to be vulnerable enough to enjoy sexual pleasure.
So, what to do, what to do?
I’m glad you asked, because here cums the fun part!
(Before I proceed a word to the wise: Don’t be stupid! If you plan to be sexually active use protection. If you don’t, you’re apt to have much bigger problems than poor orgasms!)
If you’re a woman who has never experienced an orgasm before, I have several suggestions. If you’ve never masturbated, or only did so when you were young, do so – but do so alone for now.
(A friend who writes an incredible blog, has written a great column devoted to masturbation for women and men at BISH.)
Before you go touching anywhere, buy a good quality lubricant. Don’t be cheap in this area. The slicker everything is, the better it will feel, and you won’t rub yourself raw. I enjoy penetration, so I always use a lube that is water based, not oil based. If you don’t care, oil based lubes do tend to last longer between applications, but are hell on silicon sex toys, degrading them fairly quickly.
When I first became truly sexual, masturbation helped me to understand my body and what I enjoyed, as well as what brought about a consistent orgasm. If you’re not comfortable, or it’s been so long since you’ve beaten around the bush, or you aren’t sure how best to proceed, The Welcomed Consensus has produced a series of DVDs depicting real women masturbating. These DVDs are beautifully filmed, higly instructive and oh-so VERY, VERY erotic!
Each real (not porn) woman spreads her legs as wide as the Mississippi (can you say closeup?) lubes generously, then goes at it. In several, a man uses only his hand (not mouth or cock) to masturbate her. All of the women look like they’ve gone to heaven. Each DVD has instructive narration, which after you’ve listened once, can be muted so you can just enjoy the visuals! After all, isn't pleasure, glorious pleasure with a sensitive, talented partner what we all want? (FYI: I have to have sex as soon as I watch one of these, if not while it’s playing!)
The focus here is on intense, genuine pleasure rather than achieving a goal-oriented orgasm. That approach, I have found, can be life-altering. If a woman feels like a failure for being unable to orgasm, that will likely lead to worsening self doubt, even loathing, which all heaps on more stress, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy that is anything but fulfilling. The great thing about omitting orgasm as the stated goal, women allow pleasure to come to them, and learn to savor each and every sensation they experience, without a stressful anticipation of what may or may not cum next. In fact, women learn to stay on the very edge of orgasm for as long as possible. There is even some discussion whether this incredibly intense, prolonged state of pleasure isn’t a different form of orgasm. Are these women faking? Well, the camera is so close you can actually see the mouths of their vaginas contract open and closed (Did I say, hot, hot HOTTT!) I can do a lot with my vagina, but even I can’t fake that without genuine arousal!
(FYI: The above photograph shows the entire vulva, as well as they hymen, which either bursts when a female first has intercourse, or is ruptured before during some other non-intimate form of behavior, like sports. Some women were born without a hymen. I selected this photo because I had never seen a hymen in place before!)
My prior masturbation experience was pretty rudimentary. I’d never thought about the type of stroke, varying the location, speed, etc. It was really fun to try everything myself. Some things I didn’t like, but other techniques I have embraced as part of my sexuality.
Here's what works for me: Make sure you're alone (lock the door if that makes you feel more secure), then undress completely, as in naked, and lie on your back in bed with some pillows to prop you up.
Close your eyes and think of something that makes you feel really, really sexy. Think about it until you begin to feel a tingle of arousal in your genitals.
When you do, use your hands to caress your body, but avoid the entire vulva for the time being. Massage yourself, no pressure, just pleasure. If you feel like it, caress your breasts, manipulate your nipples, whatever feels good. I think of nipples as little sparks of pure pleasure.
Maybe begin to undulate/wiggle your hips, squeezing your thighs together gently, and concentrate on feeling the sensations in your genitals when you do.
Keep thinking about sexy stuff, and moving in a sexy way.
When you're feeling pretty aroused, grab the bottle of lubricant. Put a fairly large amount of lube in your hand. (You should have a cloth in easy reach to clean up.)
Begin by pressing down gently on the mons (the pubic bone). Close your eyes and see if you can feel sensation in your clitoris.
Move your hand to the outer labia (lips) and begin to massage the lube onto them slowly, sensually, until it begins to feel really good.
Next, move to the inner labia (lips) and do the same thing. Notice how different they feel, how incredibly silky, like the most expensive velvet there is. The inner labia are generally very sensitive, so you should be feeling really good about now.
Some women have vaginal lips that are uniform in size, while other women have lips that can be really long and asymmentrical, either the inner or outer labia. If you are a woman who has really odd shaped, long, even folding lips, don't worry, nothing's wrong! All of the deviations are very, very normal, and should be loved and embraced with equal gusto.
Use any movement you want. You might also enjoy pulling gently on them, perhaps when you also apply some pressure to your nipples.
