Good Sex Matters—And Too Many Women Aren't Having It

For the past several weeks, whenever anyone—friends, parents, my therapist, in-laws—asks me which topics I’m working on these days at Glamour, I’ve taken a deep breath, looked them in the eye, and said: female pleasure.

There’s been a lot of awkward silences.

We’re more sex positive than ever as a culture. But we still haven’t erased some fundamental truths: women’s bodies are still policed, sex education is still lacking, and talking about sex still carries a stigma. “We have never, ever, in the entire history of the world, been enabled to bring the female lens to bear on sexuality, and the world is a poorer place for it,” says Cindy Gallop, founder of Make Love Not Porn.

“Female pleasure really is considered less of a priority,” says Jennifer Wider, M.D., women’s health expert and partner of sexual wellness brand K-Y. (The first systematic mapping of pleasure in the female brain didn’t occur until 2011—decades behind the scientific study of men’s sexual pleasure.) Cue the countless headlines about the orgasm gap—a term which sums up the chasm several studies have found between the number of orgasms women and men in heterosexual relationships have. But the gap goes beyond the bedroom. Even in an era where porn stars make political headlines, female pleasure is conspicuously absent from the conversation. Even in places where sexual wellness should be right on the top of the list of discussion topics. “When we go to the gynecologist, we’re asked, ‘Are you sexually active? Do you want birth control? And do you want to be tested for STDs?’ says Cindy Eckert, CEO of Sprout Pharmaceuticals and the woman behind female sexual desire drug Addyi. Rarely does whether or not you actually enjoy your sex life ever come up.

The stigmas surrounding women and sex—and especially good sex—run deep. So deep that the very idea of what it means to have good sex is murky, filtered by unrealistic portrayals of women on screen who who often orgasm seductively after five seconds of penetration.

The real definition of good sex is simpler, and so much more complex all at the same time. “Good sex is sex that makes you feel great,” says Gallop. “I don’t mean as in ‘Oh, you just had a phenomenal orgasm and you feel great about that.’ What I mean is literally how comfortable you feel in your sexual skin. I’m talking about feeling at one with yourself as a sexual being, feeling perfectly at ease with how you express yourself sexually, feeling accepted in every possible respect, and therefore feeling really great about sex and all its manifestations.”

Good sex, in other words, is sex that makes you feel like Beyoncé. “There is no objective, outside measure of that at all,” Gallop says. “There is no formula. There is no rule book.”

This is not about about ways to get your partner to better satisfy you in bed (though women’s magazines, including Glamour, have certainly filled the internet with countless articles on that). This is about women owning their own pleasure—partner or no partner. It’s about putting an end to the taboo that makes talking about something as intimate as your pubic hair grooming practices fair game over drinks with your friends, but talking about your favorite masturbation techniques feel cringey.

The pleasure gap and leaves women with a literal deficit. “I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen over the years—brilliant women, successful women, women who have achieved anything and everything—who are bankrupt in their relationship to themselves and their bodies,” says Nan Wise, Ph.D., a certified sex therapist, cognitive neuroscientist who studies pleasure in the female brain, and author of the aptly named book Why Good Sex Matters. “Good sex is about enjoying the experience. Good sex is about a pleasurable connection with yourself.”

The Power of Good Sex

The ripple effects of that are powerful—like self-care on steroids. “I think as we become educated consumers of our own bodies, we become better citizens: more connected, more powerful, more empowered,” says Wise. “Who we are sexually is an absolute fundamental driver of everything to do with how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about other people, our relationships, our life, our happiness,” echoes Gallop.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.