Originally on elephant journal.
Earlier this year, I published an essay entitled “Please Read This so Our Sex can be Amazing,” a guide for men on how to avoid self-sabotaging sex with women and be the the kind of lover who is invited back.
After it went viral, I read through the comments from both men and women and realized that my essay had left me feeling even more powerless in having the kind of sex I wanted. It was all about illuminating what men could do differently to be better lovers for women.
It was about asking them to change.
While men certainly needed to hear what I had written—a resounding consensus among my female readers—I realized I want to have great sex without relying on men to stop doing the things they do that turn women off.
I’m not saying let’s let men off the hook from disassembling centuries of patriarchal patterns of thought and behavior that serve neither men nor women. Our society has a long way to go in empowering and legitimizing the feminine, and men must participate in this process—doing so will improve sex for everyone.
But I want to have great sex now, without waiting on the guys to humble up and agree to relearn everything they know from the ground up. I don’t want women to be dependent on men changing in order for us to have what we want.
And the only way I know how to do this is to take 100 percent responsibility for our own experience.
The first thing we can do is to look at male behaviors that turn us off and seek to understand why those behaviors affect us that way so that we can cultivate empowerment in those spots instead of just being frustrated. In my last article, I outlined the main stopping points for women and how men can approach them in different ways that work better for women. Now I want to give attention to how we women can navigate ourselves in those same spots.
This comes with a disclaimer: this essay stems from my own experience and from what I’ve heard from many of the women I’ve coached, and is therefore highly personal. I hope it resonates, but it is by no means a formula for all women.
So that I don’t waste space repeating the same material, I’m gonna assume you’ll read the first article and refer to it for the suggestions I already gave the guys.
1. When we want sex that’s more than just sex.
Usually, I want more than just sex. It’s not necessarily that I want a committed relationship, although I might. It’s that my body wasn’t created to turn on without the benefit of some inspiring, skillful seduction first. The full potential of my sex can’t be unlocked without being touched by the full spectrum of who I am. Yes, we could get involved with each other for the sole purpose of intercourse, but that truly is not the best I have to offer, nor the rich experience I am looking for.
So what do we do when a man seems to relate to us primarily as a sexual object? For a long time I thought I only had two options. The first was to cut him loose and move on. The second was to educate him on how to connect with me by telling him all the things I told the men in my first essay.
But now I realize there is a third option: practicing radical authenticity.
I can take it upon myself to show up as the multidimensional person that I am and have my humanness be so glaringly obvious that it either calls forth the same in him or totally alienates him. Either way, I’ve succeeded in being impossible to objectify.
Sometimes I feel like an angry feminist, and when that happens I try to slow down and check in with why I feel angry. It’s almost always in response to having compromised my own authenticity, which is something that others can certainly encourage me to abandon, but that they can never actually take away from me. It’s always up to me.
2. When we want him to let us yearn for him.
Most women are dying for a man to expertly arouse the height of our desire for him by letting us feel our own yearning. Unfortunately, not many men do this.
I love to draw out our seduction and flirtation until we can both barely stand it. The build up is my favorite part, but it seems like men often rush through it out of impatience to get to the destination of sex and, to me, this feels like eating underripe fruit. I want ripe, sweet juices bursting and dripping down my chin.
So what can I do when I was enjoying letting it build up but my arousal starts slipping away as I feel him wanting to skip the good parts and plow toward the finish line? Of course I can always ask him to slow down, and I definitely should, but by the time it gets to that, usually the mood is lost. So what do I do then?
Let’s consider the power of being attuned to our desire and sensation. When he goes faster than I want and it snaps me out of my body and into my head, I can either get annoyed and let my head dictate what happens next or I can choose to tune out my thoughts and focus on tuning back into my body. What sensations am I feeling? What does my desire feel like?
Once I’m thoroughly landed back in my body and feel more present with him, I can usually feel him become more present with me, too. From there, I can guide him to go at my pace, or I can let go of my preferences and simply focus my attention on the sensation in my body.
No matter what the pace is, if I decide to get off on it, I usually will. That is the power of psychology over physiology.
3. When he devours us, leaving no room for our hunger.
This one has had me stumped for a long time. Obviously we can simply say “slow down” when he moves faster than our body is ready for, but how do we create a sexual dynamic where we don’t always have to be the ones with our foot on the breaks in reaction to a sex-hungry man?
It can feel frustrating when he is already waiting to devour us like he hasn’t eaten in a year and we haven’t even had a chance to get turned on yet. But I’m a firm believer that if we ever feel like something is happening to us and we feel at its mercy, that means we’ve given up our agency somewhere and made someone else responsible for our experience.
While it is no one woman’s job to feed any starving man, it’s worth mentioning that if he were well-fed, he’d be less likely to devour us before we’re ready. So, my suggestion?
Initiate. Ravish him, devour him, pounce on him—whenever we feel an inkling of the desire to do so. Seduce him when he’s working. Come on to him when he’s busy with other things. Allow him to experience such an abundance of our desire that he is no longer scarce for it. If we give him a chance to say no, maybe we’ll find ourselves feeling more hungry than him for once.
4. When we want present, connected sex but he’s disconnected and putting on a performance.
There are a lot of shoulds in our sex that really should not be there. Our conditioning by the media’s treatment of sexuality and our limited exposure to healthy alternative attitudes have made many of us believe that there’s a way sex is supposed to look and feel. And usually that expectation doesn’t match up with our experience.
Rather than slowing down, checking in with ourselves, and being honest about what we feel and want, many of us instead speed up to try and create more sensation. We disconnect from ourselves and each other to try and make our sex look like we think it should.
I have often felt men doing this but I know women are just as prone. My guess is if he’s trying his porn-inspired moves on us, we’re also feeling some pressure to join in the performance.
The antidote to having disconnected sex is to hold ourselves to a higher standard of being connected. That means we are honest in every sound we make, every move of hour hips, every kiss. We don’t exaggerate anything, but instead, honor and approve of what we do feel and let him see it without sugar coating it.
Sometimes men will take it as a hit to their ego when we aren’t screaming wildly at all their moves (after all, they want to know we’re enjoying sex with them), but many will be grateful to us for making room for them to be authentic too. It can be vulnerable to feel like the only one being authentic, but if we want to end the charade one of us has to be willing to go first.