The urethra, where you urinate, is made of really cool, sensitive tissue. A lot of women like to rub this too, along with the perineum, the tissue that leads from the base of the vagina to the anus.
Explore all of these wondrous areas before you move to the clitoris. When you're ready, apply some more lube to your hand, then swipe your whole vulva in an upward motion.
Pull back the skin at the top of the clit so that you can touch it better. Most women's clits are protected by a "hood" of varying sizes to protect the sensitive bud inside.
You'll be able to feel it better, the more you're aroused, because it becomes engourged with blood just like an erect penis!
Most sex therapists imagine the clit as an oval divided into four quadrants. If you're looking down at yourself, the upper left quadrant of the clit is frequently the most sensitive.
Use any type of motion you like. Stroking back and for, or up and down, even a figure-eight motion is also very popular. If you've never masturbated before, a sure-fire method is to move your forefinger in a circular motion on your clit. You can go slow, and then speed up, or use a consistent speed. Strokes can be short, long, whatever feels best (which can often change from session to session.)
The anus is also an area rich in nerve endings. Some women want no part of this. I recommend you try a gentle rubbing (no penetration) to see if this stimulation is for you. If it is, you can progress anyway you want. If you decided to use penetration there, you HAVE to use a lot more lube, because the anus does not produce any of its own lubrication.
Important FYI: Make sure that nothing used in the anus is then inserted into the vagina. Avoid ANY potential bacterial contamination!
By the way, if you enjoy vaginal penetration while masturbating, by all means use a finger or live it up and buy a great dildo. There are so many good ones it’s a bit mind boggling. For a start, try to decide if you’d enjoy the sensation of silicon, glass, or chrome inside. If you have no idea, you might want to consider shopping for something online. It totally eliminates the creepy factor of sex shops as well as the embarrassment that many women can feel buying erotic supplies. A great online sex positive shop for toys that was founded in 1977 by women is Good Vibrations. They have discreet online advisers who will answer questions directly, and they even publish books and post articles to help customers understand sex.
Now, stop fingering for a moment –
Very Important Note: DO NOT USE a vibrator, unless you have never had an orgasm and just want to see what one’s like. Vibrators do not allow a woman to learn to feel what her body really likes or can do, it simply overwhelms the clitoris and jazzes up everything until a certain type of climax is forced out. Essentially, it dulls sensitivity, rather than increasing a woman’s pleasure. (Personally, I hate vibrators, they all just feel like an angry bee buzzing where no bee should be!) Plus, when you’re ready for partner play, it’s impossible for them to mimic all those rpm’s, so they must abandon their cocks, hands, mouths or dildos to apply only a vibrator to be able to make you come. BORING!
Okay, resume fingering –
Try anything and everything you think might feel good. Get a feather and drag it lightly over your body, legs, thighs and genitals. Pinch your nipples using various strengths to see what feels best. Use a cucumber as a dildo for fun (wash off the wax, natch.) Sex should be fun, you know, not a chore! Watch some porn, if you never have before, it can be pretty funny, even arousing at times. Read some erotica, which is one of my favorite ways to revs up my libido.
If none of this is your cup of tea, try making up some sexual fantasy as you stroke. Anything that comes to mind and ends up giving a zing is fine. No one will ever know. Give yourself permission to let your imagination run wild. Anything that excites you to think about should be your focus while masturbating. Personally, I love fantasizing more than anything else when I masturbate. I have a favorite one for a while, then it stops being quite as exciting, so then I think of something else. Since I began doing this, the effectiveness of my masturbation has increased exponentially.
Continue stroking as long as you want. If you feel like you're going to climax, that's great, go ahead. If not, that's also great, because you're giving yourself some much deserved pleasure!
Stop whenever you want, and use the cloth to gently wipe away the lube, and your own juices from your vulva.
Masturbate every day for a week, then think about what you’ve learned. Can you now answer the question, what makes you wet? If so, then we will be going on to discuss partner play. If not, you have some more private homework to do! Perhaps you aren’t relaxed, or there may be some medical issue that you should discuss with a doctor. If you have a health condition, it may be that some medication is interfering with arousal.
OK, now for partner play. For now, don't do a lot of seduction with each other, but a nice dinner or some quite talking would be perfect, ending with a fabulous cuddling/kissing session, but do not even go to second base!
Now, go into the bedroom, lock the door. It's OK if the lights are low, but not out, because you need to be able to see each other as clearly, and distinctly as possible!
All right -- get naked! Do watch each other closely, enjoying the way your partner looks and moves, allowing your minds to think of sex, sex, SEX! Allowing arousal to fill your bodies.
Now, you both should move to the bed. I know this next seems bold, but it's important: Begin to take turns masturbating in front of each other.
