Dr J's Sex Facts

Fun sex facts and accurate information from a clinical sexologist for a hotter and more fulfilling sex life.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Ins and Outs of P-V Sex

"Fifty percent of the women in this country are not having orgasms. If that were true of the male population, it would be declared a national emergency.” -- Margo St. James

As I wrote in my last post, many people equate “sex” with “sexual intercourse.” I don’t use the latter term because it’s yet another euphemism; intercourse means “an exchange of ideas.” Let’s use the term “p-v sex” for penis-vagina or vagina-penis sex.

The big issue in p-v sex: Most men worry about having an orgasm too quickly, while most women either worry about having one too slowly or not having one at all. As we’ve already discussed, many men learn a rapid orgasm pattern during early self-pleasuring, while many women don’t learn to orgasm at all. How’s that for a set-up? It’s amazing that women and men are ever in synch, isn’t it?

You know the scenario: He slowly lowers himself onto her; she gazes up at him, her eyes dilating in anticipation of his big…

Stop! Can we get real here? That’s the romanticized ideal sold to us by the media; and, unfortunately, it’s where most of us get our ideas about sex: from videos, books, magazines, etc. The problem with buying into these idealized images is that when we don’t live up to them, when they’re not true for us, we feel like there’s something wrong with us.

The irony is that, biologically, p-v sex is purely reproductive, designed to pleasure the penis, resulting in ejaculation of semen into the vagina so pregnancy can occur, thus ensuring the survival of our species (blah, blah, blah). Right about now, you women are asking, “Well, where does that leave me?” Believe me, I’m not trying to harsh your mellow here; merely put things in perspective.

Performance: The Enemy of Pleasure and Fun

Many men and women equate “good” sex with having an orgasm during p-v sex, thus putting all kinds of performance pressure on ourselves. Many men also learn that sex is all about their “performance.” In fact, many sexual terms reflect this. For example, men speak of “giving” a woman an orgasm (does that come gift-wrapped?), as though they were completely responsible for (or even capable of) “giving” a woman the aforementioned Big O. Indeed, many women believe that once they’re in love, their partner will somehow know exactly what kind of stimulation they need for orgasm, even if the woman doesn’t already know this about herself.

Let’s take the pressure off and explore some fun things to do during p-v sex so you can enjoy yourself without all that anxiety about performance.

Some Day My Prince Will Come (And So Will I)

Even though p-v sex is a reproductive act, that’s not usually why we’re doing it. Of course, most men find it extremely pleasurable. However, while many women enjoy it, for at least 40-50% of them, it usually doesn’t result in orgasm. Why? Because most p-v sex doesn’t provide the steady pressure and reliable stimulation women need for orgasm. During p-v sex, most men use an “in-out” motion that feels great for them, instead of the circular grinding motion that will stimulate the clitoris. How about trading off once in awhile? Him first; then her—or vice-versa.

Once a woman puts pressure on herself to orgasm, it can become a duty rather than a pleasure. Of course, this is also true for men. Relax; don’t be so orgasm-focused, or sex can become downright predictable, especially in long-term relationships. However, if you and your partner are flexible and experimental, you’ll both have smiles on your faces as the years go by.

Part-Time and Full-Time Positions Available

Many of us enjoy being touched on various parts of our bodies during p-v sex, such as on our nipples, perineum, anus, etc.. If this is something you’d like to explore, don’t be afraid to tell your partner. And please don’t forget about kissing! Many people are turned on by deep, soulful kisses during p-v sex. Also remember that we like different kinds of stimulation during the different phases of the sexual response cycle.

And did I mention toys? There are so many wonderful little gadgets available now for your additional stimulation and mutual enjoyment. Some excellent resources are
http://www.goodvibes.com/ and http://www.libida.com/.

Some positions which can maximize clitoral stimulation are:

· Woman on top, where she can control both the angle and depth
· Woman sitting on top, where either she or her partner can stimulate her clitoris
· “Scissors”: Side-by-side facing each other, with one of his legs between hers
· Rear entry (man behind), where he can also manually stimulate her clitoris, or she can stimulate herself. This is a great position during pregnancy.

For maximum clitoral stimulation, the man should NOT go in and out, but rather should use a grinding motion or, if possible, just stay still, pressing firmly inside her while letting the woman do the moving around him.

