Category Archives: sexual satisfaction

Reservations and Inhibitions

Reservations and Inhibitions Around Self Pleasure

Sexually experienced people know that sex is not just about the body and its responses. For that reason, if at the back of your mind or deep in your psyche there is some feeling that masturbation (or sex generally) is wrong or even sinful, it will be much more difficult to relax and feel pleasure, or to feel good afterwards.

Yet our bodies are naturally sexual. The reason that people have hang-ups about sex is that it is often a taboo subject in the family as they grow up. Most of us were given negative or mixed messages about sex and the sexual part of our bodies as we grew up. Take a moment to think about what messages you were given by your parents and teachers about sex and your body.

Have you accepted all their beliefs wholesale? Or have you adapted some of them to suit your own beliefs and values, or even rebelled and rejected those old-fashioned ideas completely? Your parents did what they thought was right, but your body is your own and your life is your own. It is important to nurture in yourself the beliefs that help you grow as a person.

Your body is unique, and you have the right to self-pleasuring, which is a wonderful celebration of your body. If you realize you have inhibitions about sexual pleasure (perhaps feeling it is sinful to enjoy yourself in any way or that you should think of others not yourself) you find shadow work with a qualified facilitator helpful in overcoming these blocks. 

The Power of the Mind: Finding Your Favorite Fantasies

When you start to experience pleasure and arousal in your sessions, you may find some of the ideas that most excite you are not what you might expect or what you might choose consciously.

This is your unconscious mind at work, and it can play a huge part in sexual arousal and orgasm. Many women feel shocked or guilty about their fantasies: but the book My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday is a wonderful collection of fantasies collected from real women. It is worth a read if only to understand the huge variety of women’s fantasies – and you might even find a new one that turns you on!

We would like to emphasize at this point that feeling turned on by erotic material is a normal part of being human. There’s nothing wrong with this, provided that the material which you find arousing is tasteful and respectful of women. 

Oddly enough, some women who are opening themselves up to their erotic and sensuous nature find it hard to recognize their own arousal.

Experiments conducted in the 1970s demonstrated that women will become aroused almost as quickly as men when they watch a film of two people making love, at least if you measure arousal by vaginal lubrication.

However, when questioned, many of these women reported that they did not feel in the least aroused mentally. This probably reflects the fact that it has traditionally not been seen as acceptable for women to enjoy erotic materials.

It may also reflect the fact that a lot of women simply do not recognize the signs of arousal in their own bodiesAgain, we would like to emphasize that this is completely normal and natural when you are beginning to become more aware of your sexuality.

You may even find it necessary to move your attention from the erotic material you are reading or watching to your own body before you can identify whether or not you feel aroused.

Things to look for include vaginal lubrication, nipple erection, throbbing in your genital region, and mentally feeling sexual aroused – whatever form that takes for you. For example, if you have found yourself fantasizing or having unexpected sexual thoughts, could this be a sign of your sexual arousal?

Benefits of sexual pleasuring

It’s important to remember that even if you have reservations about masturbation, it’s only by continuing to explore your body that you will become comfortable with your sensuousness nature and your sexuality. This is why we encourage you to focus on the potential benefits of self-pleasuring. These potential benefits include greater relaxation, greater pleasure, and greater connection with your own body.

So at this point we would like you to consider what it gives you the greatest pleasure in bed. For example, did you notice that different kinds of movements, or different pressures, or different rhythms, gave you the most pleasure? Learning all about your body and what gives you the greatest pleasure is an essential part of becoming a fully sexual woman.

And of course this does not apply only to your genitals. When you are stroking, caressing, or touching other parts of your body, you will also find that different strokes give you different feelings, pleasure, and a different experience.

One of the biggest concerns that women experience when they are learning to self-stimulate is whether or not they are feeling sexual arousal.

However this is actually very unhelpful to the process of becoming more sexually aware, because you begin to “watch” your own feelings and responses, and you become a spectator rather than being fully engaged in the process.

If you find that this is happening to you, simply bring your attention back to what is happening inside your body.

