How Can I Orgasm During Sex?

how to orgasmAchieving orgasm is different for everyone despite what films, books and the internet have you believe.  Not every woman can reach heavenly climax through penetration alone. In fact, for more than 70% of women, penetrative vaginal sex is usually not enough to make her cum.

In this Team Sex Ed video with Kate McCombs and Louise Bourchier, you will learn three main ways to increase the likelihood of reaching orgasm during vaginal intercourse:

  • Stimulate your clitoris using a hand or sex toy during sex.
  • Find a sex position that puts more attention of the G-spot.
  • Try the coital alignment technique.

Watch the video for more explanation on each one of these sexy pointers.

This article was originally published here.

BY KATE MCCOMBS | KateMcCombs.com

“How can I orgasm during sex*?” is one of the most frequently asked questions I get from women in my workshops.

The sex we see in porn and rom-coms alike would have us believe that this is somehow easy to achieve, but in fact, fewer than 30% of vulva-owners orgasm from penetration alone. In other words, it’s totally normal to not orgasm from penetrative sex.

But if the idea of orgasming during penis-in-vagina sex is sexy to you (a desire that is also totally normal and valid), I have a few suggestions for how to make it more likely. As part of our #TeamSexEd summer series, my dear sex ed friend Louise Bourchier and I filmed this video with our three top tips.

We filmed it at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles while we were out there teaching a Female Orgasm workshop for the Los Angeles Academy of Sex Education. I gotta say, it was pretty fun talking about orgasms in front of the Hollywood sign.

I hope you enjoy it!

*To clarify, when they’re asking this, they nearly always mean penis-in-vagina sex. There are many, equally-valid ways of defining “sex.” Broadening your definition of “sex” is a good start for increasingly the likelihood that an orgasm will occur.

condom ad condoms too tight

kate_mccombsKATE MCCOMBS is a NYC-based sex educator, writer, and maker of puns. Ultimately, all of Kate’s work is about helping people feel more comfortable talking about sex. She believes that meaningful conversations + accurate information can help us create a healthier and more pleasure-filled world. Kate writes articles and teaches workshops about sexual health, pleasure, and communication.
Follow Kate on Twitter @katecom

louise bourchier 150 150LOUISE BOURCHIER, MPH is a sex educator who knows health and pleasure. She teaches workshops to adult audiences throughout Australia and New Zealand, where her mission is to facilitate access to information that allows people to experience healthy and pleasurable sex lives. She works closely with D.VICE: the toy shop for grownups and is a proud emissary of Sex Geekdom Melbourne. Follow her on Twitter @louiselabouche

4 Things That Make Your Period Easier and Sexier

Image from Beth Granter and the "Seeing Red Project"

Image from Beth Granter and the “Seeing Red Project”

We often learn about menstruation in early sex education, usually around the time when female students are starting their periods. Typically boys and girls are separated from each other to talk “in private” and taught about deodorant, pubic hair, disposable pads and tampons. However, there are more choices when it comes to menstrual flow than what is often taught in sex ed class.

Sex educator, Kate McCombs expands on those options from a pleasure-inclusive perspective, offering four things that will make your period easier and sexier. She talks about how menstruation doesn’t have to be an unsexy obstacle or messy hassle of “ragging it”. Here are her practical tips to relieve any discomfort and embrace menstruation as a vital sign of good health.

Revisit the way you relate to your period and take a look at these lesser known products she recommends.

This post was originally publish here

BY KATE MCCOMBS | KateMcCombs.com

Managing a period isn’t always easy. For those of us with uteruses who are post-puberty and pre-menopause, learning to care for oneself during menstruation is both a rite of passage and a necessary life skill.

In school, the sex ed we got (if we were lucky) included things like how to use maxi pads and tampons or how to use a hot pad for cramps. But there are some grown-up period management skills that I didn’t learn in my middle school health class.

This post is all about those things – the things I learned as an adult that make that time of the month go more smoothly.

1. Silicone menstrual cups. Reusable silicone menstrual cups, like the Diva Cup and Lunette, have become an essential instrument in my period-management tool kit. They’re soft and flexible, about the size of a shot glass, and shaped like the cup portion of a wine glass. They last for years, are eco-friendly, and can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time during light flow days.

My favorite thing about menstrual cups: For folks who are concerned about containing the blood, the cup makes it easier to receive oral sex during your period. If you insert it in the shower and rinse off, blood doesn’t get outside your body until you empty your cup again.

To learn more about them, check out this piece I wrote called “Why I <3 Menstrual Cups”.

2. Liberator Throe. It’s velvet on one side, satin on the other, and it’s designed to keep lube and bodily fluids off your bedding. Any liquids the Throe comes into contact with will not seep through the fabric, so it keeps your sheets and upholstery clean.

You can see how this makes period sex easier. Just throw down the Throe, and period sex can be more spontaneous and easier to clean up.

