There’s no shame in exploring who you are and what you desire. Just come as you are!
Growing up, you’d probably been told that female sexual desire is something indecent, unacceptable, or even unthinkable. You were raised to think that women shouldn’t be seeking pleasure at all, even when men are expected to have an insatiable appetite for sex.
But the truth is, sex affects your health and well-being just as much as men. And it’s not just the physical pleasure that you’re missing out on. Whenever you achieve orgasm, you also get to reap the benefits of stress relief, good sleep, clear skin, and so much more.
Despite that, do you know that in recent surveys, only about 6 out of 10 women say they usually or always achieved orgasm during sex, compared to 9 out of 10 men?
This earth-shattering 30% difference is what experts now refer to as the orgasm gap.
We clearly aren’t getting the pleasure we deserve. So how do we begin empowering ourselves as women during our most intimate experiences? Here’s a taste of all you need to know about your own sexuality and femininity.
Food for thought
Why do we have to talk more about female sexuality in the first place?
It might be easy for people to dismiss it as a simple urge or impulse that must be controlled, but there is more to sexuality than just the act. Sexuality is your intimate understanding of your physical attractions. It is all about being in touch with your emotions and sensations.
This isn’t the same as your biological sex, which is decided by the physical characteristics you are born with. Sexuality also isn’t your gender or how you identify yourself in society.
When it comes to your sexuality, there is no right or wrong answer. Only you can say what feels right for you.
Unlike what most people think, your sexual feelings and behaviors aren’t always heterosexual or towards the opposite gender. You can be homosexual, someone attracted to the same gender. If you feel attracted to more than one gender, you’re either bisexual or pansexual. It’s even alright to be asexual when you aren’t attracted to anyone else.
Sexuality isn’t fixed either. Yours can change as you mature, especially from late adolescence to your late 20s. A study published in The Journal of Sex Research proves women are more likely to be sexually fluid than men, with 1 out of 6 ladies identifying as “emerging bi” or “emerging lesbian.”
“[Female sexuality] is about our relationship to the senses. It's about slowing down, listening to the body, coming into the present moment.” —Sarah Barmak
To explore your own sexuality is to discover more of who you are and what you desire. And by being aware of all these, you’ll be able to connect better to yourself and your partner without getting held back by guilt.
The body talk
As women, why do we know so little about how our own body experiences sexual pleasure?
That’s because science has been restricted by social conventions that frown upon women for wanting sex. Society strongly believes that women aren’t made to have physical desires the way men are. And while things are better than before, there is still much for us to learn.
The full anatomy of the clitoris was discovered and mapped by urologist Helen O’Connell only in 1998, nearly three decades after Armstrong walked on the moon.
Fortunately, with women being part of the discussion, we’re starting to unravel the hidden truths of the female body. For instance, how the clitoris is your primary sex organ. What the vulva really is. Where to find the G-spot. Why the vagina is more than just a vessel for a penis.
And the best-kept secret to enjoying great sex? It’s all in your head.
So what health benefits do we get from indulging in our own sensuality?
- Sleep tight. Feel-good hormones like oxytocin released during sex are enough to make you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. According to sleep scientist Michele Lastella, 64% of couples say they slept better after their orgasm.
- Keep calm. Getting too stressed out? One research has proven that orgasms inhibit the release of cortisol, the stress hormone, among most women.
- Release tension. Studies show that playing under the sheets is a good exercise to relieve both sexual and muscle tension. You can even lose about 3.6 calories a minute if you keep the fire burning.
- Glow up. If people compliment you for having a post-sex glow, they’re not lying. Dermatologists say that orgasms are good for your skin since they increase blood flow and prevent period acne.
- Come to life. As it turns out, climaxes strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of heart diseases. Not to mention, as per Howard S. Friedman Ph.D., sexually satisfied women tend to live longer than those who are not.
Coming full circle
Does all this mean that female sexuality is straightforward? Not quite.
Unlike male pleasure, the path to female pleasure isn’t linear. Just take it from Dr. Rosemary Basson and her circular model of female sexual response.
