21 days to bet­ter orgasms

Write erotic sto­ries. Take deep breaths. And don’t make cli­max­ing your goal. Does this 21-day pro­gramme hold the se­crets to bet­ter orgasms? Daisy Buchanan puts it to the test

Red - - CONTENTS -

Daisy Buchanan ex­plores whether you can truly ban­ish your plea­sure in­hi­bi­tions in a new three-week plan

My orgasms are cur­rently a bit like cross­coun­try car jour­neys. Some­times I zoom to the des­ti­na­tion and wish I’d given my­self a bit more time to look out of the win­dow; oc­ca­sion­ally the men­tal traf­fic is so bad that I feel like giv­ing up the trip al­to­gether.

On a good week, my hus­band and I might have sex four times, but when we’re busy we might go for a month where we don’t man­age more than a good­night cud­dle. In one way, our sex life is bet­ter than ever be­cause we know each other’s bod­ies so well, but now we’ve been to­gether for five years, I miss the in­ten­sity it had at the be­gin­ning. I have to make more of an ef­fort to ini­ti­ate sex be­cause it doesn’t just

hap­pen in the way it used to. Part of me ac­cepts that’s how re­la­tion­ships evolve, but I would love our sex life to be as hot and ur­gent as it was at the start.

That’s why I’m turn­ing to Dr An­drea Pen­ning­ton, an or­gasm ex­pert and ‘sex ed­u­ca­tor’. Her theory? When we don’t or­gasm we miss out on the chance to de­velop a good re­la­tion­ship with our part­ner and with our­selves. “The or­gasm is an in­di­ca­tor of em­pow­er­ment, self-ac­cep­tance and self-love, as well as an af­fir­ma­tion of a woman’s right to en­joy plea­sure…” Pen­ning­ton writes. In The Or­gasm

Pre­scrip­tion For Women, she rec­om­mends we have three a week, and prom­ises to teach me how to “con­sis­tently achieve full-body, mind-blow­ing, soul-stir­ring orgasms”.

I know I’m lucky to or­gasm from cli­toral stim­u­la­tion and in­ter­course – as many as 80% of women have dif­fi­culty or­gas­ming from pen­e­tra­tive sex* – but I’d love to have more con­trol over my orgasms, and I’m hop­ing to learn how to make them more in­tense. Plus, Pen­ning­ton be­lieves, “The ben­e­fits [of or­gasm] are nu­mer­ous – stress re­lief from de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, and it’s a pain re­liever.”

So, de­ter­mined to get out of my head and more in touch with my body, I de­cide to give her pro­gramme a go.

WEEK ONE Daily af­fir­ma­tions, deep breath­ing and savour­ing plea­sure

None of the ex­er­cises in the 21-day pro­gramme re­quire a part­ner and the first week fo­cuses on the mind, ‘self­aware­ness and af­firm­ing your right to plea­sure’. I need to com­mit an hour a day, which seems ex­ces­sive, but I be­gin with five deep breaths, ‘set­ting an in­ten­tion for the day’. (I’m not to­tally sure what this means. Do I want more orgasms? Bet­ter orgasms?) I end the rit­ual by say­ing one of the af­fir­ma­tions aloud: “To­day I de­serve plea­sure. I will give my­self plea­sure.” I feel a bit silly. But, while I usu­ally shower in the morn­ing, I put plea­sure first and soak in the tub with my Le Labo oil, which smells of wood smoke and patchouli, and re­minds me of kiss­ing at fes­ti­vals.

The next day there’s more deep breath­ing, fo­cus­ing on ‘grat­i­tude’ for how my lungs work. Pen­ning­ton wants me to ‘eat some­thing de­li­cious, to savour slowly’ with no dis­trac­tions. I make a brownie last for 20 min­utes and

no­tice the flavours. Un­usu­ally, I don’t feel guilty or bloated when I fin­ish. Pen­ning­ton be­lieves orgasms hap­pen in the brain, so this is about savour­ing a sen­sa­tion and notic­ing the flow of plea­sure be­tween body and brain.

Later in the week I have to spend 15 min­utes read­ing erotic lit­er­a­ture (I pick Anaïs Nin’s Delta Of Venus) and then, as in­structed, touch my body with­out wor­ry­ing about hav­ing an or­gasm. I en­joy stroking my neck and the backs of my thighs, but tense up when I touch my stom­ach. It’s a “In The Or­gasm Pre­scrip­tion For Women, Pen­ning­ton rec­om­mends we have THREE a WEEK” part of my body I feel in­se­cure about and that dis­tracts me. I’m look­ing at my­self with crit­i­cal eyes in­stead of think­ing about what feels good. Still, that night I sleep deeply.

