It turns out that when people are quarantined for months on end, we have a lot of time to contemplate our desires and what our lives look like.
This month’s Q&A gets to the heart of so many of the big questions that people have asked me recently. These questions focus on understanding your desires, figuring out that one thing your body is doing, and coping with feelings of unworthiness.
If you’ve been getting curious about your sexuality and are uncovering some questions, we want to hear them! Send an email to [email protected] or hop into my Instagram DMs @FeministSexEd and I may answer your question in an upcoming Q&A.
My mid-summer reminder for all of you is that you are always learning, unlearning, and growing. Keep being curious about who you are and who you can be. You deserve the attention!
I haven’t figured out what I like yet when it comes to sex. How do I experiment?
Learning about the things that excite you sexually is a lifelong process. Many of us approach our sexuality as something that should be set in stone by the time we’re [insert random number] years old.
That mindset is pretty limiting. So many things can affect our sexual desires throughout our lifespan (like health, relationships, work, if we have children, the political climate, and mental health, just to name a few) and it’s completely normal for those things to shift.
So what should you do when you feel like you’re on uncertain ground? Play.
Your sexuality is yours, and while yes, you should take your health, boundaries, and pleasure seriously, you should also give yourself plenty of space to play and explore your sexuality on your own and without judgment. Self-judgment only works to inhibit your sexual pleasure, so do what you can to quiet that voice in your head.
Here are some things that can help you figure out what turns you on and excites you:
- Think about scenes from movies or TV shows that made you get horny. What was happening that turned you on?
- Watch porn. You should always pay for your porn (for queer-inclusive and body-positive porn, I recommend Pink & White Productions). Watching different clips can give you ideas of what turns you on and what things you might want to try. Just remember, porn actors are professionals working on a set, so don’t judge your sexual finesse against theirs.
- Read or listen to erotica. If watching porn feels overwhelming or intimidating for you, reading or listening to erotica can feel like a more relaxed arousal journey. If audio erotica is more your speed, try Dipsea. If you prefer to read, there’s a ton of content available to you both in print and online— even fan fiction!
- Touch yourself without planning to cum. It might seem counterintuitive to engage in erotica self-touch and not be seeking orgasm, but by focusing on what feels good in the moment (rather than what could get you off), you expand the possibilities for your own pleasure.
- Journal your thoughts. Communicating your desires with a partner can feel intimidating (but is ultimately necessary). To help you figure out just what you want to say, try journaling. Write out the things that turn you on, what you enjoy about them, and how they make you feel. Doing that prep work can help you communicate more comfortably with your partners, but it also can help you feel more in touch with yourself, too.
Remember, you’re going to continue to find new things that excite you, and that’s great! On the flip side, things that turned you on once may just not do it for you anymore, and that’s perfectly fine, too. Your sexuality is a journey, so keep exploring and have fun.
How can I make myself stop queefing?
Ahh, the queef. Is there a noise that can induce more anxiety in people with vaginas? Probably not. Despite the stress, queefing is totally normal. Beyond that, it’s actually a sign of pleasure.
You probably know that vaginas are basically magical shapeshifters — they expand significantly when someone is aroused. An unaroused vagina generally ranges from 2.75 to 3.25 inches in length. When aroused, a vagina can be up to 4.75 inches long. When the person with the vagina is aroused, intense stimulation (either vaginally through penetration or external stimulation on the clit) can cause the vagina to do something called “tenting.”
Tenting is what allows your vagina to accept more girth comfortably, whether it’s fingers, a fist, a toy, or a cock. Tenting, combined with intense stimulation, can sometimes create air pockets within the vagina, and when your muscles bear down (like during orgasm), that air is forced out of the vagina. That’s a queef!
Queefing can feel embarrassing, but it’s actually a sign of pleasure. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel uncomfortable though.
That discomfort is usually psychological, and you can combat it by learning more about what queefs are and how vaginas work (and by talking with your partner about it). There are some sex positions that can minimize the amount of air being thrust into the vagina (like you riding your partner), but ultimately, queefing isn’t something that needs to be stopped. Try retraining your brain to interpret queefs as a sign of pleasure rather than a sign of shame!
Internalized homophobia is stopping me from starting same-gender or otherwise queer relationships. What can I do to help me feel comfortable?
Internalized homophobia is, to put it lightly, such a jerk. It’s something that many queer people cope with throughout their lives; learning how to manage it can be incredibly freeing. When I was in high school, my internalized homophobia ran so deep that I refused to acknowledge that I could be anything other than straight. Even after I came out in college, I struggled to put a label on myself or pursue romantic or sexual connections with people (I just let them come to me). So, I’ve been there.
When people tell me that they’re struggling with internalized homophobia or to accept their sexuality, I often ask about what positive examples of queer life and love they see in their daily lives. Usually, the answer is “almost none.” The importance of having examples of queer love (and queerness without partnerships) can’t be understated. It’s hard to feel like there is a path forward for you if you can’t see how other people have forged their paths.
If you’re struggling with any type of pervasive thoughts that say you’re not worthy of love, pleasure, or success because of some part of your identity, the first step might be is to change your media environment.
If you’re struggling with internalized homophobia, follow LGBTQ+ people on social media who are thriving and talking about their lives. And while you’re at it, unfollow or mute the people who make you feel unworthy. You can’t always control or radically change your in-person environment, but you can make shifts to your digital space.
Find blogs where people talk about queer sex and dating and get caught up on them. There are so many people who have gone through what you’re going through. You’re not alone.
Listen closely to the voice in your head that is telling you that your queerness is bad or otherwise unacceptable. Who does it sound like? Do you trust their opinion in other parts of your life? What influence do they have over you now?
Unlearning internalized homophobia takes a lot of work and it can bring up some intense emotions. Working with a queer-positive therapist can help you process those feelings as they arise, plus help you develop confidence in your sexuality and in your worthiness. If you have a local LGBTQ resource center, they may have a therapy program or support group program. Even if they don’t, going to their drop-in hours and events can help remind you that you have a community, even if you aren’t totally sure what that looks like yet.
You’re worthy of love. You’re worthy of partnership. You’re worthy of pleasure. No part of your identity can ever change that.
About the Author
Cassandra Corrado is an independent sex educator who teaches at colleges and universities across the United States. Formerly a victim advocate, she mostly teaches on topics related to un/healthy relationships, violence prevention, LGBTQ+ health, and sexual pleasure.
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