I often get asked by men how to help their partners who have experienced sexual trauma.  They have questions about talking to their partners about the trauma, managing and helping with symptoms and how to have a fulfilling sex life without re-traumatising their partners.

Sexual trauma comes in many forms from childhood sexual abuse to date/partner rape, to stranger rape to sexual assault.  The type of sexual trauma can predict some of the issues that the survivor develops.  For example, though guilt is felt by most sexual trauma survivors, survivors of date/partner rape tend to feel far more guilt.    Part of helping your partner through the aftermath of sexual trauma is being sensitive to the full spectrum of feelings and symptoms that arise as a result of it.

Many people who have experienced sexual trauma develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression.  Some also develop substance abuse or dependence disorders (alcohol or drug problems) because they use the substances to try to manage their symptoms.    If your partner has any of these problems, it is important that she has professional support as well as your support.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be treated effectively through a few trauma specific methods of therapy.

If your partner has already had (or is having) professional help, there is lots you can do to help.

Make time to listen to her.  Listen to all that she has to say, without judgement.  She doesn’t want you try to fix it.  She wants to be heard and to know that you still love her.  The most important thing is that there is enough time if she will be talking with you about the event.   Interrupting her will, at best, make her feel that you don’t really care and at worst re-traumatise her.

Don’t try to fix things.  You can’t.  What you can do is to be available to her when she needs your support.   If she is having trouble mobilising herself and so is getting less done in a day, offer to do some of her errands.  If she is feeling unsafe at home, do things to increase her feelings of safety (install new locks, install cameras, extra security lights).    Help her to find any therapy she might need.  If she is dealing with the police, support her when she has appointments.   Be an advocate for her at medical appointments.

Do things that remind her that you love her and find her attractive.  Tell her these things.  Cook for her.  Cuddle her.  Take her out somewhere special.  Buy her some perfume.  Take her away overnight.  Make sure she knows that there is no pressure to have sex.  By reminding her you find her attractive, you combat any thoughts she may be having that say that because she was assaulted she is damaged goods.

Make sure you have a place where you can take your feelings.  While she is dealing with this, she may well have trouble listening to your upset and negative feelings about what happened to her and listening to you talk about how helpless you feel. (Many men feel helpless because they could not prevent the assault and because they feel they can do nothing to help their partners recover.)

Take things slowly.  If your partner is a survivor from prior to you meeting each other, you may still need to take things slowly.  She may find approaching sex difficult.  Or she may be triggered and dealing with on-going trauma symptoms.  Spend lots of time talking about what she enjoys sexually and what you would like to do together.   Build anticipation by focusing on kissing only for a time.

Make sure to get explicit consent for everything you do with your partner.  Don’t suddenly grab her as she is likely to startle.  Make sure she is comfortable being touched.  It may seem like this is a lot to ask, but she will appreciate your taking the time.    For an overall discussion of consent, watch this video.  To help you think about consent at a deeper level have a look at Betty Martin’s Wheel of Consent.   The most important point to remember with sexual trauma survivors is that things can go from feeling fine to feeling awful very quickly so checking consent and being observant is incredibly important.

Create sexual time together and engage in those acts that are not triggering.  Not everything will cause her to be triggered.  Maybe an erotic massage will be something you can enjoy together.  Perhaps oral sex is an untouched area.  Take a shower together and wash her hair.  Do lots of sensual things to get help her become turned on. Have the conversations that you need to in order to find out what it is OK to try and make time to try it.

Make sure your partner is engaging in basic self-care.  Make sure she is eating enough and the right kind of foods.  Make sure that she isn’t drinking too much as alcohol doesn’t help with the symptoms at all and in fact causes more problems.  Avoid drugs. She needs sleep and rest as well.  Exercise can be very helpful so consider taking her on some long walks.

Be kind to yourself.  Sexual trauma has an intense impact on everyone around the survivor as well.  It can trigger memories or feelings about earlier traumatic events in partners as well as triggering intense emotion because someone hurt their partner.  Take care of yourself – eat well, don’t drink too much, get enough rest, get good exercise, avoid drugs.

For more information, write me at drbisbey@the-intimacy-coach.com.  Book a 30 minute free session to discuss whether coaching might be useful to you.   Have a look at my eBook 20 Things Not to Say to a Sexual Trauma Survivor.  Look out for upcoming podcasts, blog articles and workshops as well.