3. Black nitrile gloves. When Andy and I were discussing the Throe for period sex, he mentioned to me that he often gets questions about safer sex during menstruation from customers in the Good Vibrations stores.

Andy Duran of Good Vibrations store suggestion for both sexier safer sex and a sexier period: black nitrile gloves. If you happen to be bothered or turned off by the sight of blood, these gloves make it less obvious because of the dark color.

It’s also easy to turn them inside out when you’re taking them off so any blood stays contained. And how hot is a tight-fitting black glove?

4. Dear Kate underwear. These amazing stain- and leak-resistant panties are designed to be backups for whatever menstrual product you’re using. They’re cute, comfortable, and made in the USA. Not to mention they have an awesome name 😉

The CEO of Dear Kate, Julie Sygiel, has an engineering background and spent two years developing the first line of Dear Kate panties. She created a problem-solving product designed to make a period feel sexier.

(An off-label use for Dear Kates: wear them as post-coital panties at any time of the month for containing any lube and bodily fluids that escape when gravity takes effect.)

kate_mccombsKATE MCCOMBS is a NYC-based sex educator, writer, and maker of puns. Ultimately, all of Kate’s work is about helping people feel more comfortable talking about sex. She believes that meaningful conversations + accurate information can help us create a healthier and more pleasure-filled world. Kate writes articles and teaches workshops about sexual health, pleasure, and communication.
Follow Kate on Twitter @katecom

How Do I Get Wetter? Tips to Conquer Sexual Dryness

72- how-to-share-a-dildo

Sex educator, Megan Andelloux of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (the CSPH) answers the question:

I have trouble getting wet and staying wet before and during intercourse. What do I do?

Experiencing sexual dryness does not necessarily mean something is medically “wrong” with you. Vaginal wetness is unique to every woman. Just as bodies are individually different, we also vary in what turns us on and how we get wet. In the following three minute video, Megan Andelloux explains what can effect lubrication, which ranges from emotional stress to antihistamines to menstrual cycle, and more.

Here are Megan’s quick tips for how to get wetter in the sack:

  • Reflect on your stress level in day to day life.
  • Both hormonal and non-hormonal medication can effect wetness. Check your medication and talk to your doctor about alternatives.
  • Invest in personal lubrication. Megan recommends the silicone-based Move by ONE.
  • Explore what toys are designed to stimulate the anterior fornix erogenous zone (AFE zone).
  • Stimulation of the nipples increase vaginal lubrication.
  • Check out the book Women’s Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston.

BY The CSPH | theCSPH.org

megan_andellouxMEGAN ANDELLOUX is a Clinical Sexologist and certified Sexuality Educator, listed on Wikipedia as one of the top sexuality educators in America, her innovative education programs, writing, social media presence, and ambitious speaking schedule has made her one of America’s most recognized and sought-after experts in the growing field of sexual pleasure, health, and politics.
Follow Megan on twitter @HiOhMegan

csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.

EVENT: Choosing Condoms for Pleasure with Melissa White

SHE logo_hi-resJoin Melissa White of Lucky Bloke as she explains: How to Choose Condoms for Ultimate Pleasure

As CEO at Lucky Bloke, converting non-believers to a better sex life with condoms is Melissa’s passion and expertise. So if you would file yourself in the love-to-hate condom category, you’re sleeping with a partner who is a condom foe, or even if you’re just curious about better sex with condoms, Melissa’s here to empower you with a workshop that is guaranteed to radically improve your safer-sex pleasure.

She’ll also get to the bottom of lube, the perfect condiment to much hotter sex. If your past experience was a sticky mess or you simply have no idea where to begin Melissa’s workshop should be your first stop!

WHAT:  Join Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, for a crazy fun session at SHE, the Sexual Health Expo, that will change the way you think about both condoms and lube — forever.

While the drugstores would have you believe that there are 3 choices and 2 bottles, that’s not the truth at all.

Bring your sexy brain and your sense of humor and discover:

  • Why 70% of people are using the wrong sized condom

  • How to choose the right condom, from material to size to texture and taste

  • Why the lube you’re using might be the wrong one for your type of play

  • Why your bathroom has the one tool you need to get you into the right sized condom
    (hint: it’s not your scale)

All attendees will receive the Lucky Bloke Ultimate Condom or Lube Sampler of their choice!

WHEN:   Saturday, January 17th at 11:30am

WHERE:   Sofitel Hotel in West Hollywood, CA.
Event tickets: $25 per couple, good for 2 days at the Expo > Get them here.

WHO:  As the CEO of Lucky Bloke, Melissa’s mission is to help legions of condom users across the globe have the very best sex possible by introducing them to condoms that are specifically ideal for them. Lots of people are fumbling the safer sex thing. Melissa has a knack for showing you how to choose just the precisely right condom for you – and how that translates to much better sex.

While it’s true that Melissa did not know during the career unit in 7th grade she’d eventually end up a condom expert, it’s undeniable that there are few things that make her happier than turning a condom skeptic into a condom lover.  