Positions for deeper penetration/engulfment:
· Rear entry
· Man on top with woman’s legs on man’s shoulders

Positions for less penetration/engulfment:
· Scissors
· Woman on top

An important note about painful p-v sex: Once a woman is in excitement phase, the cervix rises up and out of the way. If a woman isn't sufficiently aroused, the cervix may get bumped by the penis, which can cause cramping/pain. Also, if a woman isn't aroused, she won't lubricate, and the friction may actually create minute scratches in the vagina which is not only painful, but may also the increase the risk of infection. In fact, many women who report frequent vaginal irritations/infections are having p-v sex when they’re not sufficiently aroused. Lubrication is important for everyone, since lack of lubrication can not only irritate the vagina, but also the penis.

A Few Words about Hair

Hair can be sensual, sexy and molded into interesting shapes. Of course we don’t need to shave off our hair for sex. However, hair can also get caught in your teeth. And we’re not just talking pubic hair here! Nipple hairs (for both men and women) can also be a distraction. Another issue is pubic hair length. Short hair can produce a stabbing sensation around sensitive tissue, and longer hair can get caught in skin. Solution: Talk to your partner (but you already knew that, right?)

Next week: Stepping out of Restrictive Gender Roles and into More Pleasure and Fun

As always, the Doctor is in for your comments and questions.

With Pleasure,
Dr. J

Friday, October 13, 2006

Things We Do Sexually with Interesting (and Uninteresting) People

“The most delightful pleasures cloy without variety” – Publilius Syrus (1st Century BCE)

Many people equate “sex” with “sexual intercourse.” I don’t use that term because it’s yet another euphemism. “Intercourse” is the exchange of ideas. Let’s use the term “p-v” for penis-vulva or vulva-penis sex. Have you noticed this form of sex is always referred to as “insertion of the penis”? How come we never reference “vagina around the penis”? Our language erroneously assumes and therefore perpetuates the concept of women as sexually passive.

We’ll cover p-v next week, but there’s lots more to sex, whether your partner is of the opposite or same sex. In long-term relationships, variety is definitely the spice of life! This week, let’s talk about pleasuring a partner—woman or man—and the Big Three of Stimulation: oral, manual and anal. All of these can be pleasurable, with or without an orgasmic focus. In a future post, we’ll discuss more exotic erotic acts.

Oral Sex

85-90% of us have tried oral sex. New studies indicate it’s become even more popular as teens experiment with sex acts that reduce the risk of pregnancy or disease. For women, this is a particularly intense stimulation; indeed, for many, it is the easiest way for them to orgasm with a partner. Some issues to consider are whether you want to share the feeling simultaneously (69) or focus on your own orgasm while your partner stimulates you orally. BTW: Have you heard about “68”? That means you go down on me, and I’ll owe you one…

During oral sex, additional stimulation can be applied to other erotic parts of your partner’s body, such as their nipples, perineum, anus—or wherever they desire. Nipples in both sexes are sensitive and have great erotic potential; however, some men shut down these feelings because they equate nipple stimulation with femininity, thereby depriving themselves of untold pleasure. Some women love vaginal insertion combined with oral stimulation, which may also stimulate the G Spot, and some men may enjoy a gentle licking of the scrotum (no teeth please!) or perineum (gently lift the testicles to access this area).

Oral Sex Etiquette:

For partners of men: Most of us don’t want to end up crying during oral sex! If you have a well-developed gag reflex, you’ll want to control the depth of a penis in your mouth. This is easy—and fun! By holding the shaft, you can not only provide your partner with extra stimulation, but also control how deep he goes. Put your mouth around the head of the penis or a little further if you like, and move your hands up and down the shaft. I guarantee your partner will enjoy it!

Swallowing: First, let’s dispense with some myths. No, swallowing semen won’t make you fat (the amount of calories per ejaculation is negligible). And it doesn’t have any magical qualities that will clear up your skin if you rub it on your face (teenage boys like to claim this). Although there’s no risk of pregnancy during oral exposure to semen, it may contain pathogens that carry diseases, etc. We’ll discuss risk reduction in a future post.
Two things to negotiate with your male partner: 1) whether you’re OK with him coming in your mouth; and 2) whether you wish to swallow it. If you don’t want your partner to come in your mouth, be sure to tell him before you begin. If you’re OK with that, but don’t want to swallow, simply turn your head while you delicately and discreetly spit into a tissue (which you have placed conveniently nearby). Don’t be rude, loudly spit and say “eww, yuck!” This is considered insulting.

