9 Questions you may not want to ask your mother
In our last newsletter we looked at Sex Ed 101. This month we look at what’s happening down under. Here are 9 questions and answers about how our genitals function, keeping them healthy and increasing the amount of bliss they bring you.
1. I am unable to orgasm
Anorgasmia/Pre-orgasmia is a type of sexual dysfunction in which a person cannot achieve orgasm, even with adequate stimulation and it is far more common in females than in males (it is especially rare in younger men).
It is estimated that around 90 per cent of anorgasmia climax problems are psychological. If you repeatedly experience anorgasmia, consult with your doctor to start looking at possible physical causes.
Various diseases may lead to difficulty having orgasms -- diabetes, vascular disorders and vascular damage are a few culprits. Any old spinal injuries may also be a cause. Heavy use of alcohol, prescription or street drugs can also result in anorgasmia. Even prescribed use of certain medications such as antidepressants can contribute to this condition.
About 15% of women report difficulties with orgasm, and as many as 10% of women have never climaxed. Only 29% of women always have orgasms with their partners Statistics vary widely on the extent of the problem with men, but a range of between 1 to 10 million has been cited.
Other causes are rooted in the development of negative attitudes towards sex, sometimes from childhood. There is also a relationship between anorgasmia and childhood or adult sexual abuse or rape. Marital strife, boredom within a relationship coupled with a monotonous sex life are other known contributory factors.
Worrying about achieving or not achieving an orgasm is a sure fire way to stop it from happening. . Your body knows how to orgasm. It is the mind which blocks this natural response. Moving from performing to relaxing.
2. I have no sensation in my breasts
The breasts have the power to take woman to the deepest of orgasmic experiences. They are central to a woman’s experience of sexual ecstasy, not merely an appendage for breast feeding. Sadly many women carry complexes about their breasts for many reasons – the size, the shape, the hang, the fullness, the balance, the texture, plus all the variations possible in nipples. A lack of self acceptance creates tension and distances a woman from the delicate inner sensations present in her breasts. Emotional injuries, heartbreaks and childhood wounds can also create blocks. At first these tensions and repressed feelings can make it more difficult for a woman to feel into her breasts, until she learns to access the power within them. When a woman allows herself to fully connect to her breasts, her energy and her whole body, she begins to truly enjoy sex – sometimes for the first time.
Fortunately, as far as our body is concerned, is it never too late to start changing our approach. The body is innately sensitive and extremely sensitive to awareness. Awareness means the sensing of the body from within; it means getting in there and feeling oneself deeply on a cellular level.
In tuning into & slowly awakening the life energy of the breasts, the heart centre is activated. When a woman first begins to experience her breasts in a different way, it is possible that sadness & tears will surface. This is a sign that her breasts are beginning to cleanse and free themselves of earlier unexpressed feelings from hurts and heartbreaks that have accumulated energetically around the heart centre.
Creating new experiences also involve the cooperation of any partner to a certain extent – to encourage them to touch a woman’s breasts in a way that feels good to her, treating them with love and awe. Seeking a way that makes the body energy expand. Self massaging the breasts on a regular basis helps to reinforce the feeling of life force/chi/prana/energy present in the breasts. And they become more receptive and sensitive.
3. My penis is curved
A bent penis is an erect penis that curves to one side or the other — and in most cases, it is absolutely normal. A curved penis simply can be a result of individual anatomy. If, however, your penis has a pronounced curve or bends sharply to the left or right — especially if penetration is impossible or if an erection is painful — you should see an urologist. You may suffer from Peyronie’s disease — where scar tissue develops in the penis.
The direction that an erect penis takes depends on the proportion of crus (penis under the skin) to exposed penis. Men with a shorter crus, and thus a longer penis, are more likely to have an erection that points downward, while an erect penis that has a longer crus will probably point outward, or even straight up. Sometimes the penis also bends to the left or to the right. In the vast majority of cases, the curve falls well within the norms of most men and should not be a deterrent for a relationship.
Peyronie’s disease inflicts some men with a penis that bends so severely when it becomes erect that intercourse becomes impossible. The cause of Peyronie’s disease is unknown; in many instances, it arises as a result of an injury. In early stages of the disease, men usually experience pain associated with having an erection. Sometimes that pain begins before the actual curvature starts and serves as an early indicator of the problem.
4. How do I stop early ejaculation
Perhaps the most common issue faced by men is a lack of control over their ejaculation. Researchers have revealed that the universal average time of sexual engagement is between two and two and a half minutes. Some men are able to expand the time to fifteen minutes, others to half an hour, or even forty five minutes.
Stimulation and excitement almost always end up in ejaculation - it would be a challenge to imagine sex without excitement. The problem does not lay in the excitement per se but rather with our sexual goals and the way we manage excitement. We begin sex with a strong intention, deliberately stimulating our bodies and genitals and increasing the level of intensity until there is a peak and overflow. These tactics basically produce too much heat, usually more than the man can handle, so he boils over and discharges his life force, thereby unconsciously disempowering himself.
One significant by product or excessive stimulation is that the penis becomes less and less sensitive. To raise the intensity of sensation, tempo and frequency in our movements are increased – it all becomes mechanical.