Often found online fighting sexual health stigma and misinformation – Melissa is the internet’s favorite condom crusader. Her expertise of making sex education sexy can be found at Huffington Post, Think Progress, Mother Jones, Men’s Health, the Good Men Project and RH Reality Check (to name a few), as well as Lucky Bloke’s recently launched SaferSex.Education, an online resource providing accurate, progressive advice from leading sex educators –created to support everyone navigating sexual relationships and choices.

When she’s not thinking about how to spread the condom gospel through Lucky Bloke’s global condom reviews and safer sex awareness initiatives, there is an 87% chance Melissa is considering what song she will choose for her inevitable Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon lip sync battle.

About SHE – Sexual Health Expo

Experience an open environment where learning the latest facts about sex and intimacy is celebrated with style and flair! What better location to explore the diverse sexual landscape than the colorful city of Los Angeles? Featuring today’s leaders in sex, intimacy and romance, Sexual Health Expo (SHE) will deliver a crash course in understanding modern relationships with must-attend workshops and captivating intimacy product showcases- all with the chic backdrop of the stylish Sofitel Hotel in West Hollywood, CA.

SHE will showcase the best that the sexual wellness and intimacy products marketplace has to offer with top experts to guide you. SHE’s exhibition area will allow you to immerse yourself in the exploration of today’s top intimacy products with product demos and special events alongside like-minded singles and couples.

SHE is set to uncover the ins and outs of sexual health, intimacy and the evolving needs of couples and sexually active adults of all genders and sexual orientation. This groundbreaking event will bridge the gap between men, women and their understanding of sex.

Event Website: www.sexualhealthexpo.com

Illusions of the Body: How Your Thoughts Look On Your Body

Photographer Gracie Hagen

Photo credit: Gracie Hagen

Sex educator and body positive activist, Elle Chase, argues that being unconscious of how our thoughts effect our self-image is like leaving the kitchen faucet running. You can easily ignore the direct physical consequences because it seemingly isn’t affecting your immediate everyday life.

Inspired by the photography project, “Illusions of the Body”, Elle challenges us to ask ourselves, “Does the way in which you carry yourself match how you feel about yourself? Are you physically representing your positive or negative thoughts on a daily basis?

Read this motivational piece and then take a look in the mirror.

This post was originally published here.

BY ELLE CHASE | ElleChase.com

Look at this woman’s body.
Look at her in terms of the first picture being one of self-appreciation and confidence.
Then look at the second one being of self-deprecation.
Which one do you relate to?

Chicago photographer Gracie Hagan likes to play with with themes of emotion and perception in her work. In one particular photo series entitled “Illusions of the Body” she makes clear that our bodies can take different forms depending on how we carry ourselves. And in my opinion, shows us how easy it can be for your body to take on how you are feeling.

In this series of paired photos, the subject is a nude model in a complimentary or confident pose while in contrast, the second photo of the set, the same nude model is in an unconfident or awkward pose. The differences are extreme but also telling, in the same way bloggers have recently taken to the netosphere to show how those amazing ‘before and after’ photos from the weight loss ads can be manipulated showing a seeming dramatic change in body shape and firmness with the use of the product they’re shilling when in fact, the photos were most likely taken the same day with the model told to hold her body in such a way that makes her body either look 10 lbs. heavier or 10 lbs. thinner.

Granted Gracie Hagen’s photos are intentionally exaggerated to make a point … but are they really that exaggerated? Next time you catch your reflection in a full-length mirror or a store window, notice your posture, the position your shoulders are in, what your resting face looks and feels like, and see if it matches what you’re feeling. How does noticing how you are unconsciously carrying your body make you feel? What would you assume about you if you were a stranger passing you on the street? Do you seem open? Do you seem closed-off? Are you giving off an impression you don’t want to be approached? Do you seem at peace? Do you seem happy? Could this be how you carry yourself always or has today/this week/this month, etc. or a particular event been influencing you? Could this be representative of how you feel about yourself?

How we feel about ourselves determines (to a great extent) how we carry our body, and therefore project to the world (and back to us) how we feel about ourselves. By being unconscious of how our mindset is affecting our carriage is like leaving the kitchen faucet perpetually running. You don’t see the damage it’s causing because it seemingly isn’t affecting your day to day life … the water just goes down the drain. But oh, when you get the water bill you see the price for ignorance is high. Not only that, but in a drought, that wastefulness is irresponsible and depletes the reserve of water for everything and everyone. This is how your psyche suffers from unexamined negative thought. You know you’re thinking negatively, but don’t do anything about it for whatever reason. Unattended, those negative thoughts can cost you your self-esteem and left unabated will wear you down to the point where you have no stamina or comport to turn it around.

