It seems like a no brainer: sex should be pleasurable. But contrary to sooo many scenes from TV and movies, it’s not as simple as a thrust or two. Even in sex ed, we’re not really taught about pleasure, and if we are, it’s certainly not centered on women and people who menstruate’s pleasure. We want to fix that.
Pleasurable sex takes knowledge, mutual understanding, and even a bit of hygiene. So let’s crack into it, as the podcasters say.
For starters, keep it clean
We don’t mean figuratively—if you like dirty talk, you do you—we mean literally. Hygiene is crucial to having good, clean sex. Here’s a few tips to keep your vagina and sex life healthy and happy:
There is no need to sprint out of the bedroom (or wherever) the moment you’re finished, however urinating in a timely manner (no longer than 30 minutes post sex) is essential to flushing out bacteria that can lead to UTIs (urinary tract infections).
There’s a reason “douches” are used as insults: they suck. Douches are inserted into the vaginal and “wash” it by releasing a water-based mixture of fluids. BUT, your vagina is already self cleaning. It doesn’t need extra help. Douches can lead to a slew of problems, including yeast infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even issues getting pregnant.
The vagina is an amazing thing (duh) for many reasons, one being its ability to self clean. However, the vulva, the outer genitals, needs a little TLC. Penises, sex toys, hands, and tongues all carry variants of bacteria that can cause UTIs or vaginal infections. To avoid potential infections, gently wash your vulva after sex with warm water and mild soap.
Players, get into position (for vaginal, penetrative sex)
It seems like there are more sex positions than TikTok trends. But we want to discuss a few that focus on female pleasure. After all, men are twice as likely as women to orgasm during sex—so let’s close the gap!
Missionary: This position gets a bad rap for being “boring,” but, with a few twists, is anything but. To amp up stimulation, place a pillow under your back to elevate your pelvis, which can alter the position of a penis or toy during penetration. This is also said to get the blood flow moving in your clitoris. You can also close or cross your legs to create tighter squeeze which helps target the clitoris.
CAT position: Similar to missionary, yet so different. In CAT positions, the person responsible for penetration is higher on the bed than normal. This elevation causes the penis (or toy) to not fully enter the vagina, but pull against the clitoris, which can increase chances of orgasm. (Sounds purrfect.)
The drop box: Lie on your back with hips and legs hanging off the bed. Your partner will stand in front, supporting your legs and enter with an upward motion. This position allows the penis or toy to rub directly around some of your most sensitive areas.
Cowgirl: Classic for a reason. Being on top and straddling your partner allows you to be in control of speed and motion. This position also allows you or your partner to stimulate the clitoris during penetration, which for many women, is a major help to achieve orgasm (we’ll get to that later).
Spooning: Lie on your side with your partner behind you—you know, big spoon, little spoon. They’ll be able to adjust their position to find the ideal spot for penetration. Spooning is optimal for clitoral stimulation, making it one to try.
Mythbuster moment - sex positions and pregnancy: Contrary to misinformation, there are are no sex positions proven to improve the odds of getting pregnant. There are some that can help, but no guarantee. Additionally, there are absolutely no positions that can prevent pregnancy. You can get pregnant any which way.
The truth about the Big O
We all want them, but how do we actually get them? It’s not just like the movies—and that’s okay. The more you know, the better you’ll feel (literally).
The orgasm gap: Studies have shown that 95% of heterosexual men reach orgasm during sex, while just 65% of heterosexual women do, and only 18.4% of women report sex alone (without clitoral stimulation) is enough to achieve orgasm.
Why vaginal sex alone isn’t enough: For many women, as we can see above, p in v sex isn’t going to get them off. This can be attributed to lack of clitoral stimulation during sex. The vagina doesn’t hold the majority of pleasure centers for women—the vulva does—and that’s where the clitoris lives.
In a study, 70% of women experienced orgasms from clitoral stimulation alone. Ignoring the clit means the likelihood of orgasm goes way down. Engaging in sexual positions that cater to the clit and adding clitoral stimulation during sex are two ways to increase your likelihood of reaching orgasm.
Anxiety can inhibit your ability to orgasm: Everyone wants them, but hyper-focusing on having an orgasm can actually decrease your chances. Sex stress can come from many factors: self-esteem, comfort, relationship problems, or concern about pleasing a partner. The more you allow these stressors to take over, the more you may prevent yourself from getting to orgasm. When your mind is elsewhere, sexual pleasure can be hard to achieve.
Cum together, right now…We’ll be honest: achieving simultaneous orgasms is not easy. It’s possible, but for most people, not the norm. Your best bet is to learn what it takes for you to orgasm so you can openly communicate with your partner during sex. This will help you both determine timing.
You can also think outside the box. Simultaneous orgasms don’t have to be from penetration—you can try mutual masturbation as well.
Consensual sex is the only pleasurable sex: We live in a world where sexual assault and rape happen to around 463,634 victims each year. Sex absolutely cannot be enjoyable unless all parties have agreed to it. Consent needs to be top priority when engaging in sexual activity. The best way to know if you have consent? Ask for it.
If you get a “yes,” that means yes. But also, remember, if someone says yes, but then during sex changes their mind and asks to stop, consent has been withdrawn and you must respect and cooperate with their request.
Communication: One of the most essential parts to pleasure, even more than your actual parts, is communication. To enjoy partnered sex, all consenting parties should be open, honest, and willing to talk it out before getting it on.
While this may be awkward at first, it’s essential to learning what feels good for you and your partner. The more comfortable you get with verbalizing how you’re feeling, the more pleasurable sex will be.
If you know what you like, talk to your partner about it before having sex so they know your style. If you’re not sure, openly communicating during sex is a great learning experience.