Category Archives: Orgasm Trouble

Oh, You Naughty Librarian!

In college, I was a librarian. I worked both in books and in the audio-visuals section. Then I was a bookseller.

Everything I ever needed to learn about sex, I learned on the job. It’s probably the only thing escorts and librarians have in common.

Okay, well, no, not everything I ever needed to learn… but it sure as hell helped me write informative web sex commentaries like:

What can I tell you? There’s nothing like being paid in quiet work moments to go searching through shelves for titles you’d never have the balls to take out if you were just Joe Public, like Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man by Dan Anderson.

A quiet rainy night and no one in the bookshop, and I have a date with my boyfriend later? Sure, why not learn new oral techniques or read about the psychology of sex in the Guide to Getting it On by Paul Joahannides?

I was ALLOWED to read on the job. Clients might enter and ask about those books! (And in 3 years, only one did, and when I gave her Dan Anderson’s book and pointed out a couple passages worth really absorbing, she cancelled her evening plans then and there and invited her guy over for breakfast, laughing while I rang the book in.)

Will Manley reports over on his blog that, in 1992, he had more than 5,000 librarians answer his Librarians & Sex Survey, but the results were quashed by Those Who Be who thought, perhaps, that librarians couldn’t appear THAT naughty.

I woulda scored pretty good in some of the categories, I suspect, but thank god I’m not relevant here because you people just don’t need to know too much. Hi! I’m Steff the sometimes-sex blogger with boundaries.

But all this comes back to what I strongly believe — great sex requires:

  • great knowledge
  • communication
  • articulation
  • attention to detail
  • ability to be versatile
  • openmindedness
  • access to information and resources
  • insight and commentary
  • ability to not take things too seriously

Furthermore? I believe the people with the healthiest sex lives are usually people who are most open to other people’s points-of-views and lifestyle choices.

Why? Because being a great lover means realizing the world has more tastes than just yours. And accepting that personal taste matters.

The reality is, just because you think you have a money-shot doesn’t mean it works on everyone. Sex isn’t about YOU. It’s about your partner. And if your partner thinks that way too, then congratulations, you probably know what it’s like to have your mind totally blown by sex.

But if either of you think it’s all about the orgasm, or that your performance reflects on you in a “being-graded” kind of way, or that sex is about obligation or routine, then you probably haven’t transcended that place that takes some of us from being mere enthusiasts about sex to feeling profoundly sorry that the rest of the world doesn’t get what we’re talking about.

Frankly? If you haven’t been laid by a sex geek, you’re probably missing out.

The truth is, the more I learn about other people’s hang-ups, the more I read up on the difficult journeys many of us take as we fumble from awkward through to confident lovers, the more I’m able to accept myself as a total vixen-rockstar-lover while also being a woman who has all the insecurities most women have… and it’s okay. ‘Cos openness and vulnerability have their own hotness-factor, too — so long as I realize it’s in my head, I’m not the only person that feels this way, and I can admit it. Besides, that vulnerability is part of what makes me this unique blend of who I am.

My vulnerability is not all I can admit. I’ve found power in confessing things like this, that go against the supposed “sex blogger” image, even though I’ve written one of the most plagiarized how-to-give-blowjobs postings on the web. Why? Because I know I’m not alone, because I’ve shared in that human condition that writing & literature can inform us about.

It’s learning, reading, and sharing in others’ experiences and sexual journeys through blogging and the written word, and just plain learning biology, that has really allowed me to own my insecurities and stop apologizing for them.

So-fucking-what if I’m insecure about my size sometimes? If I tell a lover that and he uses that knowledge to covet ALL of me, it helps fight that insecurity — because it’s hard to fake that attention, it’s hard to be disingenuous as you consume someone whole. You can’t easily sell being turned on by a flabby belly, you know.