I invite you to take a look at these photos and click on the link to see the whole series. And next time you catch your own reflection or become aware of how your body is holding itself, take in what you notice and consider if it matches how you feel about yourself. Ask yourself if you might be physically representing your negative or positive thoughts about yourself on a daily basis and if that is something you would like to be more aware of. When you begin to pay attention to what you are noticing, you become more aware of cause and effect in your life, mind and body. When you become aware of your actions and thoughts (cause and effect) you can choose whether to change them or not. Choice is the gift here … taking back your freedom of choice in how you think and feel about yourself thereby assuming control of your own power and not letting external factors (media, advertising, judgments of others) make a container for you to exist in. YOU get to choose how YOU feel and that small change can make all the difference in the world.

For more information on Gracie Hagen and her photography check out her…

Website: www.graciehagen.com
Tumblr: http://graciehagen.tumblr.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GracieHagen
Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/graciehagen
Instagram: http://instagram.com/graciehagen

elle Sex educator, writer and coach, Elle Chase is best known for her award-winning and highly trafficked sites, LadyCheeky.com (NSFW) and SmutForSmarties.com, which have both garnered multiple awards, including LA Weekly’s Best Sex Blog 2013. Elle’s focus is on positive body image, reigniting sexual expression and better sex after 40. She speaks nationally at universities, conferences, and teaches workshops about all things “sex.” Currently, she is hard at work on a book based on her popular workshop “Big, Beautiful Sex”. Find Elle on facebook.com/TheElleChase and follow her @TheElleChase or @smutforsmarties.

How Do I Share A Dildo?

 

72- how-to-share-a-dildoHow safe is it to share a dildo or use the same dildo on yourself as on your partner?

This question is posed to Megan Andelloux of The Center For Sexual Pleasure and Health (the CSPH). Sharing sex toys can be very safe with low risk of passing on STIs (sexually transmitted infections). However, in order to maintain that safety, you need to use a body safe toy  that can be sterilized- made of silicon- and/or use a condom.

In this video, Megan breaks down the things to be aware of when you’re using dildos on others.

Here are key points to sex toy safety. Enjoy your toy!

  • The material of the dildo matters. Stick with silicon!
  • If you don’t know what the sex toy is made of, use a condom.
  • Wash the dildo or change the condom each time you switch activities, such as anal to vaginal play.
  • Using condoms with sex toys means less time in the bathroom washing and more time playing!

BY MEGAN ANDELLOUX | ohMegan.com

If you have a question for Megan Andelloux about anything from sex toys, to gender, to fantasies and sexual health and reproduction – Just ask!

megan_andellouxMEGAN ANDELLOUX is a Clinical Sexologist and certified Sexuality Educator, listed on Wikipedia as one of the top sexuality educators in America, her innovative education programs, writing, social media presence, and ambitious speaking schedule has made her one of America’s most recognized and sought-after experts in the growing field of sexual pleasure, health, and politics.
Follow Megan on twitter @HiOhMegan

csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.

All About Anal: Why Anal Sex Feels Good

Megan Andelloux of the CSPH

Megan Andelloux of the CSPH

Why would someone enjoy anal sex?

This question is posed to Megan Andelloux of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (the CSPH).

Many people are skeptical of anal sex; some fearful even. And that’s understandable. The butthole is more fragile and less flexible than the vagina, and it doesn’t lubricate its self. It’s been taboo for centuries. It’s a sexual act never shown in today’s blockbuster romances; but only featuring in the “adult” section. It’s been made to sound painful and dangerous by scores of people who have had bad experiences.

Yes, anal sex can hurt. But only if it’s done wrong. This is a very intimate act that requires preparation and an active want to experience it. There are, in fact, many biological and social reasons why taking it from the back door feels extraordinary.

In this 2 minute :30 second video, Megan explains the joys of the anal anatomy. Here’s what she says:

  • The prostate gland can be stimulated by anal penetration which causes more intense orgasm.
  • For those without a prostate, know that most of the clitoris nerves are inside the body. So if something goes into the butt it can stimulates a portion of the clitoris.
  • It’s considers a “naughty” act which, for some, makes it even more of a turn on.
  • For others, it’s a way to explore their body and expand upon their pleasure.

So resist being judgmental of anal sex. Lots of people have it; it’s no big deal. In the 21st century, discussing anal shouldn’t be taboo. The pleasures of butt sex should be discussed openly with the same freedom we use when talking about shaving.

View this video on the CSPH channel

BY The CSPH | theCSPH.org

megan_andellouxMEGAN ANDELLOUX is a Clinical Sexologist and certified Sexuality Educator, listed on Wikipedia as one of the top sexuality educators in America, her innovative education programs, writing, social media presence, and ambitious speaking schedule has made her one of America’s most recognized and sought-after experts in the growing field of sexual pleasure, health, and politics.
Follow Megan on twitter @HiOhMegan

csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.

Dr. Foreskin: How You Can Stop Worrying and Love the ‘Hood’

Photo credit Robin_24

Photo credit Robin_24

Male circumcision is common in the United States. Eight in 10 Americans who have penises have their foreskin removed. According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilities Project, in 2011 circumcision was the most common medical procedure performed in hospitals. So it’s not surprising that a lot of people have questions about the foreskin. Similarly, some might prefer the look of circumcised penises simply because they are not used to it’s counterpart. As sex educator JoEllen Notte points out in this article, our aesthetic preferences are shaped by what we frequently see.

