interview with Cindy Sharkey: Podcast for Pleasure, Sept 2021.
Sometimes as women we feel like we need permission for pleasure.
I’ve been working as a nurse for 35 years, and I’ve worked in women’s self for a long time. And I have found in working with women and speaking to them and meeting with them often, that women feel like they have to have permission to experience pleasure. That sex and sexual pleasure is not for them. And so what happens with that, is that we need to change the dialogue, change that conversation, and for women to recognize the things that influence them to “come,” and to feel good and investigate that. Then to start giving themselves permission for pleasure.
I think a lot of women are raised or have influence from culture, religion, families, communities that tell them that over and over. Either with silence or with words, they communicate to women and young girls that sexuality, that normal sexuality is dirty, bad wrong. I saw over and over that women then were raised to feel like they sex wasn’t for them. They didn’t really have permission to experience pleasure. I just heartily disagree. I think the other factor I saw that really cemented this, was how many women I met with or taught, who because of that upbringing and that mantra and that teaching or silence, they learned to shut off their normal sexuality and sensuality. Then they get into marriage and somehow they were supposed to just turn it on. Turn on the pleasure switch, so to speak. They were having such difficulty doing that. I think this is a BIG issue for so many women. I see it over and over again.
God designed us with a body part that teaches us that we should find pleasure in sexual intimacy, the Clitoris.
The word clitoris is thought to come from the greek word “key.” I like to call the clitoris the “key to female pleasure.” That it is the key to unlocking sexual pleasure for women, period. I think the truth is that that so many people are unfamiliar with the anatomy of the female body. They are not taught about it in school. It wasn’t even in the textbooks for so long. It’s just finally come to the forefront where we know the whole structure of the clitoris and we have more understanding. So people think the visible part of the clitoris, the glands are the head that you can see and touch is the only in the hood. They think that that’s the only one part of the clitoris. But it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. There is a whole network underneath that. That whole network is bigger and more involved than people understand. Let me give you a little comparison, especially for the men, the penis and the clitoris have the same amount of erectile tissue. Pound for pound. It’s just organized differently.
The clitoris has 6,000 to 8,000 nerve endings. Twice as many as a penis. And the great news is all of this is erectile tissue. When I say the clitoris is erectile tissue, what does that mean? It means the clitoris actually gets an erection just like a penis. I think if people could think in this way, especially couples, right, it starts to make a lot of sense. Then you realize, okay, well then just like a penis, the clitoris has all this erectile tissue which means it’s available for arousal, erection and pleasure. It’s just organized differently but all accessible.
Think of the percentage of women are that don’t really understand the clitoris or recognize how the clitoris can be used for pleasure.
The truth is that that most people’s education is only around intercourse.
75-80% of women do not orgasm with intercourse alone. They may experience pleasure and arousal, but a very small percentage will actually orgasm with intercourse alone. This is a fact. So when people don’t know that kind of information, then they’re just going off what they see in the movies, or what they hear from their friends, which is lousy sex-ed…and they think, why isn’t she coming? She’s thinking why am I not coming? I mean, I don’t understand… something must be wrong with me. I’m broken.. my vagina must be broken.
You’re not broken your normal, you’re totally normal. You just don’t have the education.
A woman needs to figure out her own body. So I just feel really strongly about this. I mean, I think that men are, they’re able to understand their penis. It’s right out there and it’s easy access. It’s not so taboo, it’s visible, right? I think that women need to understand their own body, which means getting a mirror. And if you’ve never even looked at your genitals, I would start there. I really would. I think I know actually from all these years as a nurse, how many women have never even looked at their genitals. It’s just astounding to me. And it’s really a place to start. Here is a healthy exercise to understand your own body. What is there? How does it look? How does it feel if I touch this? What does that feel like if I touch this? You can do it with your spouse. I think a lot of women need to do this on their own and understand and become more comfortable with their body. And then the key, right? The key is then sharing what you learn with your spouse. This is the whole point because your spouse cannot read your mind and your husband does not have a clitoris. So there’s no way for them to really know and know you individually because we are each unique. Talk about it and be open with each other!
That’s where experimenting and trying new things can really help your marriage.
Communicating with your husband and including your husband is a big part of figuring it out because that is truly what couples need to be intimate together. That is what brings couples closer together is discussing these hard and important things. Involve your husband and communicate to your husband and figure that out together because intimacy is going to be so much more enjoyable long term. Be direct and tell him what you like, what feels good and what you enjoy most.
Whether you read a book together, read a good education blog together, listen to the ultimate intimacy podcast or permission for pleasure podcast, or get on the ultimate intimacy app and read all the resources, then you can open the conversation with the safe language that’s provided, which sometimes makes it easier for couples to to start those kinds of dialogues.
You need to involve the Clitoris.
For women, it’s so important to learn what kind of clitoral stimulation you enjoy. Some people don’t like direct stimulation. Some people like more of a roundabout the clitoris. Understand what the tissue looks like underneath and where and how you access that and what kind of stimulation feels good to you in this season of your life because this will change. This is an ongoing conversation you’re gonna be having, this is not a one time deal. You can have intercourse and incorporate clitoral stimulation at the same time…or you can have outer course. And don’t even involve the penis in the vagina initially… all of that kind of foreplay and warming up is arousal.
