Sex Coaching - A focus on pleasure and connection works in many ways

Sex Coaching - A focus on pleasure and connection works in many ways

Therapy is often focused around addressing things that are broken or problematic.  Coaching, to me, is helping people achieve more.  To improve on what they have.  My favourite question to ask people is “What could make this even better?”.  How often do we ask ourselves that? 

Why It Is Important To Learn About Sex as an Adult

Not many people understand sex and sexuality despite us living in times of education and knowledge.  We are all erotic snowflakes … there may be some similarities between us but there are also many individual nuances, wirings, preferences and turn-ons … that’s what makes things so interesting and pleasurable!

The Dance of Self Confidence, Objectification and Equality

Photo by Digital Vision./Digital Vision / Getty Images

By Aleks Trkulja

Being self-confident comes from reflecting on all aspects of yourself; learning where you can grow; what you can change, and also what parts of yourself to learn to accept. This can be difficult for some people and its where insecurities may develop.

Often low self esteem is the product of comparison. And comparison is the thief of happiness! It relates to appearance and the 'ideal' body shape and image being promoted through media, and has become set standard for all women.

The difficulty with these standards is that they are based on media representations of the 'ideal' person. Our standards need to be based on the individual's idea of being the best person they can be. This is particularly challenging given the many environmental influences that manipulate our perception of what a confident person is.  

The people around us largely affect our self-confidence. Those that are caring, positive and kind tend to encourage healthy attitudes toward body image and self-confidence. This is something that today's societal constructs tend to neglect in their quest for youth, beauty and perfection. One impact of these societal pressures is the objectification of women, which is beautifully discussed by Caroline Heldman in her TEDX talk, The Sexy Lie.

Such is the impact of the objectification of women, that today the apparent flaws or appearance of successful women becomes the target for strangers to broadcast their personal opinions and criticisms. Sadly it seems that the irresponsible use of social media has given rise to the opinions of many being used to shame others. Even the media fails to maintain a neutral stance, seeking higher ratings through the body shaming and objectification of women.

A vicious cycle is established when media reinforces body shaming and bullying of successful people, especially successful women. A perfect example of this was Emma Watson’s United Nations #HeForShe Campaign, that was an international phenomenon. A malicious response to this campaign was a hoax that threatened Watson with images of her own naked body, as punishment for speaking out against inequality.

What is it about our modern dynamics that makes the female body everyone else's property and something that can be used against the very owner of that body? We can blame the media for reinforcing negative attitudes, but surely they must be catering to a group of people who hold these attitudes? The issue is that the objectification of women actually encourages women to criticise other women. Men are not the only perpetrators in body shaming or objectifying women. Far from it! 

Equality not only relies on the equal participation of both men and women, but it is relies on a solid foundation of sisterhood. Which sadly seems to be missing. Watson notes, " A lot of the criticism I've ever had in my life, some of the harshest moments ... or hardest moments of criticism, have come from other women." 

Sisterhood is the relationship between women, based on a common interest. Criticising one another based on appearance, body shape or clothing is one of the issues in the fight for equality. People claim to be feminists in theory, but in practice continue to belittle or condescend each other. Gender aside, we as people owe it one another to support each other with unconditional kindness an positive regard, despite our differences.

Being a self confident person doesn't only mean accepting and celebrating yourself. It means supporting, accepting and celebrating all kinds of people out there in the world.  If we don't support each other, we aren't doing any favours for equality, or for anyone for that matter.

A Savvy Girl’s Guide to Dealing with Harassment in a Bar

 

By Aleks Trkulja

When I’m not interning for Tanya in her Surry Hills practice, I pour beers at an inner city pub in Sydney. One Sunday, during the day, I was verbally harassed by a group of men who were drinking in the pub. Normally this particular venue does not attract these kinds of people. It was a rare occasion, and bad luck that I happened to have served them.

They ordered drinks by instruction rather than as a question with no sign of “please” or “thank you”. They asked for triple shots, which I refused to make due to my Responsible Service of Alcohol, and because attitudes like that don’t need to be fuelled further by alcohol.

After calmly and clearly setting boundaries by explaining my responsibility as a bartender, and informing them that as a human I  don’t appreciate being badgered or harassed, I suggested that they should be polite, or they would have to leave. Their response to these requests was to verbally harass me:

“Give us triple shots!”

