1. I feel disgusted with the idea of oral sex. Is this wrong?
Many people, teens and adults, feel this way about oral sex. Sex involves contact with organs of our body, with which most of us are not so familiar. Genitals – the vulva, vagina, penis, and testicles – are parts of our body that many of us may feel ashamed for or disgusted with. This has to do with the culture of our environment and the messages we receive. In fact, many people have never been taught the exact, official name of these body parts. We learn very early in life the names of our knee, our elbow etc, but the penis or vulva are called variously e.g. the “bird”, the “flower” or the one “down there”… There is also a list of «bad» words to describe them! So, it is even our language expression that reflects shame and disgust about our genitals.
However, it is not the way we are born – none of us feels disgust or shame about e.g. our elbows or knees! Another reason why we may experience disgust for the genitals is that they are close to the urethra, the opening from which urine goes out. The idea of putting your mouth “down there” may not be comfortable for you… It is important to respect our feelings and instincts for specific sexual practices. Not all people feel good in trying certain sexual experiences at all times, and this is perfectly normal. Our sexual repertoire changes and evolves over time, as does our desire to try new practices, and this depends on both the relationship we are in and our own personal sexual development and exploration. If you still do not feel comfortable trying oral sex, you do not need to force it on yourself. If your partner cares for you, she/he will respect your limitations and desires, and will try something against your will. Thus, negative feelings of “disgust” may decrease over time. Many people try with some reservation at first and the response of their partner is so positive that motivates them to try again. Oral sex is a potentially pleasurable sexual practice, both for the person who offers it and for the person who receives it. But no practice offers pleasure without mutual consent!
2. Can one reach orgasm only from the preliminaries?
Yes! Of course one can! Any form of physical, sexual touch or irritation can lead to orgasm. In fact, the belief that orgasm can only be achieved by penetrating the vagina is scientifically untrue. Many people with female genitals (vagina) report that penetration alone is not enough and that they need some kind of rubbing or irritation of the clitoris to experience orgasm. There are about 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris that connect to the brain’s sexual response centers, and so it makes perfect sense for the clitoris to be so important for orgasm. If sufficiently stimulated, clitoris can offer orgasm, without the need for vaginal penetration. Respectively, oral irritation and hand irritation may be sufficient for the penis to lead to orgasm. Regardless of gender and genitals, many areas of the human body are erogenous and contribute to the experience of orgasm. For example, nipples, thighs and neck are zones from which people often report that they derive pleasure and are sexually aroused. Each one of us is unique and not all find the same stimuli equally irritating. That is why it is important to ask about the kind of touch that is most enjoyable for your partner. So, if there is mutual respect and enthusiastic consent, the preliminaries can easily lead to orgasm!
3. How will I know if I have reached orgasm? What will I feel and how does this differ from simple pleasure?
Great question! In fact, this is a question that concerns not only teens and young adults, but also adults of all ages, as we have never been taught what orgasm is and how it happens. At the biological level, the key feature of orgasm is involuntary muscle contraction. We will explain immediately what this means! In the area around our genitals, there is a muscle system that has many important actions. One of them is to help the concentration of sperm in the penis and ejaculation, as well as the flexibility of the vagina during sex, so that it receives the penis, fingers or other sexual practice without pain. If the muscles are tight, either due to stress and anxiety, or due to some other physical condition, it is possible for the person to experience pain during penetration. During orgasm, the pelvic floor muscles, as they are called, contract repeatedly, resulting to the feeling that the body it is being penetrated by many small electric shocks. Although muscle contractions occur in all individuals, each of us experiences orgasm differently. Here comes the emotional side of orgasm. Some people describe that they see fireworks, that they see “butterflies” or feel them in their stomach, that they feel their heart is ready to break, or that they feel their mind is empty or exploding. As you can see, the descriptions and experiences vary. Orgasm creates a strong feeling of closeness to the partner or the feeling that “they become one”. This of course presupposes a sense of security, trust, and respect but also consensus throughout sex, at the beginning, middle, and end.
It is important to mention that the purpose of every sexual act and experience is to please the people involved and it ends when they all feel satisfied. Orgasm is not an end itself, it does not prove or certify the abilities of partners and the quality of sexual intercourse. The time and if a person will experience orgasm depends on biological, emotional, family and social factors, that is, the beliefs that exist around sexuality at home, at school, in religion, and in society in general. For example, women are often discouraged from exploring their sexuality, people with homosexual or trans sexual orientation are also discouraged from accepting their sexuality. Discouragement makes it difficult for young people to derive pleasure from their sexual experiences, so they need more time and personal work to eliminate social stereotypes and experience orgasm.
EXPERT GROUP «ALL ABOUT SEX»
- Charis Asvestis, Andrologist-Urologist
- Chrysoula Iliopoulou, MSW/MEd Psyhcotherapist, Clinical Sexologist
- Vasia Bouba, Psychologist MSc
- Athanassios Thirios, Adolescent Health MSc
- Efthalia Tzila, Child Psychiatrist MSc
- Artemis Tsitsika, Asoc. Professor of Pediatrics-Adolescent Health, University of Athens
- Panagiotis Christopoulos, As. Professor of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, University of Athens