Lack of Proper Pleasure Education
Talking about sex can be vulnerable. Unfortunately, many of us lack any knowledge beyond middle school sex ed or things witnessed in pornography. These are two very biased sources. Neither of which accurately represent female orgasms.
Yes, you may know about contraceptives and STI’s, but did you learn about pleasure? There’s more to sex besides the risk of infections and pregnancy. Why aren’t we talking about it?
Misinformation fuels shame and embarrassment about female orgasms.
As a couples therapist, it’s unavoidable, and frankly, negligent not to discuss sex. Frequently, partners feel intense moments of embarrassment and shame about the quality of their sexual pleasure, or the lack thereof. Particularly, this occurs when discussing female orgasms.
These negative beliefs about female sexual pleasure can damage the quality of your sexual relationship with your partner. Many partners find themselves coming to catastrophic conclusions like:
We’re not sexually compatible.
I’m not good at sex.
My body isn’t normal.
These awful thoughts fuel worry and stress, making it even more difficult for a female to reach orgasm. This only increases both the physical and emotional disconnection in the relationship.
If you think your sexual pleasure might be impacted by some of these thoughts, take a look at these seven common myths below. While some of these are geared toward heterosexual couples, fortunately, there’s a lot of applicable information for the LGBT folks too!
MYTH ONE: My vagina should look a certain way.
There is no set standard for how a vagina should look. Vaginas come in many colors, shapes and sizes. They are different colors, textures and have different styles of pubic hair. Each one is unique and they are all beautiful.
While the physical aspects of your vagina might not impact your pleasure, how you feel about them will.
If you are suffering from shame or embarrassment, your body’s security system will kick into gear to protect you from negative stimuli. This can lead to mental shut down and physical tenseness, making sex difficult or even painful.
It’s important to get to know your body and what it looks like. Look at your vulva using a hand mirror.
What do you notice that you like?
What would it be like to show your partner and explore with them?
If this sounds awkward or terrifying, chances are some negative emotions like shame are in the mix. Sometimes hearing a loved one’s opinion can counteract some of the harsh critiques you may give yourself.
The better you feel about your body, the easier it will be to receive pleasure.
MYTH TWO: Longer sex is better.
The length of intercourse is not a reliable factor in predicting female orgasms. There is no gold standard for how much penetration leads to orgasm. Some women have a longer arousal cycle, while others can be stimulated earlier by foreplay and fantasy, requiring less time to reach climax.
MYTH THREE: Most people orgasm at the same time regardless of gender.
Unfortunately, porn and mainstream media typically misrepresent this timeline. Remember the old adage?
Women are like ovens. Men are like microwaves.
Most women usually take longer than their male counterparts to reach orgasm. A general rule of thumb states most women require 20 minutes of sexual stimulation of some sort, in order to reach orgasm.
If having an orgasm together is your goal, then it’s crucial that you communicate with your partner. Utilize foreplay to close the arousal time gap. Tricks like edging may help increase excitement.
MYTH FOUR: Sex means vaginal penetration.
While many refer to sex as vaginal penetration, it is most likely that other types of sexual stimulation will lead to orgasm. Try switching things up. Most women require different forms of stimulation to climax.
Focusing on her clitoris would be your best bet. Use your hands, mouth or even toys to explore different types of stimulation.
MYTH FIVE: Penis size matters.
As previously stated, most women reach orgasm through clitoral stimulation rather than penetration. This means the female anatomy has a bigger impact than their partner. The “c to v distance”, or the distance between the clitoris and the vagina, has the largest effect on a women’s ability to orgasm through penetration alone. Typically the closer the two are, less than 2.5 cm to be exact, the easier the orgasm solely through penetration.
Don’t stress if your body doesn’t fit what you might see in porn. There are a variety of ways to stimulate your clitoris during intercourse and reach orgasm.
MYTH SIX: Most women orgasm during intercourse.
It’s common for women not to orgasm during vaginal penetration. Studies show: about 75% of women do not reliably orgasm during vaginal intercourse.
Don’t be ashamed to tell your partner you didn’t reach orgasm. This open vulnerable communication can lay the groundwork for some arousing sexual exploration.
Take your time exploring and following the pleasure. Be sure to communicate what feels best and what feels less stimulation.
MYTH SEVEN: Sex is better for females without a condom.
There is no research evidence linking a significant effect between condom use and female orgasm.
However, it’s always important to talk to your partner about birth control and safe sex practices. Not using condoms will put you at a higher risk for STI’s and unwanted pregnancy.
Sex should be pleasurable, not pressuring.
Your orgasm matters just as much as your partner’s. Communicate with your partner to follow the pleasure rather than focusing on the performance. Fine-tuning the female orgasm takes exploration and experimentation.
If you and your partner want to learn more about female orgasms check out these great references: Come As You Are By Emily Nagoski or Becoming Cliterate By Laurie Mintsz.
Also check out this amazing resource on female masturbation. It includes how to directions and real life videos of many diverse women.