“She’s so hot when she’s angry.”

“F**k I love it when she’s mad at me, she’s so feisty.”

“Haha, awww don’t be mad! Smile! Show us that pretty smile.”

This encounter shook me. I felt powerless and angry. I was helpless. I asked them to stop. Told the manager to ask them to leave (which they did, while I shed a few angry tears in the back room).  But what else could be done? Even once they were asked to leave by the manager they continued to argue and resist instruction.

This infuriated me. Where they raised by wolves? How do you manage to walk out into the world thinking you could treat everyone like shit, yet you only deserve the best? This inconsistency baffled me. I rarely encounter these types of people, but it made me think about how many people (both men and women) have fallen victim to people who think that are exempt of the social rules that establish respect between strangers.

So I’ve put together a few tips on how to manage verbal harassment.
 

Set boundaries

  • When confronted, verbally communicate what is not acceptable behaviour.
  • An example of a setting boundary and explaining the consequence of crossing it is: ‘Please don’t harass me while I am serving you. If you continue I will have to ask you to leave.’

  • This formula can be changed up to apply to any situation, for example: “Please don’t harass me, I’m having drinks with my friends, I don’t want to talk to you. If you continue to harass me and my friends, I will have to let the security guard know because you’re making us uncomfortable.”
     

Have patience

  • Remember you’re dealing with someone who is clearly not as thoughtful as you. Take some deep breaths and remind yourself how tiny the words coming from their mouths really are.
     
  • Despite how frustrated they make you feel, remember there is not Netflix and pizza in prison!!!!!  Keep your cool.
     

Avoid interaction

  • A simple way to limit the amount of harassment you receive is to avoid the person doing the harassing.
     
  • This can be difficult but its oh so worth it! Don’t give them the airtime that they seek.  Out of sight, out of mind! Surround yourself with the beautiful humans that treat you well instead.


 

Esther Perel - On Infidelity, A Talk For Anyone Who Has Ever Loved

The brilliant Esther Perel talking about infidelity ... she gives us insight, language and some ideas on how to heal ... I have to confess, she made me cry ... this is the hard work of good therapists, to help people on their journey and sit with their experiences.


Please watch and share, this message needs to travel far and wide.

 

http://www.ted.com/talks/esther_perel_rethinking_infidelity_a_talk_for_anyone_who_has_ever_loved

 


The Importance of Being Sexy in a Long-Term Relationship

 

By Tanya Koens

Can you remember the time when you first met your partner?  How cute you thought they were? How interesting? Sexy?  Desirable?  Hot? Amazing?  Funny? Creative? How fabulous you thought they were?  It’s a crazy heady thing, that first part of a relationship.

 There is actually a word for it – Limerence.  It is the science term for honeymoon period or the involuntary state of mind and being, which results from a romantic attraction to another.  It’s the thing that happens when you first come into contact with a new lover.  You skin hits their skin and BOOM … the receptors go off!  “Oooooh somebody new!” … Which results in a flush of chemicals coursing through your body - Dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin and DHEA.  The reason for this is that we are hard-wired to find a mate.

 Now these chemicals are rather cool!  They immediately put up blinkers so that you don’t see that your partner burps and farts and scratches their bum, just like everybody else.  They are interesting and you are interested.  You can’t wait to see them, feel them, taste them, hear them, experience them and get into their pants!  And, of course, there is a lot of spontaneous sex.  This is what happens when the pleasure centre of the brain is given control and starts to run the show.  Its quite delicious, that whole falling in love thing … you know?  It’s the “You hang up…” … “No YOU hang up…” kind of thing where everything is just wonderful.

Now the trick with Limerence is that in most couples it usually lasts between 6-24 months and then BANG!  No more chemicals, they just leave.  And the scary thing about this is that you won’t feel the same with such ease again unless you meet someone else!  So it’s up to you to invest in your relationship.  That means putting effort into spending time together, what you do in that time and how you communicate with each other.  It also includes intimate life.  It really isn’t difficult but it does require a little bit of effort.

People say to me all the time … “But I just want to have spontaneous sex!” or “Shouldn’t sex just be spontaneous?”.  Sure you can have spontaneous sex in a long-term relationship, but it seems to be the exception rather than the norm.  In fact, I would be so bold as to claim that there is no such thing as spontaneous sex in most long-term relationships.  Why is this?

