“Hey babe, did you cum?” This simple question from a partner can hold so much weight in an intimate situation and I’m the first to admit that I’ve definitely lied… more than once. 

Whether we’re having a steamy one-night stand or hoping to experience a deeper connection with a significant other, we should be able to ask for what we want and shouldn’t feel bad or shameful for it. We, as humans, deserve to experience the full spectrum of sheer ecstasy that comes from an orgasm as the owner of a vagina. 

I realize that my experience is as a straight white hetero cis woman who is at home in their body, but each and every one of us is worthy of loving and appreciating our body, right? Even though I have been sexually assaulted and have had many sub-par sexual partners, I have worked long and hard to gain agency over my body and my sexuality. Thanks to going to regular therapy appointments and habitual self-love practices, I’ve learned how to really enjoy the indescribable pleasure that I can feel in my body. But I’m also aware that many of us are not this privileged. 

Up to 80% of women can’t cum from just vaginal penetration. This contradicts nearly every porno or soft-core sex scene in a rom-com that shows someone crying out in unbridled bliss after maybe three good thrusts in missionary position. The French use the term “la petite mort” or “the little death” to describe the loss of control or otherworldly transcendence that some of us feel post-orgasm. It’s safe to say we’re not going to achieve something so monumental from only a half-ass shag. 

Sex Miseducation

Our informal sex education tends to start at an early age because western culture considers talking about sex to be so taboo. Many boys begin watching porn in their pre-teen years which teaches them that their partners will basically cum just from seeing a boner. I myself have a vivid memory of at around age nine watching Cruel Intentions with my cool older friend and thinking that having a body like Jamie Lee Curtis and wearing sexy lingerie meant you were good at sex. Not to mention, pretending to cover my eyes during sultry scenes in James Bond while painfully watching with my parents as 007 inevitably bedded the hot foreign villain. 

I received a more formal sex education in high school health class when we were forced to stare at graphic images of STIs on a monitor in front of the class to scare us into abstinence. At the end of class condoms and pamphlets about the pill were dropped on our desks and that was it. But never anything about how to enjoy having sex, especially if you have a vagina. 

I realize now, that at 27 and as someone who isn’t ashamed to say that they have casual sex, lying to your partner about your orgasm (or lack thereof) is a disservice to not only yourself but also to them and the other people they will sleep with. Sometimes there is so much pressure to just say “yes” because it closes the door on a bigger, and frankly uncomfortable, conversation. Sometimes we lie about cumming because we don’t want to hurt our partner’s ego, don’t know our partner well enough to ask for what we want, and sometimes we lie because we just want to be done with a bad hookup. 

Why We Aren’t Cumming

While doing research, I spoke with a friend who’s been in a monogamous relationship with her partner for years and said she has trouble orgasming regularly. She mentioned her frustration that she isn’t that comfortable with exploring her body on her own and thinks that it’s due to the lack of education surrounding women’s masturbation in general. This made me kind of sad because sexual liberation should be as vital to our health as eating leafy greens or going for a run. 

Recently, I met an experienced sex and relationship therapist, and she described climaxing to me in simple terms: “an orgasm is just an energy release, like crying or laughing really hard and they’re great for our mental health.” So why aren’t we prioritizing our pleasure more? 

Because we’re taught that sex is bad. Especially in a lot of cultures where women and gender non-conforming people are marginalized and not given platforms to speak. They are taught that sex is taboo and enjoying sex and their own sexuality is completely out of the question. Even in places where we have the freedom to talk about it, we often don’t because it can be scary to bring up something considered so taboo. 

However, the beautiful thing about masturbation is that it’s a gift you can give to yourself in private, and it’s an incredible act of self-love. It teaches us what we like and what we can ask our partners for, which is a great reason to try it. 

Masturbation 101

  1. Anatomy: Look up a diagram of what a vagina looks like. There are way more parts than you may think, trust me. Knowing about how the clitoris works and where it is will be super helpful because the glans or sensitive outside part has 8,000 nerve endings (twice as many as a penis). The clit’s only job is to provide pleasure which I would say is a gift from the Goddess herself!
  2. Choose Your Tools: We’ve been blessed with ten fingers which I think are great to experiment with while starting out and discovering what you like. I recommend also buying a lube to make things nice and smooth. Don’t be afraid to try dildos, vibrators (I personally love a good rabbit), clamps, wands, or whatever you’re interested in. Remember that toys can be used for solo or partner play.  
  3. Make Sure You’re In A Comfortable Environment: Sometimes finding a private place can be tough, but it’s easy to go rub one out in the shower, which is a place you’re likely to already be, so you can get clean and dirty at the same time.
  4. Don’t Pressure Yourself: The best thing about masturbating is that there’s no pressure to cum. You’re just exploring your body. So, take a deep breath in and LET. IT. GO.
  5. Find a Rhythm: It doesn’t have to be the same every time and it’s probably going to depend on how aroused you are at the moment or not. For many people, stimulating the clit from the inside (the mythical G-Spot) and the outside at the same time is going to help create the best climax. 

A good orgasm is going to feel like the muscles in your vagina gradually and intensely tightening and tightening and then BAM!… there will be a release that shudders through your entire being. Enjoy it because you deserve it! I recommend trying not to clench and just letting the wave of electricity flow through your body. 

Now go report back to your partner(s) and let them know what you really want. Chances are they’ll be super turned on that you’ve taken the time to DJ solo. And let’s work to have conversations with friends, colleagues, partners, and whoever else you feel comfortable with talking about sex with so we can prioritize our pleasure. We deserve and need more orgasms.