It’s my knowledge and life experience that helps me understand how and why we all differ sexually — I don’t have hang-ups about talking to a lover about how he likes it, what he wants, and other little fantasies and peccadilloes that shape each of us as a lover. It’s not some reflection on me if he doesn’t like it when I do X to him — that’s a reflection of how his body’s wired, and I can’t change it, no matter how good my X skills might have proven in other encounters.

That’s the kind of confidence that comes from education. It’s getting past THOSE conversations that make good intercourse become the kind of mindblowing sex that everyone dreams of having.

Learn something. Ignorant lovers are lousy lovers. Get over yourself. Learn about your partner, learn about how their sexual tastes differ. Teach them about you.

That’s when carnal knowledge is sexual power.

So: Do you think your knowledge about sex has changed you as a lover, and how? What are your thoughts on this?

Photo is by Dumio_Momio, and is Creative Commons.

RetroSteff: Why 40% of Women Don’t Masturbate

When this blog first began, for its first year or so, it was all sex or relationships that I was writing about. Most of the time, anyhow, as I kept my “personal” writing on another blog. Somewhere along the way, I gave up separating the two.

But as I’m getting into writing my book, something’s got to give. As I said yesterday, I’m pretty sure y’all ain’t read my 4,000 postings on my two blogs, so I’m going to use this opportunity to help you find the ones worth reading on the days when I ain’t got time to write.

I figure that, you know, in a smirky tip of the hat to my efforts, I should at least make the first retro posting about masturbation and self-love. Continue reading

How to REALLY Do Kegels: Things I’ve Learned In Rehab

PLEASE READ THE COMMENT DISCUSSION ON THIS POSTING, SINCE THERE ARE VALID CONCERNS BEFORE FOLLOWING ANYTHING IN THIS POSTING. Let me be perfectly clear: This is NOT a posting about how to heal back pain. This remedy is for MY back pain, conjured after a few hours of one-on-one time with a physiotherapist who took $65 an hour for his diagnosis. If you have back problems, go to a professional because there’s no way you should be self-diagnosis, ‘cos that could seriously fuck you up.

THIS is about the proper way to do Kegel exercises, why getting the technique is right, and a bit of a warning about doing them wrong, as I’ve learned from personal experience.

Again, got back problems? There are professionals you need to see, not laypeople’s blogs because you think they know their shit, right? Okay. Good. Disclaimer done. Here you go:

________

Well, I’m seeing a physiotherapist for rehabbing regarding my sorry-ass back after blowing it out in September. I’m apparently on track to be “healed” sometime in February. No, seriously.

Despite losing 50 pounds via cycling a couple thousand clicks and climbing some 45,000+ steps and yoga and shit, my back just up and died something fierce. Apparently all that activity is precisely why

Physiotherapy’s interesting when you have a good practitioner. I landed myself a geek who recognises the smarty-pants geek in me, and he’s breaking down very clearly all the ways my body works so I understand the mechanics behind what’s failed inside me, and how to circumvent such failures in the future.

Part of this means I’m learning about my body in a very new way.

Ironically, the number one thing I’m supposed to be doing in order to prevent this injury from ever, ever returning? Kegel-based exercises. As I wrote on Twitter, at the end of the next three months, I’ll have the strongest, most powerful twat in the world. Why? Because I’m to do 360 Kegel-based repetitions a day. Yes, 360 vagina-clenching excercises. Not like I was Little Miss Stretched-Out in the first place, either, so I’m a little daunted by the extent of these, urm, repetitions. I shall be She of the Vice Grip, I tell ya. Continue reading

Vaginas: Uptight, everything’s all right? Not so much.

There’s a scene in The Tailor of Panama in which Pierce Brosnan, as Andy Osnard, a British spy reassigned to Panama, is shown his new office for the first time by his hot but too tense new colleague.

He wanders to a safe in the wall above his new desk and starts trying to crack the combination. The woman, unimpressed, mutters that she doesn’t think it’s even locked.

Sure enough, Osnard gets the safe ajar and glances at her as it creaks open, and says with a suggestive leer on his face. “You’re right… it was open. Just tight from lack of use.”

