What on earth is “tenting”?

Today’s blog post is brought to you by reader questions, duoballs and the letter “V”

I received a question from a reader when I mentioned that I had a low-sitting cervix in this review of the OVO L1 Loveballs.  This awesome reader very astutely pointed out that if my cervix sits low at certain points in my cycle, then that would mean that my vagina is very shallow.  And they wanted to know how people with low-lying cervices can have penetrative sex if their vaginas are only a couple of inches long.  I was quite excited to get this question, because it has a really interesting answer and it’s also something that not a lot of people know about.

Before we jump into answering this reader’s question, let’s take a quick peek at some pelvic anatomy, shall we?

vagina diagram

Ok, so you can see in the diagram above the vaginal canal and the cervix that sits on top. The cervix is the opening of the uterus, the gateway between the uterus and the vagina.  Now, this bit’s really important: a lot of people think of the vagina as an open tube, like a length of pipe.  In actual fact, the vagina is really more like a deflated balloon, in that most of the time the walls are flattened down and compacted.  It’s not a tunnel, it’s more like a sleeve.  But this deflated shape isn’t permanent.  Just like a penis can go from soft to hard, the vaginal canal can go from narrow to wide, and this happens during a process called “tenting”.

 

Tenting is a pretty nifty process that happens as part of the sexual response cycle in people who have vaginas.  The sexual response cycle is basically the body’s reaction to sexual stimuli, getting turned on and preparing for intercourse.  Everyone’s sexual response cycle differs a bit but generally all people with vaginas go through the same steps.  And “tenting” is one of those stages.  In order to prepare for penetration, the walls of the vagina become slightly swollen which increases sensitivity and also opens the vaginal canal to make penetration easier.  The uterus begins to draw upwards, lengthening the vaginal canal to make more room for a penis or object of penetration.  This swelling and lengthening is called “tenting” because it’s like the vagina is opening up like a tent, ready for your partner to come inside.  So  people with penises aren’t the only ones who pitch a tent when they get aroused!

 

If you’ve got a vagina, it’s likely that you’ve experienced this aspect of the sexual response cycle.  Consider how it feels when you try to put something inside the vagina when you’re not really turned on.  It might be very dry and everything feels a bit tight and uncomfortable.  Now compare that to the way it feels when you’re super aroused and rearing to go.  It’s so much easier to accept penetration (whether that’s a penis, fingers or a toy) when you’re turned on and you’ve had a chance to get ready.  The vagina is much more receptive, it’s likely to be slicker from lubrication and it feels more pleasurable because blood rushing to the area increases sensitivity.  This comparison highlights the importance of knowing your body and taking your time when it comes to sex.  As I said, everyone’s body works at a it’s own pace, but it generally takes a minimum of twenty minutes for a person with a vagina to reach the peak of that preparation phase and be fully ready for penetration.

 

So now you see how having a lower-lying cervix isn’t a problem when it comes to penetrative sex.   The vagina is a very clever body part that does some amazing things, and the way it prepares for sexy times is only one of them.  All it needs is a bit of time, patience and foreplay to help it along.

 

Do you have a sex question you want answered?  You can shoot me an email or get in touch via one of my social media channels.

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Product review: Lush by Lovense

A few months ago I was doing an epic eye-roll at a camgirl show.  The model I was watching was wearing a Lovense Lush and having a massive orgasm.  I was intensely sceptical. “C’mon, there’s no freakin’ way that a tiny insertable vibrator is making her cum that hard….or at all”.  In the past the only insertable egg vibes I’d encountered were buzzy, weak and lacklustre, so you can imagine why I was doubtful that this toy was capable of producing such a leg-shaking reaction.

Fast forward to last month when Aphrodite’s Pleasure sent me a Lush of my very own to review.  I had extremely low expectations for this toy and truly believed that this review was going to be a slam-dunk.  I made a list of tests to put the Lush through it’s paces and set to work trying it out….

And time and again, this toy proved me wrong.  I went into this review fully expecting to hate this toy, but the Lovense Lush wooed me, seduced me and turned those expectations on their head.  If you’re also a sceptic, get ready to be converted.

