By Dr. Jessica O’Reilly
Our sexuality is a core component of our personal identities. We all have unique sexual fingerprints. While sexual pleasure is a natural and healthy experience, cultural restrictions sometimes hinder its natural emergence. It is not uncommon for women (and men) to struggle with conflicting messages, rigid gender prescriptions and repressive values that curtail our instinctive drive for pleasure and sexual satisfaction.
If you’re ready to explore your individual path to sexual satisfaction, here are some practical tips to help you embrace your sexuality and reap the rewards of a more satisfying sex life.
Blow his mind! Rock his world! Drive your man wild with pleasure!
Women’s workshops focusing on the art of seduction, technique and performance are sell-out events in my business. Frisky friends will gather together to perfect their sexual skills. Amid the laughter, learning and wine-sipping, however, one question always emerges:
What about me? My partner needs a class too!
You’d think that our own pleasure would be more of a primary concern. The reality, however, is that sex is often framed as a matter of performance for our partners, as opposed to engagement for our own enjoyment. One of the first steps toward embracing sexual pleasure and satisfaction involves reframing our approach to ensure that our own pleasure is prioritized. This might involve learning to pleasure ourselves, exploring our bodies’ unique responses with new techniques or toys, reading erotic stories, changing up our routine and/or providing our partners with a bit of guidance. A little selfishness can go a long way.
As you become accustomed to focusing on your own pleasure as well as your lover’s, you might find that your mind begins to wander into new sexual territory. Fantasizing about sex is perfectly healthy. You may even find that you’re turned on by scenarios, activities and make-believe lovers that you’d never embrace in real life. Rest assured that sexual fantasies that contravene your personal values and real identity are simply a form of safe escapism, so go ahead and relish in the moment!
Love your body
Maintaining a positive body image is vital to sexual pleasure, so learning to love your body is of paramount importance. We often assume that we’ll feel better about our bodies if we lose/gain a few pounds, tone a few more muscles or address a few “problem areas.” These so-called fixes, however, may change the way our bodies look, but do little to address the real challenge: changing the way we feel about our bodies.
Improving your body image often has little to do with your appearance, but is intrinsically connected to your overall self-esteem. Some ideas to bolster your self-image include:
-Practicing yoga, taking a dance class, going for a hike or engaging in any movement-related activity to take pleasure in your body’s performance.
-Pampering yourself (e.g. getting a pedicure, facial or massage).
-Hanging out with friends who are generally positive and don’t put themselves (or others) down.
-Learning a new skill that involves physical activity (e.g. rock climbing, stand-up paddle boarding, archery).
-Soak in compliments. Let them go to your head!
-Say nice things about yourself and others. Compliments and confidence are contagious.
-Getting enough sleep, reducing stress levels and eating a balanced diet to improve your mood and energy levels.
Think outside the box
You already know that most women don’t reach orgasm from penetration alone, so don’t be shy about using your hands, your partner’s lips or a playful prop to help take yourself over the edge. Many orgasms are the result of rubbing, grinding and humping as opposed to bouncing up and down and sliding in and out.
When we measure sexual satisfaction in numbers alone (e.g. How many times? How many minutes? How many orgasms?), we all lose, as none of us seems to measure up. Forget quantity and focus on the quality of your interactions and intimate moments. As performance pressure is alleviated, pleasure levels are more likely to soar to new heights.
Dr. Jess (Jessica O’Reilly, PhD) is a sexologist, best-selling author and television personality. She has worked with thousands of couples and reaches millions of viewers weekly through her work with PlayboyTV. Her PhD studies involved the development of training programs in sex education for teachers and her education and undergraduate degrees focused on equity and sexual diversity.
Learn more at SexWithDrJess.com.