Oct 282012

By Maria Merloni | Posted in ,S.E.X.October 27th, 2012

Yes, yes, I know we’ve had a lot of vulva talk lately and I’m still not done talking about the vulva.  Today I’m going to list the same seven parts of the vulva and comment on how to pleasure each part, whether that be self-pleasure or partner-pleasure. Before doing that, though, I want to say a few general things.

First, a woman can receive pleasure and even have orgasms from many, many different parts of her body being stimulated (well, technically, all parts),  and in fact the more parts that are stimulated, the better the quality of her orgasm/pleasure.  So, if you want to have, or assist your partner to have, high quality orgasms, listen up.

Second, I’m going to be talking about stimulating her clitoris.  And, of course, the external part of the clitoris on most women is quite a good way to arouse her.  In addition, I will be talking about stimulating other parts of her vulva.  And the reason that many of these parts also feel so good to be touched, licked, you name it, is because by stimulating them you will actually be indirectly stimulating parts of her internal clitoris, which (as previously mentioned) is quite large.

So here goes:

1.  The mons pubis or pubic mound.  Believe it or not, there are quite a few nerve endings in the entire vulva, including the pubic mound.  When starting sex play in the vulva area of the body, lightly stroking the mons pubis followed by a slightly heavier touch can feel good.  I also find it is a good place to deposit a glob of lube or ylang ylang oil, or whatever you may be using to get some good “slidability”, so that it doesn’t all slip down the front of her clit and vagina and fall onto whatever surface is underneath her.

2.  The outer lips can be lightly stroked, kneaded, or sucked, always (as with all touching of the vulva, unless otherwise directed) starting with lighter pressure/speed and building up gradually.  Part of the inner clitoris lies below the outer lips, so running your fingers in the grooves between the outer and inner lips feels good, too.

3.  The inner lips- basically, ditto, except not including the last sentence above.

4.  The clitoral hood- this can be lightly grazed, rubbed, licked, or sucked at first.  If you are pleasuring your partner’s vulva, communication about what she likes specific to her  clitoris, as with all parts of her body is key.  If she is too shy to tell you in words, you may also be able to tell by her breathing and/or moaning when you are doing something she like a lot!

5.  As far as the clitoral glans, the exterior part of a woman’s clitoris, under the clitoral hood, goes:  some women like you to pull the skin of the clitoral hood up and back and others don’t.  The best way to find out is to ask.  Some women find it too sensitive and prefer to feel you stimulating their clitoris through the clitoral hood.  Again, preference may vary here.  She make like back and forth motions, circular motions, light touch, firmer touch, fast, slow.  Every woman is different, and even (just to make it even more mysterious), the thing that felt good yesterday may not feel good today.  Women are like that.  Part of the reason is due to the hormonal changes she undergoes each month.

6.  As mentioned, the urethral opening is where both her urine and ejaculatory fluid, or amrita, comes out.  It should be no surprise, then, Urethral-sponge-Picturethat this too is a favorite erogenous zone of some women.  Experiment with it and see what kind of touch feels good here- could be stroking, rubbing, or pressure with the finer or tongue.  Usually it’s the spot just above the urethral opening that feels best.

7.  And finally, the opening to the vagina.  This is another place where the internal clitoris can be indirectly stimulated.  When aroused, part of the internal clitoris forms a cuff around the vaginal opening, which then feels very good when massaged, rubbed, poked with a hard cock, etc.

One more thing:  there are two “legs” of the internal clitoris that extend down toward the thighs, one on each side like a wishbone.  When the woman is not yet aroused, it may feel quite good for her to be touched at the tops of her inner thighs for this reason.    When she gets more excited, the “legs” point more towards her spine and will not be as easily accessible through the thighs.

And one more more thing- don’t forget to have fun.  I know this can sound really clinical (but how else are we gonna learn shit?) and it’s all meant to be fun!

Learn more about S.E.X. and Maria Merloni by checking out her blog: SynExLove

Oct 282012

What she needs to know to make him happy in bed and change the power struggle

Published on October 27, 2012 in Psychology Today by Laurie J. Watson, LMFT, LPC  

1)       Men want to be desired too. As women we are socialized to be the objects of desire not the owners of desire.  We grow up thinking that sex is something that happens to us, not something we make happen. Seldom do we feel as agents of our own sexual lives.  Bombarded with messages from the media about impossible physical standards we are often wracked with insecurity of our attractiveness.  We may struggle to reveal our erotic imagination lest we raise suspicion or resentment (for not saying so sooner!) in our partner. Childhood training and adult anxiety leave us weak in reaching out in this powerful way to reassure our partner of our commitment to him. A commitment to grow strong in our erotic core, fulfills our pledge of fidelity – away from others.. yes…

but more importantly onto an exciting sexual relationship.  Our husbands don’t just want sex; they want us to want them.  It’s ever so slightly different but there’s almost a spiritualdifference.  Wanting confirms our love and reveals our vulnerability to our primitive bond with each other. For many men, sex IS love, sex IS connection and a woman’s sexual initiation, compliments, and “winks across the party” offer deep feelings of both excitement and security.

The media is increasingly adding pressure to men about their appearance and even guys who have never been vain, can succumb.  Working 60 hours a week to help provide for the family takes a toll on that athletic physique; aging can bring baldness, failing erections, wrinkles which subtract from his sex appeal (for the record- baldness can mean higher testosterone!!) or even his promotionability! It’s a rough, critical world out there and we need all need the affirming physical love of our partner.  More deeply though, in a monogamous relationship, sexual desire is what sets our lover apart as our unique.  Expressing our desire says – I want you – we belong together.

