While travelling to town this morning an advertisement came on the radio, you know the ones, "Do you want longer lasting sex? ", reinforcing the belief that a person with a penis has to pump away for hours to satisfy a person with a vagina, that penetration is the only way to have satisfactory sex this is what is expected of you, anything less and you are not measuring up.
When I hear these ads or see the bill boards I cringe, the pressure it puts on people to engage in a particular sexual activity and apparently for a certain amount of time is horrendous. According to these companies this is the requirement to satisfactory sex and to pleasing your partner. I wonder if they have really asked the partners if this is what they want, and have they not read the research that shows most women don't orgasm from penetration but rather clitoral stimulation and women who have sex with women report having the most satisfactory sex and longer sessions with their partners than women who have sex with men (no penises there).
We get so many messages about how we should look and act that it can be very confusing and demoralising if we feel that we are not doing what others are doing, or doing it as well or as often. Where are the sex positive messages that talk about connection, pleasure and foreplay or outercourse?
So what do heterosexual men and women have to learn from same sex attracted women? For one, that it is not all about the apparently mighty penis or penetration, not that they don't have penetration but it is not all that they do and consider to be sex. Penetration for women who have sex with women may consist of fingers, toys and fists, is sometimes not practised at all and is often prefaced with a whole range of other activities that they consider 'having sex' or 'making love' or whatever they may call it.
These women often take their time, no need to rush to the big O. Touch, taste, sight, smell and sound will all come into play. Kissing, caresses, fondling, bodies rubbing together, fingers and tongues exploring every inch of each other's bodies, teasing, touching and tantalising, whatever the imagination can think of. Pleasuring each other at the same time, or taking turns, exploring each other, watching and listening for responses, tasting and touching skin, mouths, breasts, vulvas, clits, everywhere. Revelling in the sights, the sounds and the scents of the woman they are with.
So what can be learned by opposite sex couples.....all of this can be done with both partners no matter what their sex or gender, exploring and giving pleasure to each other.When some or all of these techniques are utilised, reaching the edge of orgasm and then finally release then penetration can be added if both wish.
There is so much more to sex than just penetration, by exploring other options it can take the pressure off penetration having to last a long time. And realistically the average for a man to last once penetration is achieved is usually 5-10 minutes, it is only regarded as a dysfunction if it is less than 2 min from penetration to ejaculation. While many women will need 20 minutes or more to be ready for penetration let alone orgasm, some may be quicker but there is no need to rush the pleasure. Take the pressure to perform away, have fun, enjoy each other, the way you feel and how you make the other person feel....remember it is all about the journey rather than the destination.
Richelle has had a passion for sexuality and sexual health since 2001. She has worked in the field since 2006, providing sexuality education in schools, and adult education in the topics of diverse sexualities and gender identities, LGBT health issues, sexual health and LGBT relationships.
This is a space for me to share with you my journey as a Sexologist, the things I learn and the people I meet and what I think and feel along the way.