Well, it’s normal for desire to slowly and steadily decline in a long-term relationship.   The tricky part about this is that it can decline at different rates for different people, which means your partner may decline at a different rate to yourself.  The people that I see conducting successful intimate relationships are those that talk about the level of intimacy that they would like to have in their relationship and then work at achieving that.  They don’t just wait to feel horny; they set about creating opportunities to feel sexy, be connected and to do sexy things. 

I liken it to your relationship being a beautiful garden that you can stroll in and enjoy.  You love your garden and it gives you much pleasure.  However, there are things that need to be done to keep up your garden.  Some days you may need to do a little bit of weeding, other days you may need water your garden or fertilize it and sometimes you need to do a bit of pruning to keep things in order.  If you don’t do these things, your garden will return back to the earth.  Your relationship is pretty much the same.  Make it a priority and make it worth putting a little effort into it each day.

So how do you do that?  Make time to talk to each other like lovers each day.  Not the domestic partners and/or parents you may have become.  Make time to connect with each other and share your worlds. 

Create opportunities to connect physically.  I recommend a strategy that I call “Planning to be Spontaneous”.  This is not writing in our diaries that on Wednesday at 5.30pm we will have sex … that may work for some people but it wont work for many!  Instead, how about creating opportunities in your week/month/year to be intimate?  What is intimate I hear you say?  Well its things like deciding to have a massage night once a week … one week you massage your partner and the next week they massage you (makes things less of a chore and keeps time manageable) … or you could have Naked TV Night or Underwear Night … or watch TV with your hands down each other’s pants, or better still a technology free evening – no computers, laptops, iPads, smart phones or TV.

There are many ways you can weave connection into your relationship with very small effort required. 

What can you do to foster connection and intimacy with your partner?

 

 

Happy Mardi Gras Sydney

Happy Mardi Gras

 

Sydney is filled with wonderful feathered and sequined folk brimming with excitement and preparing for Mardi Gras.  The energy in the city is palpable and the visual feast of sexy people in all shapes and sizes is nothing short of splendid. 

The city has enjoyed a month long arts and culture festival that has embraced and celebrated the many facets of the GLBTQI community from film festivals through art exhibitions to spoken word and the fabulous Fair Day.  Google have even provided rainbow menus if you search for anything to do with Mardi Gras!  It has been wonderful seeing community united, celebrated and safe to express identity.  That has brought so much joy to many, including myself.

 Mardi Gras started out as a gay rights march down the streets of Sydney and has progressed to encompass the GLBTQI community and those that support them.  To me it has always been a celebration of sexual freedom and sexual expression.  It is a very big part of my Sydney landscape and it has been the time of the year that I am most homesick when I have lived away from Sydney.

 I want to wish everyone a Happy Mardi Gras, may you all express yourselves wonderfully, celebrate both who you are and the wonderful diversity we have around us.

 With Love and Sparkles

 Tanya

Vaginismus

By Tanya Koens

This is a story I have longed to tell, about a problem that is much more prevalent than people believe.  Research shows us that approximately 8% of women suffer from it.  It’s something that is couched in shame and despair and it is an issue that people do not know how to address.  To make matters worse, it is often unacknowledged by professionals when sufferers seek help.

In my work as a Sexologist, I have so many lovely young women come to see me about an inability to have intercourse or experiencing large amounts of pain and/or discomfort during intercourse and other sexual activities.  Older women have this complaint as well, but this seems particularly prevalent amongst younger women.

What is particularly distressing for many of these women is that they have often been to numerous practitioners and been told:

-       There is nothing wrong with you!

-       Stop being so silly! Just get on with it.

-       You will get used to it in time.

-       Just relax.

-       Stop being so up tight!

And many other dismissive things.

In fact, a colleague of mine has done a PhD dissertation on Female Genital Pain and she presented that women who experience Vaginismus have often been to upward of 18 practitioners and can have spent in excess of $20,000 seeking treatment for their problem.  This breaks my heart.