2)      Stop, drop and roll every once in a while.  Women need lots of time to get into the mood and even more time to reach orgasm, but every time?  Even once in a blue moon, should you get yourself in the mood and ready, blow his mind (and anything else that comes to mind.) Unleashed aggression.  Be hungry.  Devour.  Forget Saran Wrap and babydoll nighties – dress up in DESIRE.

Women tell me every day in therapy, “I can’t do it if I don’t feel connected.” But it can’t always be one directional.  If your partner bonds sexually, needs sex to feel relaxed and talkative, initiate toward your mutual goal of being connected.Every healthy marriage goes through three stages: fall in, fall out and fall back in love.  Falling out of love strips away our oft distorted projections of who are partner is – offering us the first clear sight of a real “other,”  usually not the prince or the toad but a real human being with warts.

The commitment necessary to fall back in love is simple.  Simple and hard.  Love your partner the waythey like to be loved.   This opens the space for true reciprocity.  The risk is he will take all your love and use it up without giving back.  With ordinary good people, a one spouse-only, six month commitment of loving your partnertheir way, will radically change the marriage.  It’s my goal in marital therapy with superstuck couples – to convince, support, cajole, wheedle, and move one partner to risk first.  Over and over, I witness how quickly their partner responds to the untallied, uncalculated gift of unconditional love. Save the therapy money – try it.  If you’re a woman, who needs erotic development to really take this chance; even if you lose the marriage; you will become a more whole woman in the process.  It’s difficult to risk when you already feel empty, yet usually your partner has a mirror experience of your feelings. He feels empty too.  Change the marriage – change the family climate – change the divorce rate – change your children’s lives – change the world.

3)      Grab him.  Yeah, there.  If you are going to initiate – go for broke.  The most common complaint I hear from men whose wives claim they did initiate is “I didn’t get the signal.”  One wife asked her husband if he was tired.  He would have never imagined that sex was on her mind, so he replied, yes.  She concluded that he didn’t want sex because she didn’t want sex when tired. Another wife in treatment told me she sat down next to her husband while watching TV.  Did she touch him? No.  Did she sit in his lap? No.  Did she snuggle? No, she was waiting on him to start the touching.  She really thought she had initiated. Maybe your guy needs some connection first; some men don’t want to drop their briefcase and roll in the foyer.  For him, feel free to offer wine, cheese, crackers and a backrub. You probably don’t like him to initiate by grabbing your breast or vulva; but men often try this because it’s how they fantasize being approached.  So to reiterate – try it his way.4)      Offer up a sexy debrief the next morning.  Men love to hear what you think of the last experience. Talking about sex is almost like having sex.  Women think if they start talking about it; he’ll start thinking about it and be disappointed that she doesn’t want to start all over again. Probably true. Double header?  If you’re really opposed to doing it again in the morning, wait and text him the debrief.  He’ll swagger into his meeting with the boss.

But in the morning over coffee, you will have his full attention to suggest ways that will make it better for you.  He won’t be lost in his own overpowering lust.  Do a high-low-high analysis.  “I loved it when you did x; next time, it would really be better for me if you did y; but I thought thus and so about your great z.”  Anytime we offer criticism, it is better to wrap it in velvet and reassure our partner that we think he’s sexy and good in bed.

5)      Make it a game changer.  Let’s say you are the sexual distancerand emotional pursuer and he’s the opposite.  You want him to ask about your feelings and he wants you to remember his sexual needs.  The goal is to make your patterns more flexible not to change you into the eternal sexual pursuer.  Women are afraid that as soon as they enter the sexual relationship more fully, their husbands will raise the bar and expect more.  One woman in my practice got excited about telling her husband on the vacation car ride that she was fully prepared to rip his clothes off when they got to the hotel.  He asked for sex before they left the house.  She heard herself sigh and ask if they could just get on the road.  He encroached on her space and in her mind ruined her great plans to surprise him with initiating sex.

Not all men want sex more than their partners, about 15-20% of my couple-clients have the wife wanting more sex – those husbands could take this advice and just change the pronouns.  But taking sex out of the power struggle no matter who wants it more means this: prioritize your partner’s sexual needs with time, energy and money, fantasize about your partner in ways that ignite your own body,  say no when you don’t want it and offer an inviolable raincheck that you remember and bring up on that day, cultivate receptive desire to say yes sometimes when you’re not in the mood and let arousal spark desire.  Coming forward with both initiating and receptive desire with lower his anxiety about not getting it again helping him feel relaxed and loved and reducing the pressure on the bedroom.  For more help: read her book Wanting Sex Again – How to Rediscover Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage due out THIS December 4th!!! Or follow Laurie Watson on Facebook and Twitter!
Oct 272012

October 22, 2012

by Mary Jo Rapini and blogged by barbdepree for MiddlesexMD Blog

One of the advantages of having an advisory board is the different perspectives we bring to the same set of problems. In our last conversation with Mary Jo Rapini, the issue of body image came up: the fact that we women are sometimes our own worst enemies when it comes to nurturing our sexuality. The topic clearly hit a chord with Mary Jo–she’d also been coming across examples of it–and she offered to write this blog post.  

I was recently at a meeting that explored the literature and dealt with issues of sexuality, dysfunction, and relationships. The most popular theme in each educator’s presentation, no matter what their field of study, was the importance of body image in influencing women’s libido. Although many of the diagrams and graphs were complicated, the message was not. How women

feel about their bodies influences their libido.

It makes sense, especially if you are a woman yourself or are close to one. You know how it feels when you feel bloated or fat and your partner wants to get naked. There is a sense of dread and duty; either you acquiesce or you find an excuse. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your partner tells you they believe you are, or what you’re wearing; if you don’t feel good about your body you don’t look forward to being vulnerable or wanting pleasure. Both of these are important when making love.

