Whether you’ve judged someone or know someone who’s been shamed, we women know how tough it can be to proudly say we enjoy sex.
It doesn’t matter what your view on sex is; whether you’re single and waiting or getting your sheets messed up on the regular, at some point in our lives, we will probably be having sex.
At the risk of being crude, the fact is that sex is a primal need – and it’s also crucial to the success of a long-lasting and healthy relationship. (You and your partner should at least be on the same wavelength, is all we’re saying. Neither should feel deprived.)
Sure, we’ve talked a lot about empowerment of women here. Female models are dominating the runway and we have plenty of tips on how you can put the sizzle back in your sex life, but why are we afraid to say that, you know, we enjoy it?
To be fair, the hesitancy in owning our sexuality with confidence is not entirely our fault. We all get it: What happens in the sheets most definitely does not need to be publicised in the streets.
And let’s not forget the problem of slut-shaming – an issue prevalent across all cultures, says Oberdan Marianetti, a certified psychologist and sexologist (yes, it’s a real thing!) in Singapore who has turned his attention to the issues his clients have in the bedroom and in their relationship.
“It was only in the 20th century that we began opening up the global debate on sexuality and accepted that women, too, experience sexual desire and are sexual beings,” says Oberdan. So we understand that talking about it just isn’t something we might be comfortable with.
Plus, there’s the fact that we women face a lot of pressure to conform to what society expects of us. “How can a woman freely connect to, and experience, her full sexual beauty when the messages she continues to receive are constantly telling her that it’s wrong to do so?” Oberdan raises the question.
No, we’re not talking about posting a Facebook status – we’re just saying we should own our sexuality. But, well, how?
Simple. We start with reclaiming the bedroom. Here are some quick tips from Oberdan.
1. Get exploring
You need to know what works for you; Oberdan has treated clients who have never so much as looked at their nether region because they think it’s “disgusting”.
That is a problem to Oberdan because masturbation is something he strongly believes is important: “Whatever the form of self-pleasuring, I recommend that women be as sexually familiar with their bodies and minds as they can be. This helps to increase the chances of engaging in constructive, positive and helpful communication with their partner.”
Don’t feel daunted, by the way. If you need some help getting started, we’ve got some cute (and most importantly, inconspicuous) toys that will help get you there, so to speak. Wink.
As for those of you who aren’t quite on board with riding the wave solo, don’t fret – we all have our reasons. But that brings us to our next tip.
2. Talk about it
Not enjoying yourself? Let your partner know. (Nicely, of course.)
Peggy Orenstein, author of The New York Times bestseller, Girls & Sex, said in a TED Talk that while women feel empowered to engage in sex, they don’t necessarily feel the same empowerment in enjoying it.
Oberdan agrees, saying that we (both men and women) tend to focus more on our partner than on our own enjoyment.
That’s why communicating your needs is especially important – because it becomes a two-way street where both your partner and you can voice, well, whatever needs to be said.
Stop worrying so much about whether you look fat in that position or if your partner is enjoying himself. (A note of comfort: You’re not alone. It’s a phenomenon dubbed “spectatoring” by the pioneers on human sexuality research themselves, William Masters and Virginia Johnson.)
Start talking, and trust that your partner will extend the same kindness in letting you know if you’re not doing something right (that’s that fear sorted!).
When you foster an open and positive environment with your partner, and show genuine curiosity to learn about each other, it keeps your connection fun and exciting, says our sexpert.
Psst. While we’re talking about enjoying ourselves, check out our tips on how you can enjoy multiple orgasms.
3. It’s a lifestyle
Finally, because sex is, well, physical, Oberdan recommends leading a balanced and healthy life to keep your body, mind and emotions in good health.
A happy you equates to a you who isn’t too consumed by daily stresses to enjoy your time in bed.