When I speak to these girls I immediately validate and normalize their pain/discomfort.  I give them permission to be experiencing it and sit with their frustration and fear at the situation they find themselves in.  I can see their bodies immediately relax when they realize that they are speaking to someone who finally gets what they have been experiencing.  They just want to be “normal” and can’t understand why they are having these problems.

It’s the relaxing of the body that proves potent.  Vaginismus is a dysfunction that starts in the head but has very real pain and physical repercussions.  It is an involuntary clamping or tensing of the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles that can – at its most extreme – prevent entry by a penis, a digit or even a doctor’s examining tool.  Sometimes penetration is possible but it can cause pain and discomfort which can result in the sufferer being fearful of and wanting to avoid sex.  This, of course, can have detrimental effects on the sufferer’s relationship(s) with sexual partner(s).

It is possible that after suffering Vaginismus for some time without resolution, the muscles can remain in hypertonic spasm.  Often women are not in touch with the pelvic region of their body and will be unable to tell if there is any stress or discomfort there unless an extreme event – such as intercourse – is attempted.  Often they are unable to tell if they are sexually aroused as they are not in touch with how their body works.

When I see the young women relax as we are speaking, I notice it to them.  It’s a great opportunity to then ask them if they tense up during sex … and by the time I get to meet them, they invariably are.  Given that the client now knows that I understand what is going on and that I have empathy for the frustration and fear that they are experiencing, we have set a good foundation to start working on the cause of the Vaginismus.

There are many causes for Vaginismus ranging from a fear of the mechanics of sex; lack of knowledge about foreplay and arousal; feeling pressured into sex; feeling hurried or a lack of privacy; feeling guilt or shame; picking up on a partner’s anxiety or fears.  So many different reasons!

The work I do with these young women is to explore their narratives about sex; discover stories that may not be useful to them; help them listen to their body and what their body is telling them; and give them permission to have their experience as it is.  We then start to re-write their narrative around sex to something that will serve them better and often work in conjunction with specialist physiotherapists to help unlock any muscles that are in spasm.

Sounds very straight-forward and it is!  But the pressure these girls experience to be “normal” and “perform” is immense.  It’s a journey that can take from one visit to six months of regular appointments … but it’s a journey that can be well worth it for these girls … one of self discovery, knowledge and permission granting and one that finds their voice around their own sexuality. 

This is the kind of work I love to do; addressing self doubts; tackling their pain and fears and re-writing their sexual narrative to reflect who they are and to give them permission to embrace their own sexuality (without feeling shame, obligation or fear).

In other words, I get to meet fabulous people and help them be more fabulous … its not a bad gig is it? 

I really am grateful everyday for that experience.

 

 

Spontaneous Orgasms

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By Aleks Trkulja

Recently Tanya gave a presentation to University students and this question arose.  Aleks has written an article designed to help us have a better understanding of this phenomenon.

Spontaneous orgasms are somewhat an unknown area of genital activity. There is very little research that can explain the various forms of spontaneous orgasms. Essentially, they are orgasms that occur independently of any physical stimulation, such as intercourse or masturbation. Spontaneous orgasms are separated into three categories, and unfortunately, not all of these orgasms are considered pleasurable.

1. Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)

Previously been called Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome and Restless Genital Syndrome

Physical arousal caused by this syndrome can be very intense and persist for extended periods, days or weeks at a time. Orgasm can sometimes provide temporary relief, but within hours the symptoms return. Failure to relieve these symptoms can lead to spontaneous orgasm in women, and ejaculation in men.  Those who suffer from it typically report feeling embarrassed and ashamed when it occurs.

This condition can be debilitating for people, making it difficult to concentrate or to complete daily activities such as riding public transport, vibration from mobiles, wearing tight clothing and even going to the toilet. Symptoms can be aggravated to the point of discomfort and pain. Many people with this condition will avoid sexual relations. PGAD can last for many years, sometimes resolving of its own accord and sometimes becoming so incapacitating that sufferers have been led to suicide.

No cause has been found for PGAD. Some have suggested the origins are neurological, and recently have been linked primarily to pudenal nerve entrapment (where the Pudenal Nerve in the pelvis becomes compressed or trapped and leads to chronic pain). The disorder is most commonly found in post-menopausal women and in those who have hormonal imbalances or undergone hormonal therapy. One study suggested spontaneous orgasm could be due to increased levels in dopamine, when patients (both male and female) taking medication for Parkinson’s experienced spontaneous orgasms. The article suggests this happened because dopamine is a neurotransmitter that activates the body’s reaction to sexual pleasure. Treatments such as antidepressants, anti-androgenic agents, surgical procedures, anaesthetising gels have all helped to control symptoms, but not eradicating them completely.