It’s a great line, funny as hell, and probably makes most women want to fuck Pierce Brosnan then and there. Nothing like a dirty cute Brit.

But it’s also a reality. The longer a woman goes without sex, and without ensuring she’s indulging in some kind of penetrative masturbation with vibrators or dildos, the more her vagina will “atrophy” and tighten. Funny, this doesn’t get spoken of much out there, but perhaps it should.

The beauty of a vagina is its elasticity. While it’s an organ, it’s also governed by many critical muscles. If a woman is not exercising it, it will lose some pliability. The longer she goes without the “exercise”, the more atrophying you’ll run into, and the more difficult sex will be when she gets around to it.

That’s not something we hear a lot about. There’s the old saying, “use it or lose it”, and it applies to both men and women when it comes to masturbation. Men need to be ejaculating regularly to maintain prostate health, but women need to be Kegeling and penetrative-masturbating on a relatively regular basis in order to maintain their vaginal functionality and integrity.

I mean, when you stop exercising and working out on a total-body scale and you start sitting on the couch for a few weeks, how long does it take for your toning to vanish? Not very, right? So, when it comes to sex, how long do ya figure you need to go without before you lose crucial toning down there? Why do we justify scheduling in working out for our total-body fitness, yet seldom worry about maintaining fitness of our sexual organs?

When we’re sexually inactive, full-on masturbation by women is more important than ever. If you’re someone like me who’s been in the position of being deprived of libido as a chemical side effect, it’s important to override the lack of interest felt by the body, and do what needs to be done to stay healthy.

The trouble is, most women get off on clitoral stimulation for orgasms, and I suspect I’m not the only one out there who, 85% of the time, thinks a vibrator is too much work when the clit can be massaged for 45 seconds to produce an orgasm that follows quickly. Easy, tidy, effective, no clean-up, and wholly portable. Not to mention that, when only 60% of women masturbate, you can bet that a good chunk of that total feels awkward about inserting anything into themselves.

It’s a real shame that it’s the sex who has more issues with masturbation that is biologically required to perform a more “invasive” and socially chuckled-about procedure in order to maintain the optimum health of their vaginas, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

After all, it seems there’s still a stigma out there about women using vibrators. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — it’s only the documented sluts and feminists we see in the media with vibrators. The good girls just use hands or maybe a massaging showerhead. Or nothing at all. But she sticks a Rabbit vibe inside her? She’s a man-eater.

Granted, the attitudes are changing, but it’s still a different segment of woman who supposedly uses sex toys, and maybe that stereotype is true to an extent, but wouldn’t it be great for both sexes if that stereotype shattered a little? After all, it’s not like vibrators aren’t actually IMPORTANT for women to use.

I’d be curious to see what percentage of women it is that feels uncomfortable about inserting a vibrator inside her as a result of this not-so-subtle stereotyping that exists everywhere in the media.

I doubt such studies are undertaken that often, about how the average woman masturbates versus the more sexually-liberated one. Because, after all, who really cares how women masturbate? Isn’t it the man’s job to get us off?

Hmm. Talk about your stereotypes.

But if you’re one of these liberated men or women and sex toys work for you… then you should use this 10%-off coupon and go buy yourself a treat at Vibe Review. The coupon is good for as many uses as you want, just save this link and buy often between now and the American election in November. By using this link, you’ll give me a commission of your purchases and help me buy some wine or sexy panties or something. I’ll never know WHO bought anything or WHAT they bought, so your privacy is GUARANTEED, but I’ll get a few bucks stuffed in my piggy bank and the warm-fuzzies will rain happily upon me. So, go for it, and save a few bucks while you’re at it. And feed your favourite scribe. :)

And if you’re not liberated, isn’t it time you started to be? C’mon. Invest in yourself.