The next morn­ing I feel calmer and ex­cited enough to ini­ti­ate sex with my hus­band (a rare thing on a week­day morn­ing). I’m not sure my or­gasm is more in­tense, but I don’t stop smil­ing all day and my hus­band doesn’t seem to mind be­ing late for work for a change.

WEEK TWO The Sen­sual Full Body Touch rit­ual

While I’m now think­ing about and ini­ti­at­ing sex more, I thought my orgasms might be stronger and longer. I’m wor­ried I’m fail­ing some­how. It doesn’t help that to­day I have to write about what my life would be like if I were ‘fully em­brac­ing my right to self-ex­pres­sion’ and the ex­er­cise makes me anx­ious.

I turn a cor­ner on day 12 with the af­fir­ma­tion ‘I know when to take it easy’. The words re­mind me to re­lax and fo­cus on be­ing in my body in the mo­ment, not try­ing to get an A* at the end.

One of my sin­gle friends re­cently com­plained she hasn’t had an or­gasm in months, partly be­cause mas­tur­ba­tion feels like one more thing ‘to do’. Our talk makes me think about how sex is sold to us as one more thing to achieve, so I de­cide to put less pres­sure on my­self.

That day, the rit­ual is Sen­sual Full Body Touch – 15 min­utes of read­ing Delta Of Venus, then as much time as I like to touch my body ‘with no goal of reach­ing or­gasm’. In­spired by the erotic lit­er­a­ture, I ex­per­i­ment with pres­sure: in­stead of touching my breasts like I’m play­ing James Bond do­ing a shower scene, I pinch my nip­ples hard. I find a spot right be­hind my left knee, and as I stroke it my breaths be­come short and shal­low. I start to touch my­self be­tween my legs and even though I wasn’t in­tend­ing to cli­max, I do.

I’ve never been so turned on when I’ve been by my­self. I’m shocked. This is the or­gasm I wanted. I won­der whether the pro­gramme has per­formed its magic or just ba­sic re­verse psy­chol­ogy; per­haps the most free­ing route to or­gasm is be­ing told you don’t need to have one. Ul­ti­mately, Pen­ning­ton makes mas­tur­ba­tion seem just as im­por­tant as sex with a part­ner – I’m start­ing to think she might be right.

The next day I tell my hus­band I want to try not com­ing, to fo­cus on the way ev­ery­thing else feels. He looks pan­icked but agrees to try. Ev­ery time I come close, he stops and does some­thing else, un­til I get so turned on that I leap on top of him and cli­max so loudly I now have to take the stairs ev­ery time I see my neigh­bours in the lift.

WEEK THREE Ex­plor­ing my erotic fan­tasies

The pro­gramme in­sists I try writ­ing an erotic story, which would have been daunt­ing two weeks ago, but now I’m in­spired to give it a go. I start by writ­ing 500 words about when my hus­band and I had a car­riage to our­selves on the overnight train from Paris to Venice. Pen­ning­ton talks about the power of fan­tasy, so my next story is a bit wilder – I’m sur­prised by a stranger when I’m touching my­self in the park.

Thanks to her in­struc­tions, my sex drive has rock­eted, which is ex­cit­ing and frus­trat­ing – my hus­band is stunned to find I now want twice as much sex as he does. I think my orgasms are get­ting longer – when I feel them com­ing I try to hold back. And the ex­pe­ri­ence has acted as a re­la­tion­ship MOT: my hus­band and I aren’t just hav­ing more sex, but talk­ing more about it and it’s bring­ing us closer.

The main prob­lem is the pro­gramme dom­i­nates your day. I don’t know how most women would man­age. Pen­ning­ton says “90% of the or­gasm hap­pens in the mind”, but I would have liked more tips about how to ex­plore my body.

Still, thanks to Pen­ning­ton, I’m mak­ing time to mas­tur­bate and feel much hap­pier for it. Most im­por­tantly? I’ve re­alised this pro­gramme isn’t just about orgasms – it’s about mak­ing sure we value our­selves enough to pri­ori­tise them. That’s a les­son worth learn­ing.

The Or­gasm Pre­scrip­tion For Women by An­drea Pen­ning­ton (Make Your Mark Global, £13.67)

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