When focus is shifted away from goals, away from ejaculation or orgasm and we become more conscious in each moment, in each movement, the unfolding of sex can become a state of awe and wonder that can last for hours.
5. I cannot maintain an erection
A lack of erection – impotence, is a deep seated fear in most men, provoking anxiety at an almost primate level. An erection cannot be forced – on the contrary, every man knows that any attempt to force an erection or even wish for one will only end in disaster. The more an erection is ‘demanded’, the further into the distance it will recede. Fear and erections simply do not go together.
An erection requires both external stimulation and internal receptiveness. It is only when a man is relaxed and feeling comfortable with his partner that he can begin to feel sexually stimulated by touch, smell, his thoughts, or a look, massage or caress. These impulses stimulate the nervous system and the erotic centres, causing the brain to release the hormones that the parasympathetic nervous system needs to become active.
When a man lets go into what he is feeling, breathing deeply, relaxing – the desired erection materialises. Removing any expectation to perform, allowing a man to simply show himself as he is, with full acceptance, chances are that the psychological issues connected to his erectile dysfunction will resolve themselves.
Soft penetration is a pure and simple alternative when there is no erection. The advantage of soft penetration is that both partners begin at zero, so to speak, allowing their temperature to warm up together and erection may take place on its own.
To promote good erections, we have to promote the flow of energy to the penis. Any man, regardless of age, can promote the supply of oxygen to his penis and maintain its elasticity through exercise. These can take the form of breath training, strengthening of the pelvic floor muscle, pelvic exercises, muscle training, body work or yoga (and others)
Until about 30 years ago, it was thought that erection problems were exclusively a result of psychological causes. More recent research has shown that in 55 to 85 percent of the cases, physical factors play a role in chronic erectile dysfunctions including high blood pressure, excessive smoking, obesity, stress, high cholesterol. Alcohol abuse, hormone dysfunctions and issues with blood flow, nervous systems and metabolism.
6. I think my labia is too large
Women can feel self conscious about their genitals and are attached to the idea of having normal ‘labia’. Both inner and outer labia keep the vagina clear of bacteria and the inner labia holds the sebaceous glands which play a part in lubrication in sex.
What is normal? As a woman matures, the vulva changes to look darker and the labia can also change – look bigger and perhaps hang lower down. Both pretty normal. Just like a penis, the size and appearance are not static. Both the inner and outer labia swell and become more sensitive when we're sexually excited, and which provide a source of sexual sensation for us and our partners. It is normal for the inner labia to extend well past the outer labia and be visible in some or all positions. It’s also normal for them not too. Like every other part, vulvas vary. Some labia are very frilly looking, while others are smoother around the edges. Variances happen because we don’t all have the exact same genetics. All are normal. All are beautiful
7. My foreskin does not pull back
Phimosis is the inability to fully retract the foreskin over the glans penis due to a narrow opening.
There are 2 different types of phimosis – Congenital is present from birth and which usually resolves with age and Acquired phimosis which can develop due to poor hygiene, forceful retraction or recurring infections
Doctors usually prescribe a weak topical corticosteroid cream to apply to the tip of the penis which helps to soften the foreskin, plus instructions for stretching exercises.
8. Sex is just too painful
Vaginsmus is vaginal tightness causing discomfort, burning, pain, penetration problems, or complete inability to allow vaginal penetration. This penetration may include sexual intercourse, certain medical examinations and tampon use.
It is caused by a reflex of the pubococcygeus muscle (PC muscle). This muscle is located at the lower end of the vagina. The reflex causes the vagina to tighten abruptly and thus make any penetration impossible or very painful. A woman suffering from vaginismus cannot control the extent of the reflex reaction. The severity of the condition will vary among women. A vicious cycle is quickly established, where continued repeated efforts at penetration worsen the muscle spasm and the degree of vaginismus becomes more extreme.
There can be both psychological and physical reasons.
Psychological problems include:
• Fear of sexual intercourse or anticipation of pain associated with penetration
• Anxiety or stress
• Partner issues such as fear of losing control, distrust
• Traumatic events such as a painful, rushed and unpleasant first sexual encounter
• Childhood experiences such as sexual abuse
Physical problems include:
• Medical conditions such as thrush, STDs, vulvodynia
• Age-related changes such as vaginal dryness secondary to menopause
• Temporary discomfort such as inadequate vaginal lubrication or inadequate foreplay
Firstly it is important to stress that this is an extremely treatable problem, with very high success rates if addressed properly. Often this is a problem which can be successfully managed by the woman herself, whether with the support of her partner or not. Once the understanding and awareness is present, a woman can begin exercising the pelvic floor muscles, reducing pelvic floor tension and gaining more control of her body. Insertion techniques can then be explored finally transition to intercourse
9. Does circumcision make a difference in pleasure for men?
The short answer is maybe, but no one knows for sure. The foreskin is full of nerve endings, so uncircumcised men may be more sensitive. Also, since the head of a circumcised penis is always exposed, it may be less sensitive than one that only comes out during erection. Despite this, there is no evidence to suggest a significant difference in sexual satisfaction or performance.
(Please note : Always consult with a doctor before embarking on any exercise.)
Karen O’Moore December 2013