I say it all the time: The biggest obstacle to revelatory, life-altering, path-affirming sex is shame and expectation. So the last thing I want to do is “should” all over you about your beliefs, your values, your sex, and your vagina. (I’m pretty sure you’ve had enough of that already.) However, after working with hundreds and hundreds of women as a somatic sex coach who helps women tune into their full sexual expression, I’ve talked to a LOT of women about their views and opinions on sex and sexual experiences.
I create a safe space for my clients where they can feel safe exploring sexual experiences—sexual harassment and abuse but also trauma from birth injuries, IUDs, STDs and many other past experiences—and there are a few things that I really do wish women would stop believing about sex. Here are six of them that we can start with right now:
1. You have “low libido” if you don’t want the sex you’re being offered.
Most women who come into my office saying that they have “low libido” or don’t know why they aren’t into sex anymore really just don’t want the sex they are being offered. They also don’t know how to create the sex they do want. On top of that, most women think of climax as the ultimate goal of sex. If I could wave my magic wand and change only ONE thing about how we, as a society, view sex, it would be that the end of sex is climax.
Most of us feel that we didn’t do sex right or well if both people don’t experience climax. As women, we specifically feel that it is our job and duty to please our partner, and that “it” wasn’t good or that “we” are not good at sex, if ejaculation, specifically, is not the conclusion of each encounter. This belief usually makes sex boring and routine after a while; it becomes about the destination rather than the journey—and the destination is always the same. Changing this mindset can be the first step to creating the sex you want, which often means no more problems with libido.
2. Once you start, you have to keep going.
There’s a very common misconception that once you’re in, you’re in. I would love women to know that they can pause or stop at any point during any sexual interaction and change directions. Why? Because we really have to check ourselves and notice when we are just tolerating something because going along with things seems easier than speaking up. Sometimes it’s useful to have some phrases on hand, in case we feel frozen or awkward in the moment. “I’d love to pause and move away right now.” “I feel complete for now.” “I notice that I am not as present as I’d like to be right now.” all work to pause the encounter and decide whether or not you want to resume.
3. Sex always means penis-in-vagina (PIV) penetration.
OK, so I need two magic wands, because this one is extremely important too. We need to expand our definition of sex beyond PIV, as it is known in the sex world. If we define “sex” as a single act, we miss out on the enormous power that turn-on and arousal have to change and direct our life paths. If we expand our definition, then we can re-evaluate our objectives.
Ask yourself: What do you want from sex? To expand the realms of pleasure? To heal ancestral wounds? To channel spiritual insights? To merge in Divine Union? To explore your unconscious? To experience playfulness and fun? You can create experiences from those objectives rather than warming yourself up as fast as possible for penetration and then moving as fast as possible toward the goal of PIV. PIV can be an item on the menu rather than the only item.
4. If you pause or change the pace of sex, you are going to “ruin” it.
In other words, many women think that if you pause or change to pace, he’ll lose his erection and not be able to get it back. Then, inevitable, you’ll lose momentum and it’ll all be over. But the truth is that stopping and pausing during sex can actually enhance connection and arousal rather than ruin it. With pauses, you will be able to be more present in your mind, body, and emotions. You will be more present and in sync, with pauses to calibrate and integrate all of the arousal. You will be able to be more true to the moment and create something more than just a physical experience.
5. That it is empowering and advanced to have sex without emotional connection.
We’ve received a lot of mixed messages about what empowered sexuality looks like. Each woman has her own unique sexual trajectory and path. That said, I see a lot of women who are trying to be empowered and “free” by adopting a masculine attitude toward sex: trying to condition themselves to be able to have sex with many men without emotional connection or attachment. Most of the time alcohol or drugs is a part of the interaction so that they can tolerate the intensity of the interactions without much prior connection or communication.
I’m not trying to slut-shame anyone, on the contrary, I want women who feel like they would feel safer, more open, and more orgasmic with more emotional connection during sex to know that that is perfectly OK. It is not somehow more advanced or more evolved to have disconnected sex. This is a living inquiry that requires trial and error. Rarely do I hear women wishing they would have gone further than they did in a sexual encounter. Often I hear women say they don’t know what happened and why it went where it went. Honor yourself and know that you can honor your pace AND get what you want.