For the full article, please go to Yourtango.com

Orgasms come in so many shapes, sizes, and patterns!

How much do you really know about orgasms? I personally had painfully little knowledge when I started having sex with others.

The first orgasm I remember happened when I masturbated by rubbing against my teddy bear when I was 5 or 6. For years I could only reach orgasm during masturbation, on my stomach, rubbing against something pressed between my legs.

This wasn’t really useful when it came to having an orgasm with a partner. My first consensual sexual experiences were delicious, but orgasm was not a part of them. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I had regular orgasms with a partner.

For years I thought there was something wrong with me. However, I now know that there was not.

Up to 37% of women either are unable to have an orgasm or have extreme difficulty having an orgasm.

Read that statement again. I know that when I first saw that figure, I was floored.

To find out about the three main types of problem that women have with orgasms, head over to read the full post on Yourtango.com.

In order to have an orgasm, you have to let go of control.

You cannot control an orgasm and that is one of the joys of the experience. Your partner doesn’t cause your orgasm. You are the one in control so you have to relax and let your body, mind, soul and heart respond to the stimulation, touch, love that you are experiencing.

If you have trouble relaxing, try releasing some of the pressure. If you don’t reach orgasm, you haven’t failed. Just enjoy the experience you are having.

If you practice meditation, this is a good time to employ your strategies to quiet your mind. Allow your breathing to deepen. Focus on one sensation only — that point where your bodies are connecting, the smell of her, the taste of his lips. Breathe into the sensation and just enjoy.

Kegel exercises do lead to better orgasms. It appears that the stronger your pelvic floor muscles are, the better your orgasms are likely to be.

It takes an average of about 20 minutes of stimulation for women to reach orgasm. Some women are able to reach orgasm within 30 seconds of self-stimulation, but this is unusual. Keep in mind that stimulation doesn’t only mean physical stimulation, but includes mental stimulation as well. Orgasms last on average 18 – 22 seconds.

It is interesting to note that four pairs of nerves are involved in the orgasm process for women. 

These nerves all take information back to the brain and provide differing sensations and types of orgasm. This is one reason why all orgasms don’t feel a like. If you stimulate all four pairs of nerves, the ‘blended’ orgasm will be far more intense than an orgasm that is the result of stimulating one pair of nerves. Three of the pair of nerves first transmit information to the spinal cord which is then sent to the brain. The vagus nerve transmits straight to the brain — which means even women with complete spinal cord bisection can experience orgasm if this pair of nerves is stimulated.

There are so many ways for us to get off!

Many women ask how often they should be having orgasms, and if their current frequency is “normal.”

When I was in my first, sexless marriage, I thought I was the only married woman who was having no sex at all. Even the clients I was seeing reported having sex at least monthly. When I finally plucked up the courage to talk to a friend, I found out that I was not alone.

In my practice, I see that rhythms vary over time, mainly related to health, stress levels, how relationships are going, and whether or not a woman is single. One thing I can clearly say is that when in a relationship, more sex and more orgasms are definitely better.

More orgasms increase emotional intimacy, as well as positive feelings about your mate, your relationship, yourself — and often the whole of your life.

The good news is that research suggests a clear relationship between the age of the person and the likelihood of experiencing orgasm when having sex.

This means it isn’t too late to get yourself into your maximum orgasmic prime!

Here is a look at just some of the various and wonderful ways women can orgasm:

  1. Some women can have orgasms through fantasizing alone.

You can have an orgasm without having your clitoris or your vagina touched at all, as the brain is one of the most important erogenous zones.

  1. Some women have orgasms from having their nipples or anus stimulated.

You might have another particular spot on your body or activity that causes you reach orgasm or at least come very close.

  1. Some women learn to ‘come on command.’

In these scenarios, a woman will come as soon as her partner says, “Come now!” This is actually not difficult to learn, as it is simply a matter of conditioning.

The same way that Pavlov’s dogs learned to salivate at the sound of a bell, we can learn to come at the sound of our lover’s voice. Since orgasm is a more complex response, it is likely to take more trials before the association is made, but eventually, the association will be created.

  1. Some women can ejaculate when they have an orgasm.

The fluid they release comes from the urethra, but is not urine. It may feel like there is a lot but in reality it is only usually about a teaspoon of fluid. It is sweet tasting as it is made of lots of glucose, as well as an enzyme called prostatic acid phosphatase.

Though it is not universal for a woman to ejaculate (also known as “squirting”), it is more common that was previously thought, and is perfectly normal. Women who do this routinely report that it feels extremely pleasurable.