When I see women who are struggling with their body image I find myself reciting things I have heard or read that help. For example, experts tell women to focus on an area they like and to appreciate and dress in to flatter that feature. For many women, this may be helpful, but my practice is full of women who can only admit to liking a very small limited area. Let’s face it; if you tell me your favorite area is your eyebrows, I’m going to struggle with how to help you build a better body image using your eyebrows–any expert would.

Body image can include areas that aren’t exactly body related. For example, many professional women boast a high body image and self esteem due to their careers. They may not like their body or parts of it, but they don’t let it hold them back sexually.

What we say to ourselves is much more important than what others say. A recent report I read said that women routinely say over twenty derogatory things about their bodies each day. These same women suffer from how they view their body emotionally, physically, and sexually. It doesn’t matter if their husbands love their bodies, comment on the beauty of their bodies, or tell them how attractive they are: These women are destroying their concept of themselves from within. Media is an easy target to blame, but media is not the entire problem. What we say to ourselves is the problem. What we think to ourselves is the problem. What we say to our friends about our inadequacies is a problem. All sex talk begins with what we say to ourselves. No sex talk will make

London Andrewswomen feel sexier, hotter, or more desired if they have destroyed their sense of sexiness from within. Hormone therapy can make you feel more like having sex, but if you don’t feel good about your body, you will be reluctant to act on your feelings.

Since this is an inside job we do to ourselves, the work to stop perpetuating a poor body image is also up to us. It means you have to take a stance and begin by advocating for yourself, for your intimacy/sex life with your partner. That means sitting down with your partner and directly addressing what happens to you when you talk to yourself. Usually loving men will do anything to help their partner if they understand the mission.

  1. If you are highly suggestive and seeing a photo of a taut, scantily dressed woman with sex appeal makes you feel and talk badly about yourself, then rid your home of these types of magazines, TV shows, or whatever you are currently seeing.
  2. Movement is linked to many sensory areas of our brains. Movement makes our mood better, our affect more animated, and our sense of sexuality healthier. You don’t need to run marathons to feel and be sexy, but you do need to exercise each day. Ten minutes is better than no minutes. An hour a day split up any way you want is best!
  3. Begin a journal to yourself listing derogatory comments you remember being said to you prior to the age of eight. These comments may have been made as “jokes” by warped people, but they weren’t jokes. They are wired into your brain, and you may be repeating these to yourself as part of your negative mantra.
  4. Catch yourself. Whenever you make a derogatory comment about some part of your body, picture a stop sign and say aloud, “No.” Ask yourself, “What right do you have to abuse anyone including yourself?” Then think of who in your life made you think this was okay. Sometimes you will remember things your dad said, but more likely your mom used to insult herself as well.
  5. If anyone in your life right now insults your body, that is a huge red flag. Tell them they are waving a red flag, and abusing you with negative comments is not okay. If your kids hear this message, they will begin early protecting their body image.
  6. Women are much more critical of their bodies than men are. Part of this is due to the fact that women are more sensitive and do not abuse men’s bodies with negative comments to the degree men do with women. One way men will learn how to treat women is if a woman stands up to them when they make a derogatory comment instead of joining them in their taunts.

Couples will spend money to enhance their sex life with products, medications, and exotic vacations. However, the least expensive and perhaps most effective is to begin changing how we talk to ourselves. The first sex talk you get is not the one you get from mom or dad during a formal birds and bees lecture. It’s the mini body image lectures we give ourselves when we are children. These mini body image insults we say each day to our bodies are more potent than any sex product, medication, or exotic vacation we could ever afford.

Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC

Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC is a psychotherapist specializing in intimacy, sex and relationships. She lives in Houston, Texas. Mary Jo maintains a private practice and is the Intimacy/Sex Psychotherapist for the Methodist Hospital Pelvic Restorative Center and The Methodist Hospital Weight Management Center. Additionally, she is a renowned lecturer, author and television personality.

Oct 122012

993533_10151695732507145_1831608883_nBy. Meaghan Winter

A man I was dating told me that he liked watching anime scenes of sea creatures raping schoolgirls with their tentacles. His arousal bothered him. I was surprised to discover that it didn’t bother me, but my live-and-let-live attitude gave me pause: Was I colluding with misogyny?

Conflicting studies have suggested that porn leads to aggression,divorceand depression — as well as lower rates of rapebetter sex, and deeper commitments. We only know for certain that since the start of the Internet’s reign, porn has moved online, diversified, and sped up: Every day nearly 20 million viewers visit Xvideos, the web’s most trafficked porn site, and YouPorn is six times the size of Hulu. With porn consumption ubiquitous — and, by most reports, increasing and evolving — I asked couples and individuals how they discuss porn with their dates and partners. The result: twenty conversations about porn.

1. Porn is fantasy.

Jill “has no idea” what kind of porn her husband of two years watches, but she “doubts it’s anything that would bother” her. Tom says he doesn’t want to “expose Jill to all the craziness” of the videos he stumbles upon — like a woman riding a dildo-studded bicycle. He explains: “If she saw the porn I’m watching, she’d probably think I’m holding something back, but I’m not. I don’t want to bring what I see into the real world. It’s like how you don’t actually want to kill your boss.”

Unlike sex, “masturbation is a win every time,” Tom says. His threshold keeps changing: “When you’re a kid, a nipple is enough for five years, but once you start seeing girls climbing out of clown cars, you want more clown cars.” He’s glad his wife “doesn’t like anything gross” because he doesn’t think he’d want to be with someone who watched what he sometimes watches. Every so often he pretends he and his wife are in their own porno.

Jill occasionally uses her imagination to “sneak quickies” while her husband is in the shower. She read the whole Fifty Shades of Grey series, mostly on airplanes. Reading erotica means her husband “isn’t beholden” to what she likes, which she imagines “is tamer than what he likes.” She’d love for him to put on a favorite video and masturbate in front of her, but she suspects “it’s his private thing.”

