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Q&A with Chantelle Otten, Sexual Health and Relationship Expert.

 

Chantelle takes us through three frequently asked questions and sheds light on some of these most common concerns.

 

Q1. I have never had an orgasm...

 

Well, aren't you normal! No one teaches us about female orgasm in sex-ed. In fact, there is an onslaught of articles telling us how to make our man orgasm in 27 million ways... so many of my patients say that they have sex to "please their man".

 

Around 10% of women report never having an orgasm, and 1 in 3 women have difficulty reaching orgasm during any sexual activity. Female fireworks appear to develop more slowly and are less predictable than male orgasm.

We all deserve pleasure. Firstly, to know if you have had an orgasm, you will feel a build-up of physical sensations, pleasure ripples in your body, skin, spine, and then an intense feeling of euphoria that will sometimes be followed by shuddering and vaginal muscles contractions, then an overwhelming relaxation. It sounds intense, but it can be a mild feeling too.

 

Some women can orgasm through vaginal penetration, but around 80% have difficulty. There is a rule of thumb for this though. Literally, your thumb is about 2.5 cm, which is the distance above your vaginal opening that your clitoris is. The clitoris is your key to finding real pleasure in the bedroom, and for the women who have difficulty with penetration, or are holding off, the clitoris is an external part of your vulva that will help with sexual arousal and pleasure. Once stimulated, you will find on the path to orgasm. On average it takes a female 20 minutes of sexual activity to climax. So if you have never had an orgasm, try around 20 minutes of foreplay, such as kissing, cuddling, exploring your body and then stimulating your clitoris with your hands, a vibrator or your partner's hands or mouth.

 

 

Vibrators such as Smile Makers Collection are fun and easy to use, like 'The Surfer', 'The Fireman' and 'The Frenchman' which are designed to bring pleasure from clitoral stimulation. For those of you who want to try positions during intercourse, experimentation and persistence are key. Ladies getting on-top and leaning forward at a 45-degree angle works well. Another suggestion is lying on your back on a relatively firm surface with your hips rocking up, such as hooking your knees around his elbows.

 

 

Q2. My husband has sexual problems, why won't he get them fixed?

 

This is a complicated question, and often I have to ask what you perceive to be the problem. Some people's idea of what is 'right' in the bedroom and what is 'wrong', creates a problem that may not necessarily need to be of concern.

Every man will have a sexual concern at some point due to stress, exhaustion, medical concerns or work of life stage.  This can often be distressing and shameful, and many men doubt their masculinity. The most common problems I see for men in a relationship are premature ejaculation, low desire and erectile dysfunction. These concerns make a man feel vulnerable, with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy causing them to have performance anxiety, leading to avoidance of sexual activity and intimacy, turning away from their partner and feeling ashamed.

 

Women whose partners have these concerns often feel insecure that they are no longer desirable, often trying to reduce their partner's anxiety by saying "don't worry, we don't need to have sex, love is enough", which often makes the man feel inadequate and ashamed. So if this is your partner, saying something like "I am here for you, I have heard of a great sex therapist who has helped my friends husband with this" (even if you don't know someone, jump on Google and search for a sex therapist near you). Normalisation will take away the stigma and loneliness your partner feels.

 

Many women assume that their men are just trying to satisfy a biological need and approach sexual activity in a perfunctory manner, to 'satisfy' the guy. But this blocks men out; they want more connection and passion than that. I remind couples that sex and desire require engagement, expression, eye contact and effort to have feeling. It does not happen naturally. It's about the journey of sexuality, not the perceived outcome of penetration and orgasm. Both of which are very achievement orientated.

 

To move beyond these concern, we have to look at the individual aspects of that man. Giving them to focus on 'pleasure' in the sexual act, and letting them know that sex does not have to have a goal at the end. Focusing on fun, less attention on 'pleasing their partner' and letting themselves relax, breath and enjoying the experience.

 

Supportive partners of these men do not take these concerns personally, are gentle and know that every person will have a sexual problem at some time. The partners who do not require that their partners function all the time perfectly have the best chance of resolving these concerns.

 

 

Q3. I have lost interest in sex after having my baby!


Every person will lose desire at some point in their lifetime, which can extend for several years. For women, losing interest in sex is very common. Even for their partner, it is ubiquitous!

 

I often find that sexual concerns have been present before childbirth, however, many women can experience pain conditions, postpartum depression and body image issues after giving birth what can lead to lesser desire and higher avoidance. A decrease in hormones is often also a contributing factor alongside postpartum depression. Parents need to adjust to the new demands of parenthood.

 

Proper treatment is hard to find, only 18% of women receive advice regarding possible changes to their sexuality after childbirthThis is because the mind plays a huge role in sexuality. Giving new parents the space to speak about their feelings and have psychosexual education and support helps. I like to see myself as a detective, working to 'unpack' a few contributing factors and working on communication and support, as often this situation can result in tension, frustration, anger, and marital conflict. Working with the couple as a team works a treat.

 




Want to find out more about Sexual Health and Relationships? Head here to find Chantelle's Blog.