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Our Culture Teaches Us That Sex Revolves Around Male Pleasure

Culture

With DJ Khaled's statement on giving his wife oral sex, we thought we'd chime in on why (some) men are continually so dismissive of female pleasure. For reference, when asked does he go down on his wife, he replied: “Nahhh. Never! I don't do that." Before we dive in, it's worth noting that the following piece acknowledges that not all men are selfish and not all women have a vagina or have sex with people with penises.


I'll bet if most of your sex includes a penis and a vagina, you pictured kissing and rubbing to start, maybe some oral in the middle, followed by penetrative thrusting, and the finale was male ejaculation. We've been trained by the media and our culture to see sex as an act that is male-pleasure focused and bracketed by male arousal and ejaculation. It is no surprise, then, to realize that when we think of cis heterosexual women's orgasms, we apply similar principles of success, timing and importance.

Decades of sex education taught women to be gatekeepers to activity. Our role was to “say no," leading to very confused teen couples who oftentimes wanted the exact same thing but had to engage in a ridiculous dance of passive aggressive coercion and acquiescence. I don't remember the clitoris being part of my high school anatomy lesson, and I know for a fact it isn't part of the current curriculum where I live now. Religion taught us sex is for solely procreation. Parents taught us the dangers of unplanned pregnancy. Locker rooms taught us – well, we know what those taught us.

Few of us learned, at least through traditional sex ed in the U.S., that the clitoris actually has twice the number of nerve endings as the head of the penis. No one taught us that the clitoris as we know it is really just like the glans of the penis, and that the internal structure extends 4-5 inches into the body. Unless you took a human sexuality class in college, you likely didn't learn about the sexual arousal cycle or how that cycle is so very different across genders.

I don't remember the clitoris being part of my high school anatomy lesson, and I know for a fact it isn't part of the current curriculum where I live now.

Our country's puritan roots and patriarchal society have combined to form the perfect storm of sexual disappointment. Women are expected to become aroused and climax against a backdrop of how men do the same. Think about movie sex scenes. There's some groping, hair pulling (non-consensually it appears), kissing and then the scene cuts to a close up of intense faces, nose-to-nose, grimacing or moaning, with hands propping up a male body more often than not. Who is stimulating her clitoris? No one, quite likely. And there's the rub. Statistically, less than 20 percent of women can climax through penetration alone. Most women orgasm when the clitoris is either directly or indirectly stimulated with a toy or a hand.

In my practice, time and time again, women seek answers to the age-old question, “What's wrong with me? Why does it take me so long to come?" Well, really, who decided how long it's supposed to take you to get there? Men did. Our culture did. And they didn't bother to check the directions to see how long this cookie recipe takes to get gooey and done. Has anyone ever stopped to consider asking men why they “finish" so fast as compared to women? No. We just expect women to adjust their bodies and expectations to the needs of a male partner. Research has found that men can reach orgasm after only three minutes of sexual activity, while most women need at least 20 minutes. The result is a massive orgasm gap.

Studies show that people with penises reported that 91 percent of sexual encounters end in orgasm for them while just 39 percent of people with vulvas report having an orgasm during a sexual encounter. Furthermore, at least 15- 20 percent of American women have never had an orgasm and according to Planned Parenthood, and at least one in three women struggle to orgasm during sex.

Now that we've given considerable light to the problem, let's talk about a solution. It's time for you to view having an orgasm through the same male lens. Does a guy worry about how he looks? Does he worry whether or not he is pleasing you during most of the act? Does he give up on his orgasm after you've come and he doesn't want to pester you? The answer to all of these are likely no. So ladies, here is your guide to having an orgasm like a man.

Say Exactly What You Want - No need to be shy here. If you know what he needs to do to make you feel good, tell him exactly what that is and then tell him how good it feels. If you don't want to be jackhammered, tell him to slow down. If you're nervous he might come, tell him to hold off. Demand more in the bedroom but provide encouragement to help him get there.

Own Your Sexuality - Yes, your hair may look great, your legs are silky smooth, and this week you may be five pounds lighter, but this is not why you are sexy. You are sexy because you are a sexual being who embodies pleasure, femininity and sexual prowess. Own every inch of your skin and be proud of who you are inside and out. Confidence in yourself will also help to get those orgasms out of hiding.