The other two forms of spontaneous orgasms are not scientifically classified, but have been ordered based on the similarities of people’s experiences.

2. Unconscious Orgasms

This covers orgasms that begin while unconscious (asleep). There is no erotic trigger (physical or mental), the orgasms have a sudden onset. The onset of these spontaneous orgasms has, at times, been related to elevated stress and anxiety levels. The orgasms have also been identified as a side effect of medication.

Experience of these orgasms depends entirely on the individual.  People can find it weirdly pleasing, bewildering, nerve wracking, alarming, or simply quite unpleasant and stressful.

For some women, they will reach a healthy and satisfying climax (typically as they are waking up). But for others, the orgasm will not feel complete or satisfying, and because of this can be stressful and uncomfortable. Given that the individual isn’t conscious when orgasm initiates, it can be difficult to study and there is very little research available on this issue.

3. Conscious Orgasms

Here spontaneous orgasming is consciously triggered by erotic thought. These orgasms differ because they do not require any physical assistance to reach climax. They are entirely fostered by the individual’s sexual imaginings and require conscious intent based on erotic fantasy.

An example of this is Tantric Orgasms such as breathing to climax through ones Chakra’s. Click here for examples of ‘thinking off’ or breathing to spontaneous climax. 

Researchers at Rutger’s University of Newark  found that women placed under an MRI showed the same brain activity when reaching an unassisted (no genital contact) climax, as those who reach climax through physical contact. These women would simply use erotic imagination to orgasm, and would display identical physiological signs of climax such as increased heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. These findings link the power of the mind and erotic imagination to orgasm and sexual arousal and provide further insight into our arousal systems.

Sex Headaches

 

By Aleksandra Trkulja with Tanya Koens

 

A sexual headache is not a figurative concept; it is literally a headache that develops during sex. They are triggered not only during intercourse but oral sex and masturbation too.

Sex headaches are more common for men than women, and research indicates that some medications high in estrogen, such as those used for erectile dysfunction, or birth control, can influence the pain. Some people will experience headaches regularly, while others will experience headaches only a few times.

Pre-orgasmic headaches have a slow onset, and create a dull ache in the neck and head. The cause of this type of headache is associated with clenching in the jaw and neck during sex.  The closer one gets towards climaxing, the more the physical tension and pain builds.

Post-coital headaches are different; they have an abrupt onset that begins during orgasm. This can be quite a shock to those that experience them. It is estimated that 78% of sex headaches are post-coital, and are commonly linked to migraines. According to Migraine Survival this is because migraines and post-coital headaches are considered to include episodic pain, which occurs 75% of the time; and chronic pain, which occurs 25% of the time.

So what is actually happening inside your head during these slow or fast onset headaches? Essentially the pain is caused by fluctuating blood pressure, or blood vessel diameter being inconsistent with the amount of blood passing through.

Usually people resort to medication in an attempt to ease this pain, but as mentioned earlier, some medication can contribute to the pain.  Alternatively, most people experiencing sex headaches will know the only way to help ease the pain is to resist from climaxing.  This certainly is not optimal! 

We propose trying the following strategies:

Don’t be Goal Orientated

Don’t make orgasm the be all and end all of your sexual experience. The pressure will only increase tension. Enjoy the subtle feelings as you feel you body become aroused and respond to different forms of stimulation. Try to remain relaxed and enjoy the different sensations in your body.

A shift in attention can be all it takes to miss an orgasm and can result with you feeling like you have a football between your legs! A missed orgasm can be like a missed sneeze! Being left frustrated can leave the body in a state of tension.  Acknowledge your frustration … lie still, use a cool flannel to calm your genitals and help disperse the blood from the area.  Allow the body to settle if an orgasm is missed.

Pace

When pain starts it’s a sign of tension in the body. Slow it down, go back to kissing, stroking, licking, rubbing instead. This might help relieve the tension build up.  Slow the pace, lower the expectations and give yourself permission to have a good time without necessarily climaxing.

