Six ways to make sex bet­ter for women

Lesotho Times - - Entertainment - Rachel Hills

Wash­ing­ton — When the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­proved the drug Ad­dyi (also known as flibanserin or “fe­male Vi­a­gra”) in Au­gust, the drug’s sup­port­ers framed it as a fem­i­nist vic­tory.

Ad­dyi was never go­ing to be as revo­lu­tion­ary as the oral con­tra­cep­tive pill, but per­haps it had po­ten­tial to even the sex­ual score: No longer did men have a mo­nop­oly on phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sex­ual aids. Now women, too, had a sex­ual booster to call their own.

But the gloss has worn off quickly. For one, the drug’s ef­fec­tive­ness is be­ing ques­tioned: Women who took Ad­dyi re­ported an av­er­age of 0.5 to 1 more sat­is­fy­ing sex­ual en­coun­ters each month than women who took a placebo pill.

Then there was the ques­tion of whether the con­di­tion Ad­dyi was de­signed to treat — hy­poac­tive sex­ual de­sire dis­or­der — was re­ally a dis­ease, or an ail­ment cre­ated to prime the mar­ket for a new drug.

It seems the mar­ket isn’t buy­ing in. In Novem­ber, Bloomberg News re­ported that in Ad­dyi’s first month on sale, only 227 pre­scrip­tions were filled — com­pared with more than half a mil­lion when Vi­a­gra was re­leased in 1998.

Ad­dyi was prob­a­bly al­ways de­signed more for profit than plea­sure. But in a world in which women still ex­pe­ri­ence less sex­ual sat­is­fac­tion than men do — es­pe­cially in het­ero­sex­ual en­coun­ters, and even more so if they’re sin­gle — it’s worth ask­ing: What would rev­o­lu­tionise women’s sex lives?

I asked six ex­perts on fe­male sex­u­al­ity what they would do en­hance women’s sex­ual sat­is­fac­tion. Their an­swers may sur­prise you. And there isn’t a pill among them.

Over­haul­ing sex education: “When sex is dis­cussed in schools, it’s typ­i­cally talked about in terms of what could go wrong — dis­ease, emo­tional con­se­quences and un­wanted preg­nancy,” sex­u­al­ity ed­u­ca­tor Bev­er­ley Damelin says. “But we also need to talk about what’s good about sex — about what it can and should be.”

A con­se­quence of this ap­proach, she says, is that a lot of young peo­ple don’t un­der­stand that sex should be plea­sur­able for women. “There’s an ex­pec­ta­tion­ex­pec­tati of pain and dis­com­fort, that sex is some­thing­somet they give but don’t get.” A more plea­sure-cen­tred­plea­sur sex education would cover not just preg­nancy, in­ter­course and STDS, but also sex­u­als re­sponse, con­sent and non-pen­e­tra­tive sex

ac acts.

Bet­ter med­i­cal train­ing: Ac­cord­ing to Emily Nagoski, a doc­tor and au­thor of Come As You Are: The Sur­pris­ing New Sci­ence That Will Trans­form Your Sex Life, the av­er­age four-year med­i­cal edu- cation in North Amer­ica in­cludes just three to 10 hours of sex education.

tak­ing sex­u­al­ity more se­ri­ously would make gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers bet­ter able to deal with their pa­tients’ sex­ual health is­sues — and less in­clined to di­ag­nose dis­ease where there is just nor­mal hu­man vari­a­tion.

“Would a doc­tor ever tell a man, ‘Oh, that pain in your pe­nis, it’s all in your head’?” Nagoski said.

“Doc­tors need to know that sex is not a drive; that or­gasm with­out in­ter­course is the ex­cep­tion, not the rule, and that gen­i­tals are healthy and nor­mal, no mat­ter what their shape, as long as they are free of pain and in­fec­tion.”

