Disclosure :: if you want to knock your socks off (trust us, you do), the book linked below and recommended in this piece is an affiliate link.
And I’m not even joking. Not even a little bit.
Please, if you are a cisgender woman (and even if you aren’t), do yourself a tremendous favor and READ. THIS. BOOK.
Oh, right. Sorry!
Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. was, at least for me, revolutionary.
Now, let me preface this by saying that my and my husband’s sex life doesn’t need saving. We maintain an open and honest dialogue and while we may have dips occasionally, it is quite healthy, thank you very much.
But, when you’ve been together for sixteen years, it’s always fun to find new ways to spice things up.
This is NOT that kind of book.
This book isn’t the Kama Sutra. Neither is it a collection of tips and tricks to keep things interesting (though it may give you some ideas).
Instead, Nagoski’s work is an in-depth exploration of the science of female sexuality and desire that is insightful, delightfully accessible, and easy to digest.
Even if your sex life is exactly what you want it to be, I found this book liberating on so many levels.
First, she opens the book with an important truth—You. Are. Normal.
Nagoski makes it clear that if you are experiencing pain or discomfort during sex then get checked out by your doctor, but otherwise, that weird thing that happened that one time when you were in a particular position?
You’ve never orgasmed with only penis-in-vagina sex?
You used to climb your partner like a tree, but now you have almost no interest in sex at all and you are frustrated because you still love them, you are still attracted to them and you desperately want to want to have sex with them, is this possible?
Also normal and yes, it is possible.
For me, the most mind-blowing part of the book was where she asks us to throw out the term “sex drive.” Instead, we should look at sex as a dual process i.e. we have a Sexual Excitation System (SE)—the accelerator responsible for “turning on” in response to sexual stimuli. And a Sexual Inhibition System (SI)—the brakes responsible for turning things off. And how they interact directly affects our sex lives.
Every person has different sensitivity on their own personal accelerator (SE) and brakes (SI). And, more importantly, your accelerator and brakes are dependent on context.
What is the context? It’s the situation in which the sexual encounter occurs, including your internal and external stress.
It’s not that you or your partner “lost” your sex drive after having the baby, it’s that the context changed.
“Okay…” I hear you asking. “But, what does this have to do with saving my sex life?”
Nagoski includes a questionnaire within the book (and a pdf if you get the audiobook) that helps you determine how sensitive your accelerator and brakes are. She gives you the knowledge that you are not broken. You are normal.
And knowledge is power, my friends.
Because that’s what this book comes down to. Power. Your power over your own sexuality.
If you aren’t happy with the way things are you can change them. You aren’t broken. There is nothing wrong with you.
Nagoski explains that the secret to a healthy, long-term sex-life and mind-blowing orgasms isn’t mastering a particular position. It’s about your connection with your partner, mindfulness, and radical acceptance of yourself, your body, and your sexuality as it is, right now.
Come As You Are, isn’t magic. Simply reading it won’t instantly make things how you want them.
But, do I think it will help?
Do I think it should be required reading, whether you have a vagina or not?