Women's top 10 sex worries
Everyone worries about sex. Are you doing it right? What if your body's not supermodel-standard? Why doesn't sex feel as good as it should? We go under the covers to try and solve the top ten sex worries for women.
1. What if he doesn't like my body?
With often unattainable superbods gracing mags and media, body image has a lot to answer for and can affect your ability to enjoy sex. What's important to remember is that whatever your body shape is, your partner will be more bothered about whether you're having a good time than about your allegedly wobbly thighs or skinny arms. He's probably not perfect either but if you both relax, the sex will follow suit.
2. I'm worried about getting pregnant
Getting pregnant or catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI) are two common fears, but by using a condom your chances of either are greatly reduced. The male condom is 98% effective (when used properly). Remember to check the condom after you've had sex - if you think it has split, you may need to take the emergency contraceptive pill. Advice is also available from the Family Planning Association, Brook, or your GP (doctor).
3. I can't orgasm during sex
Sex and relationship psychologist, Dr Petra Boynton, points out that 80% of women don't orgasm through (penetrative) sex. But as films often show women coming after a few minutes of thrusting, it's easy to see why it looks like the norm. What can work is stimulation of the clitoris, so experiment by masturbating on your own then touching (and asking him to touch) your clitoris during sex. Top tip from Dr Boynton is to go on top if you want to increase your chances of having an orgasm during sex.
4. Isn't sex supposed to be amazing?
Sex is about a lot more than just penetration, so if that's all you're doing, it might not feel as 'amazing' as you expected it to. Having sex is also about kissing, touching, stroking, talking, and lots of clitoral stimulation. If your partner stops doing these things after a few minutes or isn't particularly skilled, show him what you like (which he will probably find a turn-on in itself). As Dr Boynton says, don't think of 'foreplay' and 'sex' as two separate things - they're part and parcel of the same act.
5. I'm not sure I'm ready
It's normal to feel a bit unsure about having sex, and if you're having doubts but feel like you should do it to keep him happy, it's definitely not the right time. In fact, if he's actually pressuring you, he's not ready either. Respecting your wishes and understanding your feelings also shows he cares, as well as displaying that all-important emotional maturity. When you feel ready, tell him and eliminate any potential pregnancy/STI worries by using a condom.
6. I think my vagina looks weird and flappy
Err, how many vaginas have you seen up close and personal? Being a body part that's not usually on display, it's easy to think yours is odd-looking, has a funny smell, wiry pubic hair or vaginal lips (labia) that are 'too long' or a 'strange' colour. Vaginas, likes people, come in all shapes and sizes. Lips can be big, or small. Some are hairy, others aren't. Lads who've watched porn will have seen women with shaven vaginas and small labia, but, that doesn't mean they want you to look like a porn star. Some men are actually turned off by the 'plucked chicken' look.
7. Sex sometimes hurts
There are a few reasons why it might be more 'ouch' than 'ohhh'. It could be nerves, or if you're new to sex (or it's been a while), you might not be used to it. Mainly, it could be down to a lack of foreplay and lubrication. A lubricant helps, but the key to keeping things juicy is foreplay - so lots of kissing, touching and clitoral stimulation during sex should do the trick. If sex continues to hurt, you may want to see your GP.
8. I fancy a girl - am I a lesbian?
It's common to find another woman attractive and it doesn't always mean you're gay/lesbian. Dr Petra Boynton points out you might be attracted to that particular person, to both guys and girls (bi-sexual), or it could be just girls. For some women, it can be part of a fantasy involving a particular girl or women, but you might feel it's something more serious and want to start a relationship. It's normal to have these feelings, whether you're gay, bi or heterosexual, so don't rush to stick a label on yourself.
9. Is it wrong to masturbate?
Absolutely not. It's not harmful and it's not wrong - if truth be told, it's the best way to find out what gets you going under the sheets! If you've never masturbated, start by exploring your vagina - in particular the clitoris - and you'll discover what makes you feel good. Dr Boynton notes how some girls feel they shouldn't masturbate when they're in a relationship (either alone or in front of their partner), but masturbation is actually a brilliant sex aid, so go for it.
10. I'm worried he won't want to use a condom
If you think the man should take the lead in sex, it's easy to think he calls the shots in general. Dr Boynton recommends introducing condoms in a positive way, for example: "I want to relax and not worry about getting pregnant so let's use one." If he doesn't like the sound of that, it says everything about his sexual maturity and experience (or lack of it) and has nothing to do with you being 'frigid'.
Written by Meera Dattani
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