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17 Women on How They Initiate Sex

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There is arguably nothing sexier than a woman who wants to get laid and goes out and gets it.

We hear this ridiculous trope that women don’t initiate sex. In fact, when gathering responses for this roundup, several men offered their unsolicited opinion saying as much. Well, this is simply untrue. Women know what they want—and for the most part, they ask for it when they want it.

Sex is between two people. It is not up to your partner to come to you looking to get laid. If you want sex, ask for it! Or at least hint at it in a subtle way. We know you have it in you.

Here are 17 very real women on how they initiate sex. For all of you who think women don’t have it in them to get an orgasm when they want one, you are about to be shown up. Women are amazing, fearless, and over the slut-shaming.

“My super sexy answer is: if I feel the sexy vibe between us (you know what I’m talking about), I simply just ask.”

—Julia, 34

“Get naked in front of him. Jump in bed naked and wait for him. Start pulling his clothes off. When I’m ready for sex, he will always know.”

—Carey, 27

“I don’t have time for games. I just say I want to have sex. Usually my partner is open to it. She likes being bossed around.”

Marissa, 27

“Being that I have a live in boyfriend, I say, ‘Do you wanna have sex?’”

—Paige, 25

“If I feel the vibe is right, I outright ask if they want to.”

—Kelsey, 27

“We live in a studio so if I’m feeling extra frisky, I grab my vibrator and start touching myself. Even if he’s reading or doing something else, his head is between my legs pretty fast. It’s impressive.”

—Brit, 28

“I ask him if he wants to see my new underwear.”

—Mary, 34

“I nibble his ears. For some reason he always knows that means I want it bad.”

—Brandi, 26

“I legit hump my husband’s leg.”

—Alex, 31

“When she’s had a particularly crappy day at work (she hates her boss), I make her dinner and wear nothing but an apron. Totally naked underneath. We usually fool around in the kitchen and then have dinner afterward. And then fool around some more.”

—Erin, 30

“My go-to is the ‘pretend cuddle.’ I’m not big on cuddling so that’s a dead giveaway.”

Angela, 31

“I like to surprise my husband by doing something he doesn’t expect from me. I’ll get the engine warmed so that by the time he arrives I’m not only hot and bothered but I am tearing at him like a hungry animal. He loves every minute of it!”

—Ivory, 31

“I start playing with her hair. Kissing her neck. Telling her how sexy and beautiful she is. And smart, of course. We usually go from kissing to taking each other’s clothes off quite fast.”

—Lillie, 29

“I basically just unbutton his pants.”

—Lia, 29

See more: 29 Real Women on What Makes Someone Great in Bed

“I climb right onto his lap and kiss him. I raise my arms above my head so he’ll take off my shirt. The rest pretty much goes like clockwork. We’re both extremely horny people.”

—Jasmine, 33

“I wear sexy lingerie, put on my ‘Sex Jazz’ playlist and light candles.”

—Jamie, 32

“I give him a head-scratch. And then move down to his neck and ears. His head is in my lap at this point. Then I move his head and start kissing down his body and unbuckle his pants. You get it.”

—Val, 25

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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20 Real Women on Their Biggest Sexual Turn-Offs

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There is nothing worse than being really into someone, only to have them do something so off-putting and gnarly that you cannot bring yourself to have sex with them (or have sex with them again, in many cases).

Not everything is a deal-breaker. Perhaps a lover does something kind of gross, but you can move on from it. Is there anything more annoying than someone going down on you without making sure you’re finished?

Yet, despite forgiveness, once in awhile you’ll find someone who does something you didn’t even know was a red flag until they did it. Hey, sex is kind of a freaky, weird mess. We’re learning as we go. It’s important to figure out what you like and what you don’t like; what makes a good lover, and what doesn’t.

Eventually, the deal-breakers sort themselves out and you walk through the rest of your life as an independent, sexually autonomous woman who knows what she’s willing to deal with … and what she is not willing to deal with.

If you need a bit of help discerning or pinpointing what constitutes a sexual turn off, look no further than the testimonials of these 20 real women.

“Laziness, including lazy to go down on you.”

—Léna, 25

“An unwillingness to try new things. Don’t be boring.”

—Christina, 30

“Poor hygiene.”

—Lucy, 34

“I lose it when I’m with someone who goes down on me, but doesn’t do it long enough for me to finish. That is the worst and honestly it is gross.”

—Diana, 28

“When he treats your clitoris like it’s a mango to be chomped on.”

—Talia, 30

“When someone only wants to stay in one position, I cannot deal with it. I told you I wanted to get on top, that does not mean continue in missionary and ignore me.”

—Allison, 30

“Not voting.”

—Charlotte, 32

“I once had a partner who FREAKED out when I brought out my vibrator. Wouldn’t even continue with sex because he said it was so insulting. Meanwhile he did not touch my clitoris once during the entire thing. I was so turned off. I never spoke to him again … even though he then tried calling me for another date.”

—Jessica, 26

“Going on and on about generous he or she is in bed, only to find out they’re super terrible at sex and think you should do all the work. No, thank you!”

—Maddie, 31

“Unwillingness to be vulnerable. Sex is adult play. Let go and have fun. Nothing like laughter in the bedroom.”

—Ganden 44

“If someone asks you what you like in bed and then doesn’t do it, I don’t get that. If you’re communicative with me about your wants and mine—but then don’t do any of the things we talked about during sex, I get confused and super not into it. Why do people do that?”

Sadie, 32

“When it’s a casual thing and they have the hubris to tell you not to get your hopes up for anything serious. Like, did I say I wanted to date you? Why would you ever think I was willing to date you?”

—Jane, 27

“Lack of communication. Say something, bro.”

—Lilly, 29

“Dirty, stinky, bad breath.”

—Aria, 39

“Them saying stuff like ‘But hey.. don’t fall in love with me, okay?’”

—Natalia, 31.

“When they have too much saliva in the makeout and just decide that making out for a minute means they can start feeling you up! Nope. Seduce me a little, let that fire build.”

—Courtney, 26

“When someone doesn’t make any sound at all. It’s so weird and awkward! I like knowing the other person’s enjoying it.”

—Cheryl, 27

“When a partner expects, not just wants but expects, oral sex but either doesn’t reciprocate or acts like he’s doing such a good deed by going down on you.”

—Sydney 25

See more: Why Some Things Turn Us On While Others Don’t

“Definitely poor hygiene, laziness to perform foreplay and cunnilingus. Most men disregard foreplay yet it’s a vital ingredient in a truly orgasmic mind blowing sex. It’s also a turn off for me when a man is in a hurry to finish coz I like taking time in coitus.”

—Jenaveve, 29

“Only thinking about themselves and what they want in bed. My ex was the worst at that.”

—Amber, 27

“Selfishness, no cunnilingus, no affection. I like a partner who is generous, because that’s how I am.”

—Eliza, 27

“Mansplaining.”

—Alycia, 58

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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It's OK If Your Partner Doesn't Get Fully Hard

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Have you noticed that when you’re in the thick of things with your partner, getting really hot and heavy, that he’s only at half mast (or maybe no mast)? Does this upset you? Do you ask why he’s not hard? Does he get quiet and distant?

We need to have a little chat about penises and realistic sexual expectations. It’s OK if your partner doesn’t get fully hard. That’s right, here is your permission to be alright with it. It certainly doesn’t mean he’s any less into you, and it definitely doesn’t mean you can’t have tons of amazing sex.

Here is what you need to know about penises, hard ons, and why he isn’t always sporting a Hulk wiener every time you get frisky. It’s a touchy topic, but someone has to do it.

Not everyone gets rock hard every time and that’s a fact

There are incredibly rude double standards on both men and women when it comes to sex. For women, we’re supposed to somehow look like porn stars and magically have orgasms through P in the V sex alone. For guys, they’re expected to last a long time and stay super, super hard to give us these fabled P in the V orgasms.

In short: We’re all screwed and not in a good way.

The fact of the matter is: Penises do not get rock hard every single time they see a sexy thing, feel a hand on them, are put inside a vagina or anus, etc.

We have to accept this and stop being so absurd. There are a million reasons why a penis might not get totally hard. If this happens to your partner, work around it. It is by no means an indication of aroused he is. He can be 100 percent turned on, desire firing on all cylinders and still not be fully hard. It’s just a fact of life. Our bodies don’t always match up with our minds.

Maybe it’s medical, maybe it’s pressure

As we said, there are a million reasons why a penis might or might not get fully erect. When men age, hard ons become more difficult to achieve. They are often not as hard as they were in their twenties and thirties. This is just a fact. Even younger guys experience complications with getting hard. Every guy does!

It might be a medical condition, but it’s more likely Psychological Erectile Dysfunction. If you pressure a guy to have a hard penis, or he pressures himself, he won’t get hard. Feelings of inadequacy are the ultimate boner killer. It’s a vicious cycle: He wants to get hard, he doesn’t get hard, this makes him feel crappy, the crappy feelings only make getting harder, um, harder.

Perhaps we should stop getting so worked up and accept our lovers the way they are? Sure, if your partner is having regular issues with impotence you should seek medical help, but it’s probably nothing serious. We’re so quick to hit the Viagra button when a penis isn’t standing at full state, but that is just overkill.

Some guys need to get going to get as hard as they can

If your partner isn’t getting fully hard before having sex, just get going. Make foreplay a priority. Give him a blowjob, get some oral sex, do a little fingering and erotic touching. A half-hard penis can still go into a vagina.

Try getting into missionary and see if that works for you. It can take guys getting going with sex to get a full erection. Men sometimes need more stimuli than slow love making to be fully, physically turned on. If you like hard sex, try that. It really might the thing that gets him where he wants to be.

But again, if it doesn’t happen, chill the heck out!

Intercourse is not the only kind of sex there is

Now, if getting a penis hard is incredibly important to you, you might want to rethink what you consider “sex.”