On Female Masturbation, Faking Orgasms, & The Psychology of Sex

[Steff note: This posting began as an attempt for me to try and explain a little why women should act out loud when they’re masturbating in the privacy of home — thrusting, grabbing at their breasts and ass, grunting, whatever it takes… but it got a lot deeper and a lot bigger than just a posting on that — and has to do with women faking orgasms, being vocal during sex, and the psychology of sex. See? Something to chew on.]

Enjoying sex is all about learning to let go. It’s difficult for both sexes for different reasons.

Men, they have the pressure to perform and the demands of making their partner come before they do. It’s all about being hard, large, and getting it done in the right order. (No wonder so many opt for safe routines.)

Women, we have to get past all the bullshit that clutters the way between us and the fabled thing of glory, the orgasm. It’s a hard journey and it’s why some women–far too many, really–will always struggle with orgasms.

Guys want the one go-to it move that’ll get a chick off every single time. I thought I heard the Hallelujah chorus when I was young and heard a bunch of guys discussing the g-spot, like it was a sure-thing orgasm trick. But, in reality, most of them had probably never found it, and their girlfriends have likely all faked an orgasm just to get it over and done with.

Yes, guys, we’ve probably all done it. Yes, it’s happened to you. I don’t care if you’re Brad Pitt, a woman has faked an orgasm on you.

Because, sometimes, it’s just easier because we know our body isn’t going that way, and we don’t want you to think it’s you. And we don’t want you to keep trying, because then you (unwittingly?) make us feel like we’re the damaged goods. So, we fake it. And you know, deep down inside, you sometimes appreciate that we do.

So, I got to thinking: If pretty much every woman has faked an orgasm, why can’t more of them use theatrics during masturbation?

Here’s the thing. If sex is about letting go, and most women face problems of inhibitions, baggage, religious issues, and/or breaking free from society’s constraints for a few wild moments behind closed doors, then why not just force yourself to cut loose a little more during masturbation?

It worked for me. More on that later.

Allow me to digress here for a second. Quiet sex is all well and good, but if you can make a little noise, you should. By being vocal during sex — I’m not saying you have to shout — but by being vocal during sex, you tap into a more primal place psychologically. Don’t dismiss the headtrip of sex; getting into the mode and allowing yourself to get primal, however you define that, is essential to really getting something out of sex.

On that note, remaining quiet keeps you more internalized. Besides that, it limits the amount of sharing. You grunt, groan, gasp, shudder, whimper… All of those things contain very readable signs for a lover. They don’t need a megaphone, they don’t even need words. It all says so much. Plus, it’s amazing what some good rhythmic grunting can do to heighten the arousal… when it’s coming from you. And it typically excites men much, much more… and considering the challenge of owning a penis, that’s sometimes a pretty nice helping point.

Hell, I was one of those quiet-in-sex girls until I was about 30 or so, and I couldn’t believe how much more bang for my orgasm buck I was getting when I was getting vocal during sex. Much better result. I live in a wood-framed building, so I’m not some banshee or anything, but I’m no mute, either. Find the level that works for you, it’s not about volume. It’s about expression, expression of how you really feel, but without having to put words to it, all right? But words sure as hell don’t hurt. (Usually.)

So this exercise is all about that. Masturbating, for women who have no sex toys kicking around, doesn’t often involve a lot of inspired imagining when it comes to the idea of a guy inside her. That’s a very difficult sensation to imagine in the mind’s eye. Visualize it, yeah. Identify with its feeling, no. Clearly the girl in this underwear ad had no such struggle.

I think the trick is, you have to grunt or gasp or moan or whatever you like to do, in the cadence that you wish you were thrusting with someone. You know, “Oh… oh… oh! Oh…” It helps flick the switch in your mind and helps fool you ever so briefly that you’re transcending from fantasy to reality, and it gets a little bit hotter. Especially if you mimic the thrusting action at the same time. Grabbing your breast never hurts, either. No, really.

Until you’re able to get past your bullshit enough to grunt and moan aloud to yourself when no one’s going to see or know, you’re never, ever going to let down enough of your guard and reservations to really have some experiences with your lovers.

