I have been so hesitate to write this post for a while.
Not because I don’t believe and stand for everything I am about to say.
Not because I don’t practice what I preach in my own life.
But my hesitance has centered around what people will think of me.
I was raised in a very conservative, religious home where the “S” word was never talked about. We had some version of the birds and the bees talk from Big Mama (aka my mom), but it was so gross to me as a kid because my mom was so archaic in the way she spoke about sexuality I couldn’t deal.
I also realized as an adult that the way she spoke about human sexuality didn’t resonate with me.
So through my young adult and adult years of life, I had to figure out sexuality on my own.
What it meant to me, what it didn’t, and something became abundantly clear from the time I was an early teenager.
A lot of people don’t want to talk about sex. It is something that makes so many people squeamish.
I remember when I was a teenager and really understood what sex was and what it meant, it was so fascinating to me. The biology, what happens in our bodies, what our bodies create, what happens in our brains – all of it. And I wanted to talk about it. Very quickly I realized there were the friends who wanted to talk candidly and there were the friends who I said the word “vagina” to and they blushed and couldn’t deal. Mind you, these were girls who actually had vaginas.
Now as a 32 year old women, in my sexual prime, I think about sex.
I think about it because I coach people who are having issues with sex.
I think about it because I enjoy having it.
My thought process into sex started as a rabbit hole kind of venture. You know, when you start with one thought, that leads to another, that leads to another.
My rabbit hole started when I was in my mid-twenties. I was in a committed relationship and I was having the best sex of my life.
And just to define our terms – the best sex of my life meant I was so attracted to my partner, we were having regular sex, we were in a rhythm and in sync, and I was having an orgasm every time we had sex.
During this time frame, I was at a friends house with a group of girls and the topic of sex came up. And one of the girls made a joke about girls who orgasm every time they have sex.
As if that girl was a mythical unicorn that didn’t exists. Then the room started to chuckle and chime in with their, “Yeah right… orgasming every time you have sex.”
I was shocked. I was so stunned I had to ask the question.
“Are you girls not orgasming during sex?”
And a resounding “NO” came from the room.
Some offered a caveat that they might orgasm from oral sex or some foreplay. But not one girl in that room was having an orgasm during intercourse.
This was a huge lightbulb / WTF moment for me. And a question resounded in my head – why are you having sex if you aren’t having an orgasm?
Later I had another friend tell me that she never orgasmed with her then boyfriend (now husband).
But she admitted to me that when she was alone, with her vibrator, she was able to orgasm.
When I asked what made the sex with her boyfriend enjoyable, she said she just liked the time being close to him.
Okay, I thought, I can wrap my head around that.
But something has become abundantly clear.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Sex doesn’t have to be something you do just to get close to someone.
There are so many ways to get close to another human and have intimacy without having sex – deep and meaningful conversations, quality time together, etc.
But there aren’t other ways to experience sexual pleasure without, well, having sexual experiences.
So why are so many women not having enjoyable sex?
Or I should say… they may on some level be enjoying the intimacy – so I’ll rephrase.
Why are some women not having the sex they deserve with the orgasm or pleasures that are ingrained or naturally a part of the experience?
I’m not a sex therapist. And I know enough to know that there are SO many different reasons for this.
For some people, it’s based on past experiences or something happening in their mind. For others, it could be something physiological.
But today, I am going to focus on what has been my experience and the experiences of my friends and clients. And for a lot of us, it comes down to one simple but oh – so – completely – complicated and loaded term. COMMUNICATION.
I am a communicator. Or so I always thought I was.
What I realized is that I was a great talker but not always a great communicator. I could walk into any room, anywhere and make a friend.
But what I realized, in relationships, my communication style was stifled.
I didn’t want to tell someone how I was feeling and what I was thinking.
I didn’t want to disappoint whoever I was dating.
I didn’t want them to think I was anything other than a cool girl.
But as a result, I was so unfulfilled in my relationships. Add this type of communication style into sex and you get a not amazing sexual experience.
Does anyone relate to this?
Where does this inability to communicate about what we really want come from?
I heard an interesting story at Christmas from my nieces. For context, they are 13 years old having this conversation. Two of my nieces go to school together and they were discussing boys they like.
My niece, B, was talking about an ex-boyfriend of hers. She said, “I didn’t even want him to be my boyfriend, but ya know, I felt bad for him when he asked me because his friends were right there.”
Of course my protector, questioning, lawyer aunt side came out and I had to cross examine. “So you told a boy you would be his girlfriend but you didn’t want him to be your boyfriend?” I asked.
“Yes” she replied, “I couldn’t turn him down in front of his friend. That would be rude.”
I couldn’t believe it. This incredible, bright teenager was worried about hurting someone so much so to her own detriment that she told him she’d be his girlfriend.