Do what you can. If he isn’t able to get hard enough to have intercourse, do other things. Intercourse is touted as this incredibly crucial thing in sex. If you didn’t put the penis in the vagina, it doesn’t count. Wrong. All forms of sex are valid and no one is better than the other.

See more: Yes, Orgasm Anxiety Is a Thing—Here’s How to Overcome It

If you aren’t always able to have intercourse, enjoy each other’s bodies in different ways. You don’t have to cry and feel sorry for yourselves. You are capable of having a fulfilling, intimate sex life without penetration. I mean, have you ever tried a stainless steel dildo? No? Click here immediately.

We need to enjoy sex for what it is: Pleasure between two adult people. It’s not about putting anything inside of another person’s body (well, not always). It’s about touching each other, experiencing intimacy, and having lots of orgasms. Can’t we all just stop shaming everyone?

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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How to Have Sex at Your In-Laws House This Thanksgiving

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There is no end to tips on having sex at your parents or in-laws house. We’re here to tell you: Ignore everything you’ve seen—we have everything you need to know (and none of the fluff).

Thanksgiving is an even more special case when it comes to discrete sex: It’s not just your parents who are home, but most of your other family is around, too.

Does that mean you shouldn’t have sex? Of course not. Do whatever you want. Simply do it respectfully and with care. This is the season of giving and that include orgasms.

Here are some very helpful tips for having sex at your in-laws house this Thanksgiving. See, the turkey isn’t the only thing getting stuffed!

Come up with a genuine excuse

You know, one that doesn’t sound like a blatant lie. Avoid things that will make your older brother say, “Are you guys just going to go have sex. Ew.”

Don’t tell your parents you’re going to “unpack” or go “grab something upstairs.” These things take approximately no time to complete. Why would you even be fully unpacking for a long weekend? That might be your thing, but it sounds far-fetched to us.

A good excuse is always a “nap.” Say you’re tired from traveling or had a really long week at work and would love to lay down for a little bit. This way, your in-laws won’t come upstairs looking for the two of you for at least an hour. Don’t get elaborate with your lies. Keep them simple and chill. You don’t need to be answering 20 questions when you’re just trying to get some booty.

Check the lock

Do not have sex in a room that doesn’t have a lock on it. If it does not have a lock, but is the room you’re staying in, put a chair under the door. This is very important. The last thing that you need on this joyous family filled holiday is your mother-in-law seeing your bare booty (though we do have a guide for getting through that particular mishap right here!).

Check the door. Be sure it’s secure. Sex is a private thing (well, most of the time *wink wink*) and your in-laws don’t need to know it’s going down in their house. Sure, you’re adults and we’re positive they probably know you’re having sex with your spouse, but you don’t need them actively thinking about it, right?

Keep it quiet

Keep the loud, sheet scratching, orgasmic screaming for another time. You have your own home where you and your spouse live. Today is not the day to let loose and come your face off for the whole world to hear.

Can you even imagine your parents downstairs, chopping veggies for the stuffing together and suddenly they hear their daughter-in-law screaming, “YES! YES! GIVE IT TO ME!” That is probably one of the most disturbing mental pictures ever.

Now, they could be super sex-positive or they could be conservative—this does not matter. No matter their views on sex, they do not want to think about their child taking their wife on a one-way trip to Pound Town while preparing a lovely meal.

Sex can be sweet and sensual and hot. Go with that theme for this Thanksgiving holiday. Please.

Don’t get too acrobatic

In that same vein, don’t get too wild with the sex positions. Keep them simple. Go for missionary, cowgirl, spooning, etc. Don’t be putting your legs over your partner’s shoulders so they can lift you from the hips for that deep cervix-deep penetration. Now is not the time for that.

See more: 7 Quiet Vibrators You Need in Your Life Stat

We get it, you’re horny. But keep it easy. You have plenty of time to get gnarly in doggy-style after the weekend. Trust us, you can hear the bed sliding from downstairs when you’re getting it that hard from behind. No joke.

Quickies are hot if you do them right

Quickies can be amazing if you’re not into the slower sex or don’t feel like doing it slowly and sweetly. That’s OK. We all have our things we’re into.

A quickie does not mean you forget clitoral stimulation, foreplay, or other things you need to get properly stimulated for sex. You just do them quickly (get it). Make it even hotter by keeping your lounge clothes on to have sex. Just pull down the necessary clothing items. This can be extremely hot.

There is something delicious about having sex when you’re really not supposed to be having sex. Go forth, get it on, and happy trails.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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29 Real Women On What Makes Someone Great in Bed

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When it comes to good sex, and what makes someone good at sex, priorities vary from person to person. Some people value certain things over others, such as foreplay or communication. Most want a variety of differing attributes.

Truthfully, there are many things that intersect to make someone a truly fantastic lover. There are no right or wrong answers. Being good in bed is about having empathy, knowing what a person wants, communication, foreplay, and much more.

To get some down and dirty honesty, we asked 29 real women what makes someone good in bed. Their answers are enlightening, heartwarming, and pretty damn sexy.

“GGG: Good, giving, game. Thanks, Dan Savage!”

—Lauren, 38

“Generosity.”

—Ganden, 44

“When they treat me as a person and more than just a good lay.”

—Katie, 23

“Confidence is always sexy, but not to be confused with arrogance. Essentially if you’re familiar with the ‘yes, and’ principle of improv theater, I think that sums it up pretty well. You have to be able to listen and respond. Even in a casual one-night-stand type situation, there needs to be some trust there and you can’t trust someone who’s not capable of listening to you.”

—Molly, 31

“Communication and honesty.”

—Julia, 34

“Communication and being able to laugh when something isn’t going exactly right.”

—Joy, 31

“Foreplay.”

—Laura, 49

“What makes someone great in bed is COMMUNICATION. If you are able to tell me what you like and how you like it, as well as what you don’t like and how to avoid it, you’re helping me to stop worrying about what to do. And if I’m not worrying, I can relax and have fun… which means I’m going to enjoy what you’re doing to me a hell of a lot more!”

—Leah, 44

“Giving as much as getting, varying pressure with hands/tongue, holding close, sometimes teasing.”

—Hollis, 31

“CONSENT!”

—Sarah, 33

“Great sex begins long before one hits the sheets. Little whispers, messages during the day, teasers, soft touches…playfulness is an attractive quality! Good communication during the relationship, knowing likes/dislikes/needs will change over time. Honesty.”

—Jane*, 60

“How well they know themselves. What they like, what they don’t like.”

—Léna, 25

“My late husband had a *clears throat* very firm rule, ‘Ladies first, second and maybe, third.’ Sometimes I actually had to call enough. We laughed, mourned, and rediscovered ourselves by making love. He took great pride in giving pleasure.”

—Annette, 59

“Communication.”

—Charlotte, 32

“The capacity to play. I was always taught to think of sex as this ‘serious’ moment between two people (and it CAN be). But communicating, laughing, and being able to address the awkward moments without self-consciousness is key. Sex should be FUN for everyone involved.”

—Kim, 33

“Eats p***y like it’s their last and favorite meal.”

—Luna, 38

“Aside from the obvious (consent, communication, confidence), I’d say being tactile. I think a lot of the time, the art of simple touch has been lost. Touch my ears! Touch me behind my knees! Bodies are wonderful everywhere.”

—Cheryl, 27

“Understanding not every encounter will end in orgasm for one or both partners, and realizing there’s nothing wrong with that.”

—Sherri, 48

“Generosity and communication. Really paying attention to what causes a body’s reaction whether it be goose bumps, blushing, breathing speeding up, etc.”

—Meg, 34

“Relaxed easygoing attitude that is able to laugh with you when things get weird.”

—Geneviève, 30

“Someone intent on understanding your pleasure and desires and then focused on giving them. Bear in mind how we change through our sex lives and our desire and needs change too.”

—Anna, 45

“Someone who focuses on your pleasure and satisfaction, and puts in the effort to learn what you enjoy and make sure you finish, instead of viewing it as an afterthought. Find a partner that will make sure you orgasm as often as they do. That’s what makes a great lover.”

—Stella, 31

“Caring, creativity, knowledge, experience, and a little kink.”

—Mary, 58

“Hands on me. The wanting. And the willing to please.”

—Betsy, 48

“A willingness to experiment with new things, not putting too high of expectations on themselves or you, and always being caring and respectful.”

Alicia, 32

See more: 14 Women on What Orgasm Feels Like

“Spontaneity. Wordless communication. Allowing for the moment to unfold without forcing a preconceived notion of where it should go.”

—Chela, 37

“Being considerate and having fun. The first 2 months I was with my boyfriend I was shocked that sex could be so amazing every single time.”

—Tatiana, 27

“Being on the same levels of rough play and intimacy. Being fully engaged in the moment at all times. Good with their hands. Full body contact, holding you vs. hovering above you when able. When a penis just fits right. And of course making you orgasm.”

—Melis, 34

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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6 Embarrassing Things That Happen to Everyone During Sex

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Trying to avoid embarrassing and awkward moments during sex is like trying to spend a day at the beach without getting sand all over your body: Impossible and wishful thinking.

The thing is, sex is super awkward. Do you have any idea how long it actually takes to shoot a whole porn movie? Spoiler: Those actors don’t simply go at it and hit the mark (literally and figuratively) every time.

If we have to be honest, the best sex is the sex that’s silly and awkward and funny and weird. If you can’t get through uncomfortable moments when your partner’s face is red and gross in that exerted position or pat each other on the back after a loud and sexy fart, what fun is there in having sex? Life is a delightfully weird freak-show.

Here are 6 hilariously awkward things that happen to everyone during sex.

Queefing up a storm

The number one thing we tend to see out in the ether is this indefinable fear of queefing. As if letting some air out of your vagina is going to cause every penis and clitoris in the world to go flaccid and numb.

Queefing happens when air is pushed out of the vagina as something enters it. Aka: A dildo, penis, fingers, etc. It happens to everyone! It is not a “vagina fart.” It is a normal and naturally occurring human experience.