To start with, let’s take a look at the basics.  The Lush by Lovense is a wearable vibrator with remote control via a smartphone app.  It’s made with 100% body safe silicone and feels buttery soft to the touch.  The Lush only comes in one colour: hot pink.  This is fine for me because I adore anything pink but some folks might not be jazzed that there are no other colour options.  The Lush is rechargeable and a full charge will give you between 1.5 and 2 hours of use.  This is a pretty decent amount of playtime for such a tiny toy.

To use the Lush, you insert it into your vagina, with the tail outside your body.  The entire toy vibrates, including the little tail.  The vibration quality is top-notch.  I was utterly surprised that such a small package could deliver such deep, rumbling vibrations.  The Lush is cleverly shaped to target your g-spot when inserted.  The bulge at the top of the vibrator nestles against the front wall of your vagina to deliver strong sensation to your g-spot.  As if that wasn’t awesome enough, the tail sits between your legs and rumbles against your clit, although with less intensity than the insertable portion of the toy.  This dual sensation was a pleasant surprise, as I wasn’t expecting any external stimulation from this toy.  I can very rarely orgasm without clitoral stimulation, so the addition of the vibrating tail was a very welcome feature for me.  When inserted, the Lush is really comfortable and stays in place perfectly.

You can use the Lush manually or by remote control by pairing it with the app.  To use it manually, you press and hold the button to turn it on, and then click the button to turn up the vibration and cycle through the vibration patterns.  This is kind of awkward if the toy is inside you, as you have to fumble around in your vagina if you want to adjust the intensity.  Although manual use is a possibility, it’s pretty clear from the design that the Lush is intended to be used as a remote control toy.

The Lovense app is free to download and is compatible with Android and Apple products (you can even use your Apple watch to control it).  It’s super simple to use with really intuitive controls and a bright interface.  I was really impressed with the app and all the different features it offers.  Firstly, you can use the app as a basic remote control for your toy.  You can increase or decrease the intensity with the slide of a finger and create your own patterns.  I put the Lush through a bunch of different tests to check the range of the remote control.  It continued to work perfectly through several layers of clothing, under the covers of my bed and from several feet away.  I had expected that it might struggle to remain connected if I put on clothes or climbed under the covers but the Lush didn’t skip a beat.

Speaking of beats, the app also has a really cool music setting.  You can choose a song from your phone or your Spotify account and the toy will buzz to the music.  I took this feature for it’s maiden voyage to one of my favourite songs- Thriller by Michael Jackson and was excited yet puzzled by the result.  The feature was a lot of fun, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what the vibrations are synched to.  It doesn’t follow the beat, or the tempo, or the melody of the song that’s playing.  The pattern of vibration seems somewhat random, and yet it still feels like it’s working with the music somehow.  I experimented with many different songs and found the results interesting and fun (for the record, my favourite song to pair it with is Jungle Love by Morris Day and The Time).  I like using the music setting for foreplay, because it gives you a fun, random-ish pattern of vibration that is unpredictable.  However, I can’t get off using this setting because I need continuous and predictable vibrations or orgasm.  But it’s really fun to play with to tease yourself.

While the Lush is a lot of fun to play with on your own, it really shines as a couples vibrator.  The app has a long-distance setting that is nothing short of fantastic.  Basically, your partner downloads the app, and you give them permission to control your toy remotely.  Your long-distance lover can then control the vibrations of your toy from anywhere in the world.  There’s even a chat function, so that you can talk dirty and send sexy pictures while you play.  I live three hours from my partner, and we had so much fun with this function.  It was amazing to let him take control and actually be able to remotely hold my orgasm in the palm of his hand. The first time we tried it, it was a little strange because of the lack of feedback.  He wasn’t sure if it was working until I texted him to tell him I was enjoying myself.  But pair this toy with skype or facetime, and you’ve got yourself a seriously fun long-distance sex date. I also like the fact that you can block users from controlling your toy, so if your romance turns sour you don’t have to worry about your ex hijacking your vibrator.

