“Just lie back and think of England”
-A reference to unwanted sexual intercourse – specifically advice to an unwilling wife when sexually approached by her husband.
I don’t know about you, but my sex education in school was terrible!
Pleasure was NOT a word that ever passed the lips and wet moustache of my terrifying science teacher. He just wheeled out an old 80s TV on legs and showed us a video of a woman having a baby. My saucer-eyed class mates and I and then had a “fun” workshop which involved putting a condom on a banana. The clit may have been mentioned, but in between the giggles and naughty kids flinging femidoms around the room, it was lost. My first experience with porn was seeing a woman shagging a horse on a grainy 90s computer screen. Gross.
For many of us, sex education has often been poor in this area, and especially in terms of seeking any kind of sexual pleasure.
So, I think it’s no surprise at all that there are so many women who are unsure of how to want and enjoy sex.
It’s because we women are taught to be passive receivers of sexuality, not creators.
Interestingly, this could partly be to do with our gender:
Men have a built-in “biofeedback mechanism” for desire, according to Steinhart. “When they are aroused they can see their erection and it reinforces their arousal. Women don’t have the parallel opportunity.”
It makes sense then that sex just isn’t on our agenda.
For me, a MAHOOSIVE realisation was that… (drum roll)….
He doesn’t turn you on, YOU TURN YOURSELF ON.
YOU have to take responsibility for yourself.
YOU have an orgasm, they don’t make you have one.
THIS blew my tiny mind. Tell everyone! Shout it from the rooftops! Wear it on a sandwich board!
YOU have the power. No-one else.
After I learned this, I realised how passive I was, expectant, watchful, waiting for someone else to pleasure me. Whereas the secret was inside of me all along!
What a rubbish lover I’ve been and how selfish (totally accidentally!).
There’s an open secret to sex that is your own BRAIN is where you find sexual pleasure. You have to take control, use your initiative, work out what you want and go after your own sexual enjoyment.
So, how to take responsibility for your sexual pleasure?
One of the hardest parts of my journey was finding out (remembering?) what turns me on.
When you feel completely dead inside, bereft of any kind of sexual energy, even contemplating something sexual or trying to imagine being turned on was impossible. I couldn’t remember me ever enjoying sex, and wondered how on earth anyone ever associated sex with pleasure.
Although I’m still finding out what works for me sexually (and it’s the fucking best thing I’ve ever done for myself!), I wanted to share some useful tools and ideas that I used to help me work out what I want in bed.
After all, knowing what you want (and telling your partner) is key to making sex better. And by making it better, you’ll want it more. Simples.
1. Give yourself a new sex education
Learn- find resources, youtube videos, get a new sex education! Read Emily Nagoksi’s book and website, read about your sex drive and. Self-taught, further study. It’s only when you know what’s out there that you can begin. One of the ways I tried to tap back into myself was watching sex tip videos on Youtube. Adina Rivers is very sweet and I really like the way she talks about sex. It helped me remind myself of when I used to be excited about sex and saw it as a skill to learn, not a foregone conclusion.
2. Find a community to help
You’re in good company here- there’s so many of us on our own journey’s to finding sexual fulfillment. I really like the Scarlet Ladies for a starter for 10.
4. Understand the role of fantasies and imagination
I first started looking at the role of our imagination in sex to understand why mine had gone. More on this later…
5. Focus on what IS going well
When you think you are struggling with a low sex drive, all of your attention and focus tends to be on the times you don’t feel like having sex. Which means you focus on whats going wrong, not whats right.
Me and the boyf were still having sex, and once I’d become aroused I did have times where I really enjoyed sex. So I did have a baseline to begin with. If you haven’t had sex in a while, think back to the beginning of your relationship or the last time you enjoyed sex with your partner. What was going well? What did you enjoy?
6. Find out what turns you on- track it!
Tracking what turns you on, and what feels good, is a great place to start learning about what you like and your own patterns and trends with sex. It can also help you take more control over your sex drive.
Emily Nagoski has an amazing tracker which I used to reflect on what turns me on- I can’t recommend it enough. You can access it here.
The best place is to pick up the past. What used to turn you on? Try and think back. Any sexy celebs you used to fancy? Why? You need to know what turns you on- what you like and don’t like. Otherwise you’re at risk of having brussel sprout sex all your life.
7. Kegels and biofeedback
As mentioned before, because the penis is dangling between men’s legs, often they get what’s called “biofeedback” so their penis getting erect means that they are more aware of it and it sends signals to their brain that they’re horny.
For us women, our organs are all inside so it’s harder for us to notice or tap into our sexual alert system. This is where kegels come in. It’s important to reconnect with our body, and I found these exercises the single best thing for me to remind myself that I do, in fact, love my vagina!
8. Treat your sex drive like a boiler in winter.
Confused? Read my blog post on this here.
9. Don’t think about sex as being all about the big O
Although it’s lovely to ride the big O into pleasure town (cringe!) sex is SO much more than the ending. In fact, I particularly enjoy the beginning and middle. I’d also recommend this fab article about what great sex is when it’s not focussed around orgasm to get thinking differently about how pleasure is more than the end!
10. ask for what you want
My Mum always used to say, if you don’t ask- you don’t get.
How right she was! The best way of taking responsibility is to let others know what you want and need. Find out more how to do this in this blog post riiiiiiight here.
What do you think about the above tips- is there anything you’d add about how to take responsibility for your own enjoyment of sex?