The only reason we’re so afraid to queef is because men don’t queef and therefore have demonized and shamed us for it. Kind of like periods. Darling, it’s a queef parade and we are here for it.

Soaking the sheets

Hey, sometimes you’re really into oral sex, intercourse, or whatever kind of sexual play and things get wet. Like, really wet. Not your usual “moisture,” but straight up sheet-soaking flooding. This can happen due to squirting or simply because you’re extra turned on and the vaginal lubrication is on high.

It’s all normal! We ladies are caught between this strange world of needing to be “wet enough” but not “too wet.” According to our BS cultural narrative you’re not supposed to need lube, but also shouldn’t be dripping. All of this is ridiculous because there is no right or wrong level of wetness. It is not within your control. Soaking the sheets is hot. Embrace it.

Getting semen in your eye

This is going to happen whether you like having a partner come on your face or not. Somehow, someway, semen ends up in your eye at some point. Whether it be when you’re giving head, having someone come on your face/in your mouth, or on your tits; it happens.

AND IT BURNS. Getting semen in your eye might be worse than accidentally opening the Tobasco with too much force and squirting it into your eyeball. What is it with semen irritating eyes so much? It gets bloodshot, swollen, and takes the better part of a day to go away. It is seriously lacking chill.

Strap-on mishaps

There are about 9,000,000 ways things can go wrong during sex and this, of course, includes same-sex sex. Strap-ons are super fun and hot, but they come with their drawbacks. We’re sure there are too many different embarrassing scenarios to possibly cover in a paragraph, but we have out favorites.

Mainly: Slippage, chafing, and straight up bad-fits.

A strap-on can feel like part of your body, but it is a thing that was made for you to wear. Accidents and embarrassing incidents happen. Whether yours slid the wrong way, smacking your partner in the wrong place, or you wound up with some gnarly road rash, just know that a strap-on mishap is essentially part of the territory when you’re having strap-on sex.

Sex of any kind of basically one big embarrassing moment a lot of the time. Lighten up!

Farting in a compromising position

We have about zero control over when and where we fart. It just happens. Of course, it does sort of feel like it happens in the most inconvenient of circumstances. Or maybe that’s when we notice it?

Either way, we doubt you’re a stranger to doing it dirty in doggy style or cowgirl and suddenly you break wind. You know that meme of Chrissy Teigan laugh-smiling when John Legend was giving that one speech (does anyone even remember when that was?)?

Chrissy is all of us after farting during sex. Little bit awkward, little bit mortified, a lot wanting to die. The only thing you can do is acknowledge it and laugh it off. Sure, you can ignore it, but what happens when you do it again next time? And there will be a next time.

See more: 11 Facts About Your Vagina That Will Blow Your Mind

The only thing we can really think to say is: Welcome to being human, hunny. It’s going to be a wild ride.

Landing on a penis…incorrectly

Maybe you didn’t break the penis, or maybe you did. Either way, we have all gone in for a thrust and missed. Sometimes you wind up in a whole lot of pain, but most of the time it’s just awkward as hell.

Like, what do we do now? Keep going? I guess?

We’re expected to know everything about sex and be incredible lovers even though we’ve never been taught jack about sex. No wonder we land on things incorrectly from time to time. Seriously, when you’re in the heat of the moment, you’re not paying attention. Things fall out … and fall in in ways they should not.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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THIS High School Sex Move Is Totally Having a Comeback

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Hand stuff is having a moment. That’s right, we said it. Fingering: It’s the not-so-new media sweetheart of the here and now. There is a scene in the new TV adaptation of Sharp Objects where Amy Adams won’t let her male suitor kiss or touch her, but instead puts his hand down her pants, letting him rub her off to completion. And there is no reciprocation at all.

It’s weirdly hot. And by weirdly we mean very … and we’re not apologizing. Hand sex is basically the high school hookup trend that we never really liked that much because no one knew what they were doing. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be totally hot.

We have the guide on how to do it right and how to have an orgasm, instead of, you know, the sore clitoris you remember as a 15 year old.

Here is everything you didn’t know about hand sex when you were a freshman in the back of that movie theatre.

Lube up

Remember that time you were fingered at that high school party by that one person that one time? Do you recall it being uncomfortable and perhaps even resulting in rug-burn? What 17-year-old Jimmy didn’t know was that lube is an absolute must during hand sex.

The fingers against a clitoris (or inside a vagina) require a barrier and some extra lubrication to not feel like sandpaper pushed up against your nether regions. Always generously lube up your partner’s fingers and the clitoris before moving forward.

We’re big fans of 100 percent coconut oil and Foria, an oil-based CBD and THC enhanced lube. For more options, check out our complete guide.

Stick with consistent movements

Much like with oral sex, hand sex will most likely deliver an orgasm when your partner moves in a consistent motion over the glans clitoris. Unlike oral sex, the fingers may need to be a bit more gentle. If you press down too hard, it can become uncomfortable.

Have your partner use his or her pointer and middle fingers to make clockwise circles around the clitoris. If it feels good, keep going. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to ask for something else if it isn’t working for you. You can try moving the fingers up and down, side to side, or in a figure eight.

Use the clitoral hood as a barrier

Your clitoral hood is a savior during hand sex. It is the flap of skin that drapes over the glans clitoris. If you take a hand mirror and look between your legs, you’ll see the hood. It protects the clitoris just like foreskin protects the head of the penis.

Using the hood as a barrier between fingers and clitoris can be a godsend. The clitoral glans are often too sensitive for direct touch. Take a peak and be sure the hood is safely over the clitoris. It may help to use a more grounded, deep motion when rubbing the clitoris and hood at the same time.

Tease the vaginal opening

The clitoris is essential in orgasm, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be the only place you explore during hand sex. The very front of vaginal opening is packed full of nerves. The bottom of the opening, called the fourchette, is an excellent place to tease and touch.

Try pressing your fingers around the vaginal opening. Perhaps slip a finger inside.

Don’t stop there, touch and tease the labia. Perhaps you’d enjoy some gentle tugging. Your labia cover the internal legs of the clitoris. They are quite pleasure-packed. Try different things and see what works for your body. We’re a long way from some guy hand-slamming you in the back of your mom’s car circa 2003.

You can move back to the clitoris, but offering some variety is very sexy.

Try G-spot stimulation

The G-spot is less of a spot and more of an area. Put one two fingers inside of the vagina and hook up behind the pubic bone. You can try pinpointed pressure or move the fingers around for more sweeping pleasure.

Not every woman enjoys internal stimulation, but engaging the G-spot stimulates the apex of the clitoris, the backend you can’t see. Try having your partner use the top of their palm to push against the glans clitoris on the outside while the touch the G-spot with their fingers.

Add in some deep kissing and nipple stimulation

When you’re receiving hand sex, it can be unclear (and maybe even a bit anxiety inducing) to know what you’re supposed to be doing with the rest of your body. This is a fabulous chance to up the intimacy factor.

While your partner rubs your clitoris (or internally stimulates you), indulge in some deep, passionate kissing. This can up the ante big time on everything you’re feeling. Plus, kissing enforces feelings of safety, which is crucial in experiencing orgasm.

See more: 9 Lessons On Female Sexual Pleasure From a New Study

Another option? Have your partner lick, suck, or tease your nipples with their free hand. The same part of the brain lights up when both the clitoris and nipples are touched. Combining the two can be explosive.

Communicate with your partner

Possibly the most important thing of all is to communicate with your partner. Let them know what feels good and what doesn’t. Don’t just lie there and pretend to enjoy something that feels uncomfortable, not particularly pleasurable, or painful.

Hand sex can be very hot. Talk about what is working for you and allow your partner the room to improve their skills. Be empathetic, be loving, and have orgasms.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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Sex Relieves Headaches, Period Cramps and Other Cool Stuff

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Obviously sex is objectively pretty awesome. A good romp can be utterly life changing. And that sex doesn’t always have to mean intercourse—hand sex, oral sex, intercourse, and everything in between are all wonderful forms of sexual expression.

Why? Orgasms—AKA the best thing in the world. That’s a fact (maybe don’t Google it though…).

Orgasms not only feel freaking amazing, they do a lot of fabulous things to your body. We’re not joking. They can, like, make headaches go away and get rid of period cramps.

We know, we know. Like you need another excuse to get off. Just in case you do, here are all the magical things that orgasms (and sex) can do for you.

Orgasm can reduce headaches (and all kinds of other pain)

Orgasm has been shown to relieve pain from everything from headaches to hangovers. When you have an orgasm, your brain is flooded with feel-good chemicals. All of the bodies natural happy hormones disperse into the body. Hence that magical post-sex afterglow feeling.

Most notably on the pain front is oxytocin. Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone that relieves pain.

When you’re hungover as hell after a night out with the girls, it might be a good idea to ask your partner for some oral sex … or at least break out the magic wand. Whatever is causing your headache, orgasms are kind of a must.

It can reduce prostate cancer in men

The prostate is a gland located about two to three inches inside of the anus. It creates prostate fluid, one of the main components of semen. If the prostate doesn’t release its fluid, it can become stagnant, which raises the chance of prosthesis and prostate cancer. It just isn’t good for the body. It has to go!

Studies have shown that having regular orgasms can help lower your risk of prostate cancer. When men have an orgasm, they release the prostate fluid, helping to keep the gland healthy and happy.

Orgasms takes care period cramps

This is especially true for cramps during PMS. If you’re in pain from your oncoming period, try masturbating. That wonderful oxytocin has been shown to greatly reduce period cramps. Can we get a heck yes?!

Intercourse has also been shown to relieve cramps, especially when an orgasm is involved. For some reason penetration (and clitoral stimulation), reduces period cramps and we’re not here to question it. So, if you’re into period sex, lay down a towel and get busy because cramps are the devil.

Orgasm can relieve the hiccups

We’d probably take period cramping over the hiccups, to be honest. The hiccups are hell. Well, it turns out orgasm can actually help take care of those pesky, awful hiccups. Anyone who has ever had the hiccups (aka: all of us) knows that they ruin everything and should be lit on fire and banished to the underworld.