2. Porn is quick. 

Now Anthony really does read Playboy for the articles. The Internet has killed his interest in pictures. He rapidly surfs through porn, which he describes as fast food. He doesn’t hide the regular habit from his wife Anjuli, a dietitian. She doesn’t mind it except when he gets off to really fat women — “They are not obese,” he interjects. “But they have huge boobs,” she replies — and Indian women, because she’s Indian. “I don’t want to think he has a fetish,” she says. “I don’t!” he laughs, “They just pop up sometimes!”

3. Porn is liberating.

When Rosslyn, 26, needs a little push toward orgasm during sex, she grabs one of her breasts and imagines Pamela Anderson. It works. She’s straight but has always “longed for bigger boobs” and ever since sneaking HBO’s Real Sex at her parents’ house in middle school, she’s delighted in “living vicariously through images of other women.” Rosslyn feels a little guilty imagining Pamela during sex with her boyfriend, but she reconciles: “Jesus Christ, I’m coming all over his face!”

Rosslyn “aspires to monogamy, but sometimes you just want to fuck. It’s a primal instinct you can’t fight.” Porn helps her supplement a relationship’s confines. She needs a plot and characters roughly her age, late twenties. “If they’re banging it out, I can’t get into it,” she says.

When she first met Sam, 40, he rejected anything beyond missionary sex and didn’t masturbate. His father had molested him. If he indulged in anything, Sam was scared he would become like his father, “a monster.” After therapy and conversations with Rosslyn, a self-described “colorful person with the dirtiest mind,” Sam gave himself permission to watch porn and order sex toys, like cock molds, and get Rosslyn “an adequately breasted” stripper for her birthday. Since dating Sam, Rosslyn has seen, “as cheesy as it sounds, how important it is not to accept things for what they are on a surface level. To really listen.”

4. Porn is shared.

Dino and Natalie started watching porn together soon after losing their virginity to each other in high school. From money shots to cop uniforms, Natalie “had so many criticisms about porn being by men, for men.” After seeing “women-friendly” porn in college, though, she’s enjoyed it on her own.

A decade later and engaged, Dino reads Natalie erotica. She projects herself and her lover into scenes. They also watch videos together. “I have nothing to hide,” Dino says. “Being with someone who isn’t accepting of porn, of who you are, the human form, would be hard. I’m realistic, porn doesn’t show you how you have sex with someone you love.”

Porn has never been a problem for them, but when Natalie and Dino broke up for a few years, Natalie dated a guy “without regard for mutual pleasure. He masturbated three times a day and didn’t want to have sex.” Worse, he called her a freak for “having a man’s sex drive.” She broke up with him: “I went to a women’s college! You can’t pull that shit on me!”

5. Porn is a substitute.

Paul initiates sex by asking, “Want to have some fun?” Carlos, who, despite his Catholic upbringing, “grew up talking about everything and never felt oppressed,” explains: “I’m dating a gay guy who can’t say ‘cock.’” Carlos watches porn frequently because Paul’s “drive is zero” and he likes “to marvel.” He needs sound, like a bed moving, to get off. Carlos appreciates that the Internet helps people find niches, like underwear fetish sites, and sometimes watches straight porn, including men going down on women, “in admiration of the rhythm.” He prefers men that look similar to Paul, but Paul prefers videos of “rail-thin boys.” Carlos says, “I know we love each other, but I don’t think I do it for him physically. I’m heavy-set, not boyish. I’m not a twinkie. It used to bother me, but what’re you gonna do? It doesn’t make me feel unloved.”

6. Porn is shaming.

When he was 25, Matt, a non-practicing Jew, downloaded a Christian program that prevented him from looking at porn. He’d started teaching high school, so his preference for watching teens seemed wrong. He’d deny himself for a couple months, then binge.

His then-girlfriend, now wife, Henrietta, worried that her low libido meant she couldn’t satisfy Matt. “We both carry the guilt of not having as much sex as we’d like. I realized from our conversations that I haven’t accessed who I am sexually, and how much shame I feel around that.” Part of her “envies how Matt can engage in pleasure without the rigid boundaries [she] clings to.”

He says he “keeps a wall between porn and sex with Henrietta to keep sex with Henrietta pure and natural, but that wall hasn’t motivated us to experiment as much as maybe I would want.” That wall “broke down once,” when they watched a video together. He’s “definitely visually stimulated,” but Henrietta says videos aren’t appealing, mostly because the women are so obviously faking pleasure for male attention. It raises questions about her own performance: “How much energy should I spend putting on nice clothes and being seen?  If I bring those anxieties into the sexual realm, it stops being just an instinctual thing,” she says. “When I think about that, I end up feeling shitty.”

They almost broke up before they got married, prompting Matt to realize that he could — and needed to — “have a separate identity within the relationship.” He stopped telling Henrietta every time he masturbated. Henrietta likens his struggle between sexual denial and permission to an eating disorder. In the face of so much self-judgment “at least we have someone we can really share that with,” she says.

7. Porn is helpful.

Once so preoccupied with her breasts “running away like yard dogs” that she couldn’t fully enjoy sex, Krista “really has to tip her hat to porn.” Watching many different women has given her a newfound confidence in her sexuality: “I’m judgmental, so if I can look at someone who is by no means the ideal and get turned on and say, ‘look at you, you’re beautiful,’ I know any guy can overlook anything about me.”

When she and an ex couldn’t be together, they texted descriptions of the porn they were watching. They only watched together once, when she congratulated him on passing a business exam with a one hundred-dollar DVD set depicting her “ideal sex — aggressive but not coercive.”