For partners of women: jaw fatigue! Some women’s partners have told me (in their own words) that their partner takes forever to come and their jaw becomes locked, numb, etc. If your partner needs lots of stimulation for orgasm, try stimulating some of the erotic areas noted above. Most importantly, find out other things that turn her on (ask her!) and combine them with oral sex. Then be prepared to be adored.

Manual Stimulation

Approximately 90% of us have tried some form of manual stimulation. In addition to oral stimulation, this is statistically the most effective way for many women to orgasm. You can use your hands to tease your partner and help your partner get to their Plateau Phase. Make sure to use lots of lubrication; no one wants to feel like their skin is being rubbed raw! Check out your partner’s preference: soft, hard, fast, slow, etc. And remember that people generally prefer different kinds of stimulation during various phases of the sexual response cycle. What’s effective early on may need to be intensified further along to provide enough stimulation for orgasm. How can you find out what s/he likes and when? Easy! Talk to your partner or show what you like by putting your hand on his/hers and demonstrating how you like to be touched. Beware: don’t expect your partner to magically know what feels best for you, or you could be setting yourself up for future anger and resentment.

Anal Stimulation

40-50% of us have tried some form of anal stimulation. The anal sphincter is very tight; if it wasn’t, all of us would be walking around very embarrassed! In order to relax the anus, use lots and lots of lubrication as well as gentle stimulation with tongue, fingers, toys, etc. Don’t try to stick anything in there without adequate attention and relaxation first! For more information, I highly recommend “Ánal Pleasure and Health” by sexologist Jack Morin, Ph.D.

Total Body Stimulation

Don’t forget that all parts of our bodies can be erotically aroused, including ears, mouth, neck, nipples and perineum. Get creative! Prolonged touching can also lead to greater intimacy between partners because it encourages enhanced communication and trust. Don’t be afraid to step out of your old established patterns and try new things. You’ll be happier, smarter and a better dancer.

Next week: The Ins and Outs of P-V

As always, the doctor is in for your comments and questions.

With Pleasure,
Dr. J

Friday, October 06, 2006

Self-Pleasuring: Taking Matters into Our Own Hands

“Self-love, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting.” Shakespeare

Self-pleasuring is the foundation of our sexuality. I don’t use the term “masturbation,” Latin for “to disturb or defile by hand.” Yuck! That’s part of our legacy of discomfort about sex. Judgmental, inaccurate Greek or Latin terms were utilized, as well as negative euphemisms. Which sounds more fun: self-pleasuring (mmmm) or MASTURBATION?

So where does this discomfort and guilt about self-pleasuring come from? Pre-scientific beliefs that each sperm was a whole person or that some deity forbade any nonreproductive sexual acts.

During the Victorian era, ignorant physicians codified their guilt into new “diseases,” such as “masturbatory insanity.” There was an obsession with preventing children from touching themselves (thought to cause all sorts of imaginary ailments). Various preventive methods were: tying hands to the bed, putting a spiked ring around the penis to keep it from erecting (ouch!) and even the surgical removal of little girls’ clitorises!

Many physicians counseled against exciting “animal passions” and advised their patients to eat nothing but a bland meatless diet. Sanitoriums were popular—early versions of health spas where people took very hot baths and ate nothing but vegetables in order to gain control over these passions. Graham and Kellogg were two pioneers of this movement. Both discovered their followers became rapidly bored with overcooked vegetables and sought other dietary alternatives. Graham developed a square of bran (Graham crackers), and Kellogg toasted bits of corn, which became—well, you know. Next time you’re munching on either of these, remember you’re eating something that was invented solely to keep people from having sex!

But enough of that sad history. Let’s talk about what we actually know about self-pleasuring. Most people have tried it at some point in their lives. The Kinsey team discovered that 90% of the men they interviewed had tried it, and 40% of the women. Those data are from 1940s and 50s; now the numbers are much higher. Sexological estimates are 95-98% of men and 60-75% of women. Someone once asked Kinsey what percentage of men self-pleasure, and he quipped: “98 percent, and the other 2 percent are lying.”