There is some research that suggests that G-spot stimulation is more likely to lead to female ejaculation, although many women report that clitoral stimulation will lead to ejaculation as well.

  1. Both men and women can have multiple orgasms.

It’s really all about timing. Men who learn not to ejaculate when they have an orgasm can have multiple orgasms before finally ejaculating. When men do ejaculate, they usual feeling overwhelmingly sleepy. This is a physiological response and therefore difficult for them to resist.

Hence my advice to women who are having sex with men — make sure you attend to your satisfaction first and then look to his, or you may find that you are left to finish yourself off.

C is for Come   Come or cum is defined as slang for orgasm.   When talking about sex, coming is often the central topic as it is frequently the main goal.    Many people define good sex as sex in which all who are involved reach orgasm.  Equally, bad sex is often defined as sex in which the person labelling it bad did not reach orgasm.

In my more than 25 years of working with people about sexual issues, desires and problems, lack of orgasm features in at least 70% of the issues.    Women present with problems reaching orgasm most often.  Men present with pre-mature ejaculation (too early orgasm) most often.  Couple present with both issues at the forefront and identified as at least one large reason they are unhappy with their intimate life together.

For starters, many people don’t really understand the anatomy of orgasm.  This includes men and women.   Physiologically, the brain and the circulatory system are intensely involved in orgasm for both men and women.  In men, blood engorges the penis and in women it is the labia and clitoris that engorge with blood.  In both sexes, the nipples can fill with blood as well as the lips.    Both sexes produce rhythmic muscular contractions during orgasm.

Most of us learned that there is one type of orgasm.  If you are female, you were taught that it is centred in the clitoris and if you are male you were taught that ejaculation is the physical manifestation of orgasm.  It was years before I discovered that I had been fed lots of misinformation.

 

For example, only about 25% of women reach clitoral orgasm through penetrative sex consistently.  Most women need additional clitoral stimulation to reach clitoral orgasm during penetrative sex.   There are many different types of orgasm.  Men can reach orgasm without ejaculating.   Men can have multiple orgasms too!

 

When I was 19, I had a boyfriend that decided he was determined to make me come while I was with him.   Up until that point, though I really enjoyed sex with both men and women, I did not come unless I was masturbating and then only in a particular position.   Jeff was a science nerd and he decided that this was because no one spent long enough stimulating me.  He decided that he was going to ‘fix the problem’.  He started by helping me to relax.  He gave me a nice massage.  I found it hard to relax because all the while I knew he was determined to fix me.  Eventually, he began to kiss me.   That was nice and I started to relax a bit more.  Then he made a bee line for my clitoris and began rubbing it.  I instantly tensed up.  Jeff did not notice and continued to rub and rub.  I began to get sore.   When I didn’t come after an hour, he switched to using his lips and tongue.  It felt nice but I was already so sore!  I felt so much pressure to please him and the more pressure I felt, the less happened.  After about 12 hours of trying many different sexual techniques and positions, Jeff finally gave up and declared me broken.    I felt like a science project.  He was so out of touch with my responses that he didn’t notice when I withdrew into myself.  The last part of the experiment, I wasn’t present at all.  That night left me feeling even weirder than I had before.   I thought that something ought to have worked but nothing did.  When Jeff rang me the next week to go out, I begged off.  I couldn’t face feeling so damaged again.  Since I love to please the person that I am being intimate with, it was even more of a blow not to be able to come.  I knew I was failing him and making him frustrated rather than pleasing him.  The whole experience was awful.  I came away feeling that it was far easier to fake it and then masturbate later on.   No one should feel that dishonesty is the only way to get her needs met.  It is so damaging to any intimate relationship.  Far better to learn what does it for you and then to teach your partner or if you don’t know, to learn together by exploring.

When I was in graduate school I finally found out what would make me come consistently when I lived with a man who was an expert at cunnilingus.   Not too much later I discovered how to come when someone used her fingers from a girlfriend and then discovered the G-spot and found out about G-spot orgasm and female ejaculation.  I began to cum sometimes during penetrative sex and also was able to cum without being touched as a result of the movement of energy.