There’s a difference between desire and arousal. Desire refers to the emotional craving for sex, while arousal is the physiological reaction of the body when sexually excited.
Basson explains that there are many ways women can feel sexual arousal apart from desire, such as motivation or context. Your body also gets satisfaction from one climax, multiple climaxes, or even no climax at all. What matters most is defining your pleasure in your own terms.
With all that in mind, how can your sexual experience come full circle? These are some good ideas for you to try:
- Go solo. Before anything else, find out what gives you pleasure by exploring your body. What feels good to the senses may be different for every woman, so don’t feel pressured to act a certain way. Just come as you are.
- Tips and tricks. Ask trusted experts or friends. Read and reflect on your own sexuality. There are many opportunities to learn, so long as you’re approaching the subject with an open mind.
- Lay bare. Communicate with your partner about how you like to be touched. That way, sex will become a more enjoyable experience for both of you.
- Toy with sex. Discover the wonderful world of sexual stimulation by finding the best sex toy that brings you pleasure. Why not start your search right here?
Now you’re one step closer to becoming more cliterate and discovering your body’s potential for pleasure. So feel free to savor your moments of sensual enjoyment by yourself or with your partner. Sexuality should be a woman’s finest guilt-free delight, after all.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is sexuality? Is there more to it than the act itself?
Sexuality is an intimate understanding of your physical attractions. More than doing the deed, it’s about being in touch with your body—all your feelings and sensations—to connect with yourself and your partner. Taking control of your own pleasure… now that’s empowering!
Sexuality, biological sex, and gender—what’s the difference?
While sexuality defines who you’re attracted to, biological sex determines the primary and secondary characteristics you were born with (male, female, or intersex). Meanwhile, gender refers to how you choose to identify in society (male, female, or nonbinary/genderfluid), regardless of sex. A person whose gender differs from their sex is called transgender.
Can I be attracted to more than one gender?
Yes! It’s normal for people to be sexually attracted to the opposite gender (heterosexual), same gender (homosexual), more than one gender (bisexual), anyone regardless of gender (pansexual), or no one else (asexual). Whatever it may be, your sexuality is always valid, so don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise!
Can my sexuality change over time?
Yes. In fact, changes in sexuality are more common than you think, especially from late adolescence to the late 20s. According to one study, women are more likely to be sexually fluid than men, with 1 out of 6 ladies identifying as “emerging gay” or “emerging lesbian.”
Why is it important to talk about female sexuality?
Understanding female sexuality will have huge effects on the way we create expectations around body image, self-love, and relationships. More importantly, this will help us know what feels good and assert ourselves confidently when it no longer does. This ultimately redirects the discourse around consent in a better direction.
Isn’t sex more of a male need than a female need?
While it is true that men are more sexually driven than women on average, that doesn’t mean that women are prudes who never think dirty. Yet there’s at least a 30% orgasm gap between men and women! It’s definitely a basic need that nearly everyone has but nearly enough get.
Why can’t I orgasm as easily as my male partner?
When it comes to sex, people assume that both men and women get satisfaction only from intercourse. But that’s not true! The majority (73%) of women actually need or prefer clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm. If you’re finding it more difficult to orgasm, it’s probably because your clitoris isn’t getting enough attention.
What are the health benefits of orgasms?
Studies show that the grand finale of sex has its benefits. By releasing a concoction of feel-good hormones such as estrogen and oxytocin, orgasms can relieve stress, improve sleep, relieve muscle tension, make skin glow, strengthen the immune system, and many more!
Are all women capable of having multiple orgasms?
Yes, women’s bodies are actually capable of having several orgasms in succession. Unlike men, who cannot ejaculate within a long refractory period, women can shake things up once again after even just half a minute. Slow and steady does the trick!
How much sex is too much?
Sex isn’t inherently bad. You can have sex every day without it being harmful. However, it becomes a compulsion (i.e. hypersexuality) when you’re using it as an unhealthy coping mechanism for life problems, and when either party feels unsatisfied by the arrangement.
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