Updated: May 6, 2021
This week: Mental health's effects on our sex drive, body acceptance, and self worth!
Hey! We are Cat and Becca, two sex positive friends who love to talk about sex, love ,body confidence & more, so we decided to start an advice column! We will be answering a number of anonymous questions each week and you can send us a question through clicking here! We hope you enjoy reading and thank you for all the love and support you send us!
Q: Would I definitely know when I orgasm?
B: While not all orgasm experiences are alike, I would be inclined to say yes. Some general physical indications are your breathing becoming faster, your heart rate quickening, the muscles in your vagina contracting, your pelvis lifting, and curling of your fingers or toes. Chances are that if you are unsure, you haven't got there yet - but that doesn't mean you won't! Try out different techniques to find what works for you. Read some erotica. Find out what gets you excited, and remember: even if you haven't managed to orgasm yet, the journey to doing so can and should be fun!
C: This is the age old question, and we've all wondered it at some point! Most of the time, yes, you would know that something big happened to your body and you'd feel strong waves of sensation through your body, reaching a final climax. Although in some cases, orgasms can be a little confusing. You may be very sensitive and getting to the point of full climax can be quite difficult if it's very tickly and overly sensitive till that point. However, the main thing is to listen to your body and if you're feeling pleasure, if you're feeling good, respected, enjoying what's going on, then don't worry too much about an orgasm, it will come when you relax and forget about it.
Q: How do I accept my own healthy, lopsided breasts?
B: Did you know that all of your body parts that come in pairs are slightly different? That's right - your eyes, your ears, your arms etc. none of those pairs are identical. The vast majority of people who have breasts have asymmetrical ones. It's actually way more common to have uneven sized breasts than it is to have ones that are the mirror image of each other. The differences can range from subtle to even being one or two cup sizes difference! As the saying goes: they are sisters, not twins. Hopefully knowing that you are part of the majority, rather than the minority will help you accept your breasts. Things that helped me in learning to love my own are finding certain bras, or items of clothing that I can look at myself in in the mirror, and think "yes! I love this!" - and remember that your breasts are just a part of the glorious figure that is you!
C: I always think of asymmetrical boobs as extra boob, and extra boob is never a bad thing in my opinion! But I feel you, it's not easy to accept the thing you think is so obvious, i've been there with my teeth. I have this extra tooth that sticks out on the side and I always hated it because it looked so uneven and silly, until one of my friends pointed out that it was something they loved about me as I only showed it when I was happy, so it was a happy image to them. Since then I realised that the thing we hate for being weird or unique, for those that love us, is probably one of the things they love us so much because. When it comes to breasts, anyone who has the pleasure of seeing yours, is not only going to be over the moon to have the honour of seeing them, will love you specially because of how unique you are.
Also, big plus about having something unique about your body - it's a really easy detector for people who are not worth your time. Whoever treats your or your boobs badly, is a clear sign that they are not good enough for you.
Q: Is it natural for things to hurt the first time?
B: Ah yes, the age old myth of "popping the cherry". The quick answer is: no. When people with vaginas contemplate penetrative sex for the first time, a common worry is that it will be a painful experience. This usually stems from the idea that your hymen (a thin membrane near the entrance of the vagina, with a hole in the middle) will "break". A lot of the time, the hymen breaks during normal non-sexual activities (riding a bike, sports etc), and even for those whose hymen is still intact, may never experience any bleeding. There are steps you can take to ensure that penetrative sex is not painful - regardless of whether it is your first time, or your fiftieth time! The first is making sure that you're properly lubricated. Taking your time foreplay, and with non-penetrative activities is key to giving your body time to get excited, and get wet. If you're finding that difficult (which is fine!), make sure to use some kind of water-based lubricant to help you along. Anxiety or nerves can also play a part in making things a little uncomfortable, so try and relax, take deep breaths, and remember the most important thing: This is, above all, supposed to be fun!
Q: How can I stop sex from hurting so much and how can I go again once we're finished if i'm hurting so much?
C: Pain during and after sex does happen to a lot of people and for a lot of different reasons but if it's something you're experiencing a lot, you should try to find out the root cause and see how you can help that, and please don't push yourself to continue having penetrative sex if your vagina is in pain.
If you're really in the mood to orgasm or have sex again, try a different sexual act, like oral sex or focus on another erogenous zone like nipples. Sex doesn't just have to be penetration and all genders can have enjoyable, satisfying sex without needing to penetrate, so if you or your partner is putting pressure on your body, please listen to your body and let it heal.
Common reasons for pain during or after sex may be lack of lubrication, vaginosis, rough or very active sex for long periods of time, an STI or a previous tear or cut that still hasn't healed.
Because there's so many potential reasons why it could hurt, it's important to try to understand what's causing it and seek medical help. In most cases, lube helps a lot! Just make sure to use lube that is safe for condoms and your body, such as a water based lube and reapply after 20-30 minutes if you're feeling sore.
Q: How much does mental health affect my ability to orgasm?
C: Sex and pleasure are very much linked to our mental health. When we experience stress, we produce the hormones cortisol and epinephrine which directly impact and decrease our level of sex hormones. When we experience stress regularly, our body actually uses our sex hormones as extra cortisol to meet the demands that the chronic stress puts on our body.
Our mental health plays another huge part in helping us feel, or not feel, sexy and excited. Having an orgasm is very much about feeling good in your head and your body and it's much easier when your mind is free from worries and concerns, so if you are not happy, your sex life will be directly impacted.
Knowing this can actually be a good thing, as many of us have periods of feeling low and we then worry what's wrong with us because we don't want or enjoy sex, which can add to the stress, but this is a natural response and your body is essentially giving you the space to heal and get to a better place before having sex. So don't worry too much, focus on your mental health, practice mindfulness techniques and if you need professional help, never feel ashamed of that. Your mental health comes before sex and once you're in a good place, it will come back.
B: Mental health can absolutely have a huge effect on your ability to orgasm for a number of reasons. The most obvious one being that a huge part of what helps us get aroused and interested in sexual activity is within our own minds - if you have other things going on within your mind, that can really get in the way of this process. Things like feeling low, depression, anxiety (not just about sex related things), and stress can all make it difficult to orgasm. The good news is that there are many ways to help yourself get past these factors, and continue to have orgasms - whether they're solo, or with a partner. There are plenty of mindfulness apps geared towards helping you connect with your body more, especially during times of anxiety or stress. Sex therapists often also specialize in helping people work through whatever it is that is preventing them from having the kind of relationship they would like with their sexuality.
Q: What are hip dips, and why do they happen?
B: As a fellow hip-dip owner, I love this question - it shows how amazing and unique our bodies are. Hip dips are, simply speaking, caused by the shape of your pelvis. While not everyone will have noticeable ones, all of us have an indentation where the hip bone meets the top of the thigh on our skeleton. Hip dips can be more or less prominent on some people due to a multitude of factors, but they are not a sign of anything beyond the way your bones are structured. Another name for them is "violin hips", which I personally find a really lovely term. Rest assured that your hip dips are normal, and neither a sign of negative health, nor superior health - they just "are".
Join us LIVE!
We have big news! We are going LIVE. We will be doing a liveshow every second Saturday called 'in Bed with Cat & Becca', where we will be answering some questions, telling stories and talking about all things from sex, love and life, so make sure to follow us on Instagram to join in!
As usual we really enjoyed taking your questions and we have lots lined up for next time, but if you'd like to submit yours, just click here.