 

Stimulating facts about cumming:

  • Men’s orgasms stimulate the same area of the brain as heroin in an addict’s brain.
  • All orgasms are not alike. They can be effected by cognitive state, psychological state and what chemicals are in your body at the time (including hormones, drugs, alcohol, other medications).  Your genitals are enervated by several pairs of nerves and when different combinations are stimulated, you have different sensations.
  • So – called blended orgasms occur when a bunch of areas in the genital area are stimulated – clitoris, vagina and G-spot for example and each level of sensation is additive so the orgasm is layered, deep and can last longer. There is such a thing as a cervix orgasm as well!  This can occur through stimulation of the cervix and is known for being extremely intense.
  • Men can have multiple orgasms This takes significant discipline as it involves delaying or completely avoiding ejaculation.
  • There is such a thing as a nipple orgasm just as orgasms can come as a result of playing with the anus, visual imagery, breasts, auditory stimulation and fantasising.
  • The length of time an orgasm lasts gets longer as you get older (Isn’t that a great reason to keep having lots of sex as you age?)
  • Cumming can relieve pain. Endorphins block pain receptors in the brain and oxytocin (released during orgasm) also suppressive pain and perception of pain.

 

Please send me any questions or stories about coming to drloribeth@atozofsex.com

Listen out on Libsyn for the sister blog, The A to Z of Sex and head over to the website, www.atozofsex.com to sign up for the newsletter for more exploration of the erotic alphabet.

 

Because they think that this means they might get to indulge in two of the most common male fantasies:  Watching two women getting hot and sexual together and having a threesome with two women.

It’s the fantasy that most men bring up as soon as they find out I am bisexual.   Question 1 is usually ‘Do you have a bisexual girlfriend?’.  Question 2 is ‘Will you bring her to bed with us?’.  If the answer to 1 or 2 is no, the next question is still ‘Can I watch?’ or ‘Will you tell me about what you do together?’

I had a look to see if there is any science to explain why this might be and I was not able to find any research.  There is plenty of research that places the fantasy of sex with two women together ranking in the top fantasies of men.    But nothing about what they find so exciting.  So I decided to do a bit of research of my own.  So far, this is only an informal poll but I may do a more scientific survey soon.

So here’s what I found out talking with a small number of sexually adventurous men from the US and the UK between the ages of 30 and 70:

I asked what makes bisexual women so attractive to them.  Here’s what some of them said:

Author Shakir Rashan replied ‘The fact that they enjoy the female form as much, if not more than I do. Being married to a bisexual woman, to have her react to a woman I am attracted to without feeling like I am taking away from her is an aphrodisiac like no other’.  Two men said that it was the fact that they are comfortable being with men and women and feel happy being who they are.    All the men spoke of these women as ultra-feminine in part because they appreciate women.  All the men who responded to the survey find two women having sex with each other exciting.  One man replied that by watching women together he has learned how to better please a woman.

I asked about experience with threesomes.  In my sample, all but one respondent had experienced a threesome.  The final respondent replied that he enjoys watching but does not prefer to have sex with more than one person at a time.    Of the men who had experience with threesomes, all of them enjoyed the experience when everyone was into everyone else.   They all mentioned the ‘dreaded pillow princess’.  In threesomes, pillow princesses always want to be the centre of attention.  The men I interviewed said that this changed the energy in a negative way.

I asked about unicorns.  In the polyamory and swinging worlds, a unicorn is a bisexual woman who likes to have sexual relationships with couples or who will bond with a couple and be monogamous with that couple.    The unicorn is as opposed to the straight or heteroflexible woman who approaches the couple because she wants to be with the man and she thinks by doing this, the man will look favourably upon her.  All the men I spoke to enjoyed unicorns when they could find them and preferred to avoid straight women who approached them when they were in a couple.

All of the men said they enjoy watching women together.  One said ‘One woman is beautiful, two women equals twice the beauty and sexiness’.   Even the men who have had lots of experience with two women rated this high on their fantasy hit parade and said that they still watch woman on woman pornography.

A few of the men made it very clear that they did not like to watch women play with strap on’s with each other.  They emphasised that the women need to be ‘very feminine’ for them to be interested watching them together.  A few of the men said they really enjoyed the opportunity to direct the action between the women.  Others liked either the pure voyeur experience or being completely involved in the action.

Here are a few tips to really heat your man up that I got from doing this survey:

  1. Invite another woman along to put on a show. Make sure it is someone who you are really into and who is really into you.
  2. Tell your man a detailed story about you and another woman and what the two of you would do to each other and to him if given the chance. Pick out a movie that has a good threesome in it and watch it with him, all the while whispering to him what you would like to do.
  3. Get a girlfriend to join you and do to her all the things you wish your man would do to you. Make sure he is watching closely…

Finally, if you are single, consider being a unicorn at least once!  But don’t be a pillow princess.  Shower the couple with all of your attention.  Show them how much you desire both of them and then enjoy!

