Did you know that masturbation can improve your body image? Or that men who use sex toys make more satisfying lovers? I sat down with sex therapist, Dr. Chris Donaghue, to discuss everything that self love and sex toys have to offer. Watch the video here! By Karley Sciortino Continue reading “Talking Self-Pleasure – And How it Can Make You A Better Lover (VIDEO)”
This was originally written for VICE.com
On the most recent episode of VICE’s People Who Just Had Sex, I interviewed a dominatrix named Samantha and her longterm boyfriend about bondage, love-making and masturbation. What didn’t make it into the edit was our conversation about how, judging from our own sexual experiences, women tend to be more comfortable using sex toys than men, both during sex and masturbation.
But why is that? I literally have a giant bag full of fake vaginas in my apartment right now (thus is the life of a sex writer), and I can’t even give them away. My girl friends all casually have vibrators on their nightstands, and swap sex-toy recommendations, but many of the guys I’ve dated have seemed embarrassed by the idea of sexual paraphernalia. Also, some have felt threatened by my wanting to use a vibrator during sex. I decided to consult my favorite sex therapist, June Tomaso-Wood, to ask her if it’s true that girls like toys more than boys.
So, is it true?
June Tomaso-Wood: Well, it’s true that some men find it emasculating to admit that they want or need a device in their sexual pay—even if it’s a girlfriend’s vibrator, which could potentially be stimulating to him as well—because young men want to be viewed as virile, sexually self-confident, and capable of satisfying a woman. There’s a lot of shame around sex for men in this culture, so even though masturbation is not necessarily taboo, because of course everybody masturbates, a lot of men choose to keep their mouth shut about it.
But are some of your male patients interested in toys?
Some are, yeah. I just sold an 82-year-old man a vibrator. He has a 92-year-old girlfriend, and he called me up and said, “The previous vibrator you sent me broke. Can you send me something better that’s going to last longer?” I kid you not. His girlfriend loves sex, but he can’t get as hard as he once could anymore, so to enable intercourse they use a product which decreases performance anxiety in the male, then he uses a bullet to get as hard an erection as possible, and he uses cock rings to keep the blood in his penis. During this she stimulates all her nerve endings down there with a dual stimulation vibrator, and then they have intercourse.
Wow, that’s amazing, but also seems really laborious. But I guess that’s OK because they’re old, and probably don’t have many other plans. Anyway, what about masturbation? The vibe I’ve gotten from some guys is, “I don’t need to jerk-off because I get laid all the time.”
What that signifies to me is cultural problem. Masturbation and sex are separate desires. Some men feel like it’s a feather in their cap to have many sexual conquests, and feel they need to be presenting themselves asa Don Juan and therefore don’t need to be masturbating.
When I’m having a lot of sex, I actually think I masturbate more. I always say: sex is like carbs, if you cut it from your diet, eventually you stop craving it. But as soon as I eat a bagel, all I can thinking about is eating another bagel.
Right, so often if you’re in the courting stage of a relationship, or really just in any exciting relationship, your dopamine receptors are very acute, so you’re sexually responsive, which means you’re thinking about sex all the time. And when you’re having a lot of sex you can remain engorged in the vaginal area, so you want to climax again and again.
As a girl, what are you supposed to do if your boyfriend gets weird about you wanting to use a vibrator during sex?
Well, that’s just an ego thing. He’s thinking, “What, I’m not enough?” They feel that their penis should be the be-all-end-all of your sexual life. But in reality, a vibrator can stimulate all of your 8,000 nerve endings very quickly, which gets you very wet and engorged with blood, and your muscles down there tighten, and a penis just can’t do it all—it can’t stimulate the woman on the outside. So you just have to explain to your partners that the toy isn’t a threat or a replacement, it’s just an added bonus. Of course, nothing can ever replace the penis, or the closeness of being with a partner.
Do you ever suggest to your make patients that they should use sex toys?
I’ve had men come to me addicted to porn, who are having trouble getting excited about intercourse, or who can’t reach orgasm during sex. See, when we watch porn, the dopamine receptors in our brains become very stimulated, so it’s exhilarating. Men know exactly how quickly and tightly to stimulate themselves while watching porn, and can reach orgasm quickly. But the problem is, when they then have actual sex, a real woman’s vagina doesn’t feel as good as their own hand, and they’re so depleted of dopamine that sex doesn’t feel as exhilarating. They’re used to holding their penises so tightly that it becomes less attractive to have intercourse than to masturbate watching airbrushed pornstars. So that’s when I transition men to male masturbator sleeves, because the sleeve is not gripped so tightly.
Yeah, Dan savage is always telling guys not to hold it so tight when jerking-off, because no vaj or butthole or throat will ever going to be as tight as your death grip.
So you know how I give out sex advice on my blog all the time, and how I just generally discuss sex as if I know what I’m talking about? Well, (surprise!) I’m not actually qualified to be giving anyone advice about anything ever. Woops! To better equip myself to answering your (and my own) sex questions, I decided it would be a good idea to speak with the professional sexpert, June Tomaso-Wood. June is a psychotherapist who specializes in sex therapy. At the moment she is writing a book about sexual dysfunction, ways to pick up sex drive, how to maintain a meaningful relationship, and how to have the best sex of your life. So basically she has the answers to everything we’ve ever wanted to know. I hope this interview will help to clear up some of the stuff that’s constantly confusing all of us about sex/relationships/life in general.