Explore Your Body - If you've masturbated many times and know exactly what turns you on, hats off to you! If you have successfully masturbated but don't know how to translate those steamy vibrator sessions into the real-life thing, then it's time to explore something different. Imagine Ryan Gosling on top of you. See if you can stimulate your g-spot. Watch a little adult film to get some ideas, but look for porn directed by women that isn't so male-focused. If masturbation is new or not a regular thing for you, resolve to start a masturbation practice. Start with choosing a toy unlike one you've used before, and dedicate at least 30-60 minutes a week to playing with it and seeing how it makes you feel. It's important to find new ways that get you to that special place, then share them with your partner.

Get Out of Your Head - Telling your body to get there, get there quick, he's coming soon isn't going to make your orgasm happen any faster (and it won't be as good if you rush it!) We have also all been there - you're in the mood and feeling great, then you remember that you forgot to put the laundry in the dryer this morning. When that happens, just tell yourself, I deserve this next 15 minutes to be free from all of my duties and problems. Let it go and bring yourself back into the moment.

Cultivate your Spank Bank - Take note of sexy things you hear and see. Pull out that mental Rolodex of clips, passages, memories that are your “go to" climax scenes. I encourage clients to share fantasies and cultivate them. It's really ok to go way into your head if it's to immerse yourself in a hot fantasy. Dreaming about taking on five guys at once? Does that golden shower sound amazing (even if you'd never do it in real life)? How about that cute girl in yoga class? What would your tongue feel like rolling around on her breast? It's perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to fantasize about other people and experiences. It's healthy and imaginative. Go there, feel it, use it.

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Business

My Untold Story Of Inventing the Sports Bra And How it Changed the World (And Me)

Following are excerpts from "Unleash the Girls, The Untold Story of the Invention of the Sports Bra and How It Changed the World (And Me)" By Lisa Z. Lindahl


There is an idea that has popped up everywhere from Chaos Theory to Science Fiction and New Age memes known popularly as the "Butterfly Effect." Simply put, it is the notion that one very small thing—the movement of a butterfly's wing say, or the ripple in a lake caused by a pebble being thrown into it—can cause tremendous effect far away: the butterfly's wing a tornado, the ripple a large wave on a distant shore. Cause and effect, does it have limits? The field of physics is telling us that it takes only observation to bring a thing into being. We cannot consider these areas of investigation and not acknowledge that everything—everything—is in relationship in some way or another with everything else.

So, it is evident to me that commerce of any kind is, also, just about relationships. It all boils down, on every level to this simplicity. While we usually think of relationships as occurring between people—it is far more than that.

I used to teach a course in entrepreneurship specifically for women in The Women's Small Business Program at Trinity College in Burlington, Vermont. I made this concept of relationship and its importance central in how I taught the marketing thought process. I would stress that for a product or service to be successful, it had to meet a perceived need. There is a need, and it wants to be met; or it may be thought of as a problem to be solved. Or there may be an existing solution that is less than adequate.

For example: In my universe as a runner there already were a plethora of bras available, but they were inadequate for my purpose. The relationship between my breasts, my running body, and my bra was creating discomfort and distraction. A new solution had to be found, the relationship occurring when all these things came together had to be fixed. Utilizing this point of view, one sees a set of issues that need to be addressed—they are in relationship with each other and their environment in a way that needs to be changed, adjusted.

Nowhere is this viewpoint truer than in business, as we enter into more and more relationships with people to address all the needs of the organization. Whether designing a product or a service or communicating with others about it—we are in relationship. And meanwhile, how about maintaining a healthy relationship with ourselves? All the issues we know about stress in the workplace can boil down to an internal balancing act around our relationships: to the work itself, to those we work with, to home life, friends and lovers. So quickly those ripples can become waves.

Because Jogbra was growing so quickly, relationships were being discovered, created, ending, expanding and changing at a pace that makes my head spin to recall. And truly challenged my spirit. Not to mention how I handled dealing with my seizure disorder.

"My Lifelong Partner"

Let me tell you a bit about my old friend, Epilepsy. Having Epilepsy does not make any sort of money-making endeavor easy or reliable, yet it is my other "partner" in life. Husbands and business partners have come and gone, but Epilepsy has always been with me. It was my first experience of having a "shadow teacher."

While a child who isn't feeling she has power over her world may have a tantrum, as we grow older, most of us find other more subtle ways to express our powerfulness or powerlessness. We adapt, learn coping mechanisms, how to persuade, manipulate, or capitulate when necessary. These tools, these learned adaptations, give a sense of control. They make us feel more in charge of our destiny. As a result, our maturing self generally feels indestructible, immortal. Life is a long, golden road of futures for the young.

