“Did you hear? Zak and Sara totally did it on the 50-yard line last night. I heard she was so loud campus security came running.”
Yup, it happens. People can be loud during sex. Really loud. Actually, there’s a lot of things we don’t know about sex because we’ve never been shown the more challenging or embarrassing aspects of it. As much as we would like it to be, sex isn’t always like the movies—it’s not smooth and perfect, it’s not seamless. In fact, it can get quite messy (literally and figuratively).
According to Rachel Maulding, a doctoral candidate in Human Sexuality at Widener University, sex “isn’t necessarily what we were told it was growing up.” Maulding continues, “I see so many women around me struggling with heartache and unfulfilling sex and I know that I can help them through strong sex education.” So Maulding joins Her Campus here to clear up a few things for when you think about or do “it”—the things no one ever told you.
Women Ejaculate, Too!
Happy, sweaty, and out of breath, you and your bedmate are now very much satisfied. But then… wait, are you peeing? What’s happening? Why is that warm and wet business happening down below?
“Most women are shocked the first time they ejaculate and are instantly embarrassed or concerned they just urinated on their partner. And some partners are ignorant enough and tell the woman it is pee and gross.” But that’s not the way it is. “Please hear me,” Maulding pleads, “it is NOT pee or gross.” In fact, it’s really quite the opposite. “Female ejaculation is perfectly normal and happens to many women. Women can produce between two tablespoons to two cups of fluid and it is clear in color, bitter citrus in smell, and slippery to touch. Don’t be ashamed if you ejaculate, in fact, be happy!” In other words, don’t get mad, get glad! Very glad.
Something else to note is that while all women can ejaculate, not everyone does. After you have an orgasm, you might feel like you have to pee, so you’ll “hold it.” According to Dr. Lisa Lawless of the Holistic Wisdom Spa, what’s actually happening is “the G-Spot (Skenes Glands) fill up with the female ejaculate fluid and this puts pressure on the urethra (pee-tube) thus making it feel like she has to urinate when in actuality she could ejaculate if she simply pushed instead of holding back.” How’s that for science?
Sometimes You Need a Little Lube
Uh-oh…that doesn’t feel right. First things were going smoothly, in and out like it’s supposed to be, but then…friction? When you’re having sex, you want things to go as smoothly as possible, figuratively and literally. And that requires lubrication. “A lot of college women don’t realize that even at our age we need lubricant,” Maulding says. “There is a two-day dry spell during every woman’s menstrual cycle, and if she has sex during it with no lube, then she can actually tear vaginal lining. If a woman has ever experienced pain while she was peeing the next day, her lining was torn and she needed more lubricant.”
To avoid this, simply snag some lube! Be careful about the lubricant you get, though. According to Maulding, “KY and many of the lubes on the market contain glycerin (sugar alcohol) and can give women yeast infections and UTIs,”—and that’s definitely not something you want. A lot of water-based lubricants contain glycerin, but many don’t like Slippery Stuff, Liquid Silk, and Maximus (buy them here. Other silicone-based lubricants are always completely glycerin-free, like Wet Platinum! and ID Millenium (you can get both at Walgreens by clicking the links!)… So invest, or ask your significant other to! You’ll thank yourself later.
Sometimes You Have to Make It Fit
So things are getting hot and heavy, he whips out a condom and puts it on, you’re ready but…he won’t fit in. So you try again… and he won’t fit in. If you find that it’s consistently difficult for your guy to fit his penis into your vagina, there are some things you’ll want to think about. First, you have to be sure that both of you really want to have sex with each other. One or both of you could have doubts, and that can physically affect your performance, almost like self-sabotage. If this is part of the problem, then lube of course will help (see above).
Another reason sex might be difficult is the method with which your beau is approaching your vagina. According to the Well-Woman Center at Barnard College, “If he is trying to penetrate your vagina all in one motion, this may cause pain for you. He should try a gentle in-and-out motion using very small movements back and forth, going a tiny bit deeper with each forward thrust.” If this doesn’t work, perhaps it’s a problem of a different nature: angle of penetration. The Well-Woman Center says, “the vagina is angled upward and toward the small of your back, but this angle can vary somewhat from woman to woman. Both you and your boyfriend can insert fingers into your vagina to determine the proper angle before penetration.” That way sex will be much more enjoyable in the future, and a little foreplay never hurt anyone anyway. Who doesn’t love learning something new?
