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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.

6min read
Health

What Sexual Abuse Survivors Want You to Know

In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.


For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.

Believe it or not, I am happy about that.

The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.

It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).

These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.

So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.

Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.

The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."

In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.