Anyway. In one study, hiccups lasted through the sexual encounter, only to cease completely at the moment of orgasm. The logic behind it? Apparently it’s the same theory as scaring someone out of the hiccups. When you orgasm, you’re so momentarily distracted that the hiccups simple cease. Pretty cool stuff.

The big O can help with morning sickness

Studies have shown that ingesting semen can help reduce the effects of morning sickness. Apparently the body sees male sperm as an infection, which is why you get sick in the first place.

Ironically, semen is what got you into this precarious position in the first place. What a situation! There is something so bizarrely weird about this, but we are here for it. If you’re experiencing morning sickness, have your partner (if your partner is someone with a penis) ejaculate in your mouth.

That may not sound appetizing when you’re already on your way to Hurl Town, but hey, science.

See more: 9 Interesting Orgasm Facts That Will Surprise and Delight You

It rids you of migraines

The reason migraines happen is unclear. Most medical professionals believe it has to do with inflamed blood vessels in the brain, but the research is rather murky. They are the most painful, nausea inducing, horrible kind of headaches. They don’t even deserve to be called headaches because they are so miserable. They should have their own definition.

Yet, having an orgasm might actually help with the pain?

In one study, sex was seen as a tool for distraction and relaxation, helping to alleviate some of the migraine patient’s pain. Of course, the idea of having sex when you have a migraine sounds … kind of horrible. But, if it’s going to help you feel better, maybe you should give it a go.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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What Happens to The Brain During Sex

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When you’re getting down and dirty, about to have an orgasm, and ready for that sweet release, you might not be (read: are definitely not) considering the power of your brain in sex. Why would you be? Your brain isn’t being stimulated, right?

We’re mostly focused on, um, other things. Like the clitoris and our partner’s mouth on our nether regions. Yet, the brain is actually super important to the whole sexual process. If your brain is not in on the game, you probably won’t even be able to have an orgasm. No joke.

Don’t stop enjoying yourself. We’re just adding some information for you.

So, what happens to the brain during sex and why is it so very important to sexual wellness and pleasure? Here is what we know.

The brain says it’s go time

Your brain is the thing that tells your body it is sex time. Your limbic system (the emotional center) lights up when you’re getting turned on. Your emotions start to pull you toward wanting sexual activity, all thanks to the brain.

Your brain then releases dopamine, the motivation hormone, signaling your body to get ready for that hot, hot sexual action. Dopamine makes you want it and triggers the desire to go seek out sex. Where your boo at?

Your brain is key for orgasm

You might think your clitoris is queen when it comes to having an orgasm. And you’d be correct! Nearly every single woman needs the clitoris stimulated in order to have an orgasm.

But, even more crucial to positive sexual experience is the brain. The brain is our largest sex organ. All things that happen to your body, every marvelous sensation, is processed in the brain. If you have an orgasm, feel pleasure, or are straight up turned on, the brain is the prime actor in this series.

This is one of the main reasons why focusing on pleasure and quieting your noisy thoughts is important for fulfilling, enjoyable sex. If you’re distracted by chores, errands, and work you need to finish, it’s nearly impossible to chill out enough to come. The brain overpowers all physical sensation. It’s a powerhouse in sex.

Gimme those chemicals!

When you’re having sex and enjoying yourself, the brain is swarmed with feel-good chemicals. Dopamine, as we’ve mentioned, is the body’s motivation hormone, and when you’re having fabulous sex (whatever kind of sex that may be), dopamine is running in high gear. In addition, epinephrine (adrenaline) starts to pump wildly, making you feel excited and invigorated. You are amped up and ready to rock and roll.

But there is more! Your body releases nitric oxide during arousal, this is what makes the nipples and other erogenous zones sensitive to touch. Your body flushes and the nerves are invigorated. So many chemicals!

During orgasm, our brains are flooded with even more dopamine and a rush of oxytocin. Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone” or “cuddle hormone.” It’s what makes us feel close to our partner. It also relieves pain! It’s the hormone that gives you a sense of peace and wellness after amazing sex.

See more: 9 Interesting Orgasm Facts That Will Surprise and Delight You

The cocktail your brain is served during sex and orgasm is truly magical. Who knew the brain was such a babe? You know when you’re feeling super wonderful after sex and just lie there feeling delighted and relaxed? That is due to all those chemicals at work. It’s just a cornucopia of heavenly hormones.

Responsive desire

We’d guess you’re asking: What is responsive desire? Responsive desire happens when you’re not feeling particularly sexual or turned on, but decided to have sex anyway. You recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy sex life with your partner, so you go ahead with their wish to fool around.

According to Emily Nagoski, your desire gets turns on during the sexual play rather than before it begins (this is called spontaneous desire). The brain has a way of letting go of sexual inhibitions and getting into the moment once sexual activity begins. It takes getting into the sex for the lights in your brain to turn on and say: Oh, right. This feels very good. And now I am into it.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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How to Have a Nipple Orgasm

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When you think of the nipples, you probably don’t assume that they have the power to give you the big O. I mean, seriously, having your nipples sucked, licked, and caressed feels great, but they aren’t the center of your pleasure game. We don’t remember our middle school boyfriends or girlfriends touching our boobs and suddenly coming, do you?

Prepare to be shocked, everyone! The nipples are truly amazing and underrated. Like so many other erogenous zones, the breasts are jam packed with nerves. When stimulated, it can be highly arousing … and even orgasmic. A nipple orgasm feels a bit like an overpowering warmth over the body.

Like any orgasm, they feel lovely, but are often different than clitoral orgasms. An orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm, but when they begin in different parts of the body, the sensations can be different. Oh man, I guess you’ll just have to devote some time entirely to your sexual pleasure and see what’s what.

Your body is incredible and your sexual nerve centers are interwoven throughout the body. Here is how you can have a nipple orgasm. Enjoy and happy exploring!

The nipples are connected to the clitoris

The nipples have a ton of nerve endings. They are highly sensitive to touch. Studies have shown that the nerve endings in the nipples stimulate the clitoris. They are interconnected as part of a vastly complex network.

When you touch, lick, suck, or play with the nipples, the clitoris lights up and begins to swell and fill with blood, just like when you touch it directly. The same places in the brain light up when you touch both. It’s pretty rad, actually. As we know, the brain is our largest sex organ. Everything that happens to your body is connected to the brain.

All orgasms are based in the clitoris. Erogenous zones are erogenous zones because they indirectly stimulate the clitoral nerve endings. The more you know, you know?

How to have a nipple orgasm

So, the real, dazzling Q on our minds is: How do I have one of these nipple orgasms?

Well, it’s a tiny bit complicated.

Nearly every single woman on this, the planet earth, needs external stimulation of the clitoris in order to achieve orgasm. The magical statistic often cited is that 30 percent of women can come through penetration alone. The study often cited neglects to mention the women who were stimulating their clitoris with fingers or a toy during this P in the V sex. So, it’s more like 95 percent of women need clit stim to come.

Yet, some women can have nipple orgasms because the clit is stimulated through the nipples. To see if you’re a part of this minority, give it a shot. This is not going to be a quick “tweak the nips and bam you’re coming” situation. You need patience.

Have your partner stimulate your nipples gently at first with their fingertips or tongue. You can increase sensation as you move along and become more aroused. If you want it harder, say so. Communication is key here, and honestly, it’s pretty hot to tell your partner how you want to be touched.

Key point: All attention must be given to the breasts. This is nipple time. No other touching at this time, folks.

Take. Your. Time.

If you try to rush it, you will not have the orgasm. You’ll need to devote at least a half hour to this play, but likely even longer. Don’t put a timeframe on it. Just enjoy yourself. We’re often so rushed to get off that we can’t get off at all.

Listen to your body. Lean in to what feels good. Breathe deeply into the sensations. Focus.

If you don’t have nipple orgasms, you’re not broken

A thing to mention here is that not everyone is capable of a nipple orgasms. In fact, not everyone even likes having their nipples touched during sexual play (or at all, in some cases).

We see so many articles and magazines across the ether claiming every woman should have every kind of orgasm that has ever existed in anatomical reality. But, this is just a ridiculous standard to hold women to. Not everyone gets off with the same kind of stimulation.

See more: Blended Orgasms: What Are They and Can You Have One?

We’re all different. There are very few women who can have orgasms through the nipples alone. If you like having your nipples touched or sucked, it’s likely with a combination of direct clitoral stimulation or a trifecta of internal vaginal, external clitoral and nipple stimulation.

The point is, people like different sex stuff. And that is perfectly OK. Instead of trying to “make yourself” come in these varied ways, the best thing to do is experiment, find what works for you, and get to know your body for the wondrous, miraculous thing that it is.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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THESE Are The 4 Most Common Sexual Kinks

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Calling all Fifty Shades readers, haters, and lukewarmers. We’re here to talk about … KINK. Or should we say “kinks,” plural.

When we define a “kink,” it can be a bit of a gray area. Kink and fetish are similar (they overlap), but ultimately they’re different. A kink is a sexual appetite or behavior that falls outside of what we might call “vanilla.” A fetish is a sexual attraction to a common nonsexual object such as feet, leather, or diapers. Again, a fetish can also be a kink and a kink can be a fetish. Confusing, we know.

What is “kinky” will vary from person to person. What seems chill and run of the mill in the sack to you might be totally out there and wild to someone else.

When we say “normal” we don’t mean kinks or fetishes outside of these four brackets below are creepy or gross, we mean that these particular kinks are simply the ones we see most often. Nothing is wrong or bad about any particular kink or fetish as long as it doesn’t harm another person or yourself. Anything that happens between consenting adults is fine and we should stop being so judgmental.

OK, so someone is into pouring fake blood (or real blood) on their partner during sex. Who cares? That’s their choice. You don’t need to engage in that sexual behavior if you don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean you should be rude about that person’s preferences. TBH, pretty much everyone has a kink of some kind.

