Vanilla is my favourite flavour. I know, I know. I’ve studied sex, and I work in sex, so I’m meant to be interested in all different things right? Kinky things. Alternative things. I’m meant to be going over the edge into kink and Tantra; be the go-to when it comes to sex toy reviews, and know of all of the sex parties you must attend. So, here’s where things get really edgy. This is a public declaration that as a professional sexologist, vanilla is my favourite flavour of sex.
I’ve gone full circle after trying nearly all the flavours – Tantra (that’s Tantric sex), orgasmic meditation, sexual healing sessions, embodiment retreats, Taoism, and I even certified as a sexological bodyworker to come out the other side loving original flavour. Plain.
When a friend said recently, “What’s wrong with a good old Aussie shag?” I said…
When you start learning about sex, there is a tendency to go all out and down a rabbit hole of self-exploration. It is never demanded that we do this as sexuality practitioners, but naturally curiosity usually wins when it comes to the hunger to know and live as deeply as possible. Sexuality has such an allure, and it can become addictive
That’s where Tantra comes in. Tantra and its subsidiaries have cornered me into pressure and expectation. As a youngling, I was inspired. I had bug-eyes. Now as a wise sex professional, all I feel is not enough because there is some elusive pinnacle that I need to strive towards. If I don’t want to be striving and trying to achieve in my sex life, I definitely don’t want my clients to either. Chasing the elusive is completely misaligned with my ethos.
Pressure is the antithesis to sexuality.
Despite all the options to learn how-to over the years, I still have a strong resistance to learning how to switch my trusty clitoral orgasms for deep vaginal ones. Or revelatory cervical ones (scary that opening my cervix was encouraged during my second pregnancy!). Or enticing nipple ones. Or full body ones. I just can’t be bothered. More troubling is that the old ‘clitoral orgasms are inferior’ mentality is well and truly thriving in the Tantric community, and this disgruntles me. Didn’t we abandon that highly damaging and oppressive belief system mid last century? The biggest inconsistency about Tantra is that it’s advertised as a come as you are approach but so much of the undercurrent is about striving higher and unlocking a code. And to get the code, you need to be part of a club.
My burning questions to everyone out there is:
What if what you are doing right now already feels really good?
What if investing your time into changing your pleasure pathways results in feeding the not good enough mentality? Millions feed this mentality all day long.
When I realised that I felt annoyed about Tantra, I decided to move on and get real with myself. I’m a mama of 2 with a 7-seater wagon in the ‘burbs that was not having hours of Tantric sex and multiple orgasms. I looked back and questioned how big a discrepancy there was between some of what I endorsed in my practice as a sexologist and all the shortcuts I took in my own sex life. I wasn’t living Tantra because it wasn’t real to me. If it isn’t tangible to me, it’s not tangible to those that I help in sexuality coaching. There’s a problem there.
Here’s what I don’t like about Tantra:
+ The (mis)use of the word energy. The best thing I ever learnt was to try and avoid using that word. It’s too big, unclear and vague. When you are describing a personal experience in your body and you can’t use the word energy, everything changes. Notice when you can’t resort to the word energy how you have to become clearer on what it is you are experiencing, feeling and sensing.
+ Complex processes to reach transcendental experiences. I can tell you now that the instructions to have a full body orgasm are not easy to follow. Reading pages of a recipe and trying to go inwards simultaneously is really not sexy.
+ The multiple definitions of Tantra, the myriad interpretations of it and the spectrum of practitioners. How can we discern what and who is honourable and has integrity and what and who doesn’t? The best advice Danielle LaPorte gave at her Brisbane event recently was ‘if they feel creepy, they are creepy’. Danielle, where were these words for me 5 years ago??
+ The terminology and language that does not accurately depict what it is being conveyed. It’s elitist in many ways and creates separation rather than its purported connection. If one more person says to me that they are going to hold space, feel their energy or that they need to call in more Shakti/Shiva I am simply going to ask, what do you mean?
+ Coercion under the guise of learning and expanding. It is time for me to own that I have said yes way too many times under the guise of learning more and going deeper into Tantra, spirituality and embodiment. I consciously ignored the feelings of that’s not right in order to learn more about myself and my sexuality. Coercion happens when people tell you to use your intuition but are all the while manipulating and withholding information from you to generate a desired outcome. Hint: it is for their gratification, not your self-discovery. Over the years, my naivety and hunger to learn had me disregarding what my gut was saying. I have been in spaces where consent (a persons ‘yes’) was not sought. I have been in spaces where people were pushed to express way beyond their comfort zone. When this happens, people feel unsafe and unprocessed trauma can re-emerge. Lastly, because of my adoration for some of my former role models, I feel a sense of shame for all the times where I may of pushed a client in the name of exploration. If this is you, I am sorry.
I’ve tried not to eye roll when I hear classic Tantra exercises conveniently inserted as an answer to women’s questions about their feelings towards their partner. They consistently fail to address the underlying issues.
The real issues with sex in heterosexual relationships are these:
+Women still feel pressured to have sex when they don’t want to
+Women still feel that they need to be someone they are not in the bedroom
+Women are so far from relaxed and easy going in their daily lives that it is challenging to switch into sexy mode
+Women are asking for clear communication skills that work
+Women want to have the desire to have sex and initiate. I still can’t find the word initiate/instigate or concept of how to initiate in my Tantra books so I will write it myself in detail one day.
Here’s what really works for you and your partner to get comfortable with sexuality:
+ Speaking candidly with someone that you trust about where your sexuality has been and where you would like it to go. Someone who isn’t going to jump in and ask you to aim higher or say that a certain route is the only solution. They should help to wade you into the waters of discovery and follow your comfort. If you are uncomfortable in sex then you are probably uncomfortable talking about it so taking that step is a BIG deal.
+ Looking at your life outside of sex. Thoroughly. It isn’t very sexy but it is vital. There is no way you can let go in sex if you can’t let go in non-sexual experiences. There is no way you or your partner can surrender and be all femme power in sex if you/they don’t feel pleasure with touch, food, fun and laughter, or feel depleted from giving so much energy away.
+Learning how to de-compress without the expectation of having a regular practice. It doesn’t have to take long. You should also be taught how to bring your anxiety down in your body and be taught how to feel more alert if you are overly depressed/asleep in your body (and you want to have sex).
+ Incorporating a fresh outlook on your sex life as it is now and making it more satisfying in a realistic way. This is best done by looking first at what really isn’t working and where your no is. I have touched on this in a previous post about boundaries.
+Encouragement of ownership through accurate information about the anatomy and simple communication skills that you can incorporate into your bedroom. When you can accurately name the parts of your body, you embody confidence through self knowledge. When you can say what you want “I would really love it if you could suck X” , you’re empowered.
I had a client come to see me two years ago to explore vaginal orgasms. I gave her some ideas and at the end of session 2, and then I just paused. Probing any deeper was going to feel like pushing. Speaking off-the-cuff, I said, “You are enough. You don’t need to be here any more”. With tears streaming down her face, she said “thank you”. That was all that her sexuality needed.
And my best guess is that your sexuality, and maybe your partner’s, needs to hear this too.
Header image via: Ilya Ilyukhin
Lauren White is a qualified Sexologist and founder of Sexosophy : a space for women to feel safe in the discovery of their optimal sexual pleasure and wellbeing through private sessions and group programs. You can follow Lauren on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or visit her website for more information about her programs.