“Women aren’t as interested in sex as guys.”
“She isn’t turned on unless she’s wet.”
“Every woman loves these moves.”
I recently polled a group of women on Twitter who didn’t hesitate to tell me they are over sexual stereotypes. After all, there are a lot of schools of thought on what it takes to satisfy women in bed. Sure, there are some universal truths. But there are also plenty of fallacies out there. Three in particular really got to them, and not in a good way.
Here’s what struck me as I thought about what they had to say.
Thankfully, society’s thinking about sexuality is evolving. We know that women and their vulvas have unique wants and needs. We know that neither our femininity nor womanhood is linked to the fact that we have vulvas. Yet, stereotypes have decided for us how we are aroused, how much sex drive we have (or not), and what it takes to excite us. It’s time for us to break down these assumptions. Ready?
It’s time to get out of the box and allow for more authentic pleasure and connection. Here are the three common sexual stereotypes we need to put to bed.
Stereotype #1: Penis Owners Have a Higher Sex Drive
Dr. Wednesday Martin, anthropologist (and regular guest on Sex With Emily), often tells us that today’s sexual science paints a very different picture of women than we previously had. Twitter was quick to agree.
@sexwithemily: Talk to me, vulva owners. What’s a sexual stereotype about you that you want to challenge?
@VanilllaaBeannn: That we don’t like sex as much as our penis-owning counterparts. I’ve found my sex drive to be higher than most men I’ve dated and I’m much more sexually open. I do think there’s more shame around sex for us, though. It really depends on the person
@realclassyb: That we don’t like or want sex, but people with penises want it all the time.
@juniperjessi: That we don’t like sex as much as our penis-owning counterparts. We do.
There are many reasons we assume that men want sex more often than women. If you’re interested in learning why, check out Wednesday’s book Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free.
For now, however, please don’t assume that women are naturally less sexual than men. And for goodness sake, please don’t assume that a woman in the midst of perimenopause or menopause has sworn off sex. It’s beyond time that we retire that stereotype. Historically, women’s sexual health has been associated with “fertility.” Let’s be real, though… we’re not just having sex to get pregnant. Sex feels good.
Stereotype #2: We’re Only Turned on if We’re Wet
It’s time to rethink this assumption too:
@VerdeAlyceOF: That we have to be dripping wet to have an orgasm, and if we cum without getting wet it means we “faked it”. Sometimes my pussy just doesn’t get that wet and that’s pretty normal for me. I’m still turned on! A lot of guys have accused me of faking orgasms because of this.
For ages, the belief about arousal has been this: vulvas get wet, and penises get hard. But, we seem to be forgetting something. Any person, male or female, can self-lubricate when they’re aroused.
And, did you know that both guys and gals (yes, you read that correctly) can get erect when aroused? When vulvas are engorged with blood, they swell and harden. Pre-ejaculate lubricates penises. Now, just because both sets of genitals can do these things doesn’t mean they always do. Lubrication depends on a bunch of factors for women, such as their hormone levels that day, the timing of their menstrual cycle, and, since it impacts estrogen, which affects lubrication, whether they’re in perimenopause or menopause. So, there you have it. Just because a woman isn’t super “wet” when having sex, that doesn’t mean they aren’t all in.
It does mean, though, that it’s worth checking out a lube assist like Playground’s Love Sesh or Mini Escape. I personally love these lubes because they contain vitamin E and other ingredients that nourish the vulva’s sensitive skin. These lubes keep everything healthy and supple, even when you’re not having sex. Again, though, if a woman you’re trying to please isn’t already slippery, it probably isn’t something you are (or aren’t) doing. Just reach for some lube and keep on goin’.
Stereotype #3: There’s a Silver Bullet to Pleasing Women in Bed
Everyone has a few “surefire” moves tucked away in their back pocket. Do those moves work on everyone? Well, not exactly.
@DianeNeedsDick: There is no 1 formula that will make every girl orgasm. And definitely stop trying out the kinky shit you see in porn after your first meeting.
@kimberlylouvin: That what felt great last time will definitely feel great this time or that mine is the same as someone else’s so doing the same thing will work the same.
@tashmurphy_au: That every vulva owner enjoys being fingered. It’s such a subjective thing and it’s very easy to contract UTIs or get cuts if someone has unwashed hands or sharp nails.
Right on. Turn-ons are different for everyone, so maybe automatically doing the thing that made your last partner moan isn’t the best idea. Collaborating is a better one. Asking sexy open-ended questions like “What are you into?” “How does this feel” and “Where do you want me to touch you?” will help you get the necessary intel.
Caveat. If your partner is asking, please know it’s okay if you’re still figuring out what you like sexually. Especially if you’re in menopause or another phase of life change. Be creative and open. Toys, vaginal moisturizers, and supplements can help you tap into your sexual preferences. Remember, what was amazing when you were 20 may be different than what rocks your world now. That’s totally normal!
Want another way to let your partner know what turns you on? If you have a regular solo sex practice, try experimenting with different types of touches and arousal methods (audio erotica or ethical porn anyone?) and simply observe yourself in your pleasure. You’ll be able to communicate oh so much more effectively.
Ready to replace outdated sexual stereotypes with communication and curiosity? Keep reading and learning. A great place to start is with my book, Smart Sex - How to Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure. And while you’re at it, join Playground’s newsletter to stay updated on intimacy, wellness, and sexual health in our up-for-fun blog about getting down.