If you’re curious if your kink, whether it be fantasy or something you do in IRL, is “normal” here are four of the most common, totally normal, sexual kinks.

Bondage

According to a survey by Justin Lehmiller, tons of Americans have tried bondage in some form or other. Bondage is a very normal thing to be into. Tying up your partner isn’t so much about scary, stranger-danger fantasies or a desire to be taken advantage of and used during sex (though it’s definitely a part of it!), it’s about power dynamics. Letting something tie you up or to allow yourself to be tied up is giving control to your partner. It’s trusting them completely.

That’s super sexy.

You don’t have to buy a bunch of expensive gear to tie each other up. You can make use of panty hose, neckties, or T-shirts. Just be wary of how tight you’re going. Always err on the side of caution. Don’t use anything expensive or nice; you never know if you might need to cut someone loose. Hey, it happens.

For a complete beginners guide to bondage, click here.

Dominance and Submission

The “B” in BDSM stands for bondage, and then is followed by “DS” which stands for dominance and submission. The desire to be dominant or submissive in bed is even more common than the act of tying someone up. Think about your everyday sexual encounters with your partner. Chances are, one of you usually takes the lead.

Dominance and submission are simply more intense versions of those exact power dynamics. You’re giving and receiving control from your partner, willingly. Being submissive can include things like wanting to be spanked or to call your partner Daddy. Being dominant can mean holding your partner down or ordering them to get on their knees. It’s about one person being the controller and the other being the controlee.

Is it hot in here or is it just us?

Voyeurism

Voyeur-what now? Voyeurism is the act of watching someone(s) engage in sexual activity. You don’t participate in the action. You’re a fly on the wall. Have you ever fantasized about your partner having sex with someone else while you watched? Maybe you enjoy thinking about people you don’t know having sex in front of you or while you secretly watch from somewhere else.

Voyeurism is very common, especially in today’s screen-filled world. It’s almost like we’re all voyeurs to other people’s lives when their Instagram is only a few clicks away. Being turned on sexually by watching other people have sex is not freakish. If you’re interested in exploring this kink, perhaps your partner would be willing to masturbate while you watch.

If you’re interested in going deeper into voyeurism in more extreme ways (like watching your partner have sex with someone else), you should have an open discussion about that. We don’t talk enough about fantasies because we’re so wrapped up in shame. It needs to stop!

Anything butt related

Are you into butts and you cannot lie? Sorry, we had to go there. Having a thing for butts (or breasts) is a big time kink. Some people are SUPER into anal and anything butt-related. It’s their thing!

It’s not surprising someone would be really into the butt. It’s juicy and gets amazing red marks when smacked. Where we go from liking butts to LOVING butts is when you prefer the butt to pretty much anything else. Whether hitting it, putting things in it, or having things put it in yours, the butt is your bread and BUTTer (puns on puns).

See more: 15 Totally Normal Sex Fantasies You’re Not Weird for Having

Again, it is totally normal. If you’re really into butt stuff, but wouldn’t consider it a kink, then it isn’t a kink for you. What is kinky is up to you.

As we said above, this is by no means a comprehensive list of sexual kinks, nor is it designed to exclude anyone. If you’re into something that doesn’t make this list it doesn’t mean you’re weird. These just happen to be the most commonly seen.

There are truly no limits to the sex things people are into. The more sexually open we choose to be, the less shame there will be!

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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How to Try E-Stim for an Electrified Sex Life

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Have you ever accidentally shocked yourself by touching something random? Maybe a static-y sweater you just pulled out of the dryer? Maybe the arm rest on a metal chair? Maybe even someone’s skin?

Especially in cold weather, electrons get condensed and tend to build up on surfaces. When you touch that surface, you get shocked—it can be pretty frightening! And…exciting?

That feeling, that momentary jump and jolt, is something thrill-seekers are looking to add to sex. And certainly not by touching a metal banister, but rather with electrosex toys. We’re talking prods, amped up metal toys, and electro-hand pods to send sparks through the body. People love it because it’s sexy, it gets the blood flowing, and there’s just something plain old wrong about electrocuting yourself, isn’t there?

We know it might sounds a wee bit terrifying, but it’s fun, totally safe, and BDSM-enthusiasts are all over it. So, the short answer: Electricity is kinky and exciting. No, you will not turn into Frankenstein’s monster or pass out from the pain.

Bear with us here. We promise it will make sense. Don’t we love everything supercharged? Why not add such an element to our sex toys? Here’s how to try e-stim for an orgasmically electrified sex life.

Why electricity?

When added to the right hot spots on the body, electricity can add a spark of feeling to those nerve endings. It adds a deeper, more intense sensation that you might not be able to get with fingers, a vibrator, or a tongue. Electricity is its own animal. It’s intense and different than any other sexual touch.

For example, if you like to have your nipples played with, adding electricity can up the sensation. Have your partner kiss and suck on them. Then, have them shock your nipples. It sounds a little like torture, but it’s super hot.

E-stim can add a jolt (pun definitely intended) to take your orgasms to the next level. If you add intense stimulation like electric shock during other, more traditional stimulation, the combination can cause explosive orgasms. Your circuits get overloaded!

Do not, and we repeat, do not, make your own electric toys. This is highly dangerous.

Buy a few toys made by respected sex toy companies. Always ask your doctor before trying e-stim toys to make sure you’re healthy enough to sustain electricity (however minor). If you have a heart condition of any kind, e-stim is a no-go.

A few good choices for beginners

If you’re giving electricity a go, you want to start with body safe toys that aren’t going to cause (much) pain. We’re looking for more of a “Snap, Crackle, Pop” situation over sticking your hand in an electrical socket, ya know?

As we’ve noted above (and tbh, cannot say enough), you do NOT make your own e-stim toys. That is a one-ticket to the emergency room or even death. Not OK.

Two toys we like are the Stinger from Doc Johnson and the Hello Touch X from JimmyJane. The Stinger looks like a cattle prod. Yes, we know that might sound scary, but it has more bark than bite. It makes a loud crack when it touches skin, but the sting is minimal. The loud noise really makes it feel kinky and dangerous, but you won’t feel more than a light sting. Sometimes all you really need is the illusion that you’re doing something dangerous.

The Hello Touch X essentially turns your hands into electrodes. It has a deeper, more intense electric feeling. Remember that scene(s) in the Terminator where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arms/legs/body gets blown up and he’s basically just made of wires and steel? That’s kind of what your hand looks like wearing the Hello Touch X. You place electrodes on your fingertips and where a connected strap on your wrist. The whole thing is connected with wires, and it’s strangely erotic.

If you want to get advanced with e-stim, take a class, and read a book. One of our favorite leaning-pro toys is the Electro Sex Pinwhell, which combines a sharp prodded wheel with electricity. Be gentle to avoid breaking skin. If you do break skin, disinfect everything immediately.

See more: This Is The New Sex Toy You Need To Up Your Sex Game

Give these toys a try. It they feel too intense, try putting a cloth between your skin and the toy to deaden the electricity. You can always work up to direct contact. If you don’t love e-stim, that’s OK. As always, we’re here on the front lines to improve your sex life in any way we can.

If electricity isn’t your thing, might we suggest a stainless steel dildo?

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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11 Facts About Your Vagina That Will Blow Your Mind

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When it comes to the vulva and the vagina, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Let’s start with how many people call the vulva a vagina. *facepalm*

In fact, there is so much the vast majority of people don’t know about female anatomy that it’s alarming.

If you don’t know how your own body works (or the parts you have), how are you supposed to feel good about your vulva? Instead of being ashamed of our beautiful bodies, let’s learn about them and learn to love them. They deserve it! The vulva is gorgeous.

Here are 11 amazing vulva facts that will blow your mind.

1. A vagina and vulva are two parts of the same whole.

Vagina is arguably the most misused word in the English language. Since the vagina is where a penis goes during intercourse and is therefore the most important part of male orgasm, people typically refer to the female genitals as the vagina.

It is not called the vagina. The vagina refers exclusively to the inner canal that reaches up to the cervix.

The clitoris, labia, mons pubis, and the rest of the outer portion of the female genitals, is called the vulva. It’s important that we work to change the cultural lexicon and call a vulva a vulva. It’s a key component in eliminating shame around female sexuality.

2. The outer lips are the same as the scrotum in men.

Female and male anatomy is actually quite similar and many parts of the vulva (including the clitoris!) is analogous to male genitals … or, as we like to say, the male genitals are analogous to female genitals. The penis and clit? The same.

Did you know that the outer lips of your labia (the labia majora) are the same as the male scrotum? The outer lips protect the inner parts of the vulva in the same way the scrotum protects the testes.

3. The clitoris is huuuge.

The clitoris is much larger than the little bud on the top of the vulva (the glands). The glans clitoris is about 0.5 to 2 cm.

The internal clitoris is comprised of bulbous internal extensions (the vestibular bulbs) and wings on either side (the corpus cavernosum). The entire clitoris extends to 5 inches in some women. This is the same as an average penis.

4. The clitoris has almost 8,000 nerve endings.

Many experts say that the clitoris has more nerve endings than any other part of the human body. While the clitoris extends inside the body, the majority of the nerve endings are clustered in the glans clitoris, the part you can see on the outside of the vulva.

When aroused, the clitoris expands to nearly 200 percent its normal size. The labia can also flush to a dark pink or red.

5. The vaginal canal is not super long.

When the vagina is not aroused, the walls lie flat against each other. The vaginal canal is only about 3 to 4 inches in length.

When the vagina is aroused it expands to nearly 6 or 7 inches to accommodate a finger or penis. It also naturally lubricates. If you rush into intercourse before being properly aroused, sex can be painful and even cause bleeding.

6. Women have wet dreams too.

Women are able to become aroused during sleep and even orgasm. It’s not just guys who have wet dreams. Nocturnal emissions are genderless.

7. You don’t need to clean a vagina.

The vagina is totally self-cleaning organ. It expels toxins and bacteria all on its own. You should never wash it with soap, especially not antibacterial soap. That is a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis waiting to happen.