 

The Elusive Orgasm: Book Review

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By Aleks Trkulja

In 2007, Dr Vivienne Cass wrote an informative book enlightening women on the mystery of orgasms. Its conversational tone provides clarity on the understanding and influences on female orgasms. Dr Cass highlights important information on female orgasm:

  1. How underestimated the Clitoris is.
  2. The five types of orgasm problems women experience.
  3. The causes of orgasm problems.
  4. Self-awareness via quizzes and questionnaires following the causes, which allow the reader to explore how relative these might be.
  5. Thorough breakdown of sexual and non-sexual changes that can be applied to help create change with ones sexual satisfaction.

The book is primarily based on Dr. Cass’ 20 years of research experience on female orgasm and does not target a specific age groups or generations.  She takes care not to categorise or pathologise women with non-existent, dissipating, or specifically triggered orgasms. Dr Cass recognises that every individual experiences arousal differently.

The literary style is not highly theoretical or intimidating. It speaks to the reader like a passionate, and well-educated friend. Dr. Cass brings to light some incredibly simple yet influential issues affecting female orgasm.

One concept that struck me most was the importance of arousal. A common misconception is that both men and women’s sexual arousal is similar. Tanya Koens recently wrote an insightful blog, Sex: What's the Rush? on the importance of female sexual arousal. She explains;

Think of female sexual arousal as like a pot of water on the stove that needs a flame underneath it to bring it up to the boil.  Male sexual energy is that flame.  They can arouse quickly and burn bright and it’s this energy that helps females get to their arousal.’

Although a quickie is enjoyed by some every once in a while, most women appreciate and need the time to work up to an orgasm. This dedicated time increases our sexual energy and connection to our partner.

Especially amongst younger sexually active people, the gap between orgasms is still large. Author of The Orgasm Gap, Lisa Wade observes that:

For one, we often bifurcate the sexual experience in line with gender norms: men are sexual (they experience desire) and women are sexy (they inspire desire). The focus on men’s internal wants and sensations also draws our attention to his satisfaction. Thus his orgasm, but not necessarily hers, becomes a critical part of what must happen for a sexual encounter to be successful and fulfilling.’

 Dr Cass addresses these gender issues by acknowledging the bias between a man and women both confident in their sexuality, but women are shamed with words like ‘slut’, whereas men are praised. She suggests shame and guilt can affect female sexual arousal.

On the the opposite end of this, knowing exactly what makes one's body happy is the first step in reaching orgasm. It is a lost cause going into a sexual relationship with someone expecting them to understand exactly what to do without knowing yourself, and then communicating it. This book encourages a cognitive-behavioural approach in understanding yourself physically and mentally.

Each chapter encourages the female reader to acknowledge that their arousal is within their power and responsibility. One's expanding knowledge of their own body initiates an empowering process of understanding and increasing female sexual arousal.

Dr. Cass’ focus on arousal is followed by suggestions of external (or internal) triggers on a spectrum ranging from every day stress and anxiety, to sexual abuse or medical conditions (medication/vulvodynia). These causes are followed by questionnaires and quizzes that allow the reader to tailor their personal experience to these ideas.

Not only does Dr Cass’ book inform the everyday woman about her potentially expansive sexual arousal, but helps health professionals understand that sexual arousal is unique to the individual, and that their upbringing, religion, culture relationships and education all affect their sex lives.

Sex: What's The Rush?

By Tanya Koens

Recently I read an article by Paul Hudson about younger generations not knowing how to have sex.  What really struck me in this article was the fact that everyone seems to be rushing to get to penis-in-vagina sex or orgasm … as if it is some kind of goal to be reached.

Lets face it, more often than not; sex is about pleasure, not procreation.  When we view it through that lens, I am curious as to at why anyone would be in a hurry for their pleasurable experience to end?  Surely you would want to savour it and enjoy it for as long as possible?

Dessert may be your favourite part of the meal, but you don’t go out to dinner just to eat dessert do you?  Or skip to the end of the book to read the last chapter without enjoying the story and the journey to the final chapter?

Why then are so many people in a hurry to get to an orgasm?  Is orgasm the goal of sex?  Or is it pleasure?  Or connection?  Or …. ?

