"Its an experience, not a performance" - and other things we need to teach young women abo
As promised....and as a continuation from my last post, I thought I would put together a short list of things which could be part of the way we talk to young women about sex - and this stuff doesn't just apply to young women too!...but every woman in the pursuit of a good sex life.
1) It’s an emotional thing.
Oh dear god where to start; so some of you may disagree – but sex and emotions are very close cousins and this is something we are really starting to lose sight of. Sex is one of the most intimate things you can do with another human being and to become attached to someone after being that physically close – is kind of well, a very normal well-adjusted emotional response. It means you’re not a sociopath for one – and also you’re a human being, you’re designed to attach to others, its healthy. When physical chemicals start getting mixed up – its always likely emotional ones will to.
There is an enormous amount of denial around this subject and I have seen and heard so many girls talk about who they have slept with, profusely denying they ‘like’ him; “no no, I mean its just a casual thing..’ then a week later the same girl is distraught in a pool of tears because said guy is now cracking onto someone else and doesn’t seem to care. It breaks my heart. There are really few feelings worse as a woman than the realisation that what you thought was real intimacy – was just someone using you for sex.
Through my very long stint in university and then working the seasons, I saw a lot of girls behaving like they didn’t care who they slept with – and guys being shocked at the notion of someone they were sleeping with becoming emotionally involved. To me this was crazy. When the hell did it become shameful to admit you really like someone you’re getting all wrapped up in the sheets with?! Why would you do that with someone you don’t like?! Catching feelings is normal and very likely to happen if you start climbing into bed with someone on the regular. I don’t think I ever see this talked about anywhere and yet there is so much flippancy about sex in the media (Geordie Shore anyone???!) which can be heavily influential on young minds. Denying you have any emotions isn’t a demonstration of feminine sexual power; you don’t protect a heart by pretending you don’t have one. You most likely won’t fall in love with every man you sleep with, but if you’re more sensitive, don’t be afraid to admit that and protect yourself accordingly. It can seem like everyone’s having sex super casually, switching partners like it’s no big deal. If that’s not you - that’s not you and there’s nothing wrong with that. So, it needs to be acknowledged that if you do become that intimate with someone, you’re heart and your vagina can be more closely linked than you may first realise - know thyself.
2) Sex is a felt experience – not a performance.
Yep, this whole statement pretty much sums this up – you are not there to perform for him. You are there to enjoy yourself! Any man who makes you feel like you need to do this needs to be tied to the bed naked and left there. Alone. Sex is a felt experience – not a bloody show! Its about what feels good – not what looks good. Remember this great quote from Elizabeth Gilbert and use it as your benchmark; “Let me ask you something, in all the years that you have...undressed in front of a gentleman has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever walked out and left? No? It's because he doesn't care! He's in a room with a naked girl, he just won the lottery.” He’s won the lottery – if he can’t seem to see that, and you feel like you need to ‘raise your game’; again – tie him to the bed - and leave. Bye bye.
3) Do it when you’re ready.
Not before, not because he wants to, not because its been 3 dates or 3 months or whatever - do it when you literally want to jump on him. A little personal secret; I didn’t lose it until I was 18 and I was also on the tail end of a backpacking trip of Australia. I had always been pretty stubborn about the matter; no way was I going to lose it until I really wanted to. I’m a softy with a massive feisty streak and no one was going to pressure me before I was ready. I’m pretty happy I stuck to my guns because I have no regrets and it was all pretty idyllic as far as first times go. (There was even a sunset involved!) Sadly I realise now, I’m kind of in the minority here. This doesn’t just apply to losing your virginity – I mean in any new relationship. You don’t have to do anything sexual until you’re ready and comfortable and even if you end up saying ‘yes’ and then when you’re half way naked think‘no’ – you can say so. You’re under no obligation to share your body with anyone until you want to. Peggy Orenstein talks about an interview she had with a girl in college who said ‘A girl will give a guy a blow job at the end of the night because she doesn’t want to have sex with him – and he expects to be satisfied. So if I want him to leave – and I don’t want anything to happen….’ Oh wow – there are a thousand things wrong with this I don’t even know where to begin but only ever do anything when you are ready. If you don’t want to have full sex – you don’t owe a man anything and sexual experiences should not be something women have to recover from.
4) You should expect to be satisfied – and don’t fake it. Ever.
Going back to one of the key points of this post – as a woman – you are absolutely entitled to your enjoyment sex. I’ve heard a lot of women fake it for a whole variety of reasons but ultimately, screaming out in fake orgasm to save his ego - doesn’t really serve either of you. “I wouldn’t want him to feel like he couldn’t satisfy me”. Oh Jesus Christ, if he needs to learn, he needs to learn, don’t sacrifice your orgasm for his ego. Plus, if he genuinely cares about you, he wouldn’t want you to fake it anyway. It’s an experiment; orgasm can be a little more complicated for women than it is for men and sometimes takes a bit of trial and error. Its actually kind of rare for women to come on a first time with someone anyway as it’s in our minds as much as our bodies. If I’m anxious, or feeling like my body is being judged - or I suspect he’s doing it with someone else behind my back – orgasm is a guaranteed no show. There’s just no point – it’s as much a psychological thing as a physical thing and a healthy relationship will enable you to figure that out together - its a team effort.
5) Masturbate. Often.
Do it. Its not gross, its not wrong, and its so important. You're not dirty and you're not a slut and if you hear anyone say this then roll your eyes, feel sorry for them and carry on. Men do it, talk about, laugh about – for them its incredibly socially acceptable. For women, we’re still getting there. Knowing your body and what makes you tick means you can teach someone else how to do the same and will make sex so much better for all involved. FYI - it also helps you sleep. So there.
Anyway, so i've just talked about sex all over the internet and may have to now go and dye my hair, change my name and disappear - but I think its really important that women start talking about it more and about what they want. Despite appearances, we don’t all feel as sexually entitled as we should do and if we start talking more comfortably with young women about the pleasurable side of sex - because it is incredible - then hopefully a lot more women will begin to take control of their own enjoyment, and focus on what feels right - emotionally and physically - rather than thinking they always have to satisfy someone else.
One final thing - good sex isn't pretty; your hair will be a mess, your make up everywhere, and that expensive underwear? - long gone.
Yep, definitely going to go and hide now..