You know that thing you are wondering about, you know, that question about sex, the thing you wish you could ask someone who actually knows what they are talking about? It might be:
- Why can't I have an orgasm?
- Why do I want sex so much?
- Why don't I want sex enough?
- Why aren't I sexually attracted to my spouse anymore?
- Is something wrong with me?
- Why am I like this?
- Am I broken?
Well, here is the #1 answer to most sex questions and if this doesn't answer yours, there's more where this came from:
"For the record: Yes, you are normal. Your sexuality is SUPPOSED to be… just the way it is. Your body is beautiful and your desires are perfectly okay. Nothing is wrong with your sexuality apart from the persistent belief that there is something wrong, either with you or with someone else. And the closer you can get to letting go of the fear that something somewhere is broken, the better your sex life will be. The secret ingredient is you." - Emily Nagoski, PhD, author of Come as You Are: the Surprising New Science that Will Change Your Sex Life. Quote taken from her blog.
I know that doesn't exactly answer all of those questions, and it might not answers yours, but I wouldn't be surprised if her book does because that is just one of many life-changing answers you'll find in Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Change Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski PhD. Nagoski holds degrees in health behavior and human sexuality and has been a sex educator for over twenty years.
I've been struggling with my sexuality for over a decade, and I've read just about every book I can get my hands on when it comes to sexual problems in marriage. Yet, I have never had a book answer my questions and speak to my personal struggle (a really common one) in a way that is as helpful as this book.
In her book, Nagoski breaks down how many of our sexual woes are generated from our culture's inaccurate understanding and misguided expectations of what sex is or should be. These ideas affect women's sexual identities and cause them to question their normalcy, especially when sexual dysfunction is involved. However, much of what we consider a problem or dysfunction isn't even abnormal. We don't know what is normal, though, because we aren't exposed tofactual ideas about sex.
- Some examples of inaccurate and negative ideas:
- Women who like sex are sinners or are innately bad.
- Women who do not want sex as much as their partners are broken.
- Normal sex involves vaginal penetration.
- Normal orgasm is achieved through vaginal penetration.
- Smart women don't like sex.
- Men who don't want a lot of sex, are broken.
- Men who want a lot of sex are jerks.
And so on and so on. When you read these ideas, you know they are not true, that they are conflicting, and or unachievable, but you are also probably familiar with them. That's because we aren't exposed to these ideas in a straightforward way that we can rebuff and move on from. They are ingrained into us through our our culture, religion, the media, education, our parents, and more from early ages. These sources are not intentionally being sex-negative, but certain messages they provide contain inaccurate and negative conclusions and we have nothing positive countering it.
Pornography, for example, is not meant to teach young people that women are supposed to be extremely orgasmic from penetration or that men have unending erections, but when their first and primary exposure to sex is from pornography, they naturally assume that's what sex is like. "According to recent data, 90% of young men age 18 have been exposed to pornography . . . Of the 90%, the average age these young men were sexualized by pornography was between 8-11 years old. Similarly, 60% of young women by the age of 18 have been exposed to porn as well." - The Novus Project.
The point is that the vast majority of people in our culture and similar cultures feel like they are abnormal when it comes to sex and this book explains why you're perfectly normal and how to deal when you're having trouble sexually. Just hearing that your experiences are normal and healthy can have an amazing impact on your sex life.
For me, the most useful tool Nagoski provides is the idea that sexual desire is not simply about wanting sex. She breaks it down into two parts, using a car's accelerator and brakes as a comparison. The accelerator is what we know of as desire, but what she compares to the brakes is an important part that people aren't aware of. Your brakes is a part of your brain looking for reasons not to have sex to protect yourself. These things can dull or eradicate desire.
We think of people as having high or low sex drives, but what Nagoski explains is that your level of desire could be due to a variety of combinations of your accelerator and brakes. You could have a high desire because you have a high accelerator, or it could be due to weak brakes. You could have low desire because of a weak accelerator or because of sensitive brakes.
This breakdown is incredibly useful for considering what is going on with your personal desire levels and what needs your attention in order to change that desire level. Plus, she includes a quiz to help you determine the strength or sensitivity of your accelerator and brakes.
My problem is lower desire in a long term relationship. I was shocked to learn it's not that I have low desire at all. I actually have a high accelerator, but really sensitive brakes, which hinders my accelerator making it seem like I have low desire. That's just one example of how this book can answer your questions and help with common or unique problems in new ways.
In other words, I highly recommend this read for any woman, or man, who is experiencing sexual problems and or who has ever felt abnormal or broken because due to sexual issues. An absolute must read!!!!
Learn more about Emily Nagoski and her other books at http://www.emilynagoski.com.