8. Porn is abstract.

To his surprise, Marco arrived at a San Francisco sports bar as a porno was about to be filmed. A man led into the room a leashed, naked woman crawling on her hands and knees. The crew encouraged the crowd — about 70 percent men, by Marco’s estimate — to touch her nipples, slap her genitals. As the man and woman started having sex, the crowd “got really into it.” Seeing S&M online doesn’t rattle Marco, but at the bar, “it was so in your face. There was no barrier.” He prefers his pornography at a distance. Of the live act he adds, “There was no sadness — it was a ‘we’re having fun and hope you are too’ vibe. But it was just fucking weird. I wasn’t aroused.”

His longtime girlfriend Jeanie enjoys porn — “I have no problem with it; it’s something we’ve always shared,” she says — and they describe their relationship as “open and comfortable,” so Marco doesn’t know why he didn’t just tell her about the filming when he got home. For weeks afterwards, when Jeanie suggested watching a video together Marco would decline. He’s never told her about it. “There’s probably some deep psychological reason, but I don’t know what it is,” he says.

9. Porn is limited.

Rachel, 41, says she and Alicia, 35, are “regretful non-porn-watchers.” Alicia says most of what the industry offers is “either misogynist or low-budget and shabby. In this capitalist economy, the purchasers are straight men, so stuff is geared for them. Queer people don’t want their porn to be consumed by anyone but themselves.” She says, “Part of my femme identity is performing femininity for a female gaze, but if that’s swept up by the male gaze, it’s not subversive anymore, it’s not respecting who I am.”

Just after graduating college, Rachel and about six of her friends would go to the one video store in Brooklyn with pornos they liked, then share potluck dinners while watching the videos together at rotating homes. They turned to gay male porn, “the source of many jokes.” Rachel wonders “whether it was easier to participate in the objectification of men.” These days, “everything is available online; the chase is gone.”

10. Porn is threatening.

Anne, 30, rehearsed asking her boyfriend not to watch porn while she was in the apartment in “a light, neutral tone for a level-headed conversation.” But when they talked she cried. Her concerns are three-pronged: insecurity about her own sexiness — “I can’t put on a show or even talk dirty”; disdain of the exploitation of women; and annoyance with the Internet infringing on all aspects of life. She wants to be sex positive but wonders if demands for sex positivity veil yet another expectation put on women, this time by an industry that sells demeaning images of women. “When is it okay to ask people not to do something?” she asks.

11. Porn is disquieting.

“Sex is scary; masturbation is safe,” says Gabriel. His “sex life is vanilla and porn life is getting wacko, gonzo,” and although he wishes he could fill the gulf, he says, “porn hasn’t affected women of my generation the same way. I’ve never had really unrestrained sex.”

Ava could feel Gabriel’s attention slip away when he thought about porn during sex. She felt porn’s “constant presence because it’d formed his sexuality.” When she inadvertently saw an ad picturing a gyrating woman on his computer “it felt so disgusting.” She says she’s grateful Gabriel was honest with her. He says he wishes she’d wanted to talk more about it.

Gabriel also wishes he could control what he’s attracted to. His brain and libido seem at odds. He’s uncomfortable that he seeks out white women, not women of his own race. Citing gonzo porn, he says, “I try to stay away from the ethically and morally compromised stuff because I know I’m capable of enjoying it. I don’t want to support any industry that exploits people. There are a lot of hungry and sad-looking Russian women out there who definitely look coerced.”  Self-policing only complicates his desires: “We’re on this very solo journey, and we find ourselves in places we’re shocked by.”

Ava understands that sexualities are complicated, but nothing about “the sadness” of sexual violence turns her on. She says, “There are some things I want to push myself towards, to try, but why would I want to start engaging in [violent porn]?” Her two previous and probably not coincidentally non-American partners didn’t watch porn. “They were really present. It was impressive,” she says.

12. Porn is aspirational.

Joe, 29, insists that “everyone in a monogamous relationship wants to be in a threesome.” When masturbating, he scrolls through many images, and keeps multiple videos open on his screen simultaneously, a sort of virtual spreading of his mental seed. “The conquest is part of it.”

Joe e-mails or shows clips to Serena, 28, his live-in girlfriend of almost eight years. Serena says through conversations about porn she can learn about Joe, keep her mind open, and talk about what she likes or wants to try. She’s seen a variety of porn from BDSM to “artsy shots of nudes,”and prefers amateur videos because she gets “totally annoyed at the hairless, big- and firm-breasted, immaculate bodies of industry-porn women who are ready to go with no warm-up.”

Serena says, “I know there are things he’s not telling me, which is completely fine. You don’t need to and probably shouldn’t tell your partner about everything you fantasize about.”

Some days Joe will get horny in the middle of the day and masturbate, thinking it’ll help him last longer with Serena that night, but later when she tries to initiate, his drive is spent. He doesn’t tell her why. “We talk about the phenomenon, not like ‘oh, I jacked off today,’” he explains.

13. Porn is divisive.

John’s leftist, feminist parents instilled in him the idea that porn degrades women, but by his early twenties he’d watched so much of it that he couldn’t stop thinking about porn during sex. He is “filled with self-contempt for liking certain videos,” including one he (mistakenly) thought was real footage of men picking women up in a van and raping them. He realized “guilt itself is erotic.” Now in his thirties, he believes that “the very thing that goes against your moral standards fires your libido even more.”

His ex-girlfriend, Carla, considered watching porn cheating. He tried to cut down but refused to stop altogether. By the time he was living with Carla, he wanted to be “free from the hiding patterns.” John understands Carla’s jealousy. “I was having intense orgasms to a woman who wasn’t her. She wasn’t wrong. Men are lucky more women don’t feel that way,” he says, but after feeling guilt and shame over many years, he decided that, “an un-nuanced view of porn is a form of sexual repression.” They broke up. Now he tells women he dates early on that “some part of me is not satisfied with sex with a person.”

