What’s National Orgasm Day all about then?
Tell us more about this 'orgasm' you speak of...
Today is National Orgasm Day which for us involved going down to an O-Face photo booth to have our orgasm faces (faked, we hasten to add) recorded for posterity (or as long as Instagram lasts). The event was organised by the sex positive brand Lelo, who bring Swedish design qualities to their sex toys and also their Hex condoms, which are made from graphene hexagons which makes them super-stretchy, super thin and virtually impossible to rip or roll off. Their shit is good. And supposed to be used as aids to communication and, yep, better orgasms for all concerned.
We spoke to psychosexual and relationships expert Kate Moyle to find out more National Orgasm Day, Lelo, and what men need to know about the Big ‘O’ that isn’t Roy Orbison…
What is National Orgasm Day and why is it important?
National Orgasm Day is 31st July and is part of the sex positive movement to break down the stigma and taboo around talking about sex, and to bring it to mainstream conversation more. Sex education and conversation are the key to things moving towards a more progressive attitude towards sex and sexuality and a day like this in its informal style of getting people talking is the perfect way to break down barriers around the subject.
Do men need to know more about orgasms? Both female and male?
Everyone needs to know more about orgasms, not just men. We need to educate everyone to make a real shift and change. We also know that sex and orgasms are more than just a purely physical experience which is why mental health and wellbeing can impact our sex lives; so it’s not all just about the physicality what we are doing, but also how we understand and feel about it too.
What are some of the common misconceptions about orgasms?
That it’s a requirement to orgasm every time that you have sex, and that it’s your partner’s ‘job’ to make you orgasm. Sex is a shared experience and both partners should be responsible for their own pleasure and being able to communicate that to each other and help to bring themselves to orgasm. What I’m not talking about is issuing an instruction manual but helping to encourage or dissuade each other about what you like such as speed or pressure and the part of the body that you enjoy being touched. Often as Psychosexual Therapists we talk about communication as lubrication, what we don’t want to be doing is being with a partner and stuck in our thoughts about wishing they would do something differently, it’s better for both of you if you show or tell them with positive encouragement. One of the biggest predictors of orgasm is being in the moment and experiencing pleasure, coupled with the body and mind being aroused. Touch or what we commonly call foreplay ( although there are forms of sex which are non-penetrative ) is an important part of the body’s warm up process for sex.
What can men do to improve their approach to sex in general?
The same rule applies to both men and women – get to know your body and what you like. Explore with touch all over your body, the skin is our largest erogenous zone and what you may find that really turns you on is a part of the body not normally linked to sex being touched, e.g. the ears or the neck. Anticipation is our most natural aphrodisiac, so playing and teasing is also great for turning each other on. In general a more sex-positive approach to sex is good for everyone though, go on a mission to educate yourself by listening to podcasts about sex, reading about sex and watching Ted Talks. If as a man you want to understand more about the female sexual anatomy then there are great resources such as OMGYes which actually show you different ways to stimulate a woman with videos, based on research from the famous Kinsey Institute. Don’t be afraid of sex, if there is something you have questions about or don’t know then find the answers. So often we fear that it means something about us that we don’t know, or that we should be embarrassed or ashamed that we don’t know everything about sex. The truth is – nobody knows everything about sex, and we have to re-educate ourselves every time we are sexual with a new person as it’s so individual.
Are orgasms about quality not quantity?
Sex is all about quality and not quantity. Everyone wants to have better sex and the way to get that is healthy exploration, conversation and education.
In the past it seems to be that men didn’t care about female orgasms, now lots of men feel pressure to give their partners orgasms – do you think that’s true? And if so, what can they do to change their mindset?
The challenge is that men’s sexuality has always been more understood and researched (Viagra being the perfect example, we still have no comprehensive female equivalent) but women’s sexuality and sexual pleasure has historically been hidden. Now there has been a real turn around and female sexuality and sexual pleasure is more in the mainstream and we see actually that there is a much bigger market with for example sex toys for women. The internet has also completely changed our access to information and many women are talking about sex and pleasure more so people have realised that it’s ok to expect and ask for it, which it is. The result of this is that many men do feel under pressure, the sex that we also see on the media and online is often idealised and un-realistic which doesn’t help as an accurate measure of our own sexuality and sexual ability. The way to shift the mindset around this is to think of sex as a mutual and shared experience, not one where the pressure is all on one party. Playing together and consensually exploring when it comes to sex, treating it as playful and fun rather than under pressure is how it should be, and if you are still struggling then there is always help available.
Can you tell us about Lelo’s approach in all this?
Lelo is a sex-positive brand with a focus on pleasure for all, and educating about sex and sexuality in an open way. We aim to help people achieve the pleasure and get the sex lives that they want, whether with themselves or with a partner. We also hope to help change the landscape of sensuality by always learning and being lead by curiosity, with a desire to explore and refine the space where digital technology and human sensation intersect.
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