Try and bring your attention to the places where you are touching yourself; and every time you find your attention wandering, simply bring it back to focus on the feeling you get where you are touching yourself.

You probably realize that not every session of self-pleasuring will be the same. On occasions you will be frustrated and think that your progress is too slow. On other occasions you will be delighted at the progress you believe you are making.

This is exactly the way the personal growth happens, and it is important not to criticize yourself if you feel that you are not making the progress that you would wish to do so. It’s also extremely helpful not to compare sessions. Each session is what it is. However, we encourage you to focus on the positive pleasure you get after each session, and to remind yourself about the things that you did well.

So, for example, even feeling just a little bit more comfortable about self-touching, especially about touching your genitals, is something positive and rewarding. The important thing is to focus on the positive, and to congratulate yourself on your success, rather than beating yourself up about the things that didn’t go as you would have wished.

Having said that, you can also learn from the sessions that didn’t go very well. For example, were you distracted by things that you have to do for your friends and family? If so, try and choose a time when you know that there will be no pressure or demands on you, and when you are able to allocate time solely for your own relaxation and self-pleasuring exercises.

 

What Does Sexual Satisfaction Mean to You?

Sexual Satisfaction

I guess most men would say that sexual satisfaction is defined by whether or not they have an orgasm – and perhaps by the power and intensity of that orgasm.

And I would guess men think that knowing how to give a woman an orgasm is a vital part of sexual satisfaction.

But would the same be true for women? Do they think that knowing how to give a man an orgasm is satisfying?

And as a man, making love to women, did you ever stop to consider what might make sex satisfying for your partner?

In another post on this blog you can read some things about women’s attitudes to sex which you might surprise you. Did you know, for example, about the “orgasm gap” between men and women?

Understanding Meaning

To investigate what people mean when they talk about “sexual satisfaction”, Sara I McClelland of the University of Michigan asked 40 US participants a series of questions to determine their satisfaction on various aspects of sex including their emotions, the quality of the relationship, and how focused they were on their partner as opposed to how focused they were on orgasm during sex. 

You see, it’s  all very well doing a piece of research and simply assuming you know what “sexual satisfaction” means, but unless you ask real people what they think it means, you might not be measuring anything real at all. 

Also, it’s pretty damn’ obvious that sexual experiences and relationships are inextricably linked to the cultural context in which they take place – for example, what’s acceptable in one society is far from acceptable in another society.

For example, knowing how to make a woman come by means of cunnilingus is commonplace in the west but some religions forbid this way of pleasing a woman in bed.

Pleasuring a woman in bed is easy
What she thinks of as satisfaction may be very different from what he thinks of as satisfaction!

Sexual Satisfaction Is Not Just About Giving A Woman An Orgasm

So, sexual satisfaction can definitely mean different things to different people. Even so, we all tend to assume that we know what it means (orgasmic pleasure or frequency, perhaps).

Indeed, studies which have been done in the past simply set out to establish the answers to questions such as “How sexually satisfied are you?” This question can become meaningless quite quickly. For one thing, as we’ve already mentioned, the socio-political culture influences what people think of as indicating sexual satisfaction.

What Makes You Satisfied?

 Previous work has shown that men define sexual satisfaction in relation to how often they have intercourse, as well as the difference between how often they want intercourse and how often they get it.

Women, by contrast, define sexual satisfaction in terms of how often intercourse happens, but beyond that, trust and mutual enjoyment are essential before a woman will feel that she’s enjoyed sexual satisfaction.

To put it bluntly, men’s sexual satisfaction tends to depend less on relationships and context, and more on the experience of orgasm, than women’s.

This is not to imply that emotional factors are completely absent from men’s sexual satisfaction, but it’s important to note that men regard the outcome of intercourse as more important, while women seem to regard the context of intercourse as a direct factor in sexual satisfaction.

And then you have lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and “questioning” men and women whose view of what constitutes sexual satisfaction may be different again.

At this point you might be forgiven for thinking that this was becoming an incredibly complicated question – and in fact you’d be right!

How to make a woman come in fifteen minutes
What does she mean by sexual satisfaction? That her partner knows how to make a woman come? Or that he actually does so?