One reason that a lot of people are drawn to wearable vibrators is because they open the door to public play. Just imagine that you’re wearing a vibrator and nobody knows except your partner, who is holding the remote control.  And at any moment they could press the button and send you into a quivering mess while you desperately try to contain yourself.  Unfortunately, most wearable vibrators that I’ve encountered shit all over this fantasy.  They’re either so uncomfortable that you can’t stand to wear them for an extended period, or they are super loud so everyone within ten metres can hear your panties buzzing.  Either that or they’re weak and aren’t really good for much more than a lack-lustre fizz.  The Lush is the first toy I’ve used that is actually practical for public play.  Firstly, it’s really comfortable to wear, and sits discreetly under your clothing.  Secondly, even at it’s highest setting, it’s practically silent once you’ve inserted it.  I could not believe how quiet this toy was, and I’ve worn it in public without anybody raising an eyebrow.  Finally, the vibrations are strong enough to feel amazing, so you can actually play with real pleasure rather than tiny pings and buzzes.  The remote has a fairly good range, up to 10m when standing or 3m when sitting, so if you’re at the movies or out  to dinner then you’re well within range for play.  The one slightly awkward thing is that you need to turn the toy on before play.  So if you’re walking around with it on, the batteries are going to be draining and your playtime might be cut short.  But realistically, this is a pretty minor downfall.  For public play, the Lush ticks almost every box.

One other use I’ve found for the Lush is as an external clitoral vibrator.  It’s small enough to target your clit during intercourse or for solo play.  The rumbly vibrations feel incredible on my clit and labia. The fact that it has a travel lock make this the ideal pack-and-go toy.

I am so impressed with the Lush by Lovense.  It’s an incredibly versatile toy that can be used solo or with a partner, it can be used for BDsM power play scenes, public play, long distance play or steamy masturbation sessions.  Not only does it open the door for creative play, but it does exactly what it’s supposed to. It delivers amazingly strong vibrations and pairs perfectly with the app, without losing connection or interrupting your playtime.  I have to eat humble pie and apologise to the cam model that I accused of faking her orgasm while using this toy….because I now know that it’s entirely possible to have a leg-quaking climax with a remote controlled bullet vibe.  Or at least, it is with the Lovense Lush.

Fun Factory Stronic Zwei Pulsator review.

This is a review that I’ve been trying to write for several months.  I bought the Stronic Zwei nearly two years ago, and it’s taken me this long to finally sit down and tell you about it.  I feel a real internal push-and-pull about this toy.  There are so many things that I love about the Stronic Zwei, and yet…..overall I’m underwhelmed.  And my reaction is partially due to the toy itself and partly due to my own expectations, so it’s kind of hard to land on a definite opinion of the Stronic Zwei.  Some days I love it, and some days I want to hurl it across the room.  But let’s go back to the beginning.

I stumbled across Fun Factory’s Stronic line when I was hunting for a new toy to add to my collection.  I was on the lookout for something new, some exciting hook that would set it apart from other toys.  And I believed that I had found it in the Stronic toys.   See, Fun Factory’s Stronic toys aren’t vibrators…they’re pulsators.  The shaft encases a magnetic plate that moves back and forth, creating a thrusting motion.  I was eager to try this pulsation for myself and spent a long time deciding which of the Stronic toys to purchase.

At the time, there were three Stronic pulsators available: The Stronic Eins, The Stronic Drei and the Stronic Zwei.  (Fun Factory has since added the Stronic G to the collection).  I spent a long time weighing up the three designs before I settled on the Zwei.  I didn’t like the long, mostly straight shaft of the Eins, because I felt the shape would bypass my g-spot.  The Drei had the curve I wanted, but I was put off by the extreme ridges which I worried would feel uncomfortable and be difficult to clean.  I settled on the Zwei because I liked the sweeping curves and smooth finish.  I was a bit wary of the fact that the Zwei is marketed as a prostate toy, but there are plenty of prostate toys that work amazingly well for g-spot stimulation so I was willing to take a chance.

When I lifted my Stronic Zwei from it’s box, I was instantly smitten by the physical features of the toy.  The shaft is the most delicious, velvety silicone that feels luxurious to touch.  The handle is hard plastic and the whole toy is quite hefty.  The three raised buttons are smooth and easy to press, but not so sensitive that they’re likely to get accidentally pushed during play.  The Stronic Zwei reminds me of a sexy pirate sword with it’s firm handle and flared pommel.

Sadly, once I put the toy into use, some of these features showed their darker side.  That velvet silicone is a total dust-magnet and this toy picks up every hair and speck of lint in the vicinity.   This toy is also the worst lube-hog in my collection.  The soft finish just seems to dry out lube exceptionally quickly, which sucks because you need quite a generous amount of lube to use this toy successfully.

