ColumnPut away your ice buckets, darlings, because it’s time to take on a much more pleasurable challenge, one that may help you achieve better orgasms – and perhaps create a better world.
How are your orgasms, anyway? Are you having enough of them? Are you having any at all? Are they as good as they used to be? Whether single or partnered or poly, we women tend not to prioritize pleasure. Orgasm is more like the sweet icing on the cake that you hope to taste now and again, but how often do we even take a slice of cake to begin with? I want you to have your cake and eat too. And then have seconds and thirds and fourths and fifths. (Maybe the whole cake.)
I remind myself on the regular that pleasure is not a gift from the universe that’s bestowed from on high; it’s something we must offer to ourselves — something we must demand. Even if we have to use an excuse to take pleasure, or put it on our calendar like a dentist appointment, it should not be back-burnered. I’ve written about it before: orgasm is as important as brushing your teeth and taking off your makeup before bed. It’s as important as your yoga class and your kale salad. It’s both prevention and cure rolled into one. And if yours are meh, there is much you can do to have better orgasms.
Here is an abbreviated list of the health benefits of orgasm, none of which have anything to do with how good they feel:
• Reduces migraine pain
• Improves immunity (cures the common cold)
• Oxytocin = dopamine = better mood
• Regulates menstrual cycle, reduces cramps
Sometimes we don’t give ourselves pleasure because we tell ourselves we’re too tired and we can’t be bothered. The pursuit of better orgasms, or the pursuit of orgasms, period, can be a huge problem for partnered people. Solo sex is fraught when you have a partner who is supposed to be your pleasure-provider. Some people who are relatively comfortable with partnered sex retain Catholic guilt (no matter their religion) about masturbation in any form.
The list of excuses is long: I can’t reach for my orgasm because my husband/boyfriend/girlfriend is going to be jealous or angry or just annoyed. Or I had one yesterday. Or I had one last week. Or I’m too busy. Or the kids need me. Or work needs me. Or I’ll just take care of it tomorrow. Or I don’t feel attractive enough: I’m not even attracted to myself.
There are endless reasons we subconsciously “forget” to seek orgasms. Ask yourself: Is sexual shame the reason you conveniently “forget” to include pleasure in your life every day?
Some women want orgasms, or think they want them, but then try and can’t have them. Some used to have them but don’t anymore — boredom or frustration with a partner is a common cause. Anorgasmia is sadly extremely common for women. Sexual dysfunction can be physiological, but most often it’s psychological. Sometimes a woman presents as depressed, with low libido, and is given an anti-depressant as a cure – which then depletes her libido even more. Many women just throw in the towel at this stage, assuming sexual pleasure must be given up: better orgasms just aren’t in the cards. A lot of women give up at menopause, assuming that what our culture says about women of a certain age is true (hint: it’s definitely not true).
Here is what I’m proposing: that we take our orgasms, and thus our lives, to the next level with what I’m calling the #30DayOrgasmChallenge. In the spirit of recent challenges — ice bucket, cinnamon, Mentos, and Diet Coke included, some for good causes and some just absurd, I offer you the one challenge that cannot hurt you — it can only make you feel sublime. (Unless you have some kind of unfortunate sex toy fail.) You don’t have to make a video of your challenge (unless that’s how you roll).
Think of the #30DayOrgasmChallenge like a month-long telethon. You should share your milestones, if you’re so inclined. Tweet it, post on Facebook, and/or record your progress on your Tumblr. Raise money like you would for a 5k run for charity — and donate it to Lady Parts Justice or Planned Parenthood. But more important, just do it: have one orgasm a day for the next 30 days. Start whenever you feel the call, but some options are (if you’re menstruating) on the first day of your cycle or right after your period. If you’re past your reproductive years you might want to begin on the next new or full moon.
You can link to this article and post something like this: I’m taking the #30DayOrgasmChallenge to raise money for for women’s health and reproductive justice. Donate to an excellent cause, cheer me on, and I’ll update you on my daily progress!
Break out your toys, your fingers, your partner’s fingers (and other parts), your trusty bathroom faucet. Promise yourself that once a day, every single day for the next thirty days, you will make an effort to have an orgasm. Whether your current orgasms are awesomely toe-curling, boring and reliable as reruns of “Friends”, or barely there, getting into this daily practice will, if nothing else, bring you into intimate contact with what makes your pleasure tick and click. Like a yoga or meditation practice, the #30DayOrgasmChallenge deepens as it goes. Speaking of meditation, another option for your orgasms is orgasmic meditation. (Read about it here and here.)
Women are very often told that a sexual dysfunction is their fate. A very normal erosion of attraction to a long-term partner doesn’t have to end your sex life, however. That thing they told you about attraction lasting forever, as long as you have good companionship — that was a load of bunk. Science is showing us in a variety of ways how women are more libidinous than men, but not just that — that we actually require sexual variety more than men. We’ve been taught the reverse. There is a lot of unlearning to do before we can fully claim our pleasure without negotiation, handwringing, and shame.
Yet more reasons to take the #30DayOrgasmChallenge, and tell your friends to take it too. There’s no official start date, but when you begin, tweet me @ecosexuality with the hashtag #30DayOrgasmChallenge or #PleasurePractice. I’m going to do a follow up and share your stories in early October. Let’s change the world, one orgasm at a time.
Keep in touch with Stefanie on Twitter: @ecosexuality
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