We go to classes to get fitter, negotiate our salaries to get richer, yet great sex is expected to just happen. By magic.
Watching a Beyoncé video and hoping for that kind of confidence when naked is like a guy watching Magic Mike and hoping to be Channing Tatum – it’s good inspiration, but you’ve got to learn your own formula for confidence and desire.
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“Film and porn present sex as simple and effortlessly obtained, with everyone having vast quantities of orgasmic partnered sex. The rest of us wonder where we fit in if we are unpartnered or aren’t experiencing orgasms,” says Lauren Rosewarne, a gender researcher at the University of Melbourne.
Her answer? “We need to become more committed to learning about our pleasure and abolish the idea that asking too many questions about sex is shameful, dirty or taboo.” We’ve rounded up a group of smart, sex-loving women and asked them to answer a few burning questions.
HOW DO I ORGASM THE ‘NORMAL’ WAY?
“Let’s lose a word from that sentence – normal,” says sexologist and founder of Adelaide Sexology, Naomi Hutchings. “I often hear, ‘I’m having clitoral orgasms but I want you to teach me how to also have vaginal orgasms’ or ‘I had an orgasm but it was with my partner’s finger’.
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“My response is always this: since when was there a hierarchy of orgasms? P in V isn’t the be-all and end-all. There are so many other ways to enjoy an orgasm. If you’re not having vaginal orgasms with a penis inside of you, don’t worry.
“It’s okay to use your hand or a vibrator on the clitoris during sexual intercourse. When you stop thinking that things can only happen one way, you’ll enjoy whatever is going on a lot more.”
HOW DO I BUY A SEX TOY?
“It might be a little on the obvious side, but first things first – just walk into the shop,” says author of sex-toy testing website heyepiphora.com. “People get consumed by the terror of being in a sex shop.
“I see many toys praised as ‘waterproof’, super-loud vibes labelled ‘whisper-quiet’, straight dildos that claim to ‘hit the G-spot’. “Get your hands on things – your reaction will tell you a lot. Navigate through the big ones, the small ones and even the spiky ones!
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“Think about how you usually like to masturbate. Do you like to insert something, stimulate your clitoris or both? Do you like pressure pinpointed on one spot or broader? After that, it’s pretty much a question of what features you require.
“If you masturbate in the bath, you’re going to need something that works under water. If you need to be quiet, don’t go for sheer power.”
HOW DO I FEEL ULTRA-CONFIDENT WITH MY CLOTHES OFF?
Burlesque artist Sina King has built up a career on being confident in her skin. She suggests consciously replacing any limiting voices in your head with positive, self confidence-boosting mantras and sayings.
“Anything that could expose you to potential judgement can be really scary. I often use positive mantras. Something like, ‘You are a confident, beautiful, intelligent person’. “If you read that and it made you feel happier, replace the ‘you are’ with ‘I am’.
Repeat this whenever that negative voice starts to creep in.” She adds that certain poses automatically make you hold yourself with more self-confidence. “Avoid squeezing your arms against your body – it flattens everything out and hides your natural shape. Rest your hand lightly on any body part you wish to draw attention to.
“Think upwards: elongate your neck, keep both your shoulders back to improve your posture and smile. “Be nice to yourself. Being naked is a skill we are all born with. You’re already an expert.”