In other words, there is nothing inherently ugly about the uncircumcised penis. JoEllen answers all your foreskin curiosities below.

In this article you will learn the following:

  • There are practical tips to manually and gently retract the foreskin.
  • The foreskin acts as a protective barrier of the glands (head of penis)- like a penis sleeping bag!
  • The foreskin is the most sensitive part of the penis, and thus increases sensitivity.
  • Always communicate to be sure what your partner enjoys.

This article was originally published here.

BY JOELLEN NOTTE | theRedheadBedhead.com

Several of my friends have never seen one, a few live in fear of encountering one and one refuses to have any interactions with them at all. I am referring not to an accountant, an El Camino or one of those Real Housewives people (all actual fears of the Redhead Bedhead) but to the uncircumcised penis. For reasons I’ll never understand, some folks act like uncut dicks are rare as unicorns and as unpleasant a discovery as hidden household mold. I guess I travel in a more foreskin-friendly circle because I have encountered nearly as many men with it as I have without it and I really don’t know what the big deal is. It’s a dick, people. You can handle it.

Frankly, I think foreskin is kind of adorable¹. It’s like a little² penis sleeping bag! (truth be told I love anything that comes with its own case-from Vera Wang to, you know, regular wang). And when the foreskin retracts – I’ll stop here, because we are going to have a quick moment of instruction:

If you are getting it on with an uncut gentleman and pants are off and he still looks very noticeably like, well, an uncut gentleman this means the foreskin has not retracted and this is where you come in. Wrap you hand around the shaft of the penis and gently draw the hand toward his body and then- eureka!- you have a cock just like you know and love.

 

Continue reading at The Redhead Bedhead.

condom ad condoms too loose

JoEllen-NotteJOELLEN NOTTE is helping to share the gospel of better living through better sex ed (amen!) – serving as both the Education Coordinator & Lead Sex Educator for the Portland Academy of Sex Education and a co-Emissary of Sex Geekdom Portland. Working as an adult retail consultant, she is working to help promote better sex through better adult retail. JoEllen first began fighting sexual mediocrity on her site theRedheadBedhead.com. Follow JoEllen on twitter: @bedheadtweeting

Sex and the Plus Size Gal

Photo credit Christi Nielsen

Photo credit Christi Nielsen

A world that sets narrow standards of “beauty” has a real impact on how we evaluate our bodies and value ourselves. It also directly impacts how we feel when dating or experiencing sexual pleasure; sharing an intimate bodily experience with another is a serious exercise in self image.  As Elle Chase (a.k.a. Lady Cheeky) states in this article, women of all shapes, sizes and abilities have internalized negative attitudes towards their bodies from childhood.

As someone who once struggled with body shame, Elle shares how she overcame the negative narrative in her mind and transformed it into loving acceptance. This led her down a path of renewed sensual discovery and enjoying her sexual body to the fullest.

Here are some key points of advice Elle offers for how to feel more confident sexually:

This is tailored for plus-size women in particular, but it can apply to all people who want to improve their perception of self.

  • Confidence begins with accepting positive messages about yourself. Feeling sexy will result in others finding you sexy.
  • Transform the negative self-talk. Begin with small gestures like telling yourself, “This is the way I look and that’s that.”
  • Find inspiration and support by reading body positive resources and listen to stories from others who have overcome their body shame and embraced their sexual being.
  • Indulge in body positive porn that features real and large women enjoying hot sex. Elle offers a list of recommendations below.
  • Remember: Personality, confidence and acceptance of one’s sexuality is what makes someone attractive. Body shame functions to hinder one’s ability to enjoy sexual pleasure. One gains no benefit from negative self-talk.

This article is posted on smutforsmarties.com

BY ELLE CHASE | ElleChase.com

Image from SmutForSmarties.com

Image from SmutForSmarties.com

I happen to live in Los Angeles where being over a size 8 is a felony. This can be depressing when I am searching for a cute bathing suit or a stylish pair of jeans in a city that considers the ‘norm’ a size 2. At those times I like to remind myself that the average dress size for women across America and the UK is a size 14 and that a size 2 is more an aberration than the norm. However, it’s disappointing to note that at size 14, those average women are also considered “plus size”, labeling them in a category that, in this media ridden age, might send a woman’s ego to the back of the proverbial bus. This size stereotyping (especially in metropolitan cities like Los Angeles and New York City) can compound the list of reasons why single “plus size” woman are intimidated by dating and sex.