He says feminist criticisms focus on the final scene, but most running time in any given video is devoted to a woman’s pleasure. “The man is reduced to a torso,” he says. John goes through phases, exclusively watching a certain genre until it loses appeal. He likes himself best when he’s into “the merest suggestion of sex in something PG-13.”

14. Porn is hidden.

Marina, a yoga teacher in her twenties, has never really seen porn. “Maybe it’s the prude little Russian girl in me, but I think [porn] is gross and cheap. It makes me uncomfortable to talk about it. I have judgment around it, so I pretend it doesn’t exist.”

She and her husband, Henry, tell different stories. He says when they moved in together a few years ago, he “got busted” masturbating to porn and they “laughed off the embarrassment.” She says she’s never caught him or had any other occasion to bring it up. “I guess I assume he watches it, but I don’t really think about it,” she says.

As a young man, Henry says, “you feel this pressure to be a studly guy who knows his shit, teenage boys are not going to have a real conversation with information about how to stimulate a woman during locker room boasting.” Now he uses porn “to perform well. It’s like with a cow — you need to milk yourself so the milk doesn’t come out too quickly.” He likes watching a range of genres without a specific fetish. When he was in graduate school he tended toward student/teacher scenes.

Marina says she “wouldn’t be devastated and wouldn’t take it personally” to find Henry watches porn, but “the secrecy behind it is weird, and there’s something about porn that is very American.”

15. Porn is manipulative.

Rose and Aaron met in college; they were both English majors. With five years hindsight, Rose believes Aaron was “performing” to “prove himself to be the most sexual person,” often wanting to reenact what he saw in porn. “Was I swindled or did I want to do that?” she asks. “I felt like ‘I guess I have to,’ but I wanted him to want me.” Aaron says their relationship “pushed the envelope” with “incredible intimacy.” She says he used “openness” to compete with and exclude her — cheating on her, flaunting his disappearance into the bedroom to masturbate, and flirting with people he wanted for threesomes.

When they broke up, Aaron sent Rose a text that read: “I only fucked you because you would do things a prettier girl wouldn’t do.” Rose says, “He shamed me for liking what he manipulated me into doing.” She hasn’t watched porn with anyone since. On her own, she prefers amateur women, because she’s “internalized the male gaze” and doesn’t “get off on women in pain acting like they’re not in pain.” Rose supposes, “if Aaron hadn’t punched me out I might be into more forceful things, but now they’re not cool.”

Aaron says Rose once found porn on his computer. He says, “I’m flattered if someone’s interested enough in me to go through my files.” Rose, self-described “queen of snooping,” couldn’t get angry when she caught her next boyfriend “maybe in an act of self-flagellation” watching a video she and Aaron made that featured Aaron “wearing fishnet stockings while he fucked [her]!”

16. Porn is indulgent.

Liz, an art student, says her husband Darcy’s “openness and sexual energy and respect for women” attracted her. Darcy says, “Porn is not something we really talk about or ignore.” The son of a sex educator, he felt comfortable telling Liz he liked porn “early on,” but he still “feels humiliated by the entire experience every time” he masturbates. “I feel like I just ate a whole sleeve of cookies,” he says. Sometimes he jokes with his friends “about the comedy of a whole industry built around a brief escapade.”

Liz has only talked about porn with one female friend, a sorority sister, back in college. She’s “never sought out porn,” but is glad Darcy shows her what he likes. She only tells him “to look at something different when he’s looking at girls who are too young,” in part because she “lost her virginity early and didn’t enjoy it or grasp the situation.” He says, “I have to be careful I’m not pushing her in a way she’s not comfortable wanting to introduce new things, I can lapse into selfishness. Liz is more hesitant.” She agrees, “I can be sexually aggressive. We’ve been together almost ten years. I’m so close to him, but it’s still hard for me to communicate what I want. I’m embarrassed about my own fantasies. So many feelings are bound up in them — shame, hatred, joy.”

17. Porn is taboo.

Eliza doesn’t think her husband masturbates. She’s never asked him.

18. Porn is threatening.

Because Alex has “a history with black men and likes gay porn,” Vanessa was threatened and always asking Alex if she wanted “to go back to men to be completely satisfied.” Alex knows she “planted the seed for jealousy” but she “relates to the homoeroticism of gay porn.” She says that “straight porn little-girl outfits and traumas” and “soft, slow lesbian porn that does not show what it’s like to have sex with a woman” don’t satisfy. She stopped telling Vanessa when and what she watched.

With guys, her preference for gay porn “is a fun fact put lightly.” She says that even if they understand basic gender politics, “guys have trouble admitting that the double-standard happens in their home.” When she told a man she dated, Kevin, that she liked gay porn, he “acted dumbfounded” and later made “very annoying jokes” whenever she suggested a restaurant in Chelsea. Another man assumed she wanted anal sex. Alex says, “There are still so many restrictions on how a woman can express herself. It’s like that Usher lyric, ‘a lady in the street and a freak in the bed.’ When a woman is comfortable being a lady and is sexually comfortable at the same time, it’s threatening.”

19. Porn is instructional.

Maggie, 31, asks men about their porn tastes so she can assess “whether to throw in the towel” if she feels she “can’t deliver.” Ray, 29, says, “I’d never dated anyone jealous of porn. I didn’t know what to say.” After just a few weeks of dating, Maggie admitted to him what she’d never told anyone — that she sometimes watches porn, too. “Ray was so open and honest. I trusted that he wanted me, not what he saw in porn,” she says.

They agree that porn “adds to the repertoire.” Maggie compares herself to women in porn and in regular movies. She wonders if she’d even know how to have sex, how to date, if she’d never been exposed to narratives, prototypes. “What’s me and what’s what I’ve seen?” Maggie asks. Ray says, “I don’t think we can ever know.”

