- Episode 51: The Lies We Tell Ourselves About The Truth
- Episode 49: This Is Actually Happening (3/4)
- Episode 48: Standing By vs. Being An Ally (2/4)
- Recommendations & Reviews: Boogie Nights
- Food For Thought: Contradiction vs. Complementation
- Food For Thought: Curiosity vs. Criticism
- Episode 47: Sexual “Empowerment” Sells (1/4)
- Recommendations & Reviews: The Culture Map
- Food For Thought: Celebrating The Small Wins
- Food For Thought: The Many Roads To Happiness
- En Español: Sexualidad e Igualdad
- Casual Conversations: Communication, Mindfulness, and Pleasure
- Food For Thought: Operational Definitions
- Food For Thought: Memory Tissue
- Episode 46: The Nutrition Facts of Life
- Casual Conversations: The Lost Art of Letter Writing
- Food For Thought: Attribution Theory
- Food For Thought: Coronavirus vs. Connection
- Bonus Episode: The Psychology of Solitary
- Episode 45: Love, Loss & The Meaning Of Life (2/2)
- Episode 44: Love, Loss & The Meaning Of Life (1/2)
- Live Workshop: Navigating Anxiety During COVID
- Episode 43: The Body Knows Best
- Episode 42: (Un)Censoring Pleasure
- Episode 40: Bring On The Heat (1/2)
- Episode 41: Bring On The Heat (2/2)
- Episode 39: The Myth of Marriage (2/2)
- Episode 38: The Myth of Marriage (1/2)
- Episode 37: Same Page, Different Book (2/2)
- Episode 36: Same Page, Different Book (1/2)
- Episode 35: Humans In Progress (2/2)
- Episode 34: Humans In Progress (1/2)
- Episode 33: The Strength In Our Scars (2/2)
- Episode 32: The Strength In Our Scars (1/2)
- Episode 31: Masculinity & Authenticity (2/2)
- Episode 30: Masculinity & Authenticity (1/2)
- Episode 29: Addiction & Intimacy – From Harm to Healing (2/2)
- Episode 28: Addiction & Intimacy – From Harm to Healing (1/2)
- New Trailer: Let’s Get Intimate!
- Episode 27: You Can’t Be What You Can’t See (2/2)
- Episode 26: You Can’t Be What You Can’t See (1/2)
- Episode 25: Why Relationships Fail vs. Flourish (2/2)
- Episode 24: Why Relationships Fail vs. Flourish (1/2)
- Episode 23: The Evolution of (Non)Monogamy (2/2)
- Episode 22: The Evolution of (Non)Monogamy (1/2)
- Episode 21: “Pleasure Is The Measure” (2/2)
- Episode 20: “Pleasure Is The Measure” (1/2)
- Episode 19: Sex Sells? Or Insecurity Sells… (2/2)
- Episode 18: Sex Sells? Or Insecurity Sells… (1/2)
- Episode 17: DON’T Fake It ‘Til You Make It (2/2)
- Episode 16: DON’T Fake It ‘Til You Make It (1/2)
- Episode 15: Mindfulness For Sexual Connection
- Episode 14: Keeping It “Casual” (2/2)
- Episode 13: Keeping It “Casual” (1/2)
- Episode 12: The Birds & The Bees (2/2)
- Episode 11: The Birds & The Bees (1/2)
- Episode 10: Love & Death
- Episode 9: Communication- Mind and Body
- Episode 8: The Power of Sexual Healing (2/2)
- Episode 7: The Power of Sexual Healing (1/2)
- Episode 6: Redefining Masculinity and “The Million Dollar Point”
- Episode 5: Creating Body Maps and Reconnecting with Pleasure
- Episode 4: (In) Fidelity in The Time of Technology
- Episode 3: Let’s Get Cliterate! Narrowing The Orgasm Gap
- Episode 2: Today’s Not So “Liberated” Sex Culture (2/2)
- Episode 1: Today’s Not So “Liberated” Sex Culture (1/2)
- Episode 0: Google doesn’t have all the answers
- Trailer: Let’s Get Intimate!
Let's Get Intimate!
Episode 3: Let’s Get Cliterate! Narrowing The Orgasm Gap
All right, thank you so much for joining us today.
I’m excited to join you and be here and talk to you.