I have found that a lot of my single friends complain they can’t find a nice guy or even a good lover. When I suggest online dating, taking a class or going to events to meet a guy, I almost universally hear “maybe when I lose some weight” as the first excuse not to engage. It seems that no matter what we look like, women are always first to dissuade themselves from dating by knocking their perceived physical shortcomings. This kind of dysmorphic thinking doesn’t discriminate it seems, women of all shapes and sizes do it. Though being a “plus sized” woman has its challenges, dating shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, as a plus sized woman myself, I had to get past my own mental lambasting and take a leap of faith, even though at the time I still hated my body. It’s not easy to do but it IS possible.

When I made the decision to start dating again after my divorce, I had to examine my history with my body image. My whole teen and adult life I was lead to believe, through society, other women and some really immature boys, that my body was “less than” because it had more lumps, bumps and curves than the women portrayed in television, film, advertising, fashion magazines (including Seventeen magazine which can be horribly destructive to a young woman’s ego) and the like. Add to that the unconscious conditioning I received from my well-meaning mother and I was set up to fail.

I thought about all the women this kind of conditioning affects, as most women do not have “perfect” bodies and have even less perfect body images. It was interesting to me that regardless of size, all the women I knew loathed portions, if not all of their bodies. Not only does this affect quality of life in general, it substantially affects a healthy sex life. So what can we, as women, do to begin to accept the parts of us that we have heretofore shamed ourselves into hating?

Rebecca Jane Weinstein, Lawyer, Social Worker and Author, was told by her grandmother at nine years old that no man would ever love her because she was fat. So started Ms. Weinstein on her journey of figuring out her womanhood on her own. She relates her pilgrimage to satisfying sex in her book Fat Sex: The Naked Truth. I asked Ms. Weinstein what her advice would be to plus-sized women who are trying to feel more confident sexually. Here is her answer:

“In interviewing the many large sized women I have about body image and sexuality, I have found a common thread. When a woman feels sexy, she projects sexy, and men (or other women) find her sexy. This seems almost simplistic, and it is, in a sense. Perception is everything, particularly self-perception. What is not simplistic is coming to that realization and then internalizing those feelings. Women seem to find that place in themselves two ways. First is personality. Some of us are just lucky to have an inner core of confidence that has no clear genesis. It just exists. But even women who aren’t so lucky to be somehow born with the “I feel sexy” gene, seem to be able to learn to feel sexy. The key is listening and believing when you are told you are attractive and that someone is attracted to you. So often we are told such a thing, and every available evidence supports it (like there is a person lying next to us in a bed), and yet we don’t believe it. We must overcome that disbelief. It is not easy when all the societal messages tell us fat is not sexy. But those messages come from disreputable sources – mostly people trying to sell us stuff. They want us to feel badly about ourselves so we will buy diets and cosmetics and clothing and medical procedures. Those people are liars. The ones telling us the truth are sharing our beds and our hearts. It is them we must believe. And the truth is, even if there is no one giving those positive messages, telling ourselves works too. When you feel sexy, you project sexy, and others find you sexy. It’s not so important how you get there, but that you get there.”

She’s right.

I had a lover once with whom I had some of the most erotic, connected, exciting and sensual sex of my life (some of our exploits are detailed on my erotica site www.smutforsmarties.com) and I was considered plus-sized at the time. Though I felt confident that he wanted me, I still didn’t feel comfortable in my body. Still, before our first tryst I panicked about how he would react to actually seeing me naked. Would he still want me when he saw my overflowing stomach and flabby thighs? I was terrified.

When we first got together I was so ashamed of my physique that I kept my nightie on thinking “maybe he won’t notice my fat.” Though, in contrast to what the little devil on my shoulder was whispering in my ear (“you’re disgusting,” “you should be ashamed to think he wants you”,) my lover couldn’t have been more effusive and complimentary about how seduced he was by my body. He continued to sincerely voice how attracted to me he was, yet I kept that nightie on for two months until I “believed” he was really yearning for me. What in the world did he have to do to get me to believe him? The answer is “nothing.” The issue was with me and my own narrative about my body. I used the shame and the humiliation I took on from others’ opinions about body size during my childhood and young womanhood to inform my ability to receive full pleasure in the moment. What a shame.

Later on in our relationship, figuring a bigger gal was his bag, I brought up the subject of a woman’s body type and asked him if he had always been attracted to plus-sized women. For me, his answer was revolutionary. My lover explained that body shape or size had nothing at all to do with his attraction to a woman. To him, a woman’s physical appeal (among other things like chemistry, personality, intelligence, etc.) was based on how sexual/sensual the woman was. He continued, that when a woman felt she was a sensual being and was confident about her sexuality, that it drove him wild. “I could be lying in bed with a supermodel but if she didn’t own her own sexuality I would be completely limp,” he said. Furthermore, the men he knew in his life felt the same way. He continued by saying that those same men were often frustrated with the fact that women in general don’t own their bodies and often let it get in the way of “letting go and enjoying the moment.” Again, revolutionary to me. I thought back to when I was praying he wouldn’t notice my fat and thought “Wow. If I were just able to let go and take in that he was having sex with me because he WANTED to and was ATTRACTED to me, I would have enjoyed myself so much more.” The change needed to start with me. I needed to give myself a break. If it was true that he found me physically attractive then it was equally true that other men would as well. It was clear, I needed to start accepting my body as is, otherwise I would be living a lonely existence waiting for the day I would be happy with my body … and that day will never come. This was evidenced by my smaller framed friends who had a litany of complaints about why men wouldn’t find them attractive. Again, the unrealistic body dysmorphia rears its ugly head no matter WHAT you look like.

