In my private mind-body sex coaching practice, I often find that we have shame about even simple things relating to sex. I've included in this piece 10 of the most common questions I hear from clients.
1. Does my partner lose their erection because they're not attracted to me?
No. Both men and women have complex biological and psychological processes that affect their sexual response cycle. Men can feel desire (first stage) but fail to reach full engorgement of the penis because of fear around pleasing you, body insecurities, physical fatigue, or other emotional stress factors. Do not take it personally. Do other sexual activities until the erection comes back, which may take several encounters.
2. Are men grossed out by period sex?
While a small group of men do not want to have sex with a menstruating woman, the majority are just happy to be having sex. Some even prefer period sex. For some women they are more sensitive during their menstruation, creating more pleasure, and many enjoy the primal aspect of it. For quick clean-up after period sex I recommend purchasing the Adult Play Mat.
3. I am scared by some of my fantasies- is something wrong with me?
Humans have a wide variety of sexual fantasies if they are given permission to fantasize! Whether you have same-sex fantasies, trans, S&M/BDSM or anything else under the sun, you are totally normal. Just because you fantasize about it while masturbating does not mean you necessarily want to experience that activity, nor does it define who you are. The human psyche is a fascinating place, and fantasies allow us to peer beneath the surface at the conflicts we have as humans as well as deeper aspects of our identity. If something really bothers you, take your mind in another direction. But if you enjoy the fantasy, know that it is okay to fantasize about anything you want in your mind, as long as your real life encounters are consensual and safe. Enjoy your complex inner world!
4. I haven't had unprotected sex but my vagina smells funny- help!
The most common thing that happens in a woman's vagina is that the normal bacteria that live there become out of balance. This could be from a physical cause, such as douching (which is not recommended), poor nutrition, using soaps and body washes in the vagina, underwear made of materials other than cotton or even sex. Unusual odors especially fishy or foul odors that persist despite good hygiene should be evaluated by a women’s health professional. Our body's health is often a reflection of our ability to downregulate. If you are in a chronic state of stress around sex, boundaries, identity, relationships or safety, or you are experiencing a lot of anger with family or partners, this could cause an imbalance of your delicate body chemistry. Speak with a counselor or friends, journal and improve your self-care, and get checked for STI's just in case. The vagina is self-cleaning and healing, so you will eventually get it back in balance.
5. Should I be scared I didn't use a condom last night?
There is no reason to be scared, but it is a good idea to get an STI check if you and your partner weren't recently tested. The most common infections are easily treated with an antibiotic. If you or your partner are not on birth control, then you may also want to ask about using Plan B and getting as early a pregnancy test as possible. Don't stress, though, and don't feel ashamed.
6. I can't have an orgasm during sex with a partner- how do I have one?
In order for the majority of women to have an orgasm during sex they must have a healthy history of masturbation or self-pleasuring that leads to orgasm, the ability to fantasize and achieve high levels of arousal, and also the safety with a partner to be open, naked and highly sexual. Most women don't let themselves embrace their raw sexuality. Let yourself be the seductress, the submissive, or the goddess; let yourself enjoy giving and receiving pleasure and the reactions you get from your partner, let yourself feel powerfully sexy in your body, and communicate, communicate and communicate some more with your partner so that they keep doing what feels good while you focus on what is sexy about it and let yourself grip and breathe and squeeze and grind, and whatever you naturally do to achieve orgasm. For extra help, have them engage your breasts, anus, or other actions to increase arousing stimulation.
7. I get really wet before and during sex- is this normal?
Yes, both women and men secrete fluids from their genitals, and some women get especially lubricated and many have learned to release female ejaculate from the Skene's glands via the urethra in states of high arousal. Enjoy how wet you get! Your partner will love it.
8. I love my partner but fantasize about other people- help!
While some people only think about their partners when they masturbate, many humans think about other people or watch other people having sex through porn. This doesn't mean you or your partner love or desire each other any less. As sexuality beings, it is normal to be aroused by more than one human. It doesn't mean we act on it in a monogamous relationship though. In order to open the relationship to other partners, this must be discussed and the specifics negotiated.
9. Do I masturbate too much?
There is no such thing. Masturbate as much as you want. If you are masturbating to porn or with a vibrator, I recommend you spend equal time masturbating without porn or the vibrator so that you can enjoy healthy sex with a partner as well.
10. I'm attracted to things I don't want to be attracted to.
There is a huge world for taboo sexuality that perhaps you should check out. Fetlife.com is a good place to start. When we learn that there are others with the same desires, and that there are adults that want to play out those fantasies with us, we can find healthy, fun and stimulating outlets for our sexuality. The worst thing to do is suppress it and then act out in a non-consensual way. Your sexuality is natural and good. Embrace your unique sexual blueprint and reclaim your desire for sex and life.
About the author
Lauren Brim, Ph.D is a doctor of human sexuality who is changing the conversation we have about sex. She's the author of five books, including “The New Rules of Sex” and she is founder and creator of the Adult Play Mat and the make up and apparel brand, Turned On. Lauren has worked in the healing arts for over a decade and began to specialize in women's sexual health after training to be a midwife and witnessing that health care providers weren't speaking with women about sex. Her work focuses on breaking down barriers to health, relationships and pleasure by expanding our individual and cultural paradigm of sexuality. She is a gifted healer and speaker with a private practice as a mind-body sex therapist in Los Angeles. Learn more about her work at www.LaurenBrim.com.