2.12.18
kimberly ann johnson sexual wellness

Kimberly Ann Johnson is the “vaginapractor“. As a holistic sexual wellness expert and author of the post-partum guide, The Fourth Trimester, she’s a pro on the entire spectrum of sexual health for women.

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, we decided to talk with Johnson about sex, intimacy, and the big O. According to the Vaginapractor, orgasms are better perceived as the byproduct of an enjoyable experience — not the goal of it. With that adjustment in perspective, we’re better able to access intimacy, deep connection and self confidence. Listen up and let us know what you think about everything she’s got to say…

 

Redefining the Orgasm

There’s a lack of information about what pleasurable sex might be outside of a goal-oriented dynamic, outside of male arousal and penetrative sex, outside of our sexual scripts, outside of what’s modeled in porn. This piece explores the difference between orgasm and climax and how we think arousal works. It challenges us to reconsider our beliefs of more, more, more when it comes to fulfilling sex, embracing the depth of experience that lives in the subtlety, the pauses, in the less rather than the more. The invitation is for connected sex, self-knowing and self-discovery.

Orgasm is different than climax. If you looked up “orgasm” in a dictionary or a scientific book, it’s going to talk about contractions, it’s going to talk about increased blood flow to the genitals, and then it’s going to talk about a contractive response – a contraction of your uterine muscles, of your cervix and uterus together and of your pelvic floor muscles. It’s hard to imagine reducing the magnitude and creative potential of life force energy into some muscle contractions, but that is how we have scientifically understood what we have labeled “orgasm,” but is actually a climax.

If you look up “orgasm” in Wikipedia or you asked a professional, like a doctor, they’re going to talk about climax. What most of us have been calling “orgasm” is actually climax.

We have been taught, implicitly, that sex means penetration, and that it is “over” or “finished” when there is climax. When Masters & Johnson started to study orgasm in the ’60s by placing electrodes in women’s pelvic floors, they measured contractions and called that orgasm. Interestingly, Wilhelm Reich, a student of Carl Jung and renowned somatic therapist, considered those same contractions to have the opposite meaning. Reich considered the muscular contractions to be armoring for or blockage of full life-force movement. The life force energy that Reich is talking about is orgasmic potential, a pulsing energy alive in us all the time. So Johnson & Johnson were measuring climax and Reich was saying that that was just the beginning of the unwinding and movement towards a bigger and vaster experience that lied underneath that climax.

Our cultural imagination of sex and climax is based on a male arousal trajectory. We all recognize it; it’s the hard and fast, friction-based, steady climb, steep drop view of sex. It’s the sex that is shown in pornography, no matter what gender the performer, based on a reproductive arousal trajectory. We’ve all been shown and told that that is what sex looks like, and if you don’t like that, you should try to learn to like it. We just haven’t learned that this way of doing sex is just one way and that this way is not biased towards the transformative and even spiritual potential that sex can have.

Arousal: Just The Facts, Ma’amMale arousal is easier to see – their erectile tissue is external. It also is typically fast, from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Full female arousal, which means full engorgement and blood flow to the erectile tissue, takes from 35-45 minutes.

Women have just as much erectile tissue as men but it is mostly internal. However, when a woman are fully aroused, there is a visible difference in her vulva. It puffs out like a flower in full bloom.

What I know to be true now, after working as a sexological bodyworker, is that most women have not experienced their own full arousal, because most of their sexual experiences are under 30 minutes. I also know that most women have never experienced penetrative sex while fully aroused. For this reason, they have not experienced their full orgasmic potential. They may have had fast clitoral climaxes with vibrators, themselves, or partners, but they simply have not had the time to be fully aroused before penetrated so they are able to experience an orgasmic state.

I know this is shocking. You might be wondering why this is the first you’ve heard of this – and that’s a great question! That’s a whole other volume on patriarchy, women’s pleasure and gender bias in health care.

The good news is this: if you are just now hearing about how your female anatomy works, you have worlds of pleasure, exploration and orgasm in your future.

How To Boost Your Pleasure
If you want to build your availability for orgasmic experience, here are a few things you need to know.

Orgasm is not something you work hard for or something you do. Orgasm is related to the parasympathetic side of your nervous system. It is related to your ability to downregulate, to truly rest and surrender. It is a byproduct of an experience, not the goal of it. Trying harder won’t bring you into an orgasmic state. Create the conditions for true safety and surrender. Practice safety and surrender in other areas of your life. Allow for pauses and space.

Despite how we have been conditioned, “taking longer” or asking for the time you need is not selfish. So many women come and apologize to me that they “like foreplay.” As people with vulvas, in general – if we are listening to our bodies and not our minds or our conditioning – we need a lot of contact before we are penetrated. I wish “foreplay” was a different word that didn’t suggest that it was leading up to something, that there is a hierarchy of interaction. This should not be seen as a chore or a warm-up. This is a delicious invitation to more rapture and more connection that benefits everyone involved.

Adding female arousal dynamics and pleasure to sex doesn’t have to take away from male pleasure, in fact it usually enhances it. It may take a little re-programming. Fast and hard sex activates dopamine circuitry and can be addictive. Also, men have been taught that being “good” means satisfying a woman in a certain way – influenced by many positions and a desired outcome. So we can all use gentle encouragement to slow down, communicate and invite deeper levels of sensation, that, yes, leads to orgasm. That slower connection activates an oxytocin circuitry, which is a different kind of connecting.

Orgasm has as many flavors as human sensations. It’s so powerful and elusive that to grasp it we try to box it in with a million labels: “clitoral orgasm,” “vaginal orgasm,” “G-spot orgasm,” “anal orgasm” and on and on. Then we make those labels into goals and things to have or acquire. Instead, know that orgasmic possibility is unlimited. Use this opportunity to embrace the depth of experience that lives in the subtlety, the pauses, in the less rather than the more. And then you will start to feel that every single cell inside you has orgasmic potential. Orgasm is infinite!

Good sex calls for connection. We love these simple tips for cultivating
deeper, more mindful intimacy.

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program. 


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  1. I couldn’t finish reading after you referred to Masters and Johnson as Johnson & Johnson… I can forgive many typos and editing mistakes but I couldn’t get past that one.

    Sarah | 02.12.2018 | Reply
  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m a 40-something who’s been married 25 years. “Surrendering” is something I’ve been working so hard on this past year. One day it dawned on me that when I focused on just “getting off” as quick as possible, I was cheating not only myself, but my husband, out of much deeper sexual satisfaction. It still brings me to tears to think or write about wasting most of the 30 years of our relationship with orgasm as the goal and not appreciating the special moments together . Everyone has quickies once in a while, but it shouldn’t be the norm. Those years with little ones in the house are a blur and were not very satisfying sexually, and I blame myself more than my husband. To think that it took me so many years to realize what I was doing. Guess we are just another work in progress, but we at least now we are enjoying the work!

    Shannon | 02.12.2018 | Reply
  3. The important sex studies were definitely done by MASTERS and Johnson, not “Johnson and Johnson” (who make shampoo and floor wax….)

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    kortne Altinga | 02.13.2018 | Reply
  5. Thank you for the article. This is very truthful. It is not an easy subject to explain. I had the experience of being married to a man for 30 years, who was a narcissist, and did not want to touch me. I left him and went on a journey of self discovery. I did not understand sex or orgasm, at all. At 52, I read a great deal about sex and taught myself how. I got over my fear. No matter what life brings, you can always learn something new. Thanks, Kimberly Ann, for sharing a bit about you have learned.

    Terry | 02.13.2018 | Reply


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