Pamela Madsen, who wrote the book Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner says “If you work on embracing who you are – every single day just like a religious practice – things will change in your world.” I completely agree. No more negative self-talk … ever.

So here’s the deal … I’m not going to tell you to look in the mirror and say affirmations that you’re beautiful and sexy or tell yourself “I love you the way you are;” that’s too big a jump. What I AM telling you is that if you can’t muster up something nice to think about yourself, at least say something factual and neutral like, “this is the way I look and that’s that.” It’s accurate and at the same time makes you accept yourself the way you are. Once you have that under your belt move on up to “I look pretty good today” etc, but wait until you believe it. The point being, you are never to put yourself down. And if you can’t compliment yourself, then at least say something objective, something you can believe.

The next step would be to start to become more comfortable in your body sexually … as it is right now. Whether you’re plus-sized or not, I highly recommend you read the aforementioned book Fat Sex: The Naked Truth by Rebecca Jane Weinstein. She’s plus sized, smart and has the experiences to back up what she preaches. Her book will feed you stories of women (and men) who feel the same or worse about their bodies and will inspire you. Reading the stories of how others achieved their positive body image and started enjoying sex will help you get used to the notion that there are other people out there (perhaps even larger than you are) that have found their inner sex gods and goddesses.

There are also a plethora of body image and sex positive websites at your fingertips. One of my favorites is Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross’ website www.dodsonandross.com that has a wonderful DVD called Bodysex Workshop. This DVD teaches women not only how to feel good about their sexuality but shows REAL women with REAL bodies “taking care of business” (if you know what I mean.) Other validating websites to check out: I Feel Myself http://www.Ifeelmyself.com which feature women from all over the world masturbating to orgasm. It’s liberating watching women of all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds enjoying the sexual pleasure that is their right. Pamela Madsen’s blog offers Pamela’s words of wisdom on the spiritually based “sacred sexuality movement” and body image.

If you are feeling frisky, even the porn world has something to offer. The multitude of amateur porn online also affords us the opportunity to watch women who look like us engaging in hot sex. There are even porn sites dedicated to plus sized nude models like (my favorite) London Andrews and very popular plus sized porn star Kelly Shibari. There’s also “feminist porn” (also known as women’s porn or couples porn) brought to us by pioneers in the field like Candida Royalle, Erika Lust and Tristan Taormino. This type of porn is made by women for women (and men) who enjoy a more sensual story and a focus on the woman’s pleasure as well as the man’s. Checking out this kind of porn might make you feel more a part of “the club” than traditional porn where the focus is mainly on the man’s gratification while they screw thin women with fake boobs (not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that).

Poor body image doesn’t have to be debilitating. Your sexuality is part of who you are as a woman and human being and the plus sized woman should take steps to start empowering herself as an erotic, sexual being … every woman should, really. If we can divorce our self-loathing (while we work on it, of course) from our sensual selves, then dating or sexual expression doesn’t have to be tied into body image and as a result, we can work on accepting ourselves while at the same time experiencing sexual pleasure.

Since I have accepted my body “as is,” not only have I had no problem finding men that find me and my body sexy, but I’ve been allowing myself to have some of the best sex of my life. I have come to understand and believe that sexual pleasure is not just meant for the “beautiful” and the “hard-bodied,” it’s a natural enjoyment that is your right as a human being. So take back that right. Ignore the messages from people, agencies and corporations trying to make you feel “less than” and take back control of what is inherently yours.

elle Sex educator, writer and coach, Elle Chase is best known for her award-winning and highly trafficked sites, LadyCheeky.com (NSFW) and SmutForSmarties.com, which have both garnered multiple awards, including LA Weekly’s Best Sex Blog 2013. Elle’s focus is on positive body image, reigniting sexual expression and better sex after 40. She speaks nationally at universities, conferences, and teaches workshops about all things “sex.” Currently, she is hard at work on a book based on her popular workshop “Big, Beautiful Sex”. Find Elle on facebook.com/TheElleChase and follow her @TheElleChase or @smutforsmarties.

The CSPH: Sex Advice for Intersex People

From the documentary film Intersexion (2012)

From the documentary film Intersexion (2012)

Intersexuality is not uncommon, it’s just rarely spoken about or represented in everyday media and conversations.

Not many people go public announcing their sexual identity or gender- especially if it’s marginalized. However, according to the Intersex Society of North America, approximately 1 in 1500 births require a “sex differentiation specialist” to be called. Many more are born with subtler forms of sex anatomy variations.

