Throughout my early adolescence, I was never encouraged to self-pleasure and this is something I now know that many women have also experienced. When it came to having sex for the first time, I did not realize how important masturbation and self-pleasuring are for women to enjoy sex. Most women have heard about the infamous “G-spot” or Gräfenberg spot, which was coined by Addiego et al. in 1981, even though Gräfenberg’s work took place in the 40s. He characterized the G-spot as an erogenous area of the vagina that, when stimulated, may lead to strong sexual arousal, powerful orgasms, and potential female ejaculation. What many people don't know is that his claims were tested on far too many subjects and not supported with enough biological or anatomical evidence. This miraculous G-Spot has not only made women feel insufficient in their ability to orgasm, but the location of the G-spot would be targeted by a male partner. Gräfenberg’s discovery reinforced this idea that a woman needs a partner in order to have an orgasm. As a result, many women were discouraged from self-exploring, as this wasn’t common practice.
With a better understanding of the female body, we know that achieving an orgasm can come from a variety of methods. Nevertheless, due to this historical understanding of the vulva and society's expectation of women and sexuality, exploring my own body was never encouraged by doctors, textbooks or even amongst my peer group. My only understanding of an orgasm was based on the inaccurate understanding of Gräfenberg’s finding and as a result, I internalized this as the need for a partner if I wanted to achieve an orgasm. This perception really made my first sexual experience extremely uncomfortable and foreign. I did not understand how to stimulate, finger, or foreplay on my own to please myself, how was I supposed to do this with someone else?
After having different partners and becoming interested in self-pleasuring, I have begun to understand the importance of knowing one's own body and how to please oneself in order to ultimately have fulfilling and great sex.
These are a few things I wish I did before having sex for the first time. If I could go back I would, because as much as I felt ready mentally, from an anatomical perspective I didn’t understand enough about my own vulva and vagina to have great sex from the start.
This is why I should have masturbated before I had sex:
I would have understood my own personal anatomy
Vulvas and vaginas are two different organs and both can help you achieve an orgasm, you just have to play around and figure out what works for you
I would have known what I enjoyed doing for myself
Enjoy self-exploration, take your time with this so you know exactly what you want, this will give you the ability to clearly and confidently articulate what you want to your partner
Would have had a better and more confident experience with sex
Understanding my own body better would have made me feel more confident in sharing intimate body parts with my partner for the first few times
I Would not have placed my sexual exploration in the hands of anyone but myself
When you know how to do it yourself, having a partner becomes the icing on the cake, not the cake itself
I think the most important thing to take away from this is that sex is not only with a partner but with yourself. Holding that experience solely with another person does not always give you the opportunity to explore exactly what pleases you and what you want. As a young woman, I wish there was a forum of young women to tell me that I have agency over my body, my orgasms, and it is not up to my partner to provide me with these experiences, it is ultimately up to myself to explore my body safely and overtime to decided how I want to share sex and what is good for me.
If you want to hear other women's experiences, stories, or tips on sex? Ladies, Let’s Talk About Sex is a Montreal initiative based out of McGill Univerisity. This organization encourages women to get comprehensive and positive sex education. They host a variety of sexual health seminars led by healthcare professionals who engage in an inclusive and educational dialogue surrounding sex. They have also started their own podcast, check out the “Ladies, Let’s Talk About Sex” on Apple Podcast and Spotify every Monday for new episodes. For more information about the organization and their events, follow them on Facebook and Instagram @LadiesLetsTalkAboutSex!