So, to get right into it I want to ask you, I’ve had a lot of young women in their 20s in their 30s coming to me and saying ‘I’ve lost my libido, how do I find my sexual desire again and reconnect with my partner and with myself?’ So, what is it that you think’s going on there? what would you say to these young women in that situation or perhaps to their partners? what is this kind of phenomenon that they’re interpreting? Is that actually what’s going on or is this something that’s maybe just in their head and more of a mindset?
Well, you know, it’s of all the sexual problems that people bring to counselors and therapists, lost libido is the most common one–as many as 60% of women at some point, say they their libido and while you usually think of that as someone older. I mean it can really happen at any age, so I mean if I was talking to a particular young woman I would want to ask a lot of questions first to get a sense of what’s going on, you know. Did this change coincide with something in your life or relationship, a new stressful job, a fight with your partner you know. Whatever that and kind of look at a whole life context and you know of course depending what we’d find out, we would go down a different path but since I obviously can’t necessarily talk to every listener out there, let me say a few general things about lost libido in women. it’s extremely common and what happens is what we know until pretty recently about sexual desire was known from men, and we have this linear model of desire meaning for most people I feel horny leading to sexual activity, leading to arousal, hopefully you know satisfaction, orgasm you know sex overs, women can have multiple orgasms. So, that’s what we know but what we thought that was applied to women and men but it’s not true. Actually as women age… and now twenty thirty is not really aging, but it’s still true that is women age and here’s what I think might be going on with these people you’re talking to as women age as they get longer into relationships. So, the longer a relationship and really critically when they’re stressed out, their libido all three of those things decreased libido and stress affects women’s sex drive much more than it does men’s, like women’s start saying: Oh my gosh, what’s wrong with me. I never feel horny and then I’ll ask them a really really really key question which is; When you have a sexual encounter anyway despite not being horny? Because women do that all the time because their partner wants to, because they know that they’ll be happy if they do, like kind of like going to the gym you don’t want to go but you have a good workout. I say when you have sex, do you enjoy it? and I typically here, oh yeah it’s awesome, once I relax it’s great and afterwards I always think oh that was good I should do that more often, but then the desire isn’t there. And so when I often explain to women is that if it’s fun once it gets going it’s not duty set, its how women’s desires sometimes works. I call it reversing the equation; instead of waiting to be horny to have sex which as you age as you’re stressed out may never happen, you need to have sex to get horny because women’s desire and arousal are more intertwined in circular, it’s not linear. So, I’m guessing it’s any and one of those things but I’m guessing that stress is a big culprit in what you’re talking about.
Right and I think that’s so often people cite something as a sexual problem when it doesn’t actually have to do with that unless it’s a diagnosed medical condition or an actual physiological problem. So much more often, it can actually be traced down to many other things, psychological factors which in some cases can actually be even more complex. But going off of that and from before, I’ve also had a lot of men come to me with somewhat similar issues on the performance side, and stress always seems to be this underlying issue that people really don’t recognize as playing such an impactful role, and a big underlying issue that people just seem to look right over.
Exactly, and I think you’re also hitting on another really important point that a lot of times, what people say is a sexual problem is actually normal functioning but we have misguided ideas based on the media of what that is. So, for example you know that in the media, movies, porn, whatever everybody’s like really horny all the time and in real life people often have sex you know before they’re horny and then it’s good when it gets going, or you know the one I’ve been writing about a lot lately; is you know all these images of women having fast and fabulous orgasms from intercourse, when that’s not how most women orgasm or men you know lasting 30 minutes and that’s the average is like three to five minutes. So, a lot of times people think something’s wrong with them when it’s just normal human sexual functioning.
And that’s the part about becoming cliterate right. Trying to educate people about what’s normal, and I actually actively try and avoid using that word, because the reality is there is no normal and I think that’s such a good point what the real is, and also kind of what we try to do in BBXX as well. Whether it’s recognizing that other people are not having nearly as much sex as you think they are, or the fact that a lot of people have trouble talking about finances with their partner. We just try and give people knowledge and tools that work to help them live better real relationships in real life.
And I love that word real versus normal, I try to stay away the from that word too sometimes I use the word normative instead; you know that this is common because you’re right but so many people worry about am I normal? Am I normal? Especially when it comes to sex and relationships and that worry itself; Marty Klein is a writer, he calls it “Normality Anxiety”, that worry about being normal itself leads to a lot of problems.
