Experiencing sexual pleasure holds many benefits for our physical and mental health, thanks to the cocktails of hormones that get released in our body when we orgasm. These range from stress release, better sleep, happier mood, pain relief, immunity boost,… Indeed, the hormones that get released counter-act the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone.
That’s why it makes sense to consider of sexual wellbeing as part of our overall wellbeing, the same way sleep, nutrition or meditation! But we are not taught or even encouraged to take much of an interest in our sexuality beyond its reproductive role. Masturbation gets stigmatized and couple sex is too often yet represented as being focused on penetration.
Let’s take a fresh look at female sexuality and how we can take charge of our pleasure.
Masturbation Is Sex
Enjoying our own body and giving ourselves orgasms is sex. If we reach an orgasm by ourselves and not with a partner, we will also experience the release of oxytocin (the love hormone) and dopamine (part of our chemical reward system). Masturbation is a way to connect with your sexual self, on your own terms and explore your pleasure. You can do it using your hands, objects like a pillow, the arm of a chair, a vibrator... It’s a way to explore what you like and to validate your desires and your preferences. Doing so can also make us enjoy partner sex more as you will be able to know and explain to your partners what we like.
The Clitoris Is King
The clitoris plays a central role in female pleasure. The anatomy of the clitoris is actually much bigger than what the eye can see. The visible part in-between the labia on the vulva is called the clitoral glans and is very sensitive. The internal part is made of the crura and the vestibular bulbs that become engorged with blood when arouse, just like the penis (that comes from the same embryo cells!). The clitoris contains around 8,000 nerve endings, so it’s VERY SENSITIVE, and is a real pleasure powerhouse. In fact, it tends to have a shorter refractory period than the penis after an orgasm, meaning that it can be stimulated shortly after climax. Hello, multiple orgasms…And because of its inner structure, research suggests that it can be stimulated during penetration through the vaginal wall. The area up the front wall of the vagina popularized as the G-spot is thought to be where the vagina comes in contact with the clitoris.
A Clitoral Orgasm Is An Orgasm
A lot of people ask us why they can’t have orgasm. But for a lot of them, what they mean by that is “why can’t they have an orgasm with their partners?”. Having clitoral orgasms is having real orgasms! In fact, what is sometimes called vaginal orgasms require some sort of clitoral stimulation.
There’s No Such Thing As Foreplay
The word “foreplay” suggests that there is a hierarchy of sexual activities and that the star of the show is penetration. Unless you are only having sex to have a baby and are not interested in the pleasurable part of it, there is really no reason to follow a script. If you’re having heterosexual sex, you can have penetrative sex or not), followed by stimulation of the clitoris, or anything you fancy! That’s why we call it outercourse, and not foreplay.
Outercourse Is Sex
In the context of heterosexual sex or gay sex, partner sex doesn’t have to be penetrative. Outercourse involves all sexual acts that do not involve penetration. It can include tamer actions like kissing, giving massages, showering together to sexting, stripteases, and even mutual masturbation.
Focusing On Pleasure, Not Orgasm
There is a performative approach to sex that is orgasm focused. But we don’t have to have orgasms to have good sex. Actually, being obsessed with orgasms is a pretty good way to not have them and miss out on all the pleasure we can have. A good way to shift the focus is to get interested by how your body can experience pleasure while stimulating non genital areas! Our skin is scattered with touch receptors, some sensitive to light touch, some to deep pressure. Get curious about your pleasure map and enjoy the journey!