The Oh Collective Books| Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski

We recently hosted a Q&A session with a wellness & beauty community and one girl said they didn't feel the need to masturbate and felt inadequate because of it.

The topic is so empowered in this moment and she felt like it was almost just a trendy "Cool" thing to do but she knows she isn't asexual, she just never felt the urge for it.

So how did so many women come to feel that their anatomy, sex lives and everything in between was “not right” because it wasn't the mass consensus? If you enjoy it too much or don't have the urge to want it, it immediately faults you as a human being. There's no right answer and everyone is simply just unique and different. It may be that you're not all that satisfied with your sex life just yet. In this case, you'll benefit greatly from learning to understand your sexuality and the need for context that enables or impedes your sexual pleasure.

Part of that is also understanding how each person differs so much when it comes to sexual desire and why there's really no reason to obsess about orgasms (or a lack thereof).

Hereby we highly recommend you to explore the studies of Emily Nagoski. She is a Ph.D expert on women's sexual wellbeing, healthy relationships and the prevention of sexual violence and harassment. She wrote the best seller 'Come As You Are'.  Alert: If you're not much of a reader, no worries! We've summarized the cliffnotes for you!

#1: Every human has unique sexual anatomy composed of similar but unique elements. 💖 💖 💖

Have you ever wondered why men have nipples? For women, this feature serves an obvious function. But since every human being starts with the same basic body parts, these parts simply arrange themselves differently from person to person-known as homology.

For instance, in the first six weeks of pregnancy, it's impossible to see the difference of gender. In all cases, genital material is made of the same sensitive tissue prone to stimulation. This fact why men have nipples: all humans begin with the same basic parts, and since women need nipples, men get them too. But the differences aren't just between male and female. In fact, every woman has unique genitals-just like snowflakes! In porn, vaginas are digitally remastered to make the lips, or labia, less visible. This can lead people to form unrealistic ideas about what a vagina should look like. In "Come As You Are" Emily reminds you that all sizes and colors of V's are normal as long as they don't cause pain. And the same thing goes for the clitoris. The size of this piece of anatomy can vary, commonly ranging from the size of a pea to a miniature pickle.

#2: Everyone has a unique sexual personality that determines their needs. ✨ ✨ ✨

In different periods of our lives, we may find we have lost the desire to do it with partners. However, enjoy pleasuring ourselves on our own, which may lead us to feel that there's something wrong with us. Image The human brain has sexual gas pedals, which is pushed by stimulation, and sexual brakes that get pumped when threat arises. For instance, any sensory perception from a smell to a sound to a thought can tell your brain that "Oh, I'm nervous right now, or I'm drifted off to think about what I'm having for dinner." You're brain responds by slamming on the brakes, prompting you to say “not tonight, honey.” A nervous system with easily triggered brakes is the most common cause of sexual difficulty. Image In 2008, a study of 226 women found that those who were only aroused under perfect circumstances, or those who felt anxiety about being slow to become aroused, were much more likely to experience sexual difficulty. In this instance here, anxiety or thought of being slow to become aroused = sexual brakes. But every person's sexual brakes and accelerator have different sensitivities , meaning everyone has different sexual personalities.

#3: Your experience of sex is totally dependent on context, especially if you're a woman. 👩🏻👱🏻‍♀️👧🏾👩🏿‍🦱

Does this sound familiar to you? Two people meet, fall in lust and spend the next six months in a passionate frenzy. But, eventually, the thrill begins to wear off and they find themselves less and less excited. By the end of their second year together, the flames of their passion are a mere flicker.