And so, from everything you’ve learned what kind of advice would you then give to people, in order to defy normative closed-minded thinking, in terms of ways to reconnect with themselves or with their partners, perhaps through clitorisy or even advice for their partners to help?
Is it working for you? That would be what I want to ask. You know, I work with people who… Here’s an example; who have sexual encounter with their partner once a week, some once a month and it’s not they shouldn’t be asking: Is that enough? Should I do it more? What’s normal? The question should be: Are you both happy with that frequency? Is forget the images, forget what you think you should. There’s a saying psychologists have “Don’t should on yourself” and you know, is it working for you? Are you happy? Are you unhappy? And it’s hard sometimes to differentiate what we think we should do. But really sitting with it, looking deep inside, you know I think things like yoga and meditation, believe it or not. There’s research on this right that it helps you be mindful, it helps you really get in touch with your own needs, your own desires, just learning to put your mind and body in the same place and really just look inside; what do I want? Am I happy? Is this working for us? Is it working for me?
Yeah, and I’ve actually done an interview with a couple in which I asked them: how many times a week do you have sex? And had them write down the answer separately on a piece of paper. And they were both kind of nervous or hesitant to share out loud, but then after they both shared and both said once a week, they went through this amazing self-reflection where they kind of examine what just happened and said: Wait, why were we embarrassed to share that? That’s the accurate number and we’re perfectly happy with that number and he literary said: Yeah, I’m perfectly happy with that, I think I have a great number. And it was just the self-reflection process and discussion is something that I think everyone should open up to and it was just amazing to witness, not to mention a couple weeks later when a New York Times article came out literally stating that once a week is where they’re normal, which we discussed there shouldn’t, be but would be a very normal number and there aren’t actually any additional psychological benefits to having sex more than once a week. And the fact of the matter really is that if you’re happy, if you’re both happy with whatever your situation is then it’s perfect and stop thinking you need to change anything
Exactly, yet these images do you know that we should be more, should be two or three times a week. So, you’re exactly right like what works for you? That’s the question, as long as it’s consensual and working for both people it’s great and of course then that we get into this issue like of couples with mismatched sex drives. That’s very real, the couple you interviewed were super lucky, right. They both came up with once a week but I have talked to couples you know, ones frequency is once a week and the others like four times a week. What do you do? Well, just like any other relationship issue like what do we have for dinner or where are we going on vacation, how do we handle our finances. It’s communication and compromise, that’s the name of the game.
Yeah, so what kind of communication tools would you recommend to couples with that extremely common problem of mismatched levels of desire?
The same, I think sexual communication is just a subset of general communication and that’s why when I counsel couples and in both my books in the communication chapters, I teach general communication and then say let’s apply it to sex, but a conversation where you both use your best communication skills like for me the top three communication skills are “I” statements like I feel, I want, I’d like without “you you you”, don’t ask questions that aren’t really questions that just sets a conversation up. How many times a week do you want to have sex? Well, that’s not really a question because there’s a statement behind there and it’s like I hope you don’t want to have it more than I do or less than I do. So, you know sitting down at the kitchen table or on a walk or somewhere non-sexual and having this conversation and compromising, listening, reflecting, making sure you’re hearing the other person, finding the grain of truth in what they’re saying. And if you really can’t solve it on your own, find a good therapist to help you have this conversation.
Yeah, and again not in a sexual context is so important which I think is a common mistake.
So, as we’re talking about you know whatever works for you, whatever the other person wants etc. I think the problem is that sometimes people don’t really know what they do want and sometimes comparison helps people realize that sometimes self-pleasure, and you mention at one point in an article, you give the piece of advice that people should measure their pleasure with their partner against that of when they’re pleasuring themselves referring to mostly women, which really just puts it into perspective so perfectly and clearly and I hope helps people own that and realize that they do have the right to that. And yes in some ways people might argue it’s a high bar, but at the same time it’s really not because the objective measurement of orgasms is in both of them. But obviously, masturbation is not a comparable experience to sex with an intimate partner, something I think especially men need to be reminded of both grade not the same and not comparable. But, there is definitely a lot to be learned from one that can help enhance the other.