We also know that people self-pleasure from birth to death. Parents often ask me what they should do if they discover their child self-pleasuring. Treat it like any other behavior: acknowledge it’s pleasurable, and set appropriate boundaries. You might say: “That’s fine, and you do that in private in your room, not in the living room, and definitely not when Grandma visits.” Hopefully, we can convey comfort and ease with our children so they don’t suffer from the same guilt, ignorance and discomfort as we did.

Self-pleasuring is an important sexual option for our “chronologically endowed,” who may be without a partner due to death or illness. It’s also important for people who want to reduce their risk of pregnancy or infectious disease, including teenagers who aren’t yet ready for sexual behavior that involves the exchange of bodily fluids.

And it’s also a favorite activity for those who have a partner. Sexological research indicates that a majority of people still self-pleasure once they’re in a relationship. Contrary to myth, it’s not second-best; it’s just one option among many. If you eat steak every day, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be interested in pasta or salad as well. We have a variety of sexual options available to us.

It’s the surest way to orgasm and the most effective way to learn about our sexual response cycle, as well as the surest way for women to learn how to orgasm and for men to learn orgasmic control. If you feel you come too quickly, the surest way to slow down is to teach yourself a new pattern via self-pleasuring.

Another advantage to self-knowledge: How can you show a partner what you like if you don’t know yourself? We get the message that if you love someone, somehow they’ll miraculously KNOW what feels best for you. This is a cruel myth and leads to lots of disappointment as well as feelings of inadequacy.

And the #1 Reason for Self-Pleasuring: it’s fun!

Remember that all our scientific data show that the people who take responsibility for their OWN pleasure have the best sex lives and rate themselves as happiest about their sexuality.

Next week: Things We Do Sexually with Interesting (and Uninteresting) People

As always, the doctor is in for your comments and/or questions.

With Pleasure,

Dr. J

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Thinking off": Sexual Fantasies

“I like nonsense -- it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope... and that enables you to laugh at all of life's realities.” Dr. Seuss

Your brain is your most important erotic zone because it controls everything. Most of us have discovered that no matter how hard we try, if our head isn’t into it, our body won’t respond. The brain is so powerful that some women report they can “think off” to an orgasm without any touch.

For many people, sexual fantasies play an important role in sexual motivation and help define our erotic personality. A sexual fantasy provides you with a “map of desire” that gives your imagination a starting point.

Sexual fantasies also provide an important escape valve, allowing us to keep our public behavior within acceptable social limits, while allowing us to express our desires and psychologically engage in behaviors we may not actually want to do. They also provide us a chance to explore a different side of ourselves. Maybe you're a powerful person with many responsibilities. You might enjoy letting go of all that power in a fantasy and exploring the more passive or submissive side of yourself. Conversely, you might be a very quiet type; but in your fantasies, you can explore being the strong superhero, rescuing (and then ravishing) some damsel in distress!

Recognizing the power of fantasy, some groups have attempted to control our thoughts by teaching us that just thinking about something is the same as doing it. This is not just erroneous, but can suppress creativity and create discomfort with our sexual thoughts.

In fact, there are two kinds of sexual fantasies: rehearsal fantasies, in which we “audition” a new sexual behavior, person or situation; and impossible fantasies, those which are either physically impossible (e.g., someone with two penises) or emotionally impossible (something you definitely would never want to actually do). Impossible fantasies can create discomfort, because sometimes we’re not sure what they represent. To fantasize something doesn’t necessarily mean you want to actually do it. You might want to keep some fantasies special and private, while others you might want to share with a partner.

Some people don't even recognize their idle musings as fantasies. In fact, fantasies range from that brief thought about someone you see on a bus, to those long, involved scenes complete with dialogue and costumes. And anything in between.

Generally, the hottest fantasies are the ones that are most forbidden. For instance, a common heterosexual fantasy is experimenting with someone of the same sex. We might never want to actually try this, but in fantasy we can give ourselves permission to step outside the boundaries of our everyday lives and explore.

Next week, we’ll be exploring self-pleasuring, which, dare I say it, goes “hand-in-hand” with fantasy.

As always, the doctor is in for your questions and comments.

With Pleasure,

Dr. J