Emily Nagoski discusses the questions whether humans are really just supposed to stop having sex after a certain time together. The answer of course is that this is not necessary. But whether a sensation feels sexy or just plain annoying has a lot to do with the context in which it occurs. In the example used above, the context is the passing of time. Say you're in a sexual mood and your partner tickles you. In this situation, such an action would likely feel nice or exciting. But, if you were concentrating on something or trying to finish a complicated task, you'd probably respond to ill-timed tickling with anger. The point is, the same sensation can prompt a totally different reaction depending on the situation. It's these varying states of mind that determine whether sex happens or not. In fact, if the mood is right, just about anything can feel erotic. Image For instance, an experiment was conducted on a lab rat in which a small probe was inserted into the animal's nucleus accumbens, located deep within the brain. In a neutral environment, the scientist used the probe to stimulate the nucleus's higher part, and the rat responded by exploring its environment with curiosity. When the scientist triggered the lower part of the nucleus, the rat began exhibiting symptoms of avoidance. But when the rat was in an environment it found particularly nice, with pleasant smells and no lights, it was irrelevant which part of the nucleus was triggered; the rat always responded in a happy, engaged way. The same goes for humans. When people are in a context that feels safe, relaxed and sexy, even getting whipped can be erotic. This is also why it's so important to ensure that we're all taking time out from our already busy daily lives for ourselves inclusive of working out to stay fit, eating well to stay healthy, and staying sexually satisfied to ensure our needs are met!

#4: Stress is sure to kill your sexual experience. 😰😵🥴

Imagine you're rushing down a hallway at your office. Your partner is with you and you're looking for the first available place to get into it. But when you turn a corner, you see the cold, reprimanding eyes of your supervisor. After such an awkward encounter, chances are you wouldn't really be in the mood anymore.

Being stressed out makes sex seem very unappealing. The worst part is, you can't cut your body's stress response short. For instance, when an animal is being hunted down by a lion, their options are limited: they can run, fight or play dead. If the animal chooses the last option and they survive, they'll still experience body tremors and spasms long after the lion is gone. These are the symptoms of the stress finally leaving the animal's body, and are known as completing the stress response cycle.

Come As You Are discusses that while humans aren't normally being pursued by lions, the stress of work, family or relationships can make your body respond as if you're being violently attacked. That means trying to have sex when you're stressed is a terrible idea – you won't be able to enjoy it until you complete the stress cycle. how A good way to release this tension is through exercise, sleep, giving and receiving affection, relaxing, crying and even screaming.

However, things get more complicated for those who have experienced sexual trauma. In fact, such people often feel threatened in sexually charged situations. A report by the World Health Organization found that at least 1 in 5 women has been the victim of some type of sexual assault over her lifetime. Such traumatic experiences prompt a stress response similar to that of the frozen animal who is playing dead, which means the healing cycle can be extremely drawn out. In the meantime, virtually any sexual situation will be interpreted by the brain as threatening. To calm down in situations like this, it can be helpful to practice mindfulness; in other words, to approach the present without judgment.

#5: Pop culture can ruin our sex lives if we allow it to do so. 🧐🧐🧐

Media plays a huge role in making people feel inadequate in the bedroom. Women's bodies, for instance, are constantly depicted in blatantly unrealistic ways. The choice of certain model types, combined with the ability to digitally erase or enhance anything that doesn't fit into an extremely narrow conception of beauty, sets a standard that makes normal women feel continuous frustration and disgust. (Random fact but did you know that close to 90% of selfies are digitally modified in some sort of way?) Women are led to believe that if they don't do these things, they' re prudes; but if they do them, they're branded as sluts. Every aspect of the way women's sexuality is represented in media – from the elevation of simultaneous orgasm to the pinnacle of sexual experience, to the idea that it's weird to not want sex every once in a while – is usually and mostly incorrect. So, how can we rid your sex life of these damaging influences? Start by educating ourselves and celebrating your own beauty (we know harder said than done). In 2012, scientists went over the last 20 years of research on the way appreciating one's own body affects a person's sex life. They found that a person's self-image has a huge impact on every part of sex, from arousal to desire and even orgasm , not to mention reducing the willingness to take risks and the pain experienced during. That makes it crucial to be kind to yourself, love your body and face any feelings of poor self-image head on.