Yeah, you know that piece of advice, one reviewer called it brilliant and weirdly underutilized for women, which it is. Because I don’t mean the brilliant part and she’s a weirdly underutilized and let me break it down with some stats that I love to share. There’s been a couple studies of how women pleasure themselves and only 1.2% of women pleasure themselves exclusively by putting something in their vagina. The rest use external stimulation, either completely alone or some even about 12 to 20 percent depending on the study, will couple external stimulation and penetration. Yet what happens is when with men, women just like forget about there’s like this disconnect between what they do alone and what they think they should do with the partner, and they’re expecting to orgasm from intercourse. And it’s like that is such a disconnect and there’s a great quote by a woman named Elizabeth Lloyd, who basically says: “Male masturbation resembles the same kind of stimulation as intercourse, female masturbation looks nothing like it” And so how can we help women to orgasm doing partnered sex especially with men, women having sex with women have known this for a long time and that’s why they’re having fewer orgasm problems. They transfer the skills and I tell people there is no self-pleasure technique that without some creativity cannot be transferred into partner sex, you just have to stop thinking of sex as intercourse and think of it as the whole of the encounter and adopt a turn-taking model or…I can give you lots of examples but so I’m really excited that you picked that up, because I think that’s a really potentially life sexual altering perspective shift for people. I’ve seen it really helped people.
Yeah, and I think that 1% statistic you quoted about masturbation techniques should pretty much be plastered across billboards [Laughs].
[Laughs] Yeah, I would love that. Yeah, because people think that they’re weird, that they don’t orgasm from intercourse yet they’re not connecting well, that’s not what I do when I’m alone. And when women masturbate, about 94 % reach orgasm within a few minutes that we know how to do it alone, we just don’t bring it into our partnered encounter.
So yeah, I don’t think those statistics are out there enough, I think a lot of men don’t realize and also women. And I do understand that for a lot of women it can be very difficult to reach orgasm, and obviously it can be very different from masturbation to with a partner, especially if you know you’re somebody that struggles with getting out of your head, but I do think that people also need to realize that on the other end of this spectrum there are also many women out there who are capable of reaching orgasm very quickly, not to mention multiple times. And so, it isn’t necessarily always this great mysterious quest for this insurmountable goal you know, sometimes it’s just a quite straightforward matter of having some information and perhaps some practice, and of course people feeling comfortable their desire. Not to mention their right to it which is kind of the most important at the end to demand what you deserve and what you desire.
Yes, and this benefits men as well because once they give up the idea that they’re supposed to give a woman an orgasm with their penis, it frees them up to be much more loving, more creative and it takes the pressure off of them, and pressure leads to all kinds of sexual difficulties you know; erection difficulties… that kind of thing. And so this knowledge benefits everyone, this is kind of a funny story I was at a lecture just last night given by a friend of mine who’s a gynecologist and she said: “Get to the audience, guess how many women orgasm from intercourse blah blah…” And she’s given the stats and then she said she had recently given a lecture to medical students, and she asked them the same question and one of the male medical students said 80% orgasm during intercourse, and she’s like nope, nope. More, depending on the study but more around 15 or 20%. He’s like nope, nope you’re wrong, you’re lying it’s most women and she’s like they went back and forth and he said: “I’m telling you, you’re lying”. And she looked him in the eye and she goes: “No, they’re lying” [Laughs].
And you know, 70% of women are faking orgasm during intercourse and all that does is train your partner to do what doesn’t work for you.
Right, so and for instance I think that the number one reason people fake orgasms a lot of them say during a one-night stand that: ”Oh you know I wasn’t having a great time or It just wasn’t gonna happen, I was over it” But what about the woman that then comes after you, who then also gets sent to Pound Town as well.
[Laughs]. I love that.
And has to deal with that because no one is giving this poor guy constructive criticism, and he might legitimately think that what he’s doing is working. So, what about maybe trying some open dialogue or body language to improve your experience, not to mention the gal that comes along after you because for example; if it really is a one-night stand then by definition you’re never going to see this person again anyways. So quite literally, what do you have to lose? Kind of absolutely nothing.
Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of writers, really I love that by the way “sent to Pound Town” I’m going to use that if I may steal that from you, but you know I have men who take my class too and they really, really care. Like all this you know I’m not saying there aren’t both women and men who don’t care about their partner’s pleasure, but you know men is kind of a bad rep in this. You know in the media that they don’t care about women’s pleasure, they’re just self-centered, they’re just into it for themselves. Well, I’ll tell you what I’m sure there are people like that: run if you find one, run fast, don’t look back, bye bye.