This was not the case for me. I learned very early on when I started having seizures that I was not fully in charge of the world, my world, specifically of my body. There are many different types of epileptic seizures. Often a person with the illness may have more than one type. That has been the case for me. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy—with a seizure type now referred to as "Absence seizures"—when I was four years old. I have seen neurologists and taken medications ever since. As often happens, the condition worsened when I entered puberty and I started having convulsions as well—what most people think of when they think of epileptic seizures. The clinical name is generalized "Tonic-clonic" seizures.

In such a seizure the entire brain is involved, rather like an electrical circuit that has gone out as a result of a power surge. I lose consciousness, my whole body becomes rigid, the muscles start jerking uncontrollably, and I fall. Tonic-clonic seizures, also known as "grand mal" seizures, may or may not be preceded by an aura, a type of perceptual disturbance, which for me can act as a warning of what is coming. The seizure usually only lasts for a few minutes, but I feel its draining effects for a day or two afterwards. Although I would prefer to sleep all day after such a physically and emotionally taxing event, I have often just gotten up off the floor and, within hours, gone back to work. It was necessary sometimes, though definitely not medically advised. I'm fond of saying that having a grand mal seizure is rather like being struck by a Mack truck and living to tell the tale.

Having Epilepsy has forced me to be dependent on others throughout my life. While we are all dependent upon others to some degree—independent, interdependent, dependent—in my case a deep level of dependency was decreed and ingrained very early on. This enforced dependency did not sit well with my native self. I bucked and rebelled. At the same time, a part of me also feared the next fall, the next post-convulsive fugue. And so I recognized, I acquiesced to the need to depend on others.

The silver lining of having Epilepsy is that it has introduced me to and taught me a bit about the nature of being powerless—and experiencing betrayal. I could not trust that my body would always operate as it should. Routinely, it suddenly quits. I experience this as betrayal by my brain and body. It results in my complete powerlessness throughout the convulsion. Not to mention an inconvenient interruption of any activities or plans I might have made.

Hence, I am the recipient of two important life lessons—and I was blessed to have this very specific and graphic experience at a young age. It made me observant and reflective, giving me the opportunity to consider what/where/who "I" was. I knew I was not "just" my body, or even my brain.

So, who or what did that leave? Who, what am I? Much has been written about trauma, and about near-death experiences, both of which seizures have been classified or described as. I won't delve into that here except to say that experiencing recurrent seizures and the attendant altered states of consciousness that sometimes accompany an episode (the euphemism for a seizure) changes one. It deeply affects you. It is both illuminating and frightening. It opens you up in some ways and can close you way down in others. For me it made it easy to consider the possibility of other ways to perceive, of other realms. And as an adult I became interested in quantum physics, where Science is pushing and challenging our long-held perceptual assumptions. Me, who was poor in math and disinterested in Science while in school! So if not merely body and brain, who am I? Spirit. And with Epilepsy's tutelage, I was encouraged to question, seek, try to understand what lies beyond.

Living with Epilepsy has also given me great strength. In realizing the futile nature of trying to have "power over" Epilepsy, I developed a deep well of "power within"—that inner strength that comes in the acceptance of that which one cannot change—and looking beyond it.

Through my experience building the business of Jogbra with the unique lens afforded me by my Epilepsy partner, I came to understand more fully the nature of power and what it means to be truly powerful.

Specifically, that having power and exercising it is not simply a manifestation of the ego. It need not be "power-tripping." It is how I wield my power that matters, making the all-important distinction between creating a situation of power over, power with, or empowering and having and creating strength in oneself and others.

Being powerful is a big responsibility.

To put all this another way: do I choose to create situations in which I am able to wield power over others? Or do I choose to empower others, sharing my strengths with them, while nurturing their strengths as well? The first is not true power. It is control. The second I believe to be the essence of true and positive power: strength. And integral to creating a more harmonious world, oh by the way.

While this may be apparent, even basic to others, it was an "aha!" moment for me. Too often in the years ahead I would give away my power and question my own strengths,. Time and again, however, my inner strength, my shadow teacher's gift, helped me survive and thrive until I could take responsibility for and embrace more fully my own power.

© Lisa Z. Lindahl 2019