Simply rinse the inner part of the vulva with warm water. Do not mess with the vagina or vulva. If you wash it, it will throw off the natural ecosystem and you’ll wind up with a foul odor due to infection.

8. Everyone has the anatomical parts to squirt, but not every woman does.

Every woman has the Skene’s Glands. This gland is located near the urethral sponge (the area where the G-spot is located).

When stimulated, the Skene’s Glands can expel a prostate-like alkaline fluid. Some women squirt during this kind of stimulation, but many don’t. It’s unclear why some women squirt and others don’t, but it’s just a fact of life. Some women like internal stimulation and some don’t.

9. The vast majority of women require clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm.

Only 25 percent of women can have an orgasm through intercourse alone. And this stat does not consider women who stimulate their clitoris during intercourse. It’s a bit misleading. So, really, it’s about 95 percent of women who require this kind of stimulation to come.

This is a starting statistic and shows the pleasure gap in full color. The pleasure gap is a social construct and it needs to be done away with … yesterday. As soon as we choose to value female pleasure as equal to that of men, the pleasure gap will evaporate.

10. A loose vagina is not a thing.

Nothing is going to make a vagina “looser.” No amount of sex, sexual partners, or sex toys is ever going to cause stretching. This is a huge lie we’ve been fed to make us “chaste.” It is a perfect example of the purity myth.

The vagina is a muscle. It can stretch to accommodate a baby’s head and return to its normal size. The only thing that makes a vagina looser is gravity and time. Just like every other muscle in the body.

See more: How to Take Care of Your Vagina on a Daily Basis

11. No vulva is the same.

All vulvas are different. They come in different shapes sizes and colors. Some labia are the same length, and many women have one lip that is longer the other. No vulva is better than any other. They are unique, just like you!

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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9 Interesting Orgasm Facts That Will Surprise and Delight You

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We understand orgasm in the grand sense. An orgasm is that great release at the height of sexual pleasure. It’s when you get to a peak and involuntarily cross over. For some, it is a wave of bliss; for others it’s an explosion, and for some, it’s almost undetectable.

Orgasms are a marvelous thing. Being able to access sexual pleasure is a fundamental human right. Orgasms should be encouraged along with sexual autonomy. If you can make yourself come, you’re already on your way to personal fulfillment.

What do we actually know about orgasm and how it works? Here are nine facts that will surprise and delight you about the female orgasm.

External clitoral stimulation is almost always needed to have an orgasm.

The vast majority of women require clitoral action in order to have an orgasm. The stat that is often tossed out (and indeed we’ve used it) is that only 25 percent of women are able to have an orgasm through intercourse alone.

What this stat doesn’t account for is how many women in that original study were stimulating their external clitoris during intercourse to wind up in the 25 percent. When you take this into account, it’s more like 90 to 95 percent of women need their clitoris stimulated to experience orgasm. Mind. Blown.

… and for those who have orgasms during intercourse

You’re still very likely getting that external stimulation! Studies have shown that the location of the clitoris has an impact on whether or not you’ll have an orgasm during intercourse. If the clitoris is less than 2.5 centimeters from the vaginal opening, you may be able to have an orgasm during intercourse.

Two and a half centimeters is about the length of a thumb. For most women (nearly all), this is just not how our anatomy is laid out.

For those few women who do fit into that minute bracket, it isn’t internal stimulation of the vagina or G-spot that is giving you orgasms, it’s the fact that you can rub your clitoris on your partner’s penis, dildo, or pubic bone during intercourse. Your clitoris is simply closer to the thrusting action.

“Orgasm” happens in a variety of ways.

How orgasm actually happens is highly subjective. It changes from person to person. The human sexual response cycle goes like this: desire, arousal, plateau, orgasm, resolution.

It appears to be this linear, straightforward series of events. But it isn’t. Not every person follows the human sexual response cycle as it is lain out. Some people experience arousal before desire, for example. Some people don’t reach orgasm during sexual activity all or some of the time. Such is life. (To learn more, click here.)

Some orgasms happen in small, short waves.

Not everyone experiences orgasm as this grand, volcanic eruption in their loins. As we’ve noted, people experience orgasm differently. This means that the orgasms people have are also different.

Every single one is as unique as you are. Did you know that some orgasms occur as a series of waves, or smaller, shorter orgasms? It’s true! Some women don’t just have one orgasm, but a bunch of tiny ones in a row.

G-spot orgasms are real, but not everyone has them.

The G-spot is actually the back of the clitoris. The clitoris extends into the body, underneath the labia and mons. The part you can see is the glans, but the entire thing is nearly five inches in some women.

The G-spot is more of an area than a spot. It is the area that surrounds the urethral sponge and canal. When you stimulate the G-spot, you’re stimulating that internal apex of the clit. Some women enjoy internal stimulation alone, but most need either a combination of external and internal or external stimulation alone to orgasm.

Orgasm is highly controlled by the brain.

Your brain plays a bigger role in orgasm than you could have imagined! That’s right. It’s not just the clitoris that predicts orgasm, it is your noggin. Enter, the Dual Control Model. Your brain has a series of brakes and accelerators when it comes to arousal and desire.

The brakes are your sexual inhibitors and the accelerators are what pushes you toward sexual feelings. Everyone has a different makeup of brakes and accelerators. When it comes to orgasm, those with sensitive brakes will likely need more from their sexual experiences to experience orgasm. No person is better than any other, we’re just different.

To learn more about the Dual Control Model, click here.

Orgasms relieve pain.

Studies have shown that orgasms have the potential to do a lot for our mind and body. When you have an orgasm, the brain releases a cocktail of chemicals, including oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a natural pain reliever. Having regular orgasms can help with pain management. They can relieve everything from headaches to hangovers.

Pressure inhibits orgasm.

Orgasm is often touted as the end-all-be-all of sex. It is the “goal” in which we’re all meant to strive when getting it on. Yet, putting pressure on orgasm does not make experiencing an orgasm particularly easy. It pumps those brakes we talked about.

Orgasm should not be seen as the goal of sex, but rather a happy occurrence. We should be enjoying pleasure for pleasure itself. If you don’t come, that doesn’t invalidate your sexual experience.

What matters is having a partner who cares about your needs and who wants to do whatever they need to to make you feel good. If you get off, cool. If you don’t, that’s totally OK too.

See more: Women Can Have 6 Different Types of Orgasms

Every orgasm is clitoral.

There are many ways to have an orgasm, as we’ve discussed. Some women can have orgasms without even touching the clit. There have been many cases of orgasms through other erogenous zones such as the nipples.

That being said, every orgasm is still based in the clitoris. Your erogenous zones are all connected to the clit and to the brain. When you stimulate these areas, the brain sends signals to the clit. Whatever orgasm you’re having, the clitoris is still the epicenter.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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How to Use Breathwork to Become Sexually Aroused

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Sexual breathing is a form of erotic meditation wherein you connect your breath to sexual touch and feelings of pleasure. It might be just the thing you need to refocus yourself on your own needs. Sometimes we lose sensation in the clitoris, and in other various erogenous zones, because we let our minds wander or can’t control our thoughts.

Either way, sexual breathing is a practice you should master. Advice is given often about “breathing into your body” during sex. But what does this actually mean and why is it so important? And further still, how does one do this?

Here is what you need to know about sex breathing and its power in sexual arousal.

When we forget to breathe

Do you ever find yourself so concentrated or nervous during sex, both intercourse and oral sex, that you tense up? You’re trying so hard to focus and stay in the moment, so desperate to reach orgasm, that you don’t give yourself room to feel. There is a lot of pressure surrounding sex and orgasm. It’s not particularly surprising it would wind up being a bit stressful for women.

Additionally, if a certain kind of “pleasurable” touch doesn’t feel like anything to us, we think we’re broken, only deepening the stress.

What so many of us forget to do, even if we don’t mean to, is breathe. It seems like such a simple, straightforward thing. How in the world would someone forget to breathe? It’s easier than you think.

When you’re in the midst of sex, and you feel pressured to feel pleasure and get off, you wind up forgetting to breathe in a way that allows blood flow to the body in order to feel that pleasure.

It’s a sexual catch-22. You’re so distracted by not feeling pleasure that you don’t feel pleasure.

Sexual breathing and mind-body connectedness

Our inbox is flooded with messages from women wondering how to feel more pleasure during intercourse, oral sex, and clitoral stimulation. There is usually this overarching and pervasive tension within these messages.

Your breath might be the element you’re missing. Your breath, and focus on that breath, is crucial to connecting your brain to your body. Our minds are extremely powerful. It is our most potent sex organ, even more so than the clitoris.

During sex, it can be difficult to stay in your body. You’re running through everything you need to do later that day, you’re going over the grocery list, and thinking about that project at work. Things are happening to your body, but you’re not giving them enough attention to enjoy them, let alone have an orgasm.

Deep meditative breaths are what bring you back into your body and allow you to connect to yourself and your erotic feelings. Breathing deeply floods the brain with oxygen, naturally calming you. There is a reason people tell you to take “deep breaths” when you’re having a panic attack.

Sex breathing: How to do it alone

If you find your mind wandering during sexual play or perhaps aren’t feeling sexual pleasure the way you used to: breathe. Devote an evening to your pleasure. Do this alone before bringing your partner in on the fun.

Run a bath and relax. All the while, concentrate on your breathing. Take a deep breath in, hold it for five seconds, and then release it for five seconds. Feel the warm water on your skin. Smell the candles burning. How do you feel?

After your bath, spend some time your vibrator. Again, your breathing is essential here. Focus on your breath and your body. Tune into your clitoris. When taking deep breaths, try to fill your vulva with that breath. Lean into the pleasure and focus on what you’re feeling.

You’ll find that concentrating on your breath allows you to unlock pleasure centers that you may not even have known were there. It is quite liberating.

Sex breathing: How to do it with a partner

Next, bring your partner in. Your partner wants you to enjoy sex and to feel pleasure. They should be on board with spending an evening (or several evenings) helping you regain sexual consciousness.