The Stronic Zwei’s controls are fantastic.  They’re easy to use, intuitive and simple.  To turn the toy on and off, you press the big red FUN button.  The plus and minus buttons allow you to cycle through the different pulsation patterns.  I adore the fact that you can turn the toy off with a single click of the FUN button. The Zwei is also equipped with a travel lock so that your toy won’t accidentally get turned on in your luggage.  However, I’ve found this feature redundant because this toy is too freaking heavy for me to consider taking it with me when I travel.  It’s possibly the only toy that has been left behind on every single journey to my partner’s house, solely because it adds far too much heft to my luggage.

My play sessions with the Stronic Zwei have been equal parts joyful and frustrating.  When it works, it’s magnificent, but when it doesn’t it’s an orgasm-killer.  And it’s taken me a lot of trial and error to get to a point where I have at least as many positive sessions as sigh-inducing ones.

The main issue I have with the Zwei is a common one with most toys do anything other than vibrate.  See, when you look at such a toy on a display, and you see it thrusting away merrily, it looks really impressive.  But as soon as the business end of the toy encounters resistance (for example, when it’s buried in your vagina or anus) everything comes unstuck.  What usually happens is that the movement gets transferred to the handle, because the shaft of the toy is being held still by your body.  So in order to stabilise the toy, you have to hold the handle firmly in place.  And even then, this often results in a muffling of the motion.  I’ve never experienced the same level of movement during use as you’d get with a toy that’s just wriggling about on a display.

This is definitely the case with the Zwei.  If I try to use it hands-free, it pumps away merrily and quickly slides out of my vagina.  If I’m not holding it, it absolutely won’t stay in position for more than a few seconds.  But if I hold the handle too firmly, the pulsations pretty much grind to a halt.  So I’ve had to experiment to find just the right amount of pressure on the handle to keep the toy in place, but also to make sure that the pulsations are still powerful enough.  And if my grip varies slightly in either direction, then pleasure quickly morphs into frustration.  So often, I’ll be on the edge of an orgasm and tense or relax at the wrong moment and the toy will either freeze or slip from position, resulting in me wrenching it from my genitals and reaching for a more reliable vibrator.

When the stars and planets align and the Zwei is perfectly in place, the pulsations do feel really awesome.  It’s a very different sensation from any vibrator I’ve tried, like a very deep rumble and quake.  It doesn’t feel like thrusting to me, but it does feel great.  The Zwei has 10 vibration patterns that vary in speed and intensity.  I prefer the hard, slow shakes to the fast, galloping pulses personally.

One thing I will say in favour of the Zwei is that it’s magical as a manual dildo.  If I use it without switching the motor on, it gets me off every time.  The firm handle gives me plenty of leverage to thrust with.  The curved tip finds my g-spot effortlessly, and has an ideal firm-yet-squishy texture that massages it to perfection.  The weight of the shaft means that thrusting with your hand feels powerful, even if you’ve got weak spaghetti arms like I do.  It’s just a shame that I can’t get these orgasmic results using the toy the way it’s intended to be used.  It feels like a bit of a waste.

In the name of science, I attempted to use this toy anally just to see how it felt.  The Stronic Zwei is most definitely an advanced anal toy, and it was too much for my poor butt.  I managed to insert it no further than the first curve, and it was just too large for me.  If you are more experienced with anal play, you might really enjoy this toy, but I can honestly tell you that it’s not for beginners.

The Stronic Zwei comes with Fun Factory’s click-and-charge charger, which attaches to the base of the toy with a magnet.  Normally I’m not a fan of magnetic chargers, because it’s really easy to knock them out of position but this one makes strong contact and stays in place.  The fact that there is no open charging port means that the toy is waterproof and can be submerged for underwater play and easy cleaning.

Now, as this is a luxury sex toy, it comes with a luxury price tag.  The Fun Factory Stronic Zwei costs around $250 at full price.  I got mine on sale for $200, but it still makes it the most expensive toy in my toybox.  And honestly….I don’t think it’s worth it.   Although the toy has some amazing features and is a really innovative design, I just don’t think it’s worth paying $200 for.  Now, I take full responsibility for the fact that I chose not to buy either of the toys that are designed for vaginal use, and instead went for the prostate massager.  It’s possible that if I’d bought one of the other two designs, I might have had a better experience.  But I’m still dubious, because I don’t think that the Eins or Drei are so dramatically different that they would stay in place more effectively.  Now that Fun Factory has released the Stronic G, which is more targeted for G Spot penetration, I’d be keen to give that a shot.  But I’m not curious enough to pay upwards of $300 to find out if it’s a more effective toy.

