While the Trayvon Martin case is nothing new, nor unique, nor surprising, I am deeply saddened by all the broken hearts I see tonight. I am angry with the oppressive systems in which we live. I feel at a loss, but also driven to continue to uplift myself and those around me. This post is meant to bring about dialogue, pleasure, and community. Power.
I recently finished reading Female Ejaculation and the G-Spot: Not Your Mother’s Orgasm Book! by Deborah Sundahl (more info here) and Women’s Anatomy of Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure, by Sheri Winston (you can get a taste of that here). Thank you to Alicia Steele for recommending both those titles to me! While I have my qualms with each book (regarding tone, graphics, cultural sensitivity, and more), I am grateful for what each has to offer.
Female Ejaculation and the G-Spot explores the anatomy, mindfulness, and practices associated with female ejaculation. I learned that there is such a thing as the female prostate, that women have all sorts of erectile tissue (lots between our legs, but elsewhere on the body, too!), and that pretty much all women have the capability to ejaculate if we want to. Talking to friends who saw the book on my coffee table taught me that most women around me don’t know about female ejaculation or, if they do, they think only a minority of women can do it.
Ejaculation feels good on its own, and can – but doesn’t necessary – accompany orgasm. It occurs when the G-spot, short for Gräfenberg Spot (named after a man, of course), is stimulated. You can find your G-spot by inserting one or two fingers into the vagina, just up to your first knuckle or two, and feeling the roof. The G-spot is there between two valleys and may have ridges (these ridges typically become more pronounced with stimulation). The G-spot sits against our urethra (see the diagram below), which is surrounded by the Skene’s glands, aka lesser vestibular glands, in our paraurethral tissue or prostate. When our G-spot is stimulated, this tissue engorges, filling with fluid. The feeling of built up ejaculate is similar to the feeling you