Devote at least twenty minutes to oral sex. He or she should stay down there as long as you need. No pressure to finish, just focus on your body.

See more: What to Do if Your Orgasm Goes Missing

Lie back and breathe. The same deep breaths you practiced in the bath and while masturbating. Focus on every single thing your partner is doing to your body. Resist the urge to perform or moan like a porn star. This will only cause distraction.

You can moan and scream if you want to, but only if it comes naturally. Listen to your body. Wherever you’re being touched or licked, send your breath to that spot. Focus on the breath is a key to unlock a whole world of pleasure. Sometimes finding a powerful orgasm is as simple as harnessing your mind-body power.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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Tantric Yoga For Sex And The Secret to Releasing Kundalini Energy

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Tantric yoga is low-key an awesome way to get your amorous thoughts and feelings moving within the body when you’re stuck in a sluggish streak or sex rut.

Believe it or not, people have been using yoga and tantra to get in touch with their sexual selves for an extremely long time. Basically forever, actually. (You may not have thought that quiet yoga teacher Jeremy was in-tune with his sexual energies to a startling degree, but he probably is.)

Yoga is all about energies, connecting to the body and soul, and breathing. It’s pretty sexual when you think about it.

Tantric yoga goes a step further, enabling couples to feel a greater sense of intimacy, awareness, and passion. For women, it can unleash the inner sexual creature you’ve been dying to meet.

Do not mess with the Kundalini energy; it’s an extremely powerful force that controls your sexual feelings, awakening, and inner passions. It is your primal energy, the one that gives you the “cannot-get-you-naked-fast-enough” feeling.

Feeling stuck in yourself? Not feeling particularly sexual or hot? Tantric yoga can help release the blocked energy, because sometimes all we need is a push.

Here is how you use tantric yoga to release your Kundalini energy for better sex and heightened arousal.

First of all, what the heck is tantra?

Despite what you might have heard, tantra is not about sex. It’s actually about energy, spirituality, breathing, and centeredness. Sure, you can use the practice for hotter, sexier, more intimate sex, but that isn’t its primary function.

Tantra is an ancient practice based out of India. It is thousands of years old. It is a way of life and a spiritual practice that focuses on energies within the body. The energies, known as chakras, are located in a few key areas of the body.

There are seven main chakras: The Root Chakra (base of the spine), The Sacral Chakra (pelvis), Solar Plexus (belly), Heart, Throat, The Third Eye (forehead/intuition), and Crown (head).

Each chakra represents a different part of the human experience, be it love, intuition, openness to love, etc. When any of these energy centers is blocked, the center it is responsible for suffers. Sexual energy is based in the Solar Plexus and Root chakras. Kundalini (or shakti) is located in the Root chakra. When it is blocked, it becomes difficult to experience pleasure and feel like the true sex goddess you are. At least, that’s what tantric practitioners believe.

How does this relate to yoga?

Yoga, another ancient Hindu practice and one we’re sure you’re familiar with, has a lot to do with tantra. Yoga uses poses, breathing, movement, and inner connectedness to one’s self to find peace and a sense of wholeness.

The sexual energy based in your lower spine can be released through yoga poses. Both tantra and yoga teachers recognize that shakti fuels your desire and erotic longing. Tantric yoga helps to tap into and release this energy.

Through a series of specific poses, tantric yoga is designed to enable the Kundalini to flow from the base of the spine. Such poses included downward dog, cat, cow, and frog. They specifically focus on this area of the body, opening and stretching the hips, lower back, and pelvis.

You know, essentially where your vulva and vagina are within the body. Obviously.

For couples, you might want to try poses such as the Lotus or boat pose. These bring you closer both physically and spiritually. Instead of letting the proximity of your partner to your own body become instantly sexual, focus on your breathing. Stare deeply into each other’s eyes for two minutes. Align your breathing. (Check out this site for a comprehensive list of yoga poses.)

Yoga helps release your brain’s feel good chemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine. These are the same chemicals you see during and after orgasm.

Is this right for you?

Yoga gets your head on straight, you know? When you walk away from yoga there is a profound sense of calm. Well, not for everyone, but for yogis it definitely does provide this. There is a reason people have been doing yoga for a zillion years.

Practitioners of tantric yoga believe that opening yourself up to this practice can help to change the whole way you experience pleasure and eroticism.

See more: 5 Ways Meditation Can Improve Your Sex Life

It can breed intimacy between couples and help women especially feel like their most desirable and sexy selves. Tantra values female sexuality as sacred and divine. It celebrates pleasure and your total sexual autonomy. It is an ancient practice that recognizes women as a sexual creatures capable of immense pleasure.

If you ask us, we could all use a little tantric yoga and get that Kundalini energy flowing. How well does it all work? You be the judge.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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Can Sex Replace Your Cardio Workout?

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Sex is just like cardio! Sex is exactly the same as working out!

This is something we’ve seen all over the internet since … well, forever. People love to cast sex as being a killer workout, amazing for your relationship, the reason you won’t have a heart attack, etc. etc.

And we are here to tell you …

It’s true. Sex is very, very good for your health.

Is it as beneficial as going to the gym and getting your sweat on? It just might be. Well, almost. On top of that, sex has many other surprising health benefits similar to those that come with cardio.

OK, everyone. We’re here for this. Sex is the best, and going to the gym (or running, or yoga, or pilates, or whatever!) is also great. This is why sex and cardio are both excellent for your health.

Can sex really replace a cardio workout**?**

You may have seen studies that show a glass of red wine burns as many calories as the gym and how sex is the ultimate workout and thought, “All of this is BS and cannot be real.”

We’re still skeptical about the wine headlines (but will gladly use them as rationale when pouring a glass tonight), but when it comes to sex, studies have shown that it really is quite healthy. In fact, it burns nearly as many calories as being on the elliptical for 10 minutes.

A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows that sexual activity burns about 4.2 calories per minute in men and 3.1 calories per minute in women. In an average sex session, men burn about 120 calories and women about 70 calories. This is about the same as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise or a 20 minute walk.

So, next time you need an excuse to skip the gym, we can’t blame you if you decide to have sex instead. Who needs a crowded, sweaty workout facility when you can have an orgasm and burn the calories all in one go?

OK, we admit that sex might not be a gym replacement, but it is great supplemental exercise!

Sex releases endorphins, just like a workout

Another health benefit of sex? It helps our body release feel-good hormones and decrease stress hormones. When you get that heart rate up during sex, you see similar emotional benefits to getting a workout in.

When you have sex, and specifically when you orgasm, your body releases dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Dopamine is the brain’s motivation hormone. It makes you feel good and accomplished. Oxytocin is our body’s “love hormone”—it increases feelings of closeness and a need to pair bond.

Additionally, sex reduces levels of cortisol, the insidious stress hormone responsible for nearly everything that makes life suck. Cortisol increases anxiety, causes weight gain and can affect sleep. When you have sex, your cortisol levels drop dramatically, making you less stressed, more aroused, and sleepy (in a peaceful way).

Sex is great for sleep

We’ve all heard that going to the gym can relieve anxiety and help you sleep better. In fact, we’re sure you’ve experienced the benefits of exercise in your everyday life.

Those same gym benefits translate with sex in many ways (as you’ve seen above). When you workout, your brain releases happy hormones, just like with sex. These hormones naturally help with intermittent insomnia. There are studies to prove it!

If you orgasm before bed, your brain releases the same cocktail of hormone, with the added dose of oxytocin.

Basically, exercise gives you the endorphins to make you happy and relaxed, but sex adds in the wondrous snuggle hormone. So, when it comes to sleep and feelings of epic relaxation—sex wins.

Want to sleep really, really well? Go to the gym, come home, and then have sex. What could be more wonderful (and exhausting)? It sounds like a lot, but it works.

Sex and cardio both keep hearts healthy

When you have sex, the average heart rate is 130 during your peak moments. That’s about the same level as a light jog or brisk walk, depending on your weight and stride. This kind of exercise promotes healthy blood pressure and overall heart health.

See more: 7 Exercises for a Better Sex Life

See, you have to have sex or you’ll have a heart attack. Just kidding, obviously, but sex is good for the heart. Now, keep in mind you will have to put in the work with sex, just like you do at the gym. Sticking to that classic spoon is not going to get your heart rate up where it needs to be.

Mix it up. Get on top and ride like the cowgirl you always knew you could be. We believe in you. Overall, cardio is better for your cardiovascular health, but sex still has its benefits.

The ruling: Go to the gym and have sex!

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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What To Do If The Condom Breaks During Sex

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If you’re using condoms during sex, good for you! You should get major props for being safe. Unless you’re on a the pill, patch, implant, IUD, or any other form of birth control, you should be using condoms (or both forms if you’re worried about STDs).

No, the pull-out method is not an effective form of birth control unless you do it 100 percent correctly every single time. And even then, you can still get pregnant! If you use the pull out method correctly, 4 in every 100 women will still conceive. It’s just not a great idea. Who needs that kind of stress when they’re trying to enjoy themselves during sex?

But, what if you’re using condoms religiously and one breaks? That’s a big old pain in the butt. Not to mention totally nerve-wracking. You’re just in the thick of things, getting really into it, and suddenly your partner feels a pop through the latex (or polyurethane). Not fun.

Here is everything you need to know about a condom breaking, and everything you should do to avoid STI transmission and pregnancy.

First of all, how do you know if the condom broke?

If condoms are your primary form of birth control, be aware of potential to break during sex. It’s unlikely, but it happens. If you put it on correctly (read this if you’re unsure), the chances of breakage are quite low.

If it does break, a male partner will likely feel it before you do. What felt like something over their penis (especially during ejaculation) will flood out. There may even be an audible “pop” or “snap” when the condom breaks.

Your partner should pull out immediately if this happens. Make sure to have the game plan set in place. If your partner feels the condom break he (or they) should know to remove their penis from the vaginal canal.

