This is an age-old question, after all women make up more than half of the world’s population and sex is always a hot topic! Unfortunately, a lot of the conversation is driven by outdated ideas of sexuality and gender, sometimes things we’ve learned growing up, talking to people around us and sex education.
The good (and maybe shocking) news is that research into women’s sexuality only really seriously began in the last 30 years, and there is still a long way to go to learn more. While there is a greater body of information (pun intended) about women’s sexual health more traditionally, research into sexual stimulation is further behind.
But here goes: women’s sexuality, once and for all! (Or at least for what we know today).
Common Myths About Women’s Sexuality
Let’s start by dispelling five common myths about women’s sexuality, just kick things off:
1. Women want to keep their “number” lower than men
When asked about the ideal number of partners, both men and women (and most people overall) reported approximately the same number! Are you as surprised as the researchers were? This myth may persist because we as a culture assume that men have higher levels of desire because men are more likely to exaggerate sexual experience, whereas women are historically not encouraged to do so. These social norms may be skewing our perception.
2. Men think about sex more often than women do
A report about ten years ago found that college aged men did report thinking about sex more often than women. However, this was a study of college aged populations, not men and women ages 18 and older. The same study found that men also tended to think about food and sleep more than women, so experts think this may have been a matter of prioritizing physical needs over other areas of life.
Interestingly, subsequent studies have found that both women and men reported fantasizing about feeling “irresistible and reassured.”
3. Women have orgasm less frequently than men do
Believe it or not, the difference in orgasm frequency seemingly has less to do with gender and more to do with sexual behaviors in and outside of committed relationships! While overall, women report experiencing orgasms less than men, when isolating men-women couples in committed relationships, the rate of orgasm was identical.
So really, it boils down to psychology over biology. Women in committed relationships have seemingly closed an “orgasm gap” because their partners are likely more aware of their sexual desires, what feels good and maintaining a fulfilling sex life. Imagine that!
4. Women don’t like casual sex as much as men do
Early research supported this myth, though more recently, studies have shown that there are a few important factors to consider. A recent study reported that women will accept offers of casual sex based on 1) whether they think the male propositioner is sexually adept and/or 2) if they know they could avoid stigmatization for doing so.
5. Women are pickier and more discerning than men about their partner(s)
The simple answer here appears to be that it depends who's asking, and not in the way you might think. A speed dating study found that when men approached women, women were more selective. However, when women approached men, men showed greater levels of choosiness.
And the criteria for evaluating potential partners is similar as well. The same study found that men and women prioritized things like a partner being powerful and rich, as well as youth and beauty, at similar levels.
There is still much research to be done to fully understand women’s sexuality, and certainly more myths will be disproven in the years to come. But researchers are now proposing a new lens with which to look at women’s sexuality: instead of wondering “what women want” or “what women feel,” we could and should be discussing “what people want” and “what people feel.” Sexuality is so individual, and should be treated that way!
Sexual Pleasure and Women’s Bodies
Sexual pleasure is tricky to measure, but in recent years, technology and research is making great strides. One such study from 2011 (the first of its kind), used MRI imaging to map women’s genital stimulation and what parts of the brain it activated, specifically measuring clitoral, vaginal, cervical and nipple self-stimulation.
The findings were quite interesting: 1) not only did the stimulation trigger women’s brains in some similar ways that the same stimulation triggered men’s brains, but that 2) sexual pleasure activated different parts of women’s brains depending on the part of the body being stimulated. That is to say, vaginal stimulation triggered a different brain response than clitoral stimulation, for example.
So that brings us to the parts of the body that can bring women sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure for women can be much more than just vaginal penetration, either with a penis or sex toys. As with any sexual experience, sex partner or body, pleasure will be completely unique to each and every person.
Here are some pleasure hotspots on the body that can help drive the women partner(s) in your life wild:
- Pubic mound: the fleshy mound just above the clitoris and is packed with nerve endings that can be easily stimulated through massage with the hands or light licking with the tongue
- Clitoris: a small cluster of over 8,000 nerve endings with the consistency of a flower bud or small button, covered by a small hood – this part of the body is incredibly similar and can be stimulated in many different ways, including with your hands, mouth or a vibrator. Pro-Tip: The clitoris will expand in size as pleasure will create more blood flow, and stimulating it during penetrative sex can make penetration more pleasurable. The clitoris is the only organ in the human body completely dedicated to pleasure, cool huh?
- A-spot: no, that’s not a typo, this is the lower part of the vaginal opening and is also packed with nerves (the name comes from its proximity to the “anterior fornix”) – this can be stimulated using fingers, a dildo or a penis, with greater attention to the lower front walls of the vagina.
- G-spot: the more well-known spot of the vagina, this is also a bundle of nerve endings and muscle inside the vagina and angled slightly up towards the belly button – this can be stimulated with fingers, a dildo or a penis. Pro-Tip: The G-spot is better reached with a slight upward curve or “come hither” motion, and is known to be ground zero for female ejaculation.
- Cervix: while much deeper inside the vagina, the cervix can be a great source of pleasure for deeper penetration, but will require a fair amount of warm up and foreplay.
But sexual pleasure goes beyond genitalia, and a sexual experience can be heightened by engaging the many erogenous parts of the body hiding in plain sight. Here a few to consider touching, stroking, kissing etc with your partner’s consent to kick things up a notch:
- Armpits, inner arms, wrist and hands
- Behind the knee, bottoms of the feet
- Belly button and lower abdomen
- Ears and neck
- Inner thighs and lower back
So many to choose from! Don’t take our word for it, get consent, talk through it and test them out during your next sexual experience.
Starting the Conversation
Communication is key! It can sometimes be awkward or uncomfortable to talk about sex with a potential partner. For those type of experiences, we have compiled some tips and tricks you can check out here on our site.
And if you’re looking to kick start the sexual pleasure for the women partner(s) in your life, check out some of our quality products here. Wishing you happy and healthy sexual experiences!
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