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We All Deserve Sexual Pleasure

Dr. Hannah Warshowsky
Whether you are single, in a committed relationship, casually dating, or ethically non-monogamous- we all deserve sexual pleasure! Sexual pleasure goes beyond physical pleasure but also includes emotional and psychological wellbeing. It is about feeling comfortable in your own body, stating your boundaries and desires as well as having satisfying sexual experiences. 


What can you do to focus on sexual pleasure?

 1. Remember the journey is the destination

The above quote is a corny line from a t-shirt I had in high school. But the principle remains true when thinking about sexual enjoyment. If you only focus on the “destination” of sex (i.e. orgasm) it can often lead to stress and performance anxiety. However, by focusing on the “journey” of sex, such as enjoying the different types of touch and sensations, it will result in more sexual enjoyment. It’s hard- but try to stay unattached to a particular outcome and try to stay present with your senses in each moment.

2. *Try* to quiet your mind

Your mind will inevitably wander when you are masturbating or having sex. It’s easy to think about your never-ending task list, your next meal, or if your sexual partner is enjoying themselves. When you notice your mind is wandering try channeling your inner google map and “recalculate” back to the present moment. Avoid scolding yourself or fixating on your wandering mind, just try to gently redirect yourself back to your body and five senses.

3. Use your Voice and use Toys!

Research shows that moaning and vocalizing during sex is associated with greater sexual enjoyment1.  Whether you are enjoying some solo sex, having partnered sex or having sex in a group making our pleasure heard is a turn on for ourselves and our partner(s).  Research additionally shows that using sexual toys is related to improved sexual satisfaction2 across all genders3.

4. Focus on CLITeracy (if this applies to you/your sexual partners)

The overwhelming majority of people with vulvas/vaginas need direct clitoral stimulation for an orgasm4. Intercourse or penetration alone will not cut it. Spending time to enjoy direct clitoral stimulation as “center play” not just “foreplay” is essential to sexual pleasure.

And finally….

5. Please bring up sexual pleasure in therapy!

You don’t have to be in “sex therapy” to talk about sex in therapy! Therapists are trained to talk about personal and vulnerable topics, so why not make sex one of those topics? Especially since some of the common reasons that get people in the door for therapy (anxiety, depression, relationship stress, body image concerns, identity exploration, and relationship stress) can have sexual components. Your sexual pleasure is worth prioritizing!



“You don’t have to be in “sex therapy” to talk about sex in therapy! Therapists are trained to talk about personal and vulnerable topics, so why not make sex one of those topics?”

Dr. Hannah Warshowsky

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  1. Babin, E. A. (2013). An examination of predictors of nonverbal and verbal communication of pleasure during sex and sexual satisfaction. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30(3), 270-292.
  2. Davis, C. M., Blank, J., Lin, H. Y., & Bonillas, C. (1996). Characteristics of vibrator use among women. Journal of Sex Research, 33(4), 313-320.
  3. Reece, M., Herbenick, D., Sanders, S. A., Dodge, B., Ghassemi, A., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2009). Prevalence and characteristics of vibrator use by men in the United States. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6(7), 1867-1874.
  4. Mintz, L. B. (2017). Becoming cliterate: Why orgasm equality matters–and how to get it(p. 288). New York: HarperOne.

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