Don’t do anything but that, for now. It’s best not to masturbate simultaneously, because again, you want your partner to learn what makes you come, and you want to learn the same thing about your partner. So, if you feel like it, masturbate to orgasm while your partner watches. (Again, how hot-hot is that?!)
For some, this will not be an easy exercise, and may be too uncomfortable or embarrassing to accomplish. Do the best that you can. If it’s too embarrassing to be able to actually climax, no problem, just show each other as much as you can about what feels good.
This next is my favorite partner exercise. It is designed to build trust and intimacy between partners, not for one off’s or casual sex. Note: For ease of explanation, I will be using the terms male and female, but this will work regardless of either partner’s gender.
Let’s change things up, and begin with the man. Your partner is to begin by putting her hand on your face. You are to verbally instruct her how to move her hand so that it feels pleasurable, comforting, etc. She may also kiss/lick the body area that she is touching if you direct her to. She may not move her hand to another body area unless you given her verbal instructions to do so.
She is to move her hand, mouth, over your entire body as you direct her, but she must leave your genitals alone for now! As she touches and/or kisses you based on what you tell her to do and how you are feeling, try not to be too vulgar.
Women who are having sexual enjoyment issues generally feel worse if vulgar words are used during these trust-building exercises. Instead, tell her how close the touching/kissing makes you feel and how connected to her the pleasure she’s giving you makes you feel.
When she has completed your body, including the anus, she should now move to your genitals, but with a difference. Instead of just telling her how to touch you, you must place your hand on top of hers, and guide her as she moves it.
Continue to talk and direct, but use your hand to move hers. No kissing is allowed on the genitals, because the idea is to get your hand on top of hers during this portion of the exercise, to physically guide its progression.
Take your time and enjoy everything she is doing. Let her know how much you like it. Show her how vulnerable you are allowing yourself to be. It may be that she has experienced pain during intercourse/penetration in the past because she was not completely aroused, so let her feel your arousal, as it will increase hers.
Teach her the type of strokes you like on your cock, and where to apply her hand, fingers. Let her know if you like your scrotum stroked, or if it’s too sensitive. If you feel like coming, tell her what’s happening, then go ahead.
When you’re done, whether you’ve decided to climax or not, swap places. Put your hand on her face and do the same thing. Do not move your hand or kiss that body area unless she verbally tells you how and where to do so and/or move. Again, do not touch her primary erogenous zones yet, including her breasts and entire vulva.
After you have touched/kissed/licked every part of her body as she has directed, put one hand on one of her breasts. She must now put her hand on top of yours and guide you, tell you how you are to move your hand to give her the most pleasure. Move to the other breast and do the same thing.
Again, the goal behind the exercise is to build trust and intimacy. Take your time. Move to her vulva and anus only when she tells you. They should be the last areas left to be touched. Again, no kissing of the genitals! If she does not tell you how to move your hand, and does not put her hand on yours, you may NOT move your hand.
Talk to her about her feelings, and tell her how much you are enjoying touching her and looking at her so closely, how beautiful her body is. Touch her as long as she wants to be touched and in the manner that she directs, and allowing her to demonstrate more exactly with her hand on top of yours.
If she wants you to penetrate her with a finger, you may, but again, she must keep her hand on your hand as you move your finger inside of her. She must tell you and guide your hand to let you know how to move your finger inside her vagina. Obviously, a description of how to move around and/or in the anus may be used, since she would have to be a contortionist to have her hand on yours in that area. (Again, be very careful about cross-contamination, between the anus and vagina.)
It is important that she trusts you enough to allow her natural sexual desire, feelings and emotions to override anything that has prevented her from orgasm in the past. She will be very vulnerable as this begins to occur, so will need a lot of reassurance from you.
Do not try this exercise unless you have time to devote to it. Remember, no intercourse. Only talk, touch, tenderness, and loving intimacy. If she feels like coming, she should tell you, then allow her body to do so. If she orgasms rarely, or certainly if she has never had an orgasm, doing so will be extremely emotional. Realize this, and be gentle. If she doesn’t come, be equally supportive. Sharing sexual pleasure and intimacy will strengthen the bond between you.
Afterward, talk about the experience if you both feel like it.
Be sure and touch each and every sensitive spot on your bodies, not just the main ones. You are apt to find that you each have some pretty fun spots that neither of you ever knew about!
If you want to have intercourse, there are a million different positions and techiniques that you both can explore. You can also investigate less traditional sexual behavior, like spanking, and domination and submission.
Remember, the only sexual line that must never be crossed is this: Each ADULT participant must agree, and choose whatever sexual activity they desire to do, provided that it harms no one else. By the way, you can also change your mind at any time, and are always allowed to say NO! If you do say NO, that choice must be respected.
Here's to fabulous lives, filled with amazing intimacy, heart-pounding arousal, and sex that often leads to explosive orgasms!
--- The Curator