Get­ting to know your cli­toris: The cli­toris is more than just the fleshy but­ton at the top of your vulva, ex­plains Re­becca Chalker, a doc­tor and au­thor of “The Cli­toral Truth: The Se­cret World At Your Fin­ger­tips.” It’s a pow­er­ful and mul­ti­fac­eted or­gan com­posed of 18 parts, be­neath the skin’s sur­face, that un­dergo changes dur­ing sex­ual re­sponse to cre­ate plea­sure and or­gasm.

“Know­ing how the parts of the cli­toris are ar­ranged and work to­gether can help us un­der­stand what hap­pens dur­ing sex­ual re­sponse, or what isn’t hap­pen­ing,” Chalker says, would give women much more power and con­trol over their sex­ual plea­sure.

De-em­pha­sis­ing or­gasm: or­gasms are great, but tak­ing the fo­cus off cli­max can open up new pos­si­bil­i­ties for plea­sure. “Of­ten we see sex as a goal-ori­ented ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Dawn Serra, a sex and re­la­tion­ships coach.

“If women don’t ex­pe­ri­ence or­gasm or if an or­gasm takes longer than ex­pected, of­ten they think there is some­thing wrong with them.”

In­stead of keep­ing our eye on the fin­ish line, Serra sug­gests fo­cus­ing on what is plea­sur­able in the mo­ment: sex­ual thoughts, pleas­ing your part­ner, gen­i­tal touch, non-gen­i­tal touch or eroge­nous zones, breath­ing and or­gasm.

Freez­ing your eggs: “I am cur­rently work­ing with at least eight women in their early 30s who feel like time is tick­ing for them and can­not fo­cus on the process of en­joy­ing dat­ing or choos­ing not to date be­cause all roads need to lead to find­ing your ‘uni­corn,’“says Con­stance Quinn, a doc­tor, sex ther­a­pist and so­cial work pro­fes­sor at Columbia Univer­sity.

Tak­ing that pres­sure off — for in­stance, via more com­pre­hen­sive health-care plans that al­low women to freeze their eggs if they choose - would al­low more women to en­joy re­la­tion­ships for what they are, rather than wor­ry­ing about whether they have a fu­ture.

“Dat­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties can in­clude the search for ‘The One’ but also per­haps younger men for hookups and hang-outs, ex­per­i­ments with friends with ben­e­fits, and other guys that don’t quite check all the boxes but are great in bed,” Quinn says.

“You have the eggs as se­cu­rity and you don’t have to live like you are search­ing for the Holy Grail ev­ery night of the week, which is ex­haust­ing and con­fi­dence-shattering. Go have great sex and feel like a mil­lion bucks.”

Feminism: You’ve read the stud­ies show­ing that cou­ples with egal­i­tar­ian re­la­tion­ships have more and bet­ter sex. But gen­der roles aren’t just about what we do, they’re also about who we’re al­lowed to be.

“Women are taught that it is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to change, ad­just, or shrink in or­der to meet ex­pec­ta­tions, make other peo­ple feel com­fort­able, and pro­tect our re­la­tion­ships,” says Lind­say Jerni­gan, a psy­chol­o­gist in Ver­mont.

“The fe­male gen­der role has typ­i­cally given women two op­tions: the op­tion to be self­less, and there­fore good, kind and com­pas­sion­ate; or the op­tion to be self­ish, and there­fore de­mand­ing, pushy and non-com­pas­sion­ate.”

This di­chotomy can make it dif­fi­cult for women to ac­knowl­edge their true needs, which when it comes to sex, Jerni­gan says, can lead to “a loss of ... free­dom and de­sire.”

Jerni­gan’s work is de­signed to help women dis­cover “the al­ter­na­tive to th­ese nar­row op­tions” — slay­ing nar­row gen­der roles to show that you can be com­pas­sion­ate and as­sertive at the same time. Which sounds an aw­ful lot like feminism to me. — Wash­ing­ton Post

KNOW­ING your sex­ual plea­sure can make sex bet­ter as a women.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.