Right, and not something everyone needs to know. If your partner doesn’t care about your pleasure whether you’re male, female or anywhere on the scale that is not the norm, that is not a characteristic of a healthy relationship nor should anyone think it is, which sadly some people don’t realize just like you mentioned.
Right, but the young men I talked to they really want to please women but they are misinformed because they’re getting their sex ed from porn, because we have a very bad sex ed in our country which is a whole other topic. But, in the absence of sex ed they’re using porn. Which is fun, you know it’s enjoyable, I’m not anti porn but I’m anti porn as role modeling, and so they think they’re doing this great thing and they’re not. And we need to educate men as well as women if we’re gonna close the orgasm gap.
Yeah, and now people realize too that there are a lot of people out there who actually get their pleasure from pleasuring their partner. I think one of the other instance is that I’ve talked to about women who have faked orgasms, but in this case with a long-term partner. One woman actually told me you know I have an orgasm 95% of the time, but the other five when it’s not gonna happen, it honestly has nothing to do with him it’s me. So, I really just don’t want him to feel bad because it’s not anything he’s doing and that was her instance, which is a totally different story but also a very interesting other perspective, but also going off of that like why would he feel bad? You’re a normal human who has all the right to not orgasm 100% of the time and so does he, and since you are a normal human you will have orgasm less sex at some point in your life and it might not be good but it also still might be enjoyable, and if nothing else hopefully it’s a learning experience.
Right, although to me it still goes down to that it’s female orgasm being a male achievement and if it should, orgasms are great but not all satisfying sex ends in orgasm and if we can take this goal-oriented pressure off. Then you know some days you do, some days you don’t. that’s true as for men and women and that’s okay and the interesting thing about sex and orgasm is the best sex is when the person involved is both people involved get to the point where they’re focused on themselves, and fully immersed in their own pleasure and if we can let go of this achievement-oriented goal, that this is about you know. So a side note when I gave a workshop once, and a woman raised her hand and she said: “Well, this has all been very helpful but now what do I do about the fact that I’ve been faking orgasm for 30 years?”
Wow, that is such a difficult situation, holy moly what did you tell her?
Yeah, I said: “Well, you know you’ve got two choices, I mean obviously she don’t want to keep faking so that wasn’t on the table; you can go to tell him you’ve been faking for 30 years which is gonna create a lot of problems, or you can go home and you can say you I went to this workshop where I learned all about the clitoris and about how it really enhances female orgasm, and how vibrators work and I’m pretty interested in trying this cuz I love having sex with you, and I’d like to try new things. so how about next time we have sex, we focus a lot more on my clitoris or you know I use a vibrator on myself during intercourse. Make it like this new discovery together, rather than oh by the way it hasn’t been working for 30 years”. So, of course I don’t know how that worked out for but I hope it worked out well.
Right, and another thing I read in one of your articles is making a sexual debut and sort of the same thing was mentioned in my interview with Peggy Orenstein, she talked about a young girl that said that losing your virginity should actually be marked by having your first orgasm with another person and especially by that kind of incredible definition examining that woman’s relationship is kind of an incredible to think about that 30 years into her relationship by that definition, she’s still a virgin.
Exactly, yes and I loved it because making losing virginity first it’s like this loss, so the more sense I turn right and the more sex positive term is making a sexual debut. But I think and Peggy Orenstein talked about this too it’s that doesn’t take it far enough because it’s still not inclusive of lesbian sex, and you’re still defining sex by intercourse so I think the much more inclusive definition is your first orgasm with another person.
So, going back to your class, what are some of the more impactful things you’ve learned from the people that have gone through it, some of the takeaway points from over the years that you could share with our listeners?