 

I’m not willing to recommend the Stronic Zwei if you’re intending to use it as a g-spot vibrator.  While it does have many admirable features, it just isn’t terribly effective for this purpose.  Although there are other Stronic pulsators available, I can’t really comment on whether or not they are any better.  I found this particular toy good, but not good enough to warrant paying a quarter of a grand for it.

Product review: Fun Factory Bootie

Today I’m publishing my first ever anal toy review.  And the toy I’ve chosen to talk about is the Fun Factory Bootie plug.  Although the Bootie wasn’t my first anal plug, it is the most beginner-friendly plug I’ve tried.  And I thought it would be nice to make my first review one that appealed to readers who have never tried butt play, but might be keen to give it a go.

The Bootie is a great first-time plug for so many reasons.  It comes in three different sizes: Small, Medium and Large.  There isn’t a lot of variation between the sizes, so each one is a gentle step up from the last. I purchased the Medium plug because I wanted something a little bit larger than the smallest plug in my collection.  But if you’ve never tried anal play before, then the Small Bootie is non-intimidating and the perfect size.

In addition to the size range, I believe that the shape of the Bootie is great for first timers.  Rather than the traditional teardrop shape that most plugs have, the Bootie is a kind of elongated comma shape.  I personally find that this shape makes insertion smoother and easier.  With teardrop plugs, I have to take an incremental approach to inserting them because they get gradually wider.    Because the tip of the Bootie is the widest part, once I’ve eased that past the back door, my butt kind of just embraces the rest of the plug. When inserting a toy is easy and smooth, it makes the rest of your play session so much more enjoyable.

The texture of this plug makes it super easy to insert and wear too.  The Bootie is made from Fun Factory’s gorgeous velvety silicone.  It’s 100% body safe and non-porous, which is ultra important for anal toys.  A toy that is not body safe can harbour bacteria and cause infections.  Porous toys are a breeding ground for odours, which is the last thing you want from a butt toy.  The Bootie is so smooth and silky to touch, with absolutely no seams or ridges.  While experienced players might like a bit of texture to enhance sensation, for the first-time user the mere fact that you’re wearing a butt plug is usually enough sensation. The Bootie gives you a nice full feeling without any irritation or friction.

Once inserted, the Bootie feels amazing. The curved tip follows the natural arc of your body.  I always insert this toy with the curved end facing forwards, towards my belly button.  This way, the bulge at the tip provides indirect g-spot stimulation.  If you have a prostate, inserting the Bootie in this way will angle it towards your P-spot.  The Bootie is firm, but not rigid.  It has a bit of squish to it, so it applies a good amount of pressure without being too intense.  I can comfortably wear this plug for extended periods without feeling sore.

Another reason that I adore the Bootie is that it’s great for wearing during sex.  The firm-yet-soft texture and the curved shape help to angle my partner’s cock or a dildo towards my g-spot during penetrative play.  This leads to a really full feeling as well as intense stimulation which is often missing during penetrative intercourse.  People with prostates will appreciate the additional stimulation this plug offers when worn during partnered play or during solo sessions.

One of the most vital features of any butt toy is the base.  A toy that is going into your anus needs to have a flared base to ensure that it can be easily retrieved.  The Bootie has one of the most comfortable bases of any anal toy that I’ve tried.  While most butt plugs have a rounded or rectangular base, the Bootie boasts a T-bar base of flexible silicone. When worn, the base nestles snugly between your butt cheeks.  It’s is rigid enough to keep the toy in position, but has enough flex to move with your body when you walk or sit.  For this reason, the Bootie is a great plug for wearing for extended periods.  The base is super comfortable and not obtrusive, but is also strong enough to make sure that your plug doesn’t get sucked into the great beyond.

