I was so thrilled to hear such positive feedback from people about my last post on understanding men in the bedroom (read it here), and I’ve been trying to find a moment in between travelling, conferences and other work to write part two – about women. I finally managed to find an hour to write the post, and then remembered that us girls are rather more complicated and that I was going to need far longer than an hour…
As I mentioned in part one, men generally need physical and visual stimulation in order to find sex satisfying. Women, on the other hand, need physical and emotional stimulation – it’s far more psychological for us girls. So by physical, I mean that she needs to physically feel a few things – a feeling of fullness inside her, direct or indirect stimulation on her clitoris, warmth (women actually find it harder to orgasm with cold feet!), and touch. Emotionally, women generally need to feel safe and loved. If you think about it, we make ourselves quite vulnerable during sex – both physically and emotionally. So in order to say that a sexual experience was satisfying, most women need to feel that they can safely be vulnerable with their partner. Love, or loving feelings, also plays a role. A woman does not necessarily need to be in love with her sexual partner to say it was satisfying, but some emotional connection needs to be formed at some point. Of course there are lots of women that just want the physical side of sex, with no strings attached (far more women than are actually given credit), but generally the emotional side is a very integral part of a satisfying sex life.
So what’s up with women wanting to cuddle after sex? Well, during sex our brains release a combination of hormones and neurotransmitters that make us feel safe, happy, blissful etc. One of the hormones released during sex, and particularly during orgasm, is oxytocin – also known as the bonding hormone, makes us feel closer and more intimate. It also helps her feel safe and loved. So guys, if cuddling isn’t your thing but your girlfriend always wants to after sex, compromise – it can help her find sex more satisfying overall.
Whereas men generally follow a straight-forward progression from desire to arousal to orgasm and recovery, women are far more complex. There is nothing straight-forward about sexual response in women… When it comes to desire, a woman can feel desire without becoming aroused. Think about it ladies – if you see a gorgeous man in the car next to you in traffic, your mind may wander about the things you’d let him to do you, but it’s unlikely that you’ll get wet and your nipples with harden. The same goes for arousal: (1) you could have had a really long day at work, have chores to do and your partner wants some action – your mind might be saying that it’s the last thing you feel like while your body responds anyway by becoming lubricated etc., or (2) your mind might be in it and you feel very mentally aroused, but your body might not be on board (perhaps due to stress, illness, time of the month etc.). If something is not on board during a sexual encounter, orgasm, pleasure and satisfaction become somewhat more of a challenge. A lot of women who struggle to orgasm suggest that they don’t feel any desire for sex, for their partner, or they’re just not aroused, mentally or physically. Any or a combination of such factors can make sex less satisfying, and interestingly, the most common reason listed for dissatisfying sex with a partner is actually relationship dissatisfaction.
Orgasms for women, unlike men, are not just a physiological response to stimulation. Most women have to learn to orgasm (it’s very rare you hear that a woman had an orgasm the first time she had sex..). What do I mean by learn? Well us girls have to spend time getting to know our bodies, its responses, what we like or don’t like etc. A lot of women know exactly how to reach orgasm during sex because they’ve spent time learning, from touching themselves or during oral, based on experience and finding out what works for them. I often see women who cannot orgasm during sex but easily own their own. What’s happening here? Well they know exactly what touch feels good where when they are touching themselves, but they aren’t exactly sure how to explore this with their partner, how to suggest a different type of touch, pressure, area etc., or how to recreate the feelings they can produce alone when they are with someone else. A lot of women worry about showing their partner what they like, but really shouldn’t – most partners will indicate that this is actually a huge turn on! If they know exactly what gets you going, trust me on this… they want in on the action (pun intended). Interestingly, orgasm should not be the only goal of sex – enjoy the journey not just the destination! A lot of women actually report that they are often sexually satisfied, with or without and orgasm, if they feel loved, safe and wanted by their partner.
One of the most important elements to a female orgasm… Clitoral stimulation! Most women (80%) find orgasm difficult to achieve without clitoral stimulation (not sure where the clitoris is? Read about female anatomy here). So obviously if she’s not getting sufficient clitoral stimulation during sex, or at least a lot during foreplay, orgasm is not going to happen as easily as you both hope it will. During foreplay, focus on using your fingers/ tongue on her clitoris, or asking her to show you what feels good for her; or during sex, try positions that stimulate the clitoris indirectly (like her on top) or use your hands/ a small vibrator to give her those sensations that she needs. One problem here relates to women who don’t know what touch feels good to them, or who aren’t sure about having you use a hand or a toy. And so we get to the controversial topic of female masturbation…
When women talk about masturbation, they most often use terms like ‘touching myself’ or ‘playing with myself’. Masturbation feels a bit cold, hard and scary. And that’s no surprise, because a lot of women I see in my practice indicate that they have never touched themselves, and think the idea of it is ‘gross’ or ‘disgusting’. Sadly this is a view that has been hugely influenced by parents, religion, society, etc. A lot of women think that it’s ok that men do it, but not themselves. Women exploring their bodies and the pleasure that is associated with stimulating themselves is actually one of the most important, and healthy parts, of female sexuality. Think about it this way ladies – if you’re not sure what touch feels good where and when, how on earth will you guide your partner so that you get the pleasure and satisfaction that you deserve? Even the small task of having a look at your vagina in a mirror can enhance your sexual experience, both alone and with your partner. The more in touch you are with your sexuality, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to get the sort of pleasure you want out of sexual experiences. If your partner isn’t sure, guide them
Without a doubt, integral to a woman’s sexuality is fantasy… and no, fantasy IS NOT ILLEGAL! A lot of women ask me if it’s wrong to think about other people when they have sex, or to think about having other sexual acts done to them other than what is actually happening in reality. There is only one answer to this – it is not wrong, it is perfectly normal, healthy and productive for sexuality. Fantasy is actually one of the key aspects of our sexuality, and can enhance our sexual experiences – both with a partner and alone. You’d be surprised to hear that the most common sexual fantasy among women is actually forceful sex – being forced to perform sexual acts, being submissive to a partner or being subject to sexual authority. A lot of women will fantasise about this, yet few women actually want to carry this out or experience it in reality. Other fantasies include same sex encounters, sex with a stranger, sex with more than one person etc. It is important to remember that no one can police your thoughts, and that learning to explore fantasy and what turns you on mentally can actually enhance your sexual experience – it will very rarely hinder it. Do not feel bad if while having sex with your partner, you’re thinking about a woman tying you up and going down on you. If it increases your pleasure, helps you reach orgasm and find sex more satisfying, then there’s little wrong with this equation!
If there’s anything you take from reading this post, let it be this… Women require a lot of attention in the bedroom, but should also understand that being sexual as a woman is healthy and very important. Communicate, explore and experiment to find out just what works for you