For those of you who have sex with female-bodied partners, it is important to understand how to drive them.  Unlike male bodies, females need a considerable about of time to turn on, warm up and get the engines purring.  Think of female sexual arousal as like a pot of water on the stove that needs a flame underneath it to bring it up to the boil.  Male sexual energy is that flame.  They can arouse quickly and burn bright and it’s this energy that helps females get to their arousal.  And remember, once fully aroused, females can be on a rolling boil for hours!

It is important for us all to understand that women are not the same as men are when it comes to sexual arousal and enjoyment.  Women can take 45 – 60 minutes to be fully aroused.  And I know that many couples are having a cup of tea and a chat around the 45-minute mark! 

Take note, we really should be spending at least 15-20 minutes on foreplay.  Why?  Because female bodies need that time to get read to receive a male penis.  Watch this blog space for our next article on The Importance of Foreplay.

I don’t know about you but I don’t find foreplay a chore!  Its full of yummy, sensual, erotic sensations that feel good, build arousal, foster connection and continue to build anticipation and excitement about the so called “good bits” still to come.  Many women say they prefer outercourse activities to intercourse … they still enjoy intercourse but they find the outercourse stuff so much more delicious!

In talking to lots of men in my role as a sex therapist, almost all of them dearly want their partner to have a good time when having sex.  Understanding that women both need and enjoy many different types of touch and sexual activity is important to create a strong and lasting sexual connection.  Women very quickly tire of straight penis-in-vagina sex with little warm up.

It seems that lack of knowledge, performance anxiety, communication difficulties and striving to reach unattainable “porn” standards can be contributing to this urgency in sexual encounters.   I encourage you to be curious about the type of touch and sexual activities that your partner enjoys … ask them what they like and if they can’t answer then ask questions as you go along, “does this feel good?” “What about that?” … Sex doesn’t have to be a silent affair.

Remember that porn is visual entertainment designed to stimulate a particular audience.  It cuts out the scenes where the women are being warmed up and can give the impression that certain types of sexual activity require no warm up or preparation at all.  Wrong!

Next time you are thinking about sex consider spending more time touching, arousing, caressing and engaging with each other erotically.  Use your touch, voice, tongue, pace and whole body to take a journey that may take you to greater pleasurable heights than you ever imagined.

Avoiding the Naked Awkward Moment

I am sad to realise that most of us find it very difficult to communicate our sexual desires and wishes to our partner.  There is so much fear of stigmatisation and sexual shame.  People often come to see me and start off being very reluctant to talk about sexual problems such as desire discrepancy, loss of libido, performance anxiety and anorgasmia.  It may be a little awkward when we first start talking about presenting issues but as we progress it becomes easier and safer to communicate and much useful information is revealed.

Sexual problems affect both people in the relationship, not just the person who may be experiencing difficulties.  If a couple are unable to discuss problems in the bedroom, its unlikely they will be able to solve them.  This can lead to what I call the Naked Awkward Moment.  The moment when things don’t go to plan, everyone is naked and doesn’t know what to say or what to do.  *Tumbleweeds*  Lets face it, none of us enjoy a moment like that and it can lead to avoidance of sex and subsequently intimacy as people struggle to steer clear of finding themselves in a situation like that again.

Anxiety is the cause of many sexual issues and anxiety fears seem to be rooted in the “What if ….” question(s).  When I am working with clients to address sexual anxieties and problems I often get them to work together and develop a Fall Back Plan … a plan or a number of different endings to the story in case things go wrong.  For example:  What if I lose my erection?  Well we can:

  • shake hands and say “see you here again tomorrow”
  • take a shower together
  • I could do something to make my partner's eyes roll back in their head
  • we could lie and cuddle and see what happens
  • we could stroke each other or use other methods to reach orgasm (or not)

Its up to the couple to devise the many different endings to the story.  Once they have done this they can feel confident that if they get into bed and any anxious thinking arises, they will know the answer to the dreaded “What if” question.  This not only helps them feel more confident but it also allows them to be more present in their interactions, rather than off in the future in a potential catastrophe.

People often put off talking about sexual issues with their partner for fear of upsetting them or making them feel awkward.  Its important to remember that feeling awkward may only last for a minute or two and then a fruitful conversation can be had.  Better to feel awkward momentarily than to avoid intimacy altogether?