There are different places you can come from when you’re being sexual, and some of them are pretty unbelievable, and you don’t get there by being timid in bed or afraid to express yourself. There’s sex, and then there’s the mindblowing sex you always file away as a go-to image for masturbation down the line, and for that kind of sex, you need to lose your hang-ups.

Being a good (and confident) lover takes practice and the courage to try moves and techniques blind. It involves studying. It involves curiousity. And it really involves having a voice and knowing not only what you like… but how you like it.

That’s why we masturbate. We masturbate because, well, getting off feels fantastic and shouldn’t have to wait until we’re a party of two, but we also should be masturbating so we can sort of take notes on what blew our mind best. It’s how we’re able to tell a lover what part needs to be nibbled or toyed with, and where what should go.

Why we expect that lovers should just magically know how to make us orgasm I’ll never understand. You wouldn’t show up to a wardrobe stylist, tell them to dress you, but not give them any information about you, your life, your job, or your preferences, would you? So why won’t we tell our lovers what we want?

Masturbation’s the research process through which you can do that. Of course, they can and will bring their mix to the equation, but since it’s your body, you should at least give them an orientation now and then.

Practice, grasshopper. In fact, what are you doing? Go download some porn or something. Idle hands are the devil’s playthings, they say. Don’t be idle.

For the women out there who are more expressive in their masturbation:
Were you always? When you became that way, did it change sex for you? How?

READER SAYS: My Sex Drive’s Out of Gear

First things: Here’s where I remind you people that I’m not a doctor. I have no degrees in any medical or scientific discipline. I’m schooled in common sense and street smarts, and that’s it. In more blunt terms? Take my words for what they’re worth – an interested party offering an opinion, nothing more. In other words? I’m not liable.

All right, so, a reader emailed me. When she hooked up with this guy, it was all sex, all the time. Playtime was gold, and she couldn’t get enough. And then? Nothing.

Suddenly, she’s got zero sex drive. As she says, I am 100% uninterested. It is absolutely uncanny. I have no desire – not towards him, or ANYONE, male or female. If I even wanted to cheat right now, I wouldn’t be able. I used to be this voracious sex creature, all my life – and now, I’m just a sexless zombie. I was on The Pill for a while but I was certain it was fucking up my natural “sexy” hormones, so I stopped about 2 months ago in favor of condoms, basal thermometers, herbs, and moon cycles, which has in fact made me feel a lot better— just NOT SEXY!!!

So, then her question is, What I need to know is, how can I transform myself back into the hormonal sex-on-the-brain tigress I used to be?

Oh, here. Let me just wave my magic wand. POOF. There, that should do it! Oh, it didn’t work? Damn.

The thing about feeling sexy is, it tends to be an indicator of all the other things going on in your life. More on that in a minute. The problem with having that “I’m too sexy for this shirt” feeling dissipating on you is, we’re surrounded by sexuality all the time. The media tells us we have to be beautiful. Society tells us constantly that they judge our books by our covers. Our relationships are supposed to be value-rated by how hot the sex is. The pharmaceutical companies have gotten in on the act with Viagra and Cialis and all those other fun little drugs so we can be sex gods for all the wrong reasons.

The little dark secret that no one wants to talk about is that feeling sexual can go up in smoke pretty fucking fast. There isn’t one thing that could be causing your problems, it’s many.

  • Fatigue (overwork, lack of sleep)
  • Depression (seasonal moods, moodiness)
  • Diet (lack of iron, lack of protein, etc)
  • Underlying relationship problems
  • Worries (money, school, future, life)
  • Fitness (not enough cardio, etc)

And more. Let’s look at your specifics then.

Your relationship has changed for a number of reasons. Your guy’s in a new job that leaves him being less of the guy you used to know – a guy who was creative and passionate and now is a guy in front of a computer, doing a draining and uninspired job.

