Truth-be-told, I have been watching a lot of Sex and the City lately. And by, “a lot,” I mean that I binged about six seasons in under a month. So, I’m going to have a little Carrie Bradshaw moment here. Let’s talk about sex, baby.
Now, if you didn’t agree with my last post – than me writing this will most definitely make you shift my name into the category of “slut.” Truth-be-told again, I don’t care.
Let’s start with the facts.
- A 2011 study found that about 80% of women fake orgasms at least half the time
- 25% of women fake it 90% of the time
- Women generally orgasm 69% of the time they have sex, compared to 95% for men
- 62% of women are not satisfied with their sex lives
- 30% report pain during intercourse, and a “large proportion” don’t tell their partners
There is an obvious trend, and therefore an obvious problem. There is a plethora of benefits when it comes to sex. Some are incredibly un-obvious. Here’s just a few:
- boosts your immunity
- decreases stress levels
- the release of oxytocin and endorphins increase relaxation, which helps fight pain and depression
- those same feel good hormones lead to feelings of warmth and closeness
So when we talk about gender inequality in the bedroom, we are talking about real benefits that women disproportionately are not able to access.
Now let me throw a real doozy at you.
More than half of men aren’t comfortable discussing gynecological health with their female partners. (Sorry for the heteronormative example) In one study, only half of the men could identify the vagina on a diagram, and two-thirds mixed up the different parts.
Now the article I read was discussing how your partner could potentially be the first person to notice a change that could be a warning of gynecological cancer and other sexual health issues – but I think that this also bodes poorly for women’s sexual satisfaction. Especially because men in the study, aged 18-44 years old, said it was too embarrassing to talk about the vagina. Yet I’d argue over 50% are comfortable sending an unsolicited picture of their private parts – ironic.
People, ladies. Let’s talk about sex.
In my life, I have been lucky enough to have a mother that once said to me – “if you aren’t satisfied, either say something, or leave him.” (You go girl, am I right?) She never made my sexuality negative, and simply allowed for open discussion. I think that that is why I have felt comfortable engaging in discussion with partners. Full disclosure, I have felt the most satisfied in relationships in which my partner and I shared full disclosure about our sexual experiences together. We established boundaries, shared what we liked and what we didn’t, respected the word “no” when something was painful, and prioritized each other’s pleasure. Mine was equally important, and not an afterthought – as it seems it typically is. Nothing is more unattractive than a man who views the bedroom as a race to complete a task for himself. It’s objectifying, boring, and frankly, sad.
What do the experts say?
If you don’t want to take my word for it. Listen to the research:
- in a study of 293 married individuals, it was found that disclosing sexual information was positively linked to relationship satisfaction and closeness
- another found that open sexual communication was a predictor of not only sexual satisfaction, but overall relationship satisfaction
We grow up with this weird myth that communicating about sex is inappropriate, and “un-ladylike.” Think about all the movies and TV shows you’ve seen where it just comes naturally to everyone, and both parties are completely fulfilled. No discussion, just background music and a couple grunts and moans. A Psychology Today article posits that the three biggest myths are: “great sex comes naturally; your partner should know intuitively what you want and like; and good sex must be spontaneous.” I love the analogy that they give following this list as well:
“In reality, more often than not, great sex, much like a great meal, does not just happen—it needs to be carried out with skill, thoughtfulness, and the right mix of selfish abandon and mutual attentiveness. People’s tastes, preferences and values with regard to sex—as with food—differ greatly. You’re better off knowing something about your partner’s tastes before you start cooking.”Psychology Today
Get to it.
In reality, no one knows what they’re really doing. And all bodies are different. Communication is essential. And ladies – we work just as hard, if not harder than men, we deserve to be just as satisfied.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Ask what someone is and isn’t into before you engage in intercourse.
- When something hurts, SAY SOMETHING.
- It’s okay to do some research. Find positions that are comfortable, or techniques you want to try. (boys, I think it’s about time you go look at a diagram of the vagina)
- Do a recap when you’re finished. Talk about what worked and what didn’t. Give high-fives where needed.
- It’s okay to need a little help. Use some of your sex tech!
- Make it fun and flirty, or draw up a PowerPoint – whatever floats your boat.
- It’s okay to ask about the last time someone was tested, or if they have any Sexually Transmitted Infections. 1 in 8 people in the U.S. have herpes.
- If someone does have an STD or STI, learn about the risks and what you can do to protect yourself.
- As always, be vocal about using protection if you need to be.
I would have loved to have a number 10 to make it even, but in 2019 I’m working on letting go of a portion of my perfectionism.
Now, I love Carrie, but I’m going to leave you with a quote from Miranda to send this post home. When in doubt,
“What’s the big mystery? It’s my clitoris, not the sphinx.”