An important factor for beginner toys is price.  If you’re trying something for the first time, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a toy that you’re not certain is going to light your fire.  This means that often, beginners will buy cheap, low-quality toys that don’t perform well or aren’t body safe.  The Bootie plugs range in price from about $30 for the Small to $40 for the Large.  This means that they are pretty affordable, in addition to being well-crafted and high-performing.  It’s hard to find great quality toys at such a reasonable price-point, and the Bootie is a fantastic toy that won’t put a dent in your finances.  I got mine from Aphrodite’s Pleasure, which is a fantastic Aussie sex-toy shop.  They have the individual Bootie plugs or all three together in The Bootie Set which is brilliant value for money if you know you’d like the option of multiple sizes.

I love my Bootie and I truly recommend this for first-time anal explorers or more experienced players.  It’s well-made, comfortable and so sleek.  It’s one of my most-loved toys and one that I keep coming back to over and over.

Game of Thrones makes us ask “What is Sex?”

I’m excited by the discussion that is swirling around the sex lives of two of my favourite Game of Thrones characters: Grey Worm and Missandei.  The Season 7 episode Stormborn ignited a conversation around a topic that I think is extremely important to consider: The way that we define “Sex”.

I still haven’t caught up on season 7 of GoT, but I just HAD to check out the love scene between these two characters so that I could join in the discussion. I saw so many posts online that were asking the question “Grey Worm and Missandei hooked up…..but did they have sex?  And if so, how?”

For those who aren’t fans of Game of Thrones, let me shed a little light on this question.  Grey Worm, as a member of The Unsullied, a ruthless slave army, is a eunuch.  From what I can gather from the series and the books it is based on, in his case this means that he has been fully castrated, with the removal of both his penis and testicles.

 

So when the tender love scene between a castrated man and his female lover aired, a lot of people asked how, if he has no penis, could he possibly have sex with her? And this opened a can of worms around the idea of how we define sex.

 

For me, the discussion surrounding the love scene really highlighted how penis-centric our idea of sex is.  When most of us first learn about sex, we are taught that sex = penis in vagina.  But in reality the definition of sex is so much broader than that.  “Sex” can encompass a huge range of activities, including oral sex, anal sex, digital penetration and stimulation and mutual masturbation.  While there’s no denying that these are all elements of sexual play, our culture still largely views them as foreplay, a lead up to the Main Event of penis-in-vagina sex.  I’ve even heard some people refer to penis-in-vagina sex as “real sex” or “full sex”, which kind of gives the impression that those other sexual acts are less important or have a lower status than vaginal penetration with a penis.

And while some viewers were happy to concede that while Grey Worm could easily provide pleasure to his female partner, that without a penis he’d be bereft of any pleasure of his own.  If Grey Worm has no genitals, then surely any sexual play between him and Missandei will be ludicrously one-sided, cried they.

 

Although Game of Thrones has had some truly questionable sex scenes in the past, I loved the way this scene was shot. It was tender, it was erotic and the desire of both parties was palpable.  I thought it was a wonderful illustration of the ways in which sex can be much more broadly defined.  It showed that the important facet of a sexual encounter isn’t the body parts that are involved, but rather the connection between the partners who are participating.

 

If we think of sex as only including penis-in-vagina penetration, we are selling ourselves short of a world of sexual pleasure.  We are excluding the sexual relationships of same-sex couples, intersex individuals and trans folk who do not participate in penetrative sex.  We discount the sexual connections had by heterosexual men who do not experience erections or sensation in the genitals.  And that cuts out a huge percentage of sexually active humans and relationships.  This narrow idea of what sex is does not serve us. It sets us up for a limited sexual experience and shame if our sex lives don’t match that view.  And so I encourage everyone reading this to take a look at how you think about sex and try to widen that view a little if you currently think that “real” sex only looks like a penis in a vagina.

 

So how might Grey Worm and Missandei have had sex?  Well, we know for sure that there was plenty of kissing and touching, and we saw him go down on her.  Knowing what I know about their anatomies, here are a few other activities that they might have enjoyed together:

  • Grey Worm might have used his fingers or hands to stimulate Missandei’s vulva and clitoris, and may even have penetrated her digitally.
  • Both parties have nipples, which might respond to touch and play.
  • Although Grey Worm doesn’t have external genitals, he probably still has a prostate.  This nerve-packed pleasure spot can be accessed through the anus and can produce orgasm internally.
  • Frottage, or the rubbing of the clitoris against a thigh, hip or pubic mound, could be enjoyed by both parties while still maintaining full body contact and giving them the opportunity to kiss and look at one another.
  • Both Missandei and Grey Worm could have indulged in a sensual massage as a way to explore eachother’s bodies and relax their partner.
  • Regardless of their genitals, everyone has a butt.  And the backside is full of nerve endings which are very responsive to touch with fingers, lips, tongues and toys.