You were on birth control, something that is well known for affecting sexual sensitivity as well as sex drive. But you fucked up, honey. You went all knee-jerk and stopped taking the pill smack-dab in the middle of your cycle, and you had NO medical consultation before doing so. For anyone else thinking of this: Don’t. Stopping the pill in the middle of your cycle is borderline dumb, because it’ll fuck up your cycle, but worse, it’ll really mess with your hormones. Unfortunately, many chicks don’t know this because the medical information that comes with pills is written in fucking medical/legal-ese.

Pills really do a number on us. Guys will never, ever understand how much pills can fuck us up until we decide to be cruel and shoot them up with estrogen overloads. Here’s an example from my own life, all right?

I started my cycle a day late back in January. It’s five months later and my period has still not returned to normal. I changed it by a SINGLE DAY, and I’m still paying the price. The medical professionals say, “Oh, it takes three months for your system to get back on track.” Know what that’s called? The lowest common denominator. They take all the data from all the chicks who’ve gone awry on their cycle, and they find average length of recovery, and that’s the magic number. Trouble is, every number has exceptions. Hi, I’m Steff, and I’ll be your exception.

No matter what else you talk to your doctor about, you need to tell him/her you did this. Go and ask what it may have done to you. The trouble is, doctors don’t tend to believe too much in pills causing depression and things like that. My doctor was sort of disbelieving when I said I was depressed by way of my pills last fall. Gradually, he came to understand it had to be the case. Since then, I’ve been trying different pills, but I’m still less sexually sensitive than I was, and my sex drive is lower.

You say you don’t eat a lot of meat, and you’re really healthy diet-wise, and maybe you don’t spend enough time with yourself, and perhaps you’re antsy about your future, and all of that. Hell, you even say your relationship has changed because your guy’s not the same. That could do it right there.

Well, sexy comes from caring for ourselves and putting ourselves first – not relying on others’ perceptions of us. We need to exercise, take the time to make ourselves look nice, spend quality time alone, and show ourselves the respect we deserve. Somebody wanting us seems like it should make us feel sexy, but it just doesn’t work that way. We can’t rely on outward situations to provide us with our sexuality. It comes from within.

You’re obsessing about it because it’s something you can’t understand and can’t get to the bottom of. That’s not helping. That’s like guys who worry about whether they’re going to get hard and be able to perform – it exacerbates the problem. But how do you get out of your head?

Talk to someone, and by “someone,” I don’t mean some faceless chick half-way across the country, on the internet. I mean a doctor or therapist and see where it’s going.

The trouble is, not all doctors will see “not feeling sexy” as a medical issue. I think it is. I think you’ve got things going on in the background that are figuring into the equation. Worse, I think quitting the pills cold turkey has probably done quite the number on your hormones, the fall-out of which might take a little while longer to reset itself because you’re so young and hormones aren’t exactly on your side these days anyhow.

The long and the short of it is, this isn’t something you should be fucking around with on your own to solve. Talk to someone and see if there’s possibly something underlying that’s causing it. Spend some more time alone doing things you love, and make fitness a priority. Get sexy for you, not for him, and value how it feels for yourself, not because it’s rejuvenating your relationship.

As women, we tend to forget ourselves in relationships, and the effects of that (especially combined with estrogen upheavals like pill neglect) can be pretty profound on our self-images.

The thing is, we’re lied to. We’re told that getting into relationships is how to feel complete, how to become whole. A lot of the time, though, the relationships we choose are wrong for us, and the result is, the relationships make us less whole.

Sometimes it’s just life doing a number on us, and we want to blame our relationship so we don’t have to face life.

It’s complicated. Herbs and supplements and all that shit are likely not going to solve your conundrum. The IMPORTANT THING to remember is, it’ll work out. You’ll come back to yourself, you’re just taking the long way of doing so. And when things do come back to normalcy, remember, the best sex is still to come, ‘cos sex improves like all hell when you hit your late 20s and 30s, girlie.

Good luck with that. Anyone able to offer personal insight in this situation? Thanks.