Falling Asleep is Normal (For Him and You)
After a heated bump and grind, he suddenly falls asleep. Or you do. Don’t worry—it’s a natural part of the sexual cycle, depending on the orgasm either of you have had. According to Maulding, “If you had a clitoral orgasm, then you will be Chatty Kathy for a good 30 minutes afterward. If you had a g-spot orgasm [which is achieved when the small spongy pad that wraps around the urethra is stimulated], then you will be asleep before he is.”
But men usually just fall asleep. “Do not feel bad if you have a lot of energy and he can’t stay awake… it’s part of the Mars/Venus of men and women. And also remember that there is a chemical released in the male brain that resembles narcolepsy after he ejaculates, so don’t feel like he is ignoring you when he physically can’t stay awake.” We promise, you’re not boring him. Quite the opposite, he’s very happy. And hopefully so are you!
There Isn’t Just One Type of Pill Or One Type of Condom
When it comes to contraception, there are some very important things to remember about both the Pill and condoms. First, about the Pill, it’s important to know that it can affect your experience of sex, possibly drying you out and requiring lubrication more times throughout the month than the aforementioned two-day dry spell. The Pill can also affect your sex drive, making it lower, Maulding says. However, if these side effects bother you, you can change pills. “There are tons of different birth controls on the market, and if your medication is affecting your sex life, then talk to your gynecologist and switch brands,” says Maulding. It’s really that easy.
And of condoms, it’s important to know that you should avoid spermicidal condoms. “They do not contain enough spermicide to kill anything,” she says, “and Nonoxynol-9, a chemical on them, is extremely dangerous to a woman’s vagina.” Keep yourself safe and happy and use a non-spermicidal condom, which are very easy to find. In fact, only five kinds of Trojan condoms out of 42 total kinds are spermicidal. That means there are 37 different kinds at least to choose from, so feel free to get creative!
Sometimes Sex Makes You Bleed
Now there’s something else on the bedsheets, and this time it’s not ejaculate. This is called post-coital bleeding, or PCB. In an article on WebMD, Registered Nurse Janet Harrison-Hohner says that there are a couple reasons why this might be happening. The first is related to your cervix. Hohner writes, “In some women there is a normal enlargement of the area of glandular type tissue (cervical ectopi). These women can have bleeding even when the cervix is sampled with a PAP smear. Some common causes of cervical ectopi can include: being a young teenager, using birth control pills, or being pregnant. Studies have found that cervical ectopi can be the cause for bleeding after sex in 25% to 33.6% of cases.”
The second reason is related to your uterine lining, Hohner says. “If the uterine lining (endometrium) is easily destabilized, having sex can prompt spotting or breakthough bleeding. Some women will have this type of spotting if sex occurs during ovulation or right before menstrual flow is ready to begin. Women using hormonal forms of birth control may also have less stability of the uterine lining.”
The last reason for PCB is nothing at all. Hohner writes, “In three separate studies, about 50% of women evaluated showed no obvious reason for the bleeding.” Do note, though, that if you do consistently bleed after sex you should definitely see your doctor. It’s normal if it happens once every so often, but it’s not normal if it happens all the time.
“Sex is so much more than missionary position for four minutes.”
Maulding is right, it is so much more. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different positions or to get creative. “The sexier parts of sex often hushed about are all the kinks that can be brought into the bedroom,” Maulding says. “Exploring fetishes and the more taboo aspects of sex (bondage, orgasm withholding, feathers, dirty talk) can really open up the doors of sexual experiences.” Remember, the experience is about two people, so don’t forget each other and focus only on the act. Maulding suggests “laying in bed before the deed with your partner, fantasizing about all the kinky things you have heard people can do during sex. See how much it turns you on, excites your partner, and makes both your minds wander with possibility. Once you learn what you both want to try, then do it and don’t feel ashamed or silly!” Sex has many different aspects, so don’t be so quick to dismiss them as “weird” or “gross.” Remember, even the Kama Sutra is thousands of years old.
Most importantly, though, keep Maulding’s advice in mind next time you go for a roll in the hay. But with any luck, you’ll be thinking of something else entirely…
Rachel Maulding, Doctoral Candidate in Human Sexuality at Widener University
WebMD Sexual Health Center
The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction
Talk Sex with Sue.com
“Glycerin Free Personal Lubricants” by Cory Silverberg, About.com
The Well-Woman Center at Barnard College
Dr. Lisa Lawless of the Holistic Spa
Below the Belt: Women’s Health with Jane Harrison-Hohner, RN, RNP on WebMD