20. Porn is fleeting.

Soon after he told me he liked tentacle porn, my ex and I watched some together, fully clothed and eating macaroni and cheese for lunch. He narrated and moralized, as if I needed help understanding what the scenes meant. Yesterday I called to ask if he remembered that afternoon. “There’s no way we weren’t joking around,” he said, “I never would have thought you’d really like that … I know we talked about my guilt … the ultimate part of the scene is when a girl is forced to come to having her civility stripped.” He repeated that his “very, very brief, maybe two-week-long” penchant for anime tentacles has long passed. But it’ll be a long time before I forget that afternoon. Rarely has a man invited me to sit next to him to look at something that makes him so uncomfortable with himself. I wish it could’ve happened more often, with him and with others.

Originally posted on THE CUT on 10/1/12

Oct 122012

By Petra Zebroff

What gets women hot?

Most of us do not analyze what exactly turns us on; arousal just seems to happen. It can appear at the strangest of times, coming upon us with the most unsuitable partners or taboo acts. Or arousal can be more predictable, with the heat coming from a favorite alluring sex scene in a movie or book.

We may have a general impression of what type of man (or woman) we are attracted to, or maybe even know what sexual acts we like. But outside of those vague ideas, sexual arousal is like a black box — we know it when we experience it, but the inside workings elude us.

Research has determined women’s arousal to be ‘complex’, but has little to say about the specifics. Until the ’60s, women were believed to be sexually aroused only by the feminine aspects of sex such as intimacy and soft touch, when Alfred Kinsey (Sexual Behavior in the Human Female), Nancy Friday (My Secret Garden) and Shere Hite (The Hite Report) reported that women’s fantasies were often as bold and “dirty” as men’s were.

More recently, we have seen women finding 50 Shades of Grey driving them to act on a newfound sexual arousal.

So, what actually does turn women on?

Our erotic map (the complex blueprint of what turns us on) is unique to each individual. It consists of genetics, throbbing hormones and erotic experiences that were ‘imprinted’ during early adolescence. As we go through life, these erotic maps change slightly as we experience different types of sex and are altered by our environment, stress level, health and partner dynamics.

While each person’s erotic map is different, there are general themes that run through the erotic maps of women. After two decades of studying women’s arousal in my practice as a sex therapist and a sex researcher, I have identified four primary types of arousal in women.

Each female has four types of arousal influencing her overall pattern, but it is usually only one (or two) arousal themes that are the real driving forces.

What are the benefits of knowing your arousal type?

When a woman knows her primary pattern of arousal, she can have much better sex. It allows her to tap into her arousal when she wants it, as well as reach orgasm more quickly. Also, if her partner understands her “arousal type” he/she will have a map to better arouse her. Conversely, if she knows what arousal type her partner is, she will be much more likely to make her partner’s sexual dreams come true, and thus increasing intimacy in the relationship.

Which arousal type are you?

Just as there are different types of learning (visual, auditory, kinetic), there are different types of sexual arousal. The four sexual arousal types I have identified are:

  • The Sensual Type is body-oriented and relies on the senses (touch, smell, taste) to fuel arousal. They get hot by the sensation of their skin being stroked, smelling a delicious scent or tasting something erotic.
  • The Cognitive Type is head-oriented, relying on thoughts and imagination to drive sexual feelings. This type is fueled erotically by thinking about/seeing certain sexual acts. Fantasy and porn are important tools used by the cognitive type to imagine different acts in their erotic map.
  • The Intimacy Type’s primary motivation is to “connect” with their partner. They thrive when they share with him/her, or when they feel that he/she “gets” them.
  • The Attractor Type gets his/her arousal from arousing their partner. Their main source of arousal is when their partner finds them sexy and appreciates them. Being ‘seen’ is important to this type.

While each person will be a complex mix of all of the types, we can get valuable information about our own main erotic map to control our arousal and make sex sizzle.

What is your arousal type?

To discover your sexual arousal type, you can fill out this short questionnaire and (and in the process, contribute to sex research and a greater understanding of women’s sexuality). Please note that all answers are confidential and your answers are tabulated by a clinical sexologist, not a machine.

Originally published in the Huffington Post on 10/11/2012 12:36 pm

Oct 042012

36612_433472553399040_581789077_nCompiled by: www.Lustability.com


1. A woman is more likely to want to commit adultery during ovulation than at any other time in her cycle.

2. Telling a convincing lie to someone is much more difficult when you find them sexually attractive.

3. Minute quantities of over 30 different substances have been identified in human semen. These include nitrogen, fructose, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, inositol, cholesterol, glutathione, creatine, pyruvic acid, citric acid, sorbitol, urea, uric acid and Vitamin B12, along with various salts and enzymes.

4. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, the same feel-good chemical responsible for the ecstatic high people experience through sexual attraction and love.

5. Women who have given birth have darker labia minora than women who haven’t.

6. The majority of women experience a peak in libido just before their period.

7. -321°F is the temperature at which sperm banks store donor semen. At this temperature, semen can be stored indefinitely.

8. The point at which the average man reaches his sexual peak is between the ages of 17 and 18.

9. The earth could be re-populated to its current level using the number of sperm that could fit into an aspirin capsule.

10. A chicken egg could accommodate the number of female ova necessary to repopulate the earth to its present numbers.

11. During sexual intercourse, in addition to the genitals and breasts, the inner nose also swells.

12. White women are the most likely to engage in anal sex, particularly if they also have a college degree.

13. During erection, a smaller flaccid penis tends to have a greater percentage increase than a larger flaccid penis.

14. A teaspoon of semen contains approximately 5 calories.

15. Sex burns off an average of about 100 calories per session.

16. On average, from two to five million sperm are released each time a man ejaculates.

17. During any given period, women who read romance novels have a tendency to have twice as many lovers as those who don’t.

