Welcome to Better Sex With Dr. Lexx, a monthly column where sex therapist, educator and consultant Dr. Lexx Brown-James shares expertise, advice and wisdom about sex, relationships and more. Approaching education about sex as a life-long endeavor — “from womb to tomb” — Dr. Lexx (AKA The #CouplesClinician) is your guide to the shame-free, medically accurate, inclusive and comprehensive conversations for you, your partner and your whole family.
Intimate time with your lover can be downright therapeutic. It can be the best release, time for connection, or truly just scratch that carnal itch you might have. Whatever the reason, the pleasure you engage in is not something that you (typically 😉) want to damper (We’ll talk about kink, edging and teasing another time).
Unfortunately, women — especially those who are heterosexual — are at the bottom of the ladder when comes to, well, cumming. It’s called “the orgasm gap” — referring to the phenomenon that women who have sex with men actually orgasm the least amount compared to straight men, bi men, gay men, bi women and gay women. And it’s trash. There are a whole bunch of reasons that go into it and we can talk about those all day. Instead, I want to offer some ways to center our own pleasure in sex that no one ever taught us.
Hard Penis Not Required!
First, I have news for you, that you might not have heard. A hard penis is not necessary for sexual pleasure and intercourse does not end, nor begin with one. It’s a routine as old as time right. Hard penis means intercourse is ready to happen and ends when penis is no longer hard. It’s also a lie, myth and a legend. A hard penis — if that’s a thing you enjoy — is not the end-all-be-all to sexual pleasure and just because it’s there and erect or there and not erect does not mean that sexual play has to begin or cease.
Unfortunately, somewhere someone made up the steps to get to intercourse with an orgasm being a bonus. For example, remember the baseball bases? First base might have been kissing, second base (well, look, I have no idea what second base is anymore, but you get my drift). Home would be penetrative intercourse and a grand slam would be an orgasm for all parties. We have been conditioned to think this is the only way sex can go, and it’s a bold-faced lie. You get to mix up your pleasure. So instead of baseball, think more Wheel of Fortune. Dr. Al Vernacchio has a great talk about sex being like pizza that explains this concept too. And, while we’re not making pleasure time solely based on the existence of a firm penis, why don’t we also add in some fun.
A second way to get more pleasure from your interactions is to try positive encouragement that centers your pleasure. Women and femmes are specifically silenced around pleasure and taught to center the needs, desires, and pleasures of others first — even at their own expense sometimes.
Instead of sacrificing your pleasure, or becoming a coach, try giving positive encouragement. It might sound something like, “I really like it when you…”, “I have been thinking about….”, “Remember when…”, “I tried this thing recently and it would be so much hotter if you did it”. Feel free to use these while you’re in the throes of passion to encourage a lover to bring you more pleasure.
Touch and go! Or Stay in touch!
Third, while encouraging pleasure you can also show your lover what you want and how you want it. Using your hand over their hand, shifting your body, or moving your body to your own pleasure rhythm might be ways to increase pleasure while with a lover. These moves also help indicate to your lover how you like to be touched, the speed and pressure that is most pleasurable, and is a gentle way to direct your lover without feeling like a coach.
Bring out the toys!
One last way to enhance your pleasure is to incorporate sexual pleasure devices- also known as sex toys.
Sex toys have come such a long way. They come in a variety of styles, colors, speeds, and even textures. It’s also important to note that sex toys are teammates, not substitutes. They are there to help and build pleasure rather than replace the connection that you have already established. Using sex toys can be tricky as one lover might like a sensation and the other might not. Check out a few of these best-selling sex toys to see if one (or more) might be a good fit for you.
If you have any reservations about trying these methods, remember centering your own pleasure also increases arousal for your partner too. Arousal begets arousal and that can make for a fun time.
Before you go, check out 100 (yeah, we said 100) of our favorite vibrators we’d recommend to our friends. Ideal for solo time or partner play!