She Comes First

Sigmund Freud once admitted that “the great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?” 

 

Freud, like many men before and after him, might have had more success in finding that elusive answer if he had thought of consulting with (stay with me here) an actual woman. 

 

In study released in The Journal of Sexual Medicine in April 2015, researchers discovered that 30% of women experience pain during sex, and 72% of women surveyed said they did not communicate to a partner that they were experiencing pain or discomfort during intercourse.  

 

Decades of outright cultural teaching and subversive attitudes and advertisements for the female body have ingrained in many women, a sense of shame or discomfort about their own bodies, especially when it comes to pleasure. 

 

Journalist and editor Lili Loofbourrow, defined it pretty succinctly in TheWeek magazine, writing that “women have spent decades politely ignoring their own discomfort and pain to give men maximal pleasure.” 

 

In a post #MeToo era, where women have set a firm precedent about their needs and wellbeing being listened and adhered to, many of us are beginning to do the hard work of unlearning that natural instinct to preserve men’s feelings and keep quiet about our own desires.  

 

In the words of clinical sexologist Dr. Martha Tara Lee: "You're you, and you need to take care of you — what you need, want, desire when it comes to sex.  

 

 

Communicating what you want to your partner is critical to avoiding pain and enjoying sex as much as your significant other. If your partner isn’t as concerned about your pleasure and your needs as they are about their own, then that’s a pretty big red flag. 

 

 

The problem is that many websites advising women on how to approach asking for what they want in the bedroom, are framed from the perspective of the male sexual partner: “5 Things Your Man Wants You To Say In Bed” or “10 Ways He Wants You To Take Control In Bed” The focus is on  the man’s desire for you to be more dominant in the bedroom for his sake, and not because of his desire for you to have as much pleasure as you’re expected to give. 

 

Having your needs and wants listened to by a sexual romantic partner when becoming intimate is not just a fantasy: it is an inherent right.  

 

Talk to your partner before becoming intimate. If you know what you want or need (and I do recommend having some idea of what you want in advance- a little google search is a goldmine of resources) make it abundantly clear to them- be as specific as possible. If you’re feeling nervous about broaching the topic, or all things intimacy makes you feel squeamish, try writing it down.  

 

Most importantly, communicate during sex, as often as possible. Be encouraging, be vocal, but most importantly: be heard.