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A former licensed pharmacist with a Masters in Public Health and now a UK based sex coach and body coach, Stella’s qualified in Somatic Sex Education and Sexological Bodywork. She enables people nationally and internationally to overcome difficulties within relationships – sexual and platonic.
‘Describe your first sexual experience.’ I was at a Tantra workshop and the teacher had asked us to step into the middle of the circle and to describe our first sexual encounter. ‘Noooo...’ A good number of people started giggling, wincing, and covered their face with their hands.
Of course, it takes courage to share such an intimate experience. The reason why people were reluctant was however not entirely situational. A surprising number of people have quite negative first-time experiences, even if they are not due sexual violence.
From what I hear from clients in my Somatic Sexology practice report, many things can go horribly wrong - both people really drunk, no condoms, performance anxiety on both sides, friends/parents walking in on them, really wanting it ‘done and over with’, in order to ‘reach the goal’ to not be “virgins” any more, the guys trying to copy something they’ve seen on porn... you name it! I’ve heard it all.
So, what causes first time experiences to be so negative, and how can we make them beautiful and memorable instead?
Explore yourself alone first.
Looking at yourself in a mirror and drawing yourself - as suggested by Smile Makers - are great strategies! Bring curiosity and a sense of wonder to your self-exploration. Learn about your intimate anatomy, especially the arousal zones inside your vagina. I would suggest to initially explore with fingers and a high quality (no sugars! They can cause yeast infections) water-based lubricant for the genital area.
Imagine your partner is touching you when you touch yourself, and explore your entire body before coming to primary erogenous zones like breasts, nipples and vulva.
Take deep breaths while you are doing this. Long vibrators with a smallish circumference, especially one with a little curve towards the g-spot (like Smile Makers's Tennis Coach) can be used for external stimulation and internal exploration, but it may take some time for your vagina to open up to allow this, so don’t force anything. Women can have orgasms from a lot of different zones, so don’t stop once you’ve found your clitoris!
Don’t ever rush - learn to pace yourself, and listen to your body.
Are you able to set boundaries? Are you sure?
Ok so you got together with this hot person and things are getting really exciting. You’ve only just started making out for the first time, and are preparing to take things further. Is it the first time for both of you?
Have a little chat about your experiences. Being truthful about your experience or lack of. Give your partner some context. If you have not had sex with another person or want to take intimacy slowly for any reason, they should emphathise with where you currently are. Starting an open dialogue early on will manage expectations.
Pressure = red flag behaviour.
Don’t ever give in to physical advances you don’t want, especially if they put you under pressure, or emotional blackmail. Seeing how your partner responds to the boundaries you set will help you to build trust and mutual respect.
Lead by example and always seek consent for any sexual activity. This will also establish a healthy tone which your partner should mirror when wanting to engage in any sexual activity with you.
If you lose a partner because you set boundaries for yourself, rest assured that you are better off without them.
There will be someone else just as attractive who is kind, and respectful too.
Learn to give feedback, and communicate about likes and dislikes. Sound challenging? This doesn’t have to be as confrontational as it sounds. In fact this can be part of the pleasure and totally uncritical!
A great way to start communication about what you like and don’t like is through platonic touch.
Platonic touch = non sexual touch, which includes the buttocks, genitals and female breasts.
If this sounds like something you would like to explore suggest to your partner that you try the Betty Martin 3-Minute Game.
A bit shy? No worries! Send them this video (or this blog post!) by text message or bring up the suggestion in a casual setting on a day date. It can be as simple as “hey this looks like a fun way to get to know what we both like?” or “before we go all the way how about we do some mutual exploration?”
The 3 Minute Game has two questions, how would you like me to touch you for 3 minutes, and how would you like to touch me for 3 minutes? Then you swap around.
The receiver is the instructor. It’s your role to talk about the quality of touch, the area, the direction and the pressure. This is going to be a very handy tool to have further down the line so close your eyes and concentrate on your partner's touch. What feels good and what about it feels good ie. because the pressure is firm how you like or the speed is a good pace etc.
The giver is checking in frequently, and is inviting feedback by asking “Like this?” Be completely open to the feedback given and generously follow the receivers instructions. It is a very exciting role to be helping your partner discover new things they find pleasurable!
Make sure to be clear who the touch is for, and communicate until you get exactly what you want or better. This game is not about sexual satisfaction but about developing your ability to verbally communicate what you like and why.
This ensures you have got the same communication tools available for intimate touch encounters, and can speak about what feels good, even better, and really really nice!
Make sure to ask for consent every step of the way.
Feel free to repeat the steps as often as you like (using a timer is helpful). It’s up to you what happens next but it could be a good idea to establish before -
a)This is platonic touch exercise and we will not be going any “further” today once the exercise is finished.
b)This is a platonic touch exercise and we are open to exploring sexual touch further after the exercise is done.
Once again consent is something that can be taken away so keep talking and respect one another's limitations as something personal to them and not critical of you.
Confide in someone you trust such as your local nurse or older sibling beforehand so you are informed on using contraception correctly if this is new to you. This is a very responsible and empowering action to take.
It is important to also both be of legal age. Check what this means for your country.
As well as having adequate birth control and STI protection in place, you should both know your status regarding STI’s and your last test date if you have had any sexual activity with another person before.
You want to be in a safe, familiar place where you won’t be interrupted.
Make the space tidy and beautiful. Light some candles is a quick way to transform a regular room into a more sensual setting, just remember to keep them away from the bed.
A tidy space makes us relax, because unfinished stuff lying around may remind us of work or other things - and relaxation is conducive to feeling more, as well as really being able to focus on the sensations and our partner, instead of being distracted by what we see. For women particularly, beautiful surroundings help us feel beautiful, and shine in our feminine radiance. It can help us expand instead of recoil.
If you can, take things a step further by creating a romantic ambience.
Buy flowers and a small amount of chocolate you really like, or ask your partner to bring some. Don’t drink alcohol (if at all, one small glass of wine or equivalent only!) and don’t take substances as you want to make sure you are both able to give consent for every step of the way. Wear layers of clothing that feel nice to the skin, make you feel beautiful, and are comfortable too. Dim the lights, and play music if you like.
It’s a big occasion! Let’s put some effort into preparations.
To conclude, trust yourself and listen to your body.
Going all the way is the invitation - not the plan. Listen to your body, your partner, and their body, and if something doesn’t feel right, respect that. Ask your partner to stop and explore the feeling for a little while.
Remember you have agency. Make an agreement that each of you can opt out at any time - that is managing expectations, and is also sexy! Is it going to happen tonight, or not?
Bish UK https://www.bishuk.com/sex/ by Justin Hancock
Anatomy of Arousal, book by Sheri Winston
3 Minute Game, https://bettymartin.org/how-to-play-the-3-minute-game/ by Betty Martin
For specific questions about sexuality issues please go to my website www.StellaWithLove.com and drop me an email - I offer complimentary up to 20 min zoom consultations. Look forward to hearing from you!
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