Yeah, I thank you for asking it because I mean teaching that class is like so to me and I learn as much from my students as they learned from me, and I think what I have the two things I’ve learned the most, well three is just how this generation of college students that I’m teaching. I call them the most misinformed generation about sex ever and they agree with me, and it’s so sad to me because suddenly we have all this sexual information at our fingertips. So, you’d think people would be more informed but because there’s so much false information and so little sex ed, there’s so much misinformation people are caring also so much shame from people’s upbringing that they bring to sex and that the other thing, is I’ve just been so appalled by the stories I’ve heard about what people were taught in schools and in religious organizations about sex, that we have only 23 states in the U.S. require sex that only 13 require them to be medically accurate. So, that means we can tell people lies in classes about sex, you know Peggy Orenstein calls it ideology over evidence and I’ve heard some horrible horrible things that people were taught in sex ed right here in the US, but the one that comes to mind the most is that a young woman told this is in a classroom here in Florida just a few years ago. That if she had intercourse before marriage, her vagina would mold to the shape of that person’s penis and her future husband would never be satisfied. My students have taught me just how bad our sex ed is and how harm it’s causing, and that’s why I… go ahead.
Wow and I think that even more terrifying than even being told that, is the fact that the standard is so low and the culture we live in is so misinformed that anybody could possibly believe that. I mean it’s one thing to say that people say ridiculous things all the time and we know not to believe them. But the fact that anyone could take that almost comically disturbing lie, is even a remote resemblance of truth is scary. And it’s just so backwards, it just reflects how pathetically broken the system itself is.
Yeah, I mean and other people it is. And if don’t forget these are people in power these are like grown-ups who are supposed to be the teachers teaching, you know. So, I can go on and on but that’s the thing that I’ve learned the most from my students. And also just how resilient they are like when given good information they, can turn their sex lives around and they can, you know… I have so many people come to my class the first day of class I’m like using words like penis, vagina, clitoris, intercourse, oral sex and they’re just like “Huh?” And then by the end of the class, you know 12 weeks, 15 weeks later, they’re like excuse me Dr. Mintz I have a question about the clitoris and they’re just completely different, so it really gives me hope that information is power.
Yeah, so how would we go about helping live that? Helping people who don’t have access to class actually live that information and that power.
I think you’re doing that right with what you’re doing, I think you know reading things on the internet is hard to know what’s real and what’s not but you know read good sources believe it or not; some magazines like Teen Vogue. They have very positive accurate sex ed, you know. Look at your sources you know if you have a question, look it up not be careful of the sources. You look it up and get yourself a good textbook on sexuality, my favorite book for all things sexual is Paul Joannides’s (This is guide to getting it on), It’s like the sex Bible It has everything in it you’d ever want to know, use that as a resource and then there’s more specific books for sexual problems, like becoming cliterate for learning about female orgasm or she comes first in curse book for oral sex, how to manual for me. So get good information it is out there.
Amazing, and you talk a lot about the orgasm gap which I might have you summarize quickly for those not familiar, but to conclude I’d love to just ask you how you think that this right to information empower you could possibly apply to things outside of a sexual context. For example, how might the orgasm gap have something in common with the wage gap basically in terms of how this concept of information is power, lesson, my transcend, other walks of life as well.
What a great question, so to summarize the orgasm gap is basically it’s a phenomenon so far that we know when cisgender which means you know cisgender women, cisgender men have a sexual encounter again, so a person born with a vulva who identifies as a woman having sex with the person with the penis who was born as a male and identifies as a male cuz we don’t have enough research to know how the gap applies to non gender conforming folks. So basically what it is? When these two groups get it on, the women are having substantially fewer orgasms than men and that’s true in all kinds of sex. So one study of my own that’s in my book Becoming Cliterate, 55% of men versus 4% of women say they usually orgasm during first-time hookup sex. Now, it gets smaller and friends with benefits subsequent hookups relationship sex but it never closes all together, and how is that related to other inequities other gender inequities they are all related to the same root cause. And this is not to blame men at all, hear me loud and clear I’m blaming culture it’s the cultural privilege of the male experience. So, you know basically why are women having fewer orgasms and men because we are prioritizing the act through, which men come not women come intercourse. So, it’s all related to sort of a societal gender inequity that we can address and we can change.
Yeah, and going off of what you said about not blaming men, well I don’t want to use the word blame but a woman could also be just as much at fault if she is saying, you know “I’m okay, I don’t need that, I actually just enjoy the process” Because in a way, that is helping just as little as perhaps somebody who…
Exactly, and I emphasize that I wasn’t blaming men because when I talk about the cultural privileges of the male experience, I think men and women suffer you know, and there’s a great quote that I absolutely love and it was when talking about racial inequities in the health care system “There can be no quality without equality” And that applies to all realms including the sexual.