Preventing pregnancy after a condom breaks

If the condom breaks during sex, head to your local pharmacy to get Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill. You can even get Plan B on Amazon now without a prescription! It’s available on Prime (two-day shipping), so we recommend having one or two doses in the house if condoms are your only form of contraception.

When taken within 72 hours, your chances of getting pregnant are slim. It acts sort of like a giant dose of the standard birth control pill, stopping an egg from releasing from the ovary.

If your partner didn’t ejaculate, we still suggest taking Plan B. Why? Precum. While most pre-ejaculatory fluid contains dead sperm (or no sperm at all), there can still be instances where it does contain sperm. Do not take chances with your body, especially if you’re ovulating.

Don’t have a period tracker? Get Clue ASAP.

Address any possible STIs

If you and your partner are in an open relationship, or are poly, any possibility of a passed STI should be addressed. This is especially true when one partner is HIV positive. Go to your doctor (or even an ER) and ask for PEP, a post-exposure drug that can prevent infection within a 72 hour window. After 72 hours, your risk of infection increases dramatically.

As for any other STIs, if you and your partner are open, you should be getting tested regularly every six to ten weeks. If you’re worried, wait two weeks and get tested again. Chlamydia (and a few other common STIs) have a two week incubation period and may not reveal themselves on a test beforehand.

How to avoid breakage

To avoid condom breakage, there are two crucial things you should do: Use lube and be sure you’re putting the condom on correctly.

Watch this video if you want to learn how to put on a condom. Practice with a banana like we’re back in high school Sex Ed.

See more: Can You Have Sex With a Yeast Infection?

When it comes to lube, don’t rely on the crappy lube that condoms on the condoms themselves. Get some of your own!

Keep it by the bed, in the car, in your purse (or wherever else you might need it). Lube up the inside of the condom before putting it on your partner, and the outside once the condom is in place. This helps keep friction to a minimum and the chances of breakage low.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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14 Women on What Orgasm Feels Like

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We hear a lot about what “orgasm feels like.” It’s often described in grandiose terms. It is this this life-altering, earth-shattering, next-level experience that will take our sexuality to new heights. How much information we’re actually given in order to have an orgasm is lacking, but hey, when you live in a society that shrouds sex in shame, it’s bound to happen.

Orgasm is not the same for all people. Let’s get that straight. It doesn’t feel identical for every woman, man, or human. When we’re given these overarching, far-reaching expectations, it’s no wonder many of us wind up … disappointed or confused.

If you expect your clitoris to explode from all the good feelings of orgasm and that isn’t what happens, how could it be anything less than a let down?

Orgasms can be pleasurable, but by definition they are simply the involuntary release of tension at the height of sexual activity. Yes, they feel incredible for many of us. For others, they’re alright, but nothing to freak out about. For others, they’re barely noticeable.

The point is, experiences vary. Here are 13 real women on what orgasm feels like for them.

It’s a MOMENT

“I’ve recently found the perfect angle with my partner where the ‘magic’ happens. I’d had sex many times before but never had that MOMENT. It feels like an intense buildup is finally released. It’s like an internal massage that makes my back arch and ends with euphoria. It doesn’t happen every time, but when it does I momentarily have no control over my body—in the best way possible.” —Lyndsey, 24

I want to cry

“Usually really awesome and sometimes satisfying and sometimes as a build up to more. Sometimes like a release of tension and an indescribable feeling and then I want to cry. Those are rare, but brilliant.” —Nicole, 24

Orgasm overrated?

“I’ve always found orgasm and sexual activity in general to be a bit overrated. Maybe I’m just not doing it right.” —Barbara, 32

Pulsating to a finish

“Building to a pulsating finish. Strength of pulses depend on type or orgasm (clitoral/g-spot).” —Gabrielle, 28

A sex toy to change it all

“The orgasms I have that are the most intense are the ones that come from clitoral stimulation with my hand, or with the Satisfyer Pro. As I’m getting good and warmed up, I feel a slow, smooth, light, yet mildly electrical wave of energy from all the extremities of my body drawn in like a vortex to my clitoris. Then, at the moment of orgasm, all that energy explodes out from my entire genital region and returns back to its origin.” —Lanae, 49

Overwhelming bliss

“Orgasm feels like a release, but in this uniquely blissful way. Sometimes it’s so blissful it can be overwhelming. It’s like hot water running all over my body. Even if I come really hard, I’m usually so primed up that I want to orgasm again right away. It’s incredible.” —Nadia, 28

An ocean wave of serotonin

“Orgasms are the ultimate feeling of happiness in the body. It is pure delight. When I near orgasm, I sometimes have to concentrate really hard to peak because I’m so excited and nervous that it begins to run away from me. It’s like being hit by an ocean wave made of serotonin.” —Jana, 35

A rush of love and abundance

“Orgasm to me is bliss. It’s a rush of love, creativity, abundance, and passion. It’s a sticky, sweet glorious mess that invites us to be present, enjoy each moment, and savor life. It’s quick pulses of energy and rhythmic pleasure that causes my body to convulse and release. It’s an invitation and longing for more.” —Melissa, 47

A satisfying sneeze

“I once heard someone referring to orgasm as feeling like really having to sneeze then letting that sneeze out slowly until you’re fully satisfied. Never heard something more accurate.” —Candice, 24

Eh, kind of lackluster

“I’m still waiting to get that big ‘O.’ I’ve had small orgasms all my life and have recently been devoted to finding a bigger orgasm. When I come, it’s like a tiny shock or release. It isn’t enough to fully release all my sexual feelings. I enjoy it, but not being able to get everything out of me is frustrating.” —Danielle*, 32

Letting go of something

“Orgasm has always felt like letting go of something for me. I fool around with my partner and there is a big buildup on tension or energy inside me. And then, I release it all when I come. It’s warm and inviting. Like letting go of something profound. That’s all I can think of when I wan’t to put it to words.” —Brianna, 29

See more: Women Can Have 6 Different Types of Orgasms

Sudden joy

“Like a sudden onslaught of rain on an increasingly unbearably hot day. Refreshing and sudden joy.” —Kiki, 28

Sensational release

“The best, most fun, most sensational release of tension imaginable. The relief is joy.” —MJ, 44

Extra syrup

“Like taking a first bite of a pancake with extra syrup. Delightful!” —Leah, 27

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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You Probably Fantasize About THIS Person More Than Anyone Else

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Fantasy is the spice of life (not to be corny, but it really is). Our brains are extremely complex. Creating narratives, both sexy and non-sexy, are a part of being human. We think about how we’re going to stand up to our boss while we’re in the shower, we imagine our dream engagement, and we think about being bent over a couch and spanked.

So, what about the content of said fantasies, especially the sexual? What does it all mean?

Justin Lehmiller, PhD is a Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute and author of the blog Sex and Psychology found through researching for his new book, Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life, that we actually tend to fantasize about our partners more than anyone else.

Lehmiller surveyed over 4,000 people and notes that: “Nine out of ten participants said they had fantasized about a current romantic partner before and, further, among those who were in relationships, nearly two-thirds said they fantasized about their current partners often. By contrast, fewer than one in ten participants in relationships said they fantasize frequently about Hollywood celebrities, porn stars, politicians, or other famous people.”

Before you go yelling at your partner for watching porn or psyching yourself out because your favorite fantasy this week involved Taylor Kinney and a fireman’s pole, here is what the data actually shows: People like to think about their partner a lot. It’s not that hard to believe. This is a person you love, feel comfortable with, and have likely done some pretty dirty, nasty, hot things with.

It’s like the saying authors use when giving advice: Write what you know. We like to pick from what we know when creating sexual scenarios, too.

Most people just want to sleep with their partner

We see many, many pieces about fantasizing and how thinking about celebrities, ex-partners, or the random girl from the coffee shop when we get off is normal.

And it is!

What we forget to do is to cut back from all the sensationalized editorial and remember that at the end of the day, we stick with what we know for the most part.

It seems pretty clear that making up an elaborate fantasy involving Taylor Swift and a rabbit vibrator takes more brain power than imagining the person you’re married to holding that same rabbit vibrator. Hey, you might even use actual scenes from your IRL sex life for orgasm-inducing material. You’re not boring or lame, you’re simply using your own stuff. As Paris would say: That’s hot.

When you love someone and are turned on by them, you think about them in a sexual way. That kind of comes with the territory when you’re married or committed long-term to someone.

So, is it normal to think about other people? Yes. Is it easier, and likely more comforting, to think about the person you have sex with on a regular basis? Also yes.

Is your relationship in trouble if you fantasize about other people?

It’s perfectly normal and healthy to have sexual fantasies outside of your current relationship. What’s interesting is that through Lehmiller research he found that those who were fantasizing about other people, and excluded their partners entirely from sexual fantasy might be the in rockiest of relationships.

It’s not to say that there is anything wrong with picturing Idris Elba going down on you on a beach in Tahiti, but if he’s the only person you’re thinking about during partnered or solo-sex, you might want to think about why that might be. Is there a particular reason your partner doesn’t make a single cameo when you’re having sexual thoughts?

You don’t need to freak out if you have scenes in your mind when you’re getting off that don’t involve your spouse, but it’s important to keep tabs on every aspect of your relationship, including fantasy. If they are never the source of your erotic thoughts, you might want to think on it a bit.

What does this all mean for you?

What this really is is a reality check, a look into everyday, average American couples who like to have sex with each other. The media hypes up anything that deviates outside of conventional norms, thus giving attention to the unusual aspects of sexuality, and often forgetting to mention the bigger picture.

See more: 15 Totally Normal Sex Fantasies You’re Not Weird for Having

As a media outlet, we recognize that this can happen here from time to time as well! We want to read about things we find exciting and new. It just so happens that while sexual fantasy can (and does) include more than just our current sexual partners, it most often won’t.

What this research and data shows is that we like to have sex with our partners and we like to think about having sex with our partners when we’re not having sex with our partners. It all sounds pretty standard.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.

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