A great tool to stimulate the clitoris is a male vibrating ring found HERE
Women need time. Foreplay takes time.
The clitoral network is organized a little more spread out and it needs time to be aroused. All these warming up activities that people say is just for play. Foreplay, is the most pleasurable for women.
Foreplay is the play… if people could understand that female arousal does not take five minutes, the studies are clear 20 to 40 minutes of foreplay for the majority of women to be able to reach orgasm and let me say that`again, are you listening? Women’s arousal is NOT five minutes!!
Again communicate with each other, whether it’s telling your spouse you like more or less, faster, harder, slower, or keep going. It doesn’t have to be a lot of words, just a few words.. maybe start there. I do think to that what a lot of women need is to be able to engage their mind. Your brain is your most important sex organ for sure and women’s minds are really busy and overloaded.
The mental load is a real thing. It’s such a big factor for women and I think that if men understood that, I think that they would be a little bit faster to jump in with the chores.
I call it “choreplay” foreplay.
Choreplay, or sharing the load means “what can I take off your plate…that would free up your mind space to want to experience more pleasure? If husbands would say more of the “I’ll put the kids to bed and that will give you a little time to just kind of relax, and switch gears,” because for a lot of women it’s really difficult to make that switch, from wife, from employee to mother, to caretaker, all of it to then to sexy female, it’s sometimes it’s really hard switch to the flip and it is different in the stages of our lives.
I would say the other thing is understanding desire.
There’s so much misinformation about desire. A lot of women don’t experience spontaneous desire and spontaneous desire where you just want sex right out of the blue. Maybe 15% of women Experience desire that way, where they all the sudden want sex out of the blue, but 75% of men do.
There’s a lot of relationships where the woman has a really high spontaneous desire and the man has much more responsive desire. Figuring out what your desire is, talking about it and making sure you both focus on each other.. then is when ultimate intimacy is found in your marriage.
Does scheduling sex help intimacy?
Who in the world needs to schedule sex? When people use to say, “Scheduling sex does not sound romantic to me.” I say, “well, do you love hotel sex? Do you feel like you have great sex when you go on vacation? Isn’t that kind of scheduled sex?
It’s that anticipation and looking forward and the planning that sparks your sensuality. It sparks your arousal, right? And for a lot of people responsive desire is how they experience desire, which means things have to happen for them to have arousal and put sex on their mind.
Communication is huge. Silence is your enemy.
Silence is your enemy in this situation because if there’s no discussion about sexual intimacy, things just just go on like that for years and years. Nothing gets changed or fixed. It really takes communication and and that is a lot about being curious. Why does she feel this way? Ask her the questions: are you experiencing pain? Sex is a huge issue much more than people understand. Is it an issue with desire? Do you understand that that how responsive desire works? Is she bored? We’re having more and more research around long term monogamous relationships and what how that works for women. Men tend to be fine with the same and women like different and new.
Women’s bodies change and go through so many seasons. And I think we forget to revisit the conversation again what’s happening with my body now because how you enjoy sex when you’re 20, 25, 30, it’s gonna look different when you’re 40, 50, 60, or 70. We need to revisit the conversation and it needs to be ongoing. Is she stressed? What medications is she on? All of these things have to be addressed and and talked about it continuously. It is VERY important.
Sex is a skill that you learn.
Talking about sex is a skill you can learn….so while it’s difficult at the beginning and it may feel uncomfortable because you don’t have the language for it, it does really get easier and it does really help make things better because remember desire is a motivation system.
You experience desire if you’re motivated for the sex you’re going to have. So ask the question to each other: is the sex we’re having worth wanting? When we remember this education about the clitoris and female arousal and the different ways to experience desire, and all this good education and around the reality of what sexual intimacy and pleasure looks like… it’s a game changer.
A good marriage, overall, people in good healthy marriages are having frequent sexual intimacy.
People in healthy marriages most the time have a good sexual relationship. They communicate about it, and even if they both have totally different sex drives, they find balance and really talk about the hard things. When people are having good sexual intimacy, they’re most likely going to have overall, a better marriage. That is why we constantly talk about sex and intimacy on the Ultimate Intimacy podcast. Of course emotional intimacy and so many other things play an important role.
How often should a healthy be having sex?
There’s not a magic number. This is such a frequent question. How many times should we have sex? A week, per month, per year? Each couple is individual. But the question is, are you both content and pleased with the sex you’re having? Are you both pleased with how often you’re having it?
That’s gonna look different for for all different couples. So comparing to everyone else is not good for your marriage. It is personal. The more you’re experiencing and having pleasure together, and both are mutually enjoying it, the more you want to be intimate.
Also, don’t forget to download the free Ultimate Intimacy App to spice it up your marriage. It has a ton of resources, articles, bedroom games, conversation starters and many other things to strengthen your marriage. Click HERE to download for free on the app stores.