I get a lot of girls who read my blog emailing me, complaining that they have difficulty cumming during sex. This is a giant problem for girls! How do we fix it?!
June: Let me tell you this straight up: only 30% of women have an orgasm during intercourse. That’s not a high percentage. Most of the nerve endings are on the outside of the woman’s genitle erea. There are 8000 nerve endings on the outside of the vagina, compared to 4000 nerve endings on the male penis. Men are more concentrated on the actual act of intercourse because it feels so good for them, but it’s only the first two inches of the vagina that have nerve endings. That’s why size doesn’t matter, and why foreplay is so important!
Yeah. Penetration, without any clitoral stimulation literally just feels like inserting a tampon on repeat forever.
Right. So what’s wrong with oral sex? What’s wrong with mutual masturbation and digital stimulation? What’s wrong with getting off in different ways?
I think sometimes, especially when you’re young, you assume that you’re supposed to cum from the actual sex, so you’re embarrassed to masturbate in front of a guy because in your head masurbating is what you do when you’re alone. Also guys watch porn and it (wrongly) teaches them that girls cum just from getting fucked.
That’s what they think, but it’s not true. That’s why women need to get more acquainted with their own bodies, in order to transfer the training to their partner. Just because it feels so good for them to have intercourse doesn’t mean that women don’t need more foreplay and to have the outside more aroused for them to enjoy the intercourse. They don’t get it, you have to educate them. That’s why it’s awful that many women from religious backgrounds feel guilt about touching their own body.
So what do you tell people who have difficulty reaching orgasm during sex?
I tell people to relax, and that it takes training to really have a good orgasm with intercourse, and a lot of stimulation. This is what I suggest to start with nice long foreplay, like oral sex–hello!–and/or using vibrators on the outside, on the clit, to encourage the clitoris. This will make it so you’re stimulated on the outside, which also increases the blood volume on the inside at the g-spot. The g-spot is sitting on the paraurethral gland–it’s like a little seat that the g-spot sits in–and if you stimulate the outside as well as the inside where the g-spot is, with intercourse in the right position you might be able to have an orgasm that way. And if you have a vibrator on the outside as he’s thrusting, your chances are much better. So tell him that. And remember that the nerve endings are mostly on the outside! Men don’t get it!
For me to have an orgasm usually things have to be more slow and I need to concentrate. But then sometimes I just want to be thrown around and just be fucked really hard, and that’s not really conducive to me having an orgasm, but I still like it. So basically I can still enjoy sex even if I don’t cum, if it’s the right kind of sex.
Yeah, but a lot of men aren’t OK with the girl not cumming because they have such egos. And of course you can fake orgasms, but if you fake it, you have to keep faking it, because then their ego is fed and you have to feeding it. That’s why it’s so important to tell him what you like in bed. You can say things like, “You know honey, the other night when you did this or that, that felt really good. Can you do a little bit more of that?”
On your website you heavily promote sex toys. Why are sex toys such a big deal?
The reason I tell a lot of people to use them is because they are a buffer. So like dual stimulators for women, rings for men, vibrators, bullet, etc. They are really good for people who have anticipatory anxiety about sex. At our age this generally isn’t a problem; people are just crazy horny and all they want to do is screw. But as you get older things change and there is a lot of emotion connected to sex. Some people begin to feel shameful because they don’t know if they perform well, and a lot of men lose their erections and whatnot, so I promote the toys as a buffer, because it allows people to focus on the toy and not be so focused on themselves.
That makes sense.
For example the Bullet is great for a woman’s clitoris, but it can also be used on the underside of the penis and be really stimulating for a man as well.
What about if you’re in a relationship where you fight a lot? How do you fix it?
I meet with couples about conflict resolution a lot. What I advise is for the couple to pick one night a week where they can spend half an hour with each other sharing one gripe at a time. You should make eye contact, be respectful, and use a good tone–soft and gentle–and then tell your boyfriend something that’s been bothering you, and then you have him reflect back what you just said so you know you’re being heard. And then it’s his turn. And if you allow time for these gripe sessions once a week it means you get your frustration out in a positive way, instead of arguing all week. You learn how to discuss and problem solve and to compromise better.
What if you are both passive people, so you almost never fight, but then when you do fight it’s like a gigantic horrible explosion?
Well, having an argument or a disagreement is not always a bad thing. No relationship is copescetic all the time; it’s unrealistic to thinks it’s going to be heavenly every day. You’re different people, you’re different sexes (sometimes), so of course you’re going to have disagreements. It’s the way that you handle them that’s important.
What do think about open relationships?
I think every relationship is different and if both of you are in agreement and you feel comfortable and you set clear boundaries about what’s OK and what’s not OK, then there’s nothing wrong with it.
Sometimes I think it’s better to be lenient than to put up these crazy boundaries, because then you just want to rebel against them, ya know?