#6: Just because genitals are responding doesn't necessarily mean you're aroused. 😅🥵🤔

One of the most satisfying parts of sex can be the feeling that you turn your partner on. It's a nice compliment, after all. But how can you tell if your partner is actually aroused? When it comes to women, physical responses from the genitals aren't necessarily a good representation of how a person feels. This has been demonstrated in studies in which scientists measure blood flow to the genitals of men and women when watching pornos. Image While watching the videos, the men and women were asked to report how aroused they felt in any given moment by turning a dial. In the case of men, the connection between level of arousal and the strength of their erection was 50%. But for women, the correlation between blood flow to the vagina and arousal was lower than 10%! So, the best way to figure out whether or not a woman is turned on is to just ask her. But to our sisters out there, please be honest when asked, it'll save yourself a lot of non-emmy winning, anticlimactic acting! It's OK if what is happening isn't working, be open to communicate that and change it up! The genital response in women simply indicates that some stimulus is sexually relevant, and not necessarily appealing. For instance, one of the author's patients tried S&M practices with her partner. The patient's partner tied her up so that her V was pressed against a bar and then left her alone for a while. She just got bored and when he returned, she said she wasn't into it. He was confused and asked her why she was so wet if she didn't like it. Well, the stimulation of her genitals was sexually relevant – but that didn't mean she was enjoying it.

And for men, while the connection between their erections and their arousal is stronger, it's still just 50% and varies a great deal from man to man. For example, men who witness non-consent activity may find themselves with a stiffy but not feel remotely aroused by the situation. So men may experience shame when it occurs in such circumstances, but in truth there's nothing wrong with it. And same when it doesn't react in certain situations when they might have felt turned on and stimulated.

#7: It's absolutely normal to not have spontaneous desire, the idea of a sex drive is a myth. 😬😬😬

Do you ever feel like your partner moves a little bit too quickly, perhaps going straight for “7” while you still want to enjoy just kissing? Or maybe you'd rather have a nice dinner, deep emotional conversation and slowly warm up to the act. This is a totally normal feeling and the desire isn't spontaneous, but rather responsive. In a number of sex studies have found that about 30% of women and 5% of men experience desire responsively. So, unlike other people for whom sexual desire emerges spontaneously, these people only begin wanting sex when intimate, emotional things have been building for a while. Everyone has different thresholds and sometimes calm, sensual foreplay and a shared understanding that love-making isn't the only option to build arousal. Not only that, but sexual desire isn't a drive in the way many people think it is; it's simply an interest or an incentive. hunger is a classic animal drive. It's a systematized way to motivate you to eat, thereby ensuring your survival. But sex is different. Nobody dies or shrivels up from lack of. Being unable to get it when you want it can be frustrating, but it's still something that you want, not something you need.

#8: All orgasms are unique, so don't worry if yours are different.

Have you ever been on vacation but suddenly in a bad mood? It's easy to grow panicked in this situation because if you're feeling bad during a holiday, what are you going to feel like when you get back to your daily grind? 🥳 🥳 🥳 Orgasms can be the same way, in the sense that people often worry about them unnecessarily. Concern about orgasms, or a lack of orgasms, is second only to lack of desire when it comes to the reasons women seek sexual counseling. Studies have found that such distress affects 5-15% of women. Why? Most orgasm-related issues have to do with overly activated sexual brakes or a sensitive inhibitory system. The problem is that being concerned or frustrated about climaxing can make your brain slam on the brakes even harder, producing a vicious cycle. Image there are many types of orgasm as there are women in the world. However, it has nothing to do with reproduction – it's all about pleasure. A common reason it often fails to produce a female O is because it doesn't always directly stimulate the places needed. It's essential to keep in mind that the big “O ”, isn't just a physical reaction but is holistically connected with the emotional parts of yourself.

Source: https://lifeclub.org/books/come-as-you-are-emily-nagoski-review-summary

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