Right, so I think we can say that it’s just as much both women and men’s roles to inform themselves to assume their own power to information, their own power to pleasure and their own power to pleasuring their partner.
Absolutely. Yes, I love that.
All right, well thank you so much and to all our listeners you can check out Laurie’s book Becoming Cliterate, and Laurie we look forward to chatting more with you in the future.
Well, thank you for having me on.
On this week’s episode we speak with Laurie Mintz, the feminist author behind Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters and How to Get It and A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex: Reclaim Your Desire and Reignite Your Relationship. She is a Professor at the University of Florida where she teaches undergraduates the Psychology of Human Sexuality. Laurie believes that this generation of college students are “the most misinformed generation about sex, ever.” We discuss sexual empowerment, coming out of the “normal closet”, and having a real perspective.
Reversing the Equation
Although it can happen to anyone at any age, 60% of women, at some point, say that they have lost their libido. To figure out why this is so commonplace, Laurie believes we need to look at the full context of women’s lives, including stress. For most women this equates to reversing the equation to ask themselves: Do you enjoy your sexual encounters?
The media has projected a misguided idea of what sex is and how it starts: women having amazing and fast orgasms and men lasting 30 mins or more… In reality the average length of sexual intercourse is 3 – 5 minutes. Because of this, people can think that something is wrong with them when they are experiencing REAL sexual functioning. Let’s change the dialogue – “real” instead of “normal”.
How Many Times?
Couples with mismatched libidos exist. This New York Times article about how many times a couple should have sex in a week brings the topic into question, but what matters is quality over quantity and knowing what works for you. Ask yourself and your partner if you are happy with the frequency of your sexual experiences. Communicate and compromise, because sexual communication is part of general communication.
Studies on Women and Self Pleasure:
- Only 1.2% of women pleasure themselves with vaginal stimulation alone. In most cases, women only use external stimulation. Twelve to twenty percent will couple external/clitoral stimulation with vaginal penetration.
- There is a disconnection between what women do when they are alone, and what they think they should do when they are with a partner. As Elizabeth Lloyd states: “Male masturbation resembles the same kind of stimulation as intercourse. Female masturbation looks nothing like it”.
- When women masturbate about 94% reach orgasm within a few minutes! This means that women know how to do it alone, but don’t bring that knowledge into our partnered encounters.
- 70% of women are faking orgasms during intercourse, which only serves to reinforce behaviors that aren’t getting you off.
How can we help women to orgasm when having partner sex with men?
“You need to stop thinking about sex as just the intercourse, but as the whole encounter.” In doing so, both parties benefit: Men can let go of the idea that their penis alone can make a woman orgasm and allows for more freedom and creativity in their sexual experiences.
Tickets to Pound Town
A note about one-night stands: the expected norm is that your partner does not care about your pleasure. In heterosexual partners, young men do want to please their female partners, but they don’t have the correct information, as much of what they know comes from porn. It’s not that porn is bad, but it doesn’t always model effective and egalitarian sex. In order to close the orgasm gap, everyone needs to have good sex ed.
The Best Sex
Laurie asserts that “The best sex is when both people involved get to the point where they are focused on themselves and fully immersed in their own pleasure”.
About the Classroom: When Good Information Can Turn Sex Lives Around
This generation of college students that I am teaching – I call them the most misinformed generation about sex ever, and they agree with me. So much information, but so little sex ed, that they are misinformed.
Only 23 States in the US require sex ed, and only 13 require information to be medically accurate. That means that adolescents often hear misinformation and downright lies regarding sex and sexuality. This is what our previous guest, Peggy Orenstein (Episodes 1 & 2), calls “Ideology over Evidence”.
Orgasm Gap: “There can be no quality without equality”.
According to her own study, 55% of men and only 4% say they orgasm during an initial sexual hookup. This gap decreases with subsequent sexual experiences together, but never equalizes. This orgasm inequity coupled with other gender inequalities are due to the cultural privilege of the male experience. Why are women having fewer orgasms than men? It’s because men’s orgasm is prioritized.
Recommendations for resources for a good self sex ed:
About the Expert
Dr. Laurie Mintz is a feminist author, therapist, professor, and speaker whose life’s work has been committed to helping people live more authentic, meaningful, and joyful lives through the art and science of psychology.