If you’re curious about bisexual women, bisexuality, kink or other alternative sexual lifestyles, I can help and here’s how. Reach out here for individual coaching. You can also listen to my Sex Spoken Here podcast. Or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, email, Yourtango.

 

With so many mixed messages between men and women, what is this really about?

It seems that since 50 Shades of Grey became popular, rough sex and BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/submission, Sadism/Masochism) have hit the mainstream. References can be found everywhere from Cosmopolitan to The Guardian newspaper.

The desire for rough sex is NOT new.

Want to learn more?  Here’s the full blog post on YourTango.com

5 Things (Vanilla) Straight Girls Can Learn from Their LGBTQ and Kinky Sisters

We have lots in common with each other, we are sisters after all.  But some years ago I realised that I don’t go about relationships, dating and sex in quite the same way as my vanilla straight sisters.  I tried to work out how much of the difference was because of kink, how much was because of polyamory and how much was down to sexual orientation.  In the end I realised it didn’t matter what part came from where.  What matters are the differences and how they make relationships better.

  • Talking about sex before having sex makes for far more satisfying sex. LGBTQ and kinky folks tend to talk more about what they like/don’t like, want to do and don’t want to do with a potential partner before falling into bed. Perhaps this is because we want to make sure that we are likely to be compatible with someone before investing in the relationship.    There is still a lot of anonymous gay sex that happens but these days, with the wide variety of diseases, there is a push to at least have the safe sex talk before indulging and that often leads into what I like and don’t like, what you like and don’t like, etc.  By the time we hit the bedroom, we may well have been turned on for days.  We might already know what to avoid and even better, already know what to do to really get the fire going.

bisexual men

  • The more you know about the female body, the more varied and better orgasms you will have. Recent research from the Kinsey Institute highlighted that lesbian women are most likely to have consistent orgasms during sex with a partner when compared to straight and bisexual peers.  One of the reasons – lesbians’ familiarity with the female body.  So, learn your own body and then make sure your partner learns your body too.
  • ‘Foreplay’ can be hotter than fucking and fucking is not always the desired goal. Many women find orgasm during intercourse extremely difficult and only 25% reach orgasm regularly through penetration.  This statistic comes from not one study but a review of over 33 studies that have been done during the past 80 years.  Lots of women don’t realise that this is normal!  For most women, orgasm results from clitoral stimulation and this is very difficult to get from straight forward intercourse.  Now if your partner slips a hand in between you while you are fucking and rubs your clitoris, then you may well have an orgasm while fucking.  LGBTQ sisters spend far more time using mouth, tongues, fingers, and sex toys and exploring all the female erogenous zones in depth.   Fucking can be using a strap-on, a vibrator, a dildo, fingers or even a fist.  Or there may not be penetration at all.
  • Even adults can have fun with toys. The only vibrator I was exposed to when I was in my teens was hard plastic and white and was completely unappealing.  Today, there are an amazing array of vibrators.  Some for direct clitoral stimulation, others are insertables that can be turned on and off by remote control, others are specifically focused on the G-spot and still others are used primarily for anal stimulation.    Besides vibrators, there is a plethora of other sex toys from nipple stimulators, blindfolds, to butt plugs.  Many toys can be used alone so you can experiment with different sensations.  If you are single, this means that time alone need not become boring.  If you are in a relationship, you can bring what you learn to playing with your partner.
  • Explore what turns you on first, then tell your partner. The more you know about what makes you burn, the more fun you will have. The more you are willing to tell your partner about what turns you on, the more fun you will have.  Perhaps it is because LGBTQ people have to ‘come out’ at least partially in order to be seen or perhaps LGBTQ folks tend to question their own sexuality at first.  Whatever it is, we tend to spend time exploring to accept all our desires and kinks.  As a result, we really value the ability to be authentic in the world.  Authenticity is sexy as hell.

Authenticity, communication, and exploration are the keys to sizzling hot sex and excellent intimate relationships no matter what your identity or orientation are.

Hot couple

I would love to hear your ideas and stories about your experiences with exploration and authenticity.  Comment below or email me at drbisbey@the-initimacy-coach.com.