Sex is a totally natural, awesome thing that should be approached without shame and with education. While talking about sex can be awkward, it’s a topic we should try to become comfortable with (especially if we’re having sex), because it’s important to understand it well. Knowledge is power, especially when that knowledge involves your body.
So, you most likely remember the very first time someone talked to you about sex. The conversation probably ended with, “Do you have any questions?” With wide eyes, you eagerly shook your head from left to right, hoping that you would be able to escape from this uncomfortable situation. But the thing is, you (probably) did have questions. Several questions, actually – but you didn’t want to ask them because you were afraid that you’d unleash an avalanche of awkwardness.
So that we can burst the bubble of shame and embarrassment and taboo and general please-can-we-not-talk-about-this vibes surrounding the sex talk, we want to answer some of the sex-related questions you never wanted to ask. Here goes.
What exactly is a “healthy sexual relationship”?
This type of relationship is different for each and every couple because each relationship has very different needs. While this is true, there are some standard rules that one should follow if they want to have a healthy, intimate connection with someone else.
First of all, there needs to be consent. This means that both partners should feel comfortable, respected, and equally OK with what is going on. Essentially, one’s self-esteem should not decrease during intercourse. It also means that any participant has the right to say NO at any time, for any reason – and that the other participant(s) should respect their decision.
There also needs to be an element of trust. Trust is key. If you are going to have sex with someone, it’s important that you’re both open and honest about your sexual history, especially if there are STDs involved.
If I can’t orgasm, is something wrong with me?
Licensed psychologist Dr. Laurie Mintz states that only 30% of women can orgasm without clitoral stimulation. That may explain why you aren’t orgasming. Sex therapist Ian Kerner adds, “The clitoral glands are located at least 2 centimeters above the vaginal entrance, so when most men and women have sex, the clitoris is rarely touched, which is why many women don’t orgasm during intercourse.” In other words, both you and your partner should make an effort to learn more about the clitoris. We recommend that you start here.
You can also try using more lube or experimenting on your own. Patience can also help: “The first time, it might take an hour of stimulation to produce an orgasm; it might also take many tries to get comfortable with the feelings of strong arousal,” reveals Stephanie Buehler, the director of the Buehler Institute for sex and relationship therapy.
There are also medical issues that could be affecting your ability to orgasm. Diabetes, depression, hormonal changes, stress, antidepressants, body image issues, and cardiovascular disease can affect your libido, which in turn will affect you during sex.
What happens if the condom comes off inside me?!
OB/GYN Dr. Alyssa Dweck says that you should, “Retrieve the condom and insure it is intact. Even if you think there is no spillage of contents, if you are not using another form of contraception such as the pill or IUD, I recommend emergency contraception ASAP if you don’t desire pregnancy.”
If you or your partner could potentially have an STD, make sure that both of you get tested immediately.
Are there exercises I can do so that I have better sex?
In general, exercise is important – but it can indeed improve your sex life. For instance, strength training can build muscles, stretching can improve your flexibility, and a cardiovascular routine helps you keep your stamina high.
Oh – and there are also Kegels. These exercises help strengthen your pubococcygeus/PC muscles, which support your vagina, uterus, urethra, bladder, and anus. By doing 50-150 Kegel squeezes a day, this will help keep your PC muscles strong. According to sex and relationship therapist Dr. Laura Berman, this will also make your orgasms more intense.
What is the G-Spot? And where exactly is it?
According to Dr. Laura Berman, the G-Spot is “a peak hot spot on a woman’s body that leads straight to orgasm.”
While there is a debate surrounding its location, many believe that the G-Spot is located on the back of the bladder wall. This part of the body is surrounded by Skene’s glands, which are covered in tissue that includes part of the clitoris and reaches up inside the vagina. These glands drain into the urethra, but also swell with blood when one is aroused. Most importantly, not everyone has Skene’s glands and, if they do, they may be located in a completely different spot for each person.
Since the clitoris is much more extensive then we realize, it actually stretches back to hit the G-Spot. That would explain why this magical area enhances one’s orgasms.
Um… What’s squirting?
When a woman releases fluid around the urethra, that’s squirting. It can be similar to urine or it can be something that’s similar to male semen (minus the sperm). As you can probably guess, there’s a debate surrounding this concept as well. “This release is tied to intense G-spot stimulation,” explains Dr. Emily Morse, host of Sex With Emily. Also, it’s important to mention that this doesn’t happen to all women.
In addition, there is a difference between female ejaculation and squirting. “The organs and the mechanisms that produce them are different,” writes biologist Alberto Rubio Casillas. “The real female ejaculation is the release of a very scanty, thick, and whitish fluid from the female prostate, while the squirting is the expulsion of a diluted fluid from the urinary bladder. It could be hypothesized, from our data, that during the sexual stimulation of CUV (Clitoro-Urethro-Vaginal) Complex or orgasm, the female prostate sometimes pours its secretions and they mix with diluted fluid coming from the urinary bladder.”
Can I break my partner’s penis? I mean, is that even possible?
While you can’t break the penis like you would break a bone, you can injure it. “It’s what we call penile fracture,” reveals Hunter Wessells, chair of the University of Washington School of Medicine’s urology department. “It is a severe form of bending injury to the erect penis that occurs when a membrane called the tunica albuginea tears. The tunica albuginea surrounds the corpora cavernosa, specialized spongy tissue in the core of the penis that fills up with blood during an erection. When the tunica albuginea tears, the blood that is normally confined to this space leaks out into other tissues. You get bruising and swelling.”
What exactly should you do if this happens? “Penile fractures are a medical emergency and must be evaluated and treated immediately,” writes Columbia University’s Go Ask Alice! team. In other words, head to the emergency room!
Can queefing be prevented during sex?
Queefing is a term that refers to air escaping from your vagina, causing it to sound like you’re passing gas. “I tell patients it’s a very normal thing,” says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin. “It’s different from expelling gas from your rectum, which happens because of bacterial activity in the gut.” She adds, “The vagina isn’t a straight tube. It has folds called rugae that are like wrinkles. One can imagine how air could get trapped there.”
As for preventing it, Dr. Minkin says that there’s no secret tip or trick that will help you avoid queefing. Instead, she recommends that you embrace it. “I would hope you’re comfortable enough to talk about something like this with the person you’re having sex with,” she says. “Just joke about it and keep going. These things happen!”
Can I have sex while I’m on my period?
“If the patient is comfortable with it, then it’s great to continue having sex throughout the month and not have to take a break,” says physician assistant Tara Ford, who works at the Medical Center for Female Sexuality. “It’s perfectly natural and safe for both partners.”
What is sex therapy?
Sex therapy is like regular therapy, but you talk about sex instead. You address intimacy and any sexual concerns you may have.
“Sex therapy helps couples talk about sex with each other. A sex therapist feels comfortable talking about sex. While nothing is off-limits and nothing is taboo to talk about, most people have trouble bringing up anything to talk about when it comes to sex,” writes certified sex therapist and licensed couple’s therapist Laurie Watson. “Sex therapists are aware of how anxious you might feel talking about this intimate subject with each other and with a near stranger. They will help set you at ease and guide you into talking about sex.”
[Image via Paramount Pictures]