Not every vagina is a vagina, and not every person who has one is a goddess with a secret garden.
So far, we’ve gone over getting to know each other, conversation, various kinds of touch, active verbs, and getting comfortable being bored. Here are 3 more ideas for date night with the clitoris.
11. Use a vibrator (for the first time/again/differently). “Vibrator” is either a good word or a bad word, depending on the circles you travel in. I know vibrator lovers who talk about their toys the way they talk about other deliberate pleasures (chocolate, massages, vacations, bad TV, sleep). And I know folks who think of clutching a buzzing machine against their genitals to be just about the most embarrassing thing ever. Which is not to say they don’t love it too.
Many things we have to unlearn over a long time, but some things are just decisions. I think this could be one of these decisions: Let’s permanently make “vibrator” a good word, and the pleasure that comes from it acceptable in all kinds of company. I don’t know; it can happen.
Anyway, the nitty gritty is: Vibrators come in all shapes, sizes, materials, vibration strength, waterproofness, and contact possibilities. They can be used all different ways, not just on the clitoris, and not just in and out of openings. Really, you can always do something new with a vibrator.
You can vary anything and everything. Just like messing around with different kinds of touch, you can navigate a vibrator with your non-dominant hand or through different materials. If the vibration is too intense, slip a finger between the buzz and the goods (or turn it down). Use it lightly, press it hard, pulse it, hover it, change the rhythm. Put it, too, on the outside of the anus (use a vibrator with a nice wide base if you’re going inside the rectum). August is Anal Pleasure Month, so don’t say the universe didn’t give you a reminder.
If you’ve had your vibe(s) for a long time, if you didn’t love vibrators when you last tried 5 years ago, or if you’ve never understood why people love them, consider trying a new/different one every so often. Products change, and so does your body.
You can get vibrators from sex toy stores, in-person or online. More and more, condom and lube companies are pushing cheaper options (billed as “intimate massagers”) through drugstores. If your wallet allows, my vote is definitely to support independent sex stores. But if it’s between no vibrator and one from an evil corporation – I say vibrator!
Worth a mention and a round of applause is sex toy recycling – melting down old silicone friends and making new ones. The concept is quite challenging for our time; it messes with so many ideas about privacy and hygiene. But the practice is radical (and safe), and allows us to walk our talk – of both environmental conservation and busting taboos about sex.
12. Choose your words. Way back in the first post, one of the wooing ways was to talk about the clitoris and tell stories. This adds to that.
Do you have all the words you need to talk about your body in a way that feels good? If not, you could look for some (more). This pocket guide is more facetious than helpful (and wrong about “Yoni”), but you get the idea: There is room to grow.
The thing is, I have met countless people who have no comfortable way of referring to their vagina and vulva. Client after client in sexual health clinics say, My... uh... pussy – god I hate that word – it’s... [fill in issue here].
Sure, plenty of people love "pussy" as a word. They know in their hearts that what’s between their legs is their pussy and it feels oh so right. But if you’re not one of them, or if whatever word you use for your stuff makes you cringe, cry, wince, whisper, or hide, you might want to open up your options. I can’t imagine the psychic damage we sustain from not being able to call our genitals something that feels not only comfortable, but downright good and true.
Many sex educators rely on scientific terms. Words like vulva, perineum, and labia majora let us talk matter-of-factly and leak little emotion. They’re standardized, precise, and reliable. Plus, you can easily distinguish between the vulva and the vagina, which makes not only a semantic point but a political one too (though sometimes it’s just funny to lump them). So that’s one choice.
But there are many others ways to own and operate a vagina/vulva/clitoris, and just as many ways to talk about it. Junk, stuff, cunt, sex, clitty, vadge/vag, glory hole, piece, cockpit, lady parts, dicklet, vajayjay, treasure box. All of these are options.
And let me just beat this horse dead and hit the message home: Not every vagina is a vagina, and not every person who has one is a goddess with a secret garden. Your privates may be a honey pot, a daisy patch, a manhole, or junky jam. Nobody can tell you what it feels like but you. But it’s important, in my sincere opinion, that we tell ourselves something. Something deliberate. Not for pedantry but because naming is a fundamental way we call something into being.
13. Complicate things. After all this focused attention on the clitoris, the final suggestion I have is to scatter that attention. Instead of honing in on the sensations, do the opposite. Send confusing, competing, and divergent pleasure messages elsewhere, at the same time as you send pleasure through the clitoris. This can obscure sensual input and take your brain for a cognitive joyride.
The other stimulation(s) can take any form. Touch various parts of the body (nipples, lips, face, neck, inner thighs) with various parts of the body (hands, mouth, eyelashes, crotch). Play with all of the senses through flooding or deprivation (like music piped through headphones, blindfolds, breath control play). Stimulate other parts of the vulva or anus. Apply pain strategically. Create opposing sensations (hot and cold, harsh and soft, fast and slow). Move your body, against someone or something else. Get upside down and let blood rush to your head. Get more comfortable or purposefully uncomfortable.
Depending on the person, cognitive distraction can be fun too: Explain a complicated theory, solve a math problem, remember 40 random words, sing on key, find Waldo. And all the while, stay steady on the clitoris. Does this sound like torture or delight? If you’re not convinced it’s the hottest thing ever, this series (of conventionally attractive women reading their favourite erotica while being vibrator-ed to orgasm under the table) might change your mind.
“Sex tips” are welcomed currency in sex ed. People want to know what they should do or not do. At the least, they start conversations. But for the most part, folks don’t remember the specifics. You’re not supposed to. Yes, after all that, you're supposed to remember anything.
One of my favourite sayings about sex ed is that it is like hearing a song on the radio: You may not catch or remember the words, but if you liked it enough you’ll be humming the melody all week. Which brings me to:
13 + 1. Forget everything & fall in. Being a great lover – with others or by yourself – is not (just) about having great “technique”. Presence, responsiveness, and the willingness to be moved by the experience are much more important to having the kind of sex that doesn’t just get you off. Incidentally, there exists a great little video that talks about sex as a jam session that I highly recommend you watch ;).
One of my self-elected mentors is Ruth Zaporah (it’s a completely one-sided relationship), who developed a dance improvisation method called Action Theatre. Apparently, novice improvisers often break their concentration out of self-consciousness, over-thinking, trying to do the “right” thing, and boredom. Zaporah’s take is that technique and vocabulary can help, but only as tools for staying inside curiosity. In other words, the moves are not the dance; the experience is the dance.
I'd like to approach sex the same way: Develop vocabulary, cultivate curiosity, and then – let it all go and fall in. That way I can actually be there when it all goes down.