18. Almost a third of all women over 80 years of age still have sex with their spouse or boyfriend.

19. For both men and women, the heart rate averages 140 beats per minute at the point of orgasm.

20. The average woman will have sex more than 3,000 times over the course of her reproductive years.

21. Most men under 40 years of age can achieve an erection in less than 10 seconds.

22. Heterosexual anal sex is something 43% of women have experienced.

23. Women consider penis size the ninth most important feature for a man, while men rate it much more highly, in third place.

24. When a man ejaculates, the initial spurt travels at 28 miles per hour – faster than the world record for the 100m sprint, which currently stands at 22.9 miles per hour.

25. In one hour, the average sperm can swim seven inches.

26. With nothing in its path, a penis can shoot semen anywhere from 12 to 24 inches.

27. The longest erect penis on record was 13 inches. The smallest was 1cm.

28. There are 20 male masochists for every female masochist.

29. The average adult testicle contains enough sperm to measure a quarter of a mile laid out end to end.

30. For 75% of men, ejaculation occurs within 3 minutes of penetration.

31. During an average man’s lifetime, he will ejaculate approximately 17 litres of semen, which amounts to about half a trillion sperm.

32. The testes increase in size by 50% when a man is sexually aroused.

33. Australians are the most receptive to the idea of having a threesome – 28% of them claim to have tried it.

34. 1 in 50 people claim to have had sex in an aeroplane.

35. 15% of adults have had sexual intercourse at work.

36. 41% of men would like to have sex more frequently. Only 29% of women share this urge.

37. Greek couples have sex an average of 138 times a year – placing them at the top of the world sex league. Japanese couples have sex just 45 times a year, which puts them in last place.

38. 5% of adults have sex once a day. 20% have sex 3 – 4 times per week.

39. Every time they engage in oral sex with their partner, 30% of women swallow.

40. When sexually aroused, 60% of men get erect nipples.

41. Half of single women have sex by the third date.

42. 80% of men living in the USA have been circumcised.

43. Women over 40 years of age are more likely to masturbate than any other group.

44. There’s a direct link between how often a man has sex and his life expectancy.

45. According to experts, sex is about 10 times more effective as a tranquilliser than Valium.

46. Sex can relieve a headache – it releases the tension, which restricts blood vessels in the brain.

47. 44% of women find it impossible to enjoy sex with a man who is not their intellectual equal. Just 31% of men share this problem.

48. There are about 1,000 recognised euphemisms for ‘vagina’ in the English language.

49. At any given time, 25% of people are daydreaming about sex.

50. Over half of American adults have used the phone, email or text message to have sex.

51. According to studies, the larger a man’s testicles, the more likely he is to stray.

52. 75% of Japanese women own a vibrator. The average worldwide is 47%.

53. It takes two tablespoons of blood to get the average man’s penis erect.

54. During their lifetime, the average driver will have sex in their car six times.

55. Americans spend twice as much money on pornography as they do on biscuits.

56. The clitoris contains twice as many nerve fibres as the penis – a toe-curling 8,000.

57. One in five women living with their boyfriend has more than one sexual partner.

58. Besides humans, bonobos (a type of chimp) and dolphins are the only animals that have sex for pleasure.

59. It tends to be easier for women to orgasm during ovulation than at any other time in their cycle.

60. The size of the vagina decreases by 30% as orgasm becomes imminent.

61. While giving birth, some women have been known to experience orgasm.

62. Inside the female body, sperm cells can survive for up to nine days.

63. For up to 70% of women, simultaneous direct stimulation of the clitoris during intercourse is essential for them to reach orgasm.

64. Over 30% of men suffer from premature ejaculation. 10% of men are affected by erectile dysfunction.

65. It’s possible to relieve depression through masturbation.

66. The longer a man’s ring finger is compared to his index finger, the more testosterone he has.

67. The average aroused vagina is 4 inches long – shorter than the average erect penis, which measures in at 6 inches.

68. The average woman can reach orgasm in about 4 minutes through masturbation, while through intercourse, it can take 10 – 20 minutes.

69. Sneezes, along with orgasms, are the only physiological responses that cannot be voluntarily stopped once they have started.

70. Straight men tend to have smaller penises than gay men.

71. 85% of women are very satisfied with their partner’s penis size.

72. Evidence exists indicating that penis size may be linked to index finger length.

73. In rare cases, menstrual cramps have been known to bring about orgasm.

74. The amount of wet dreams a man is likely to have increases in line with the number of years spent in formal education.

75. Compared to anywhere else, adults are more likely to tell a lie in bed.

76. The majority of women prefer to have sex in the dark.

77. Men find women with enlarged pupils more sexually attractive.

78. When having sex, black women are 50% more likely to reach orgasm than white women.

79. 60% of non-smoking women have had no sexual partners in the past year, while 70% of women who smoke have had more than four lovers over the same timescale.

80. Women who are prone to migraines tend to have a higher sex drive than those who are not.

81. Thirty four per cent of men have told lies in order to have sex. Ten per cent of women have done the same.

82. More than 50% of all cheating wives choose married men as their lovers.

83. About 1% of women can achieve orgasm solely through breast stimulation.

84. Within the week, 22% of women tell at least five friends about their first sexual experience with a partner.

85. 70% of men and women admit to having fantasised about someone else while having sex.

86. Two thirds of runners admit to having thought about sex while running.

87. 68% of men and 59% of women had a sexual liaison with someone in their past, which they have not told their current partner about.

88. An overwhelming majority of sexual partners have only skimpy knowledge of what truly turns each other on.

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