This is just a few examples of the ways that these two characters could give and receive sexual pleasure together.  None of these activities involves a penis in a vagina and all of them count as sex in my book.

I am so chuffed that a program as huge as Game of Thrones has shown such a beautiful sex scene and given fans the opportunity to talk about how we define sex. It’s a super important topic and one that I could chat about for ages.  But I wanted to keep this post relatively short to give you a chance to sit with these ideas and think about where you stand on the definition of “sex”.

 

If you’re up for it, I’d love for you to leave a comment telling me how you define sex.  What counts as “sex” in your book?

The performance of pleasure

I recently finished reading The Sex Myth by Rachael Hills.  While the book was fascinating, there was one particular idea that I’m still pondering ages after the final page has been turned.  This was the concept of the Performance of Pleasure.

 

In the book, the author suggests that people, women in particular, feel pressured to perform pleasure.  By that, she means that during sexual activity women feel obliged to act as though they are enjoying themselves, with a series of facial expressions, moans and bodily cues, even if they aren’t truly as turned on as their performance would suggest they are.  This performance is seen as an integral part of sex, and so many women don’t even realise that they are doing it.

 

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This chapter hit me like a punch in the stomach.  When I read those words, I realised how true they were for me, and that I was one of those women who puts on a sensual performance in bed, completely unaware that that’s what I was doing.  I don’t always do it though, there are times when I’m completely caught up in the excitement that I lose myself and the curtain is dropped.  But there have definitely been times when I’ve pretended to be more aroused or excited than I actually am, particularly when engaging with a new partner.  I’m not talking about faking orgasms here.  What I’m talking about is a subtle tweaking of my body language and verbal cues to suggest that sex is having a stronger effect on me than it truly is.  It’s not even a deliberate act, it’s something that I’ve learned to do over time, to encourage my partner and to avoid causing offence.

 

I think back to one of my first sexual experiences with a partner.  I am with my first serious boyfriend in my bedroom.  Nirvana is playing on my stereo and a half hour of kissing and touching has turned to heavy petting.  My boyfriend and I have partially undressed and he is using his fingers to play with my labia.  It’s the first time anyone other than me has touched this part of my body and it feels strange.  Good, but strange.  I’m getting over the self-consciousness of letting another person be this intimate with my body.  I’m anxious about my parents hearing us, and I’m enjoying the new sensations and being close to someone I care this much about.  After a while, it’s time for us to part so that my boyfriend can head home.

 

On the phone that same night, we talked about our experiments from earlier.  My boyfriend asks “Did you enjoy yourself?” and I assured him that I had.  His response confused me “It’s just….it didn’t seem like you were enjoying yourself”.  I asked why he thought that, and he responded that I hadn’t made much noise, and I hadn’t given much of a physical indication that I was feeling pleasure.  After our conversation, I considered this carefully.

 

There was no doubt in my mind that I’d enjoyed his touches.  Although I hadn’t been close to orgasm, it felt lovely and I definitely wanted more.  And it’s true that I had been quiet, but that was partially because I was very aware that my parents were in the house and also….it hadn’t felt good enough for me to make any involuntary noises.  I was worried because I didn’t want my boyfriend to think that I wasn’t having fun.  And I certainly didn’t want to be one of those girls who just “lay there”.  I wanted to make sure that our sex was good.

 

And so the next time we played together, I kept this in mind.  When he touched me I let out a little whimper of pleasure, and saw him smile.  I ran my hands through his hair and used my nails to claw at his skin, as though I was ravenous with desire.  I arched my back and bit my lip.  Even though I was relatively inexperienced, I knew how to act out this pleasure because I’d seen so many films and television shows that portrayed this performance.  I knew which marks to hit, which noises to make to indicate that I was having fun.

 

The important thing to note here is that I genuinely was enjoying myself.  His hands on my body felt good, great even.  But they weren’t making me as turned on as I appeared to be.  But he seemed more satisfied this time that he’d shown me a good time.

