June 23, 2010
1. Why is there such a disconnect between the “health” side of sex and the “pleasure” side of sex?
Talking about sexuality in America can be challenging for many folks. The medical “health” world tends to shy away from discussing sex toys, orgasms and sexual pleasure for fear of promoting “smut” or losing their professional nature. The “Pleasure” focused world is often bored discussing or reading about sexual health due to years of sex education that is fear based (you’ll catch a disease! You’ll be labeled a whore!) Due to the lack of early onset holistic sexuality education these two worlds don’t know how to work together and how much they support one another. Times are starting to change however. Sex toys companies, film producers and pleasure activists are starting to work with the medical field, consulting professionals to ensure health, safety and pleasure. The medical world is starting to conduct studies that recognize the importance of pleasure and it’s effects on our health. Sex Educators are gaining more access to discuss pleasure issues in school systems, which is crucial to help alleviate fear about the body, sensation and thoughts.
2. How can a couple that has been mostly sexually inhibited break out of their rut and try new things without being embarrassed or self-conscious?
Breaking out of a rut is challenging! It can be embarrassing, uncomfortable and feel downright weird because it’s a new experience. Sometimes people forget that those sensations are normal reactions to experiencing a new activity. I like to compare it to the first time a person learns how to hold a pencil. It’s uncomfortable and awkward. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong, it’s just NEW. So keep that in mind. You may find after a few tries that you really enjoy this new behavior or fantasy. You may also find that you won’t. But you’ll never know if you don’t try. So scootch yourself. Take a class on sexuality (many are held at sex toy shops, colleges or community centers). Purchase a book or watch a video on sexual fantasies and see what is arousing for other people. Think about what turns other people on and ask yourself, could this be a turn on for me? Then turn to your partner, tell them what you just saw or read about and say, “I just learned about ________. What do you think about that?” That gives you the opportunity to introduce a topic without disclosing too much information about how you feel. You are merely asking them for their thoughts on a topic. It’s a great way to start a conversation, especially about a behavior you might want to try out.
3. How should a couple go about experiencing with sex toys? Will they really make a difference in the relationship?
Sex toys can be a healthy component to enhancing a sexual relationship with yourself or a partner. The first study examining American’s sex toy use was conducted last year and found that almost half of the American population reports using sexual aids at some point in their life (52% of women and 45% of men) but you shouldn’t expect it to fundamentally change your relationship. Sex toys can make in difference in how you experience pleasure, foster communication, create a special bond between you and your partner, and assist in sexual expression if there are physical limitations. If you choose to experiment with sex toys, I would recommend starting small. Don’t necessarily go with what your best friend or magazines recommend, but rather discuss, what are we looking to get out of buying a sex toy? Is it to explore a fantasy? To cause (or intensify) orgasms? To stimulate a part of the body that may be difficult to reach? Then, start to narrow down your search. There are so many different types of sex toys out there; lubrication, vibrators, blindfolds, butt plugs, strap-ons, cock rings, etc. And each person is going to experience an item differently. So communicate with your partner about the experience and laugh. Sex can be awkward, weird and downright funny-it’s playtime for adults! Approach it that way: a fun expression of your creative sexual side.
4. You suggest that women celebrate menstruation! Why in the world would they want to do that? Explain your thoughts here, please and thank you!
How one feels about menstruation is correlated to their comfort or discomfort around sex, body image and sensations experienced. Menstruation is a taboo in our society. Labeled as “feminine hygiene” this phrase contributes to the fear that the vagina is dirty. In fact, if cared for properly, the vagina is the cleanest part of the body. No douches, sprays or chemicals need to take residence here, as they will only increase the chances of infections occurring. Menstruation is a natural, healthy function. To surround it in shame, dread or not publicly discussed contributes to individuals feeling disgusted or wishing for their periods to be over. For some people, their periods can be very painful, but they are not always that way! My suggestion to celebrate menstruation is an attempt to get people talking about it in a natural, normalizing way. Sexuality educators work hard every day to help make people feel more comfortable in their bodies and feeling comfortable about periods is another way to help people experience that.
5. What are your top sure-fire ways to keep things hot in the bedroom?
Communicate. Masturbate. Touch each other throughout the day (not just when you want to have sex). Laugh. Embrace the awkwardness. Try out new things. But most of all, have fun. Sex is playtime for adults!