But by asking participants in the study a number of different questions related to different aspects of sexual satisfaction, and then establishing which factors are correlated with each other, it becomes possible to analyze what people mean by “sexual satisfaction” (and, by implication, sexual pleasure).

We’ve already mentioned that men seem to be much more orgasm-oriented than women.

This does not mean women regard having an orgasm during partnered sex as unimportant, but it may suggest that women think the effort their male partner puts into making a woman come (or into giving a woman an orgasm) is more important that the orgasm itself.

The questions in this study covered a wide range of possible sexual behaviours, as well as the feelings that might come from them, and the experiences which a couple could have before they felt sexually satisfied.

She also interviewed the participants so as to establish what helped them to distinguish satisfactory and unsatisfactory sexual experiences.

What did all this demonstrate?

First of all, for men, feeling masculine as a result of their sexual experience was very important.

In addition there were a number of specific emotional experiences which provided men with sexual satisfaction – these included feeling safe, letting one’s guard down, and trusting a partner. Being able to “let go” involved exploring aspects of sexual behaviour which might not be or feel safe in other situations – such as eroticized aggression.

For women, emotional closeness and trust as well as sex within a monogamous relationship were important to feel sexual satisfaction. Women also wanted to feel “merged” with a partner – another aspect of relational closeness. 

Another quality emphasized by women was that “feeling close” to a man was important, and the way they saw it, the closest they could get to a man was to feel him inside them. (So they might be less concerned about your ability to give a woman an orgasm than you thought…..)

When it comes to feelings of emotional closeness, women often report that their orgasm is less important than the man’s orgasm. And many women say that having an orgasm is not at all important for them to feel sexually satisfied.

(How interesting to read this,  in the light of another article on this blog which talks about the orgasm gap between men and women.)

The Same Old, Same Old

There’s another factor for the men here:  the importance of “giving a woman an orgasm”. The research showed it’s important for men to feel they’ve pleased their partner by giving a woman an orgasm or making a woman come.

Among the women, making sure that the man they were with was satisfied seemed to be important to their sense of sexual satisfaction.

To sum up this aspect of the research, men are happy to give a woman an orgasm, and they experience this as increasing their own sexual satisfaction (they speak of an increase in energy or an emotional payoff).

Women, however, especially young women, tend to describe partner satisfaction (specifically giving a partner an orgasm) as a key part of their own sexual satisfaction.

It’s hardly surprising that both men and women get some reinforcement of their sense of masculinity and femininity from prescribed sex roles, because nature evolved us this to be that way.

Video – Sexual intelligence

What’s slightly more surprising is the degree to which women get satisfaction from giving their partner an orgasm, rather than enjoying one themselves.

This may be something to do with sexual maturity, because the tendency was more marked in younger women than in older women.

However, with a clear understanding of gender differences, researchers can move ahead knowing what people mean when they talk about sexual satisfaction.

A final important note:  there is increasingly marked criticism of our sexual mores by feminist researchers who say that orgasm plays a role in maintaining patriarchal privilege in heterosexual relationships.

As an example of this from the study above, one man who was in a relationship said that if his partner had an orgasm he would feel “like he’d done his job.”

This is an interesting indication of how orgasm has become a kind of commodity within a relationship rather than a means to sexual satisfaction in its own right.

To sum it all up, what constitutes sexual satisfaction is as variable as individuals themselves.

For some, orgasm is an important component of sexual satisfaction; for others it is not.

Unsurprisingly, emotional closeness and emotional satisfaction tends to feature more in the sexual satisfaction of women than men.

A reinforcement in an individual’s sense of masculinity or femininity is also associated with sexual satisfaction.

And emotional closeness is both a route to satisfying sex and an outcome of satisfying sex. Perhaps this is hardly surprising when you consider how a woman has to be relaxed and trusting of her partner to be able to enter a space where the man knows how to give a woman an orgasm.

Last but not least, the research demonstrated the importance of the context of satisfaction as opposed to the simple measure of how much or how often someone is sexually “satisfied”.