Some people can’t handle that. They’re jealous as hell. Some people simply can’t handle someone having their hands one their woman, and vice versa.
Do you think sometimes a little bit of jealousy can be good for a relationship though?
I guess it depends on what you’re looking for in the relationship, because it can also be dangerous. The thing about sleeping with people outside of your relationship is that you run the risk of becoming emotionally involved. That’s the dilemma. Sometimes you don’t expect that to happen, but damn it, it does. And then what do you do?
So maybe it’s better to deny yourself of something that you want, because in the end it will make your relationship stronger for having made those sacrifices?
It definitely can, yes. But I also think that you’re very young, and that there’s nothing wrong with exploring your sexuality at your age. And even if you decide to make a commitment to someone and have children, you’re married for a long time! So have fun while you can! As long as you’re safe, of course.
Do you think it’s a good or a bad idea to sleep with someone on the first date?
What I say to a lot of the women who I work with is, “What’s wrong with building a relationship and building emotional intimacy by staying away from sex for the first three months?” Now at your age three months is forever, but for women in their 30s and 40s, spending three months in a casual relationship, going out to dinner, seeing a movie, dancing, etc, allows you to build emotional intimacy, and then when you do have sex it will be amazing and passionate. I’m not talking about one night stands or physiological release, I’m talking about women who are serious about getting involved in a relationship that they want to maintain. Then I would say give it a month or two–you don’t have to jump in the sack right away. Get to know them, see if there’s chemistry. It’s not all about the physical. The emotional is important too.
But what about people who are, like, twenty-two?
Well twenty-two is hot! If you’re twenty-two and you are exploring your seuxality, then I wouldn’t advise you to wait that long, of course not. I would say explore and have casual sex, but be selective and be careful, and wear condoms so you don’t get HIV!
One common question I get for my Ask Slutever column is from people who are around twenty, who are still virgins, who want to know if they should sleep with a random and get the first time over with, or if they should wait to have sex with someone they love. What do you think?
Very good question. I’ll tell you a story, the first guy I ever had sex with was a urologist. You know why? Because I really just wanted to get rid of that hymen and I thought, “who better than him to do it?” He was twenty-seven and I was eighteen, so it was kind of nice. It was more about getting rid of it. You don’t always have to be in love to have sex.
I think some people overthink the first time.
Yeah, some people analyze it too much. The most important thing is, if you’re going to have sex, you have to be sexually awakened. You can’t be coerced into it. Your body really has to want to have it. And if you want it, then I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having sex with someone you’re not in love with.
When I was young my mom told me not to have sex before marriage.
Oh god, why would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on?! I know a case in point where a woman’s husband died and she remarried–the new guy was in his 50s and a multimillionaire–and after the wedding she found out he was impotent. She was furious!
That happened to Charlotte on Sex and the City.
I think that’s pretty damn stupid. I mean, come on!
If you’re in a relationship, how important is it to talk about sex with your partner?
Emotional intimacy is extremely important, and keeping a positive dialogue is extremely important in a relationship, and will bring you a lot closer. It’s definitely important to sit down and talk about sex, and what you like and what you don’t like, and what you prefer. And if your boyfriend cares about you deeply then he will want to please you, and visa versa. That’s where the emotional intimacy comes in.
I think sometimes people find it embarrassing to talk about sex really seriously.
Even in your generation?
Yeah. Like I think I almost find it easier to be really grotesquely blunt, and to say things like “I want you to bend me over that table and fuck me,” than to sit down with my boyfriend and seriously say, “This is what makes me feel good and this is what I think you should do for me.” It’s almost “too real”, ya know?
Well, guess what honey, it is real. But that’s what you need to do. And if you learn how to do it now you will have a more meaningful relationship later. You need to be real with each other. And if you can talk about sexuality, which is so intimate, then you can talk about anything.
Do women ever come to see you who feel guilty about violent fantasies they have, like rape fantasies?
No, it’s mainly men who come in with those issues, not women.
How do you make your sex drive higher?
Diet is very important. Dark chocolate: eat it, an ounce and a half a day, the darker the better. The orgasms are amazing. Visual stimulation helps to pick up drive too, or using a kegel exerciser to bring blood flow to the area. If you use that for twenty minutes a day that certainly will pick up drive and make your orgasms better. And exercise improves performance and makes orgasms better.
How many times a week should a couple have sex?
It depends on the couple and the drive of each person. Remember this: the person who has the lower drive controls the sex.
Don’t I know it!
Finally! The VICE Slutever show is here! I really hope you like it. The first four episodes will air every Friday for the next month on vice.com. I’ve been making the show with my BFF, director/producer Adri Murguia (who also hosts stuff for Vice too, check THIS out). Not to be cheesy, but we feel really proud that this is the first ever show on Vice that is being made for girls by girls. That’s cool, right? I mean, all those other documentaries VICE make about guns and war in the Middle East are cool and stuff, but TBH tampons and sex slaves are equally as important, and I feel like until now they haven’t been given a fair amount of attention. Or whatever.
Cool, can’t wait to read all the hate comments :)p.s. Thanks Greg Eggebeen, Matt Kazman, Hannah Rose and Angie Sullivan!