 

Over time, these little nuances became a part of my sexual repertoire.  They weren’t even a conscious act, just a few tweaks that I’d throw in to show that I was enjoying myself.  As I said earlier, they were more about encouraging a partner, indicating that something felt good, than actually pretending.  But now that I’m writing about it, it feels dishonest.  It feels wrong and shameful, like faking an orgasm.  And yet, on occasion when I’d drop the act, I had partners ask me if I was enjoying myself, if they were doing the right thing.

 

I got to thinking also about why these responses to sexual touch were expected.  Why my boyfriends (always boyfriends) seemed to believe that a single touch in a particular spot should make me weak and the knees and gasping for breath.  And I think I have the answer.  It’s a vicious cycle really.  When blokes are inexperienced in the sexual realm, their main sources of reference for sex and porn and films that feature sex scenes.  And on the screen, the women who are being pleasured are usually very vocal, and tend to show their pleasure with overt body language.  This is because it’s what looks good, what is entertaining and exciting on the screen.  And when these boys touch a real women for the first time, they expect her to react like that. And if their partner has learned that performing pleasure is an important part of sex, then his expectations are confirmed.  And if she doesn’t…..then he feels like he’s done the wrong thing or his partner hasn’t enjoyed herself.

 

So we’re all cheating ourselves with this cycle of expectation and anxiety.  Women are cheating themselves out of an honest sexual experience and men are cheating themselves out of the opportunity to genuinely enjoy their partner’s pleasure.  I believe that the time has come to be gentle with ourselves and our partners, and drop the act. Be vocal about what you enjoy and get into the habit of telling your partner what you want in bed.  Learn to communicate honestly and openly in your relationships and be genuine in your sexual expression.  It’s not something that can be done easily or quickly, but I think looking at our own behaviour and admitting to ourselves if we are performing pleasure is the first step to a better sex life and more genuine sexual relationships.

How to have great sex

There seems to be an overwhelming insecurity around sexual ability.  So many of us worry about whether we’re actually good in bed, whether we’re capable of pleasing our partners.  This might be the reason that magazine articles or guides that promise to improve sexual prowess and technique are so popular.

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As a woman who loves sex, who spends a fair whack of her time thinking about, reading about, writing about and having sex, I like to think that I’m not too bad in the sack.  I’ve gained enough knowledge over the years to offer some sage advice about what makes for great sex.  And I’d love to share that with you in the form of a few bullet points.  So…..how can you be good, or better, at sex?

  • First and foremost, relax.  We treat sex like a big, serious act that must be perfectly choreographed and executed.  But it isn’t.  Funny noises happen, silly faces get pulled and body parts are flung about in ungainly ways.  Don’t stress about it.  Have fun, laugh at the silly bits and enjoy yourself.
  • Ask for what you want.  There’s this weird idea that our ideal sexual partner will be able to magically divine our deepest desires and automatically know how to touch us in a way that makes our knees weak.  This rarely happens.  Rather than hoping that your partner will touch you how you like to be touched, ask them.
  • Conversely, ask what your partner wants.  Encourage feedback and follow it.  Learn from it.  Respect your partners wishes if they say they don’t want something, and don’t shame them if they say they do want something you aren’t comfortable with.  Just politely decline and do something else.
  • Take a “let’s just see” approach during sex.  Explore with your partner, rather than just doing the one or two techniques that you know work.  See what happens when you lick here, touch here, stroke there.  Try lots of different things and note how they feel.  Not everything will produce and explosive response, but it’s only by trying things out that you find exciting new ways to play.
  • Talk about sex with your partner. Not just while sex is happening, but before, and after.  Don’t make it a difficult or embarrassing topic, just relax and speak openly and honestly.  Communication makes sex so much better, and being able to talk with your partner about takes so much of the worry and shame out of the bedroom.
  • Use lube.  There’s this idea that if you’re doing sex properly, lube is not required, but that is total bullshit.  Lube will only make your sex play better.  Whether you’re on your own or with a partner, use lube.  Whether you’re doing p-in-v, anal, hand jobs, oral or any other kind of sex play, a few drops of good quality lube will take it from feeling pretty good to downright fantastic.
  • And finally….just have fun.  Sex is playful and beautiful and expressive.  It can be raw and vulnerable, or light and joyful.  But in my opinion it should always be fun.

What do you think makes sex great?  What’s the best piece of sex advice you’ve ever been given?