Written by Sexual Wellness Institute Therapist, Eric Anfinson, MS LMFT
As a sex therapist, I get to hear a lot of questions that people are often afraid to ask. When it comes to sex, there's this cultural myth that we're just supposed to know everything already, and if you need to learn anything about sex, you've already failed. When you pair this with the cultural taboo of talking about sex and the abysmal state of sex education, you end up with a lot of unanswered questions and misinformation. Today we'll look at some common questions and their answers.
How can I be good at sex?
This is one that everyone wants to know and many people have written entire books on, but let's look at some simple tips to improve your sex game. When it comes to sexual skill there are two major components, physical and mental. Great sex absolutely requires technical skill, but this can be very hard to learn. Sex-Ed in high school certainly isn't teaching you cunnilingus techniques. On this front there are many good books that go into detail on the technical aspect of sex, I'll list some at the end of the blog. Even the technical side of things isn't this simple, however. Each person is different in their physical body and preferences, so the simplest thing you can do to be good at sex is ask your partner what feels good for them and do that. When you combine general technical skill with your partner's personal preferences you're well on your way to great sex.
The other half of great sex is your mental game.
This means being present and in the moment, or being engaged with the experience of sex while not overly focused on the technical aspects. I like to use the metaphor of going for a bike ride. You don't go for a ride to think about pedaling, steering, and balancing. You go for a ride to enjoy the experience. You may occasionally need to check in on technical aspects if you hit a sharp turn or a patch of gravel, but then you bring your attention back to enjoying the ride. Side note, this means your technical skills need to be well practiced so you don't have to focus too much on them. The other mental piece of great sex is engaging your partner mentally and emotionally as well. What are you doing to mentally and emotionally stimulate them as well as physically? A good way to bring this in is through sexual contexts/themes, such as a power dynamic or romantic environment. I've spoken at length about sexual contexts in other blogs so feel free to check those out as well. The idea originally comes from Dr. Emily Nagoski's "Come As You Are" which is included in the list of great books at the bottom.
Can a vibrator break my clit?
The short answer is no, a vibrator cannot break your clitoris. However we all have a limit on stimulation and sensitivity. If you're looking for a good experience with a vibrator you want to choose one that has settings that feel good to you, some are more intense than others. You may also want to play around with the placement of your vibrator, sometimes placing it directly on the clitoris can be too intense, so find what works for you. Whether orgasm happens or not, sometimes the clitoris reaches its stimulation limit and needs a break. This doesn't mean it's broken, we call this the refractory period and after several minutes of intense sensitivity it will begin to return to normal. Lastly, some people worry that if they get used to a vibrator, they will have to rely on it to achieve orgasm. This is also untrue. Orgasm typically requires consistent rhythmic stimulation. Vibrators are just particularly good at achieving this and can sometimes lead to quicker, easier orgasms, but any other consistent rhythmic stimulation can still end in orgasm.
I've been faking orgasms with my partner, is that bad?
Yes. This is bad for a number of reasons. It can be hard to share with a partner that things aren't working out the way you'd like them too. Sex is a very vulnerable topic and it's easy to worry about hurting your partner. That being said, faking orgasms is only going to lead to bigger problems down the road. The first thing I want to address is that orgasm doesn't need to happen every single time for a good sex life. If no orgasms are happening that's a different story. The next issue here is that as long as you are faking, nothing is going to change or get better. This often leads to increasing disinterest in sex, or even in resentment towards sex and your partner. I know it's scary, but it's worth having the conversation. I recommend doing so outside of the bedroom and not immediately after or before sex.
Is it ok to masturbate if I have a regular sexual partner?
Of course! I like to split our sexual needs in two. We have a basic human need for sexual release, and we have a need for sexual intimacy with our partner. These things are different and may be needed at different times.The first need is like hunger, if you're hungry or horny you can ask your partner to get you a snack or have sex, but if they don't want to you can just do it yourself. This need often comes up more frequently than the other. If you had great intimate sex yesterday you might still want an orgasm today, but not need the emotional intimacy or work that comes with sex. I've often heard people say that they had great sex in the morning, and thinking about it later that day turned them on again so they masturbated. The basic need is often more pressing as well, if I need to eat I can't always wait for my partner to be ready to eat as well. However, when it comes to sex, we both need to be on the same page. So don't worry about yourself or your partner masturbating. That masturbation isn't doing anything to meet the need for intimacy and you'll still want each other.
I'm in a heterosexual relationship and my boyfriend asked me to peg him, is he gay?
I've talked about this at length as well, but the short answer is no. Anal sex can feel pleasurable for men because the anus is the best way to stimulate the prostate which can cause intense pleasure and orgasm. It's anatomy that makes male anal penetration feel good, not sexual orientation. For those who don't know, pegging refers to a partner using a strap on dildo to anally penetrate their partner. I think it's important to note that a dildo does not equal a penis. Some dildos specifically replicate penises while others are simply tools for pleasure. Regardless, the point of this question is that your partner wants YOU to pleasure them, not another man.
Books for Reference:
She Comes First - Dr. Ian Kerner
Great Sex - Michael Castleman
Come As You Are - Dr. Emily Nagoski
Ready to Talk With a Sex Therapist in Plymouth, MN?
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In addition to couples therapy & marriage counseling, our LGBT & polyamory friendly sex therapists provide a wide range of mental health services at our Plymouth, MN counseling office. Other services include sex therapy, EFT, evidence-based couples therapy, EMDR & sexual trauma therapy, as well as, teen therapy. In order to help serve the mental health needs of all those living in Minnesota, we also offer online counseling & sex therapy. We also provide a variety of helpful tips on our mental health blog. Please feel free to reach out with questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment to begin working with a skilled therapist! Your love life can be amazing.
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