The media would have us believe that there are two types of women. Either you’re uptight and prudish, withholding sex as a means of control (or just not getting any at all); or you’re the smouldering temptress, all ruffled hair, red lips and effortless seduction.

So either you’re getting sex round the clock or you’re a dried up well. Apparently the only time you can combine those two things is when you’re a sexy librarian letting down her hair at the start of a porno. Anyone else tired of this old schtick?

Well it’s time to put those theories to rest and embrace our sexuality. No I’m not just talking about styling your hair like you’ve had a romp in the sheets or slapping on some red lipstick and calling it a night, I’m talking about getting back in touch with our bodies and starting to enjoy sex again - all the way to orgasm.

While there is a bit of a damaging myth that is constantly getting brought up that women don’t need sex or that we don’t think about it, there are times in all of our lives where our libido is feeling low and it seems easier to skip sub-par sex in favour of sleep. This might be how that myth got its legs, but rather than skipping it altogether we really should be trying to turn that ho-hum pounding into something more mind-blowing. We need to work on experiencing pleasure.

We might not be ruled by the sight of a pair of boobs, but our bodies thrive on the same type of physical release as men and great sex can help clear our minds, relieve stress and can even help to cure your headache (so throw that excuse out the window).

Plus it just feels damn good.

Basically we want to be having sex like we did in our youth, or at least with the same levels of enthusiasm and a hell of a lot more knowledge about how to flick our switches and get to feel that rolling pleasure that gives us that much needed release.

The importance of pleasure

Our bodies crave pleasure. Yeah, that’s not some amazing breakthrough - we like things that feel good. I can hear your sarcastic slow clap right now.

But it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

Pleasure can come from hedonistic pursuits such as junk food, drugs or a good romp in the sack, but it can also help to relieve pain and distract us from stress - even taking an aspirin to relieve a headache can have a pleasurable effect on our body, just probably not as much as if you combined the aspirin with 30 minutes of passionate love making.

If you’re denying yourself pleasure - or just plain missing out on it - your brain and body will try to get it from somewhere else, which can be one factor that leads to us eating like crap until it doesn’t make us feel good anymore or overusing drugs and alcohol. Our bodies want to get that high that they experience from pleasure any way it can, so we need to direct that energy towards something that will make us feel good without any negative side effects.

This is where your orgasm comes into the equation.

What do orgasms do to our brain

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Female orgasms have always been a bit of a mystery.

Whether it was doctors saying they didn’t exist and inventing vibrators to help treat “hysteria” (okay, admittedly we can all appreciate the outcome of that one!) or the ongoing debate about about the G spot, there seems to a lot of focus on the technicalities of the female orgasm and less on how it actually feels.

It’s like arguing over the existence of the Loch Ness Monster and ignoring the beast splashing around in the shallows.

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Our brain releases dopamine and endorphins in response to anything that brings us pleasure as a sort of internal reward. These chemicals in our brain affect our mood, as well as our ability to focus and regulate our stress levels, which affects more than our time between the sheets and actually has a massive effect on our day to day lives.

The amount of these chemicals that are released depends on a number of factors including how much of the stimulus we’re having, how long we experience it for and our state of mind going in. So while we might have the same types of chemicals coursing through our brain when we eat a small piece of delicious chocolate it is not going to have the same effect as a prolonged and pleasurable sexual experience.

Have you ever not been in the mood and had the type of sex where you thought, let’s just get this over with? Rather than giving in to the act and working together to bring yourself some pleasure you just lie there, wondering what the hell he’s doing with his hands and when you can go back to sleep.

Well those unsatisfying sexual experiences aren’t going to bring you the neurological reward your brain and body craves, but will make your stress and anxiety build up in your body while your brain starts to think that sex isn’t going to give it the release that it needs.

Don’t let that happen because your body definitely needs that orgasm.

The different stages of your orgasm

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When we orgasm it is an intricate experience rather than a one second release. There are different stages to your orgasm that build up over time together and can be repeated when you experience multiple orgasms (although usually much, much faster than the original one because you’re able to skip phase one).

There are four stages to your orgasm:

  1. Excitement
    This is when you first start getting aroused. Your heart beats faster, your breath quickens and you start feeling the blood rush to your sexual organs in anticipation.

  2. Plateau
    This can be the part of the sexual experience that a lot of women get stuck on and can’t move past. The feelings from the excitement phase get stronger and you have increased sensitivity in your vagina, clitoris and nipples that brings you right to the brink (don’t let it stop there though!).

  3. Orgasm
    Yep it’s time for the big O. You experience involuntary muscle contractions and spasms plus the sudden release of that sexual tension, and of course the release of dopamine and endorphins in your brain filling you with a sense of joy and ease.

  4. Resolution
    This is usually when you get sleepy and start going back to your usual heart rate, however with continued stimulation in this phase some women can achieve multiple orgasms.

To get through all four stages you need a combination of the right mindset (so no doing your taxes in your head) and correct stimulation. This means you should be active, assertive and vocal in the process so that you can both achieve the sexual release you need. You know that he’s going to have an orgasm so you should get one too.

How you can reconnect with your sensual side

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Our knowledge of experiences tends to heighten our enjoyment of the experience itself. We might like a glass of wine more if we know it was expensive or find ourselves in awe over a famous painting that we’ve seen reproduced a million times just because we’re told we’re standing in front of the original.

In the same way our sexual experiences can only become better when we learn more about how to bring ourselves pleasure - both alone and with your partner.

Have you ever been with a man who was trying to hit your buttons but missed them all by an inch at least? Meanwhile you kept your mouth shut and maybe let a few quiet moans slip out as a means of encouragement. Yeah I bet you didn’t have an orgasm that night.

As difficult as the idea of speaking up when something isn’t working can be, taking an active role in your own pleasure by communicating with your partner can only bring you closer as you both achieve the same level of pleasure.

If you’re struggling to get excited and really feel that pleasure then try these tips to bring that excitement back into your sex lives.

  1. Exploration
    Female masturbation is still seen as taboo and many women shy away from even admitting that they do it, but it is not only perfectly healthy and normal but it allows us to get in touch with our body and helps us to bring us closer to our partners. Having a better idea of what your body needs to achieve orgasm means that you can also share it with your partner.

  2. Voyeurism
    This can mean different things to different people, but once you’ve really explored your body the best way to share it with your partner is with an active demonstration which will no doubt lead to incredible sex. Otherwise don’t think that you can only initiate sex when you’re fully undressed or already in bed. Try getting the ball rolling when you’re out and about and prolong the excitement phase until you get all the way back home.

  3. Dress for what you want
    It can be hard to get in the mood when you’re wearing stained sweat pants and saggy undies covered in holes. Try dressing in a way that makes you feel sexy and see how it affects your desire to have sex. This can mean a slinky dress or provocative lingerie - whatever makes you feel incredible.

  4. Don’t be afraid to try toys
    Sexual toys were literally created to bring you pleasure (even if they didn’t fully understand that’s what they were doing at the time) and range from tiny little pocket gadgets to more complicated machines. Have a look online, there are not only lots of reviews but lots of companies that can deliver them to you discreetly so you don’t have to be embarrassed about going into a shop to buy one.

  5. Role playing
    The thing that makes role playing such a great experience is that it is a form of sexual pleasure that starts with communication. Even the act of sharing your idea can be enough of a turn on to get both you and your partner excited so start speaking about what you want!