Considering the shame and stigma surrounding bodies that do not neatly conform as male and female, finding intersex-based resources, arts, and communities can be difficult. In this article, The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (The CSPH) unearths and recommends some quality gems from within the intersex community.

This article is for both those who identify with intersexuality and anyone who want to learn more. Don’t miss the links to some incredible documentary films!

This article is originally published on The CSPH website as part of their Q&A series.

BY The CSPH | theCSPH.org

Q. Any sex info/advice for intersex people? I can’t find any positive porn, info, or stories about intersex people’s sex lives anywhere on the internet.

A. Note from the author: This response is partly for the person who asked the question, and partly to be informative to those who might be reading it and do not know much about intersex individuals.

Unfortunately it’s not that common for individuals to be “out” as intersex, and what is considered intersex varies widely even between doctors; what one physician would classify as intersex, another would consider a minor variation of biology and may not even mention it to the patient. Each doctor’s approach to treatment of an intersex individual (if required) is subjective as well. This, in turn, impacts the amount of sex advice, writing, and pornography that’s available.

What is intersexuality?

The term intersex refers to the biological condition of having reproductive and/or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the usual definitions of male or female. There are many misconceptions  regarding intersex people but intersex anatomy differs from person to person  and can include having in-between male and female genital characteristics (e.g., a scrotum shaped like labia, a noticeably large clitoris, etc.) or having male physical traits externally but female anatomy internally. While intersexuality can be identified at birth, sometimes intersex anatomy is only found at puberty, in adulthood (e.g., during infertility testing), after death (when autopsied), or not at all.

Our bodies’ biological/physical sex does not always define our gender or the societal roles we play (i.e. man/woman/other identity). This is the same for intersex individuals and such a nebulous term may or may not be used to define their gender. Some live their entire lives completely unaware of their intersex anatomy; however, others may be “assigned” a gender at birth, determined by the most prominent gender traits, via reconstructive surgery and/or ongoing medical treatments. Some may transition from one gender to another and use the label transsexual or transgender instead of intersex. Some define themselves based on their intersex anatomy while others have no obvious physical traits of their intersex anatomy and instead identify as male, female, queer, trans, femme, butch, or various other labels.

Sex advice for the intersex person

With so many variations, every intersex person’s biology may impact their sex life in different ways, or not at all. A good start are books or sites that provide great general sex information and also address aspects of your unique sexual anatomy:

Though not all intersex people are trans* or identify that way, there may still be valuable information on trans* sites. Anatomy and the impact it may have on your sex life is often discussed in the trans* community, such as this post from the Self Made Men blog.

If you’re an intersex individual and comfortable talking about it, we encourage you to start posting some advice you wish you’d had at the start of your sexual journey. Honest, sex-positive information for everyone can only become widespread if all communities are heard and not just “talked about” by professionals and “experts.”

Note: if you have a medical condition associated with your intersex diagnosis, the Accord Alliance Advocacy and Support Groups list  can help you find a support group with more specialized information for that condition.

Many of the sites listed encourage new questions, so drop them a line if you can’t find what you’re looking for. If you have a very specific question, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor or find a sex positive practitioner here.

Intersex positive art and writing

Though they don’t focus specifically on sex, there are some amazing writers and artists talking about their intersex life and experiences:

Other recognized “out” intersex individuals include Cheryl Chase (intersex activist), Alec Butler (playwright and filmmaker), Stanisława Walasiewicz (Olympic athlete), Caroline Cossey (model), Eden Atwood (jazz singer), Eva Robin’s (actress), Sarah Gronert (professional tennis player) and many more .

Porn and intersexuality

Finding positive porn about any orientation, gender, race, or body type can be difficult as there is no shortage of bad porn. On top of that, pornography fetishizes deviations from the “norm”; whether it’s hair color, orientation, or anatomical differences. Among the most popular fetishes are adult films that showcase “Trannies, Shemales, and Hermaphrodites.” Those are all terms that should NOT be used to refer to intersex or trans* people as it is a maligned, incomplete, and offensive view of their sexuality. In fact, those films usually feature performers with penises and augmented breasts, some of whom may identify as trans*, rather than biologically intersex individuals. Furthermore, it’s important to note that the aforementioned terms are also incredibly offensive to the trans* community. (Still, here at the CSPH we encourage self-definition and if someone uses those terms to refer to themselves, we support their autonomy.)

A quick search for “intersex porn” brings up very few results, but by looking at sites and studios that support a diverse view of sexuality and gender, we find more options:

Starting with sex and body positive pornography will lower your chances of coming across any triggers and maintain a more respectful view of intersexuality. If you’re still having trouble finding films that suit your erotic tastes, try altering the way you search. Start off with a genre of film (e.g. lesbian, oral sex, BDSM, etc.) and then include terms like “intersex” or “trans” to help you find more options.

Additional resources

Keep an eye out for Intersex Awareness Week events near you!

csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.