Updated: Sep 2, 2020
You may ask why a pelvic floor physical therapist is writing about pleasure. When I was first trained we were fighting to justify treatment to physicians and for insurance to cover women who had pain with sex. Insurance didn’t consider painful sex medical necessity and would often deny our claims. Sex is a normal activity & everyone deserves to have pain free sex.
As I’ve gained experience as pelvic floor physical therapist, and treated hundreds of people with painful sex, one of the missing pieces is pleasure & desire. How likely are you to desire and seek out an experience that at best will be “fine” or “not painful” and at worst is excruciating.
Empower Your Body
I fell in love with the field of pelvic health to first help empower women and then people of all genders and orientations. I was drawn to help people with stigmatized & difficult-to-discuss topics like leaking, pelvic organ prolapse, pain and swelling after breast cancer, and, of course, pain with sex. Part of my job is guiding people with pain to the right resources like certified sex therapists, books like Becoming Cliterate and Come As You Are, and discussing the statistics. If you have pain with sex, you are in the company of large group of people, though you may not know it due to the secrecy and silence around sex.Up to 26% of cis women worldwide from from longstanding pelvic pain.
The orgasm gap exists mostly within heterosexual couples. In a survey only 57% of straight women, versus 95% of their partners, experienced orgasm during most sexual encounters. Women who have sex with women have far more orgasms than women who have sex with men. There’s a huge emphasis on penetrative intercourse as the gold standard, yet 95% of cisgender women need clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Penetrative intercourse often does not provide enough clitoral stimulation. Here’s a mind blowing quote by Laurie Mintz, PhD:
“During sexual encounters that include intercourse, 78 percent of women’s orgasm problems are caused by not enough or not the right kind of clitoral stimulation.”
Tips For Achieving Orgasm Equality
1. Learn your anatomy. A clitoris has more nerve endings than any other part of the human body including a penis. The clitoris is not just the small tip visible on the outside. There are long crura or legs of erectile tissue in the labia, mons pubis, and beyond that can be stimulated for pleasure.
2. Learn what gives you pleasure. Every body is unique. This may take reading a book and experimenting with different types of stimulation, changes in the environment, and mindset. Try taking the pressure off of having an orgasm, and instead focus on finding pleasure.
3. Focus less on penetrative intercourse. When you explore what gives you pleasure, is it penetration or different types of touch? Penetration alone likely won’t stimulate a clitoris or the internal erectile tissue enough for orgasm, so change sex to look more like what gives you pleasure.
4. Communicate with your partner. Use “I” statements and talk about what you’ve discovered works for your body.
5. Learn more. My favorite books are Becoming Clitorate by Laurie Mintz PhD & Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski PhD. Find an expert like a sex therapist that can help you on your individual journey.
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