Listen, I know in the context of young teens, this isn’t a big deal.
But I couldn’t help but think about the future.
This is where it starts.
Where women start to not speak up, not communicate what they want or don’t want because we worry about what someone will think or if we will hurt someone’s feelings.
This then leads to us doing things and being in situations we don’t want to…
When we don’t communicate our wants, needs and desires, we start a cycle. One that doesn’t just affect us, but that affects other people.
When we don’t properly communicate how things make us feel, what we want and don’t want, we are giving the other an impression that something is good, normal or okay even if it’s not.
If you date someone who does something that you feel is inconsiderate or hurtful and you don’t communicate it, then they we are going to keep doing it.
For example, I dated a guy who could never, ever say sorry for anything. No matter how in the wrong he was. This bothered me. So I waited for a peaceful moment and brought it up to him. I explained my position, why it bothered me, and he was receptive and actually started to say he was sorry when it was warranted. I raised some level of awareness for him so that in the future, with another girl he dates or marries, I hope that he will apologize and the cycle won’t continue.
The same thing proves true for sex. I once had a sexual relationship with a guy who would do really rough things with his hands.
And I didn’t like it.
Also side note, this is a guy that has had a lot of sexual experiences and a lot of different partners.
So in the moments of sex, I would try to guide him to do things the way I liked. It didn’t really work (and we no longer have sex! Lol).
But after our relationship ended, we had a quasi friendship and I asked him if the girls he would hook up with would ever communicate with him about sex – guide him through what to do (or not do) and tell him what they liked.
His response, as I expected, was no. Women don’t tell him what they like or want. They just go along with his aggressive clitoral touching.
And let me be very clear. No woman would actually like what was happening downstairs.
For whatever their personal experiences were, they could not verbalize to him that it wasn’t good. This lack of communication will perpetuate the cycle.
Obviously, we aren’t martyrs who are communicating just for the good of society or for the next woman that comes along (because you might be in a relationship where no one else will come along and you might be with a long term or forever partner).
We are communicating because we deserve to have great intimacy and sexual experiences with our partners.
But I know in my own experience, and from the women I talk to, that sometimes we don’t want to tell someone what we want or what we like because we don’t want them to feel like they are doing something wrong.
We don’t want to “hurt their feelings”.
Sex (for obvious reasons) is a vulnerable situation.
You are naked (usually), you are sharing the most intimate parts of your body, and you are allowing someone to touch those parts.
Also, whether we like it or not, people have a lot of positive and negative experiences with sex. 1 out of 6 women have been a victim of sexual violence and 1 out of 10 men have been a victim.
I share this because those traumas affect so many different components about how people relate to sex and how they are able to enjoy or relate in a sexual situation.
So communication in sex isn’t always as easy as a couple pieces of advice that you can implement.
But for some people, it can be that simple.
Below are a few of my tips on how to communicate your way into a better sex life and sexual situation:
My first tip in conquering communication in sex is self-knowledge.
You can’t communicate something to someone else if you don’t know what it is that you want or what you like.
Get clear on what you want out of sex.
How you want to be touched.
Things that are non-negotiable for you in sex.
For me, some of my sex non-negotiable are using a great natural lube (like Woo More Play – Thank you Lauren and Michael!) and a small vibrator to enjoy so that I have an orgasm. If you need some more ideas, Sex with Emily has some great ones here.
These two things are tried and true and have made a huge impact on my ability to orgasm.
I know how I want to be touched and where.
Determine what you want first and foremost.
You deserve an experience that should be enjoyed so don’t shy away from that.
My second tip is to start to open a dialogue up with your partner outside of the bedroom.
The heat of the moment is often very vulnerable and critiques or talking to someone about what they are doing might be jarring to them, if it’s the first time you bring something up.
The boyfriend I mentioned at the beginning – who I always orgasmed with – was someone who would engage in conversations with me about sex.
You know how after a football game, the players watch film and recap what happened and their strategies? (I know nothing about football but I have heard that is what happens…).
We would recap and talk about our sex life.
What did he like?
What did I like?
What would we each like to see more of?
Because we dialogued outside the bedroom, when we were in the moment and guided one another, it wasn’t a curveball.
Our objective is to make it the best experience for both parties and we worked on it together.
My third tip is to not be with someone who can’t dialogue about it.
I say this as a joke (sort of).
Sex is a BIG part of a relationship.
Some people like to downplay the importance of it.
But I also personally think those are the people that don’t like it, have low sex drives, or aren’t great at understanding and/or communicating their wants and needs.
Communication is also a central part of a relationship.
And if sex is important to you, listen to that, follow that, and be in a relationship that nurtures that.
I hope this helps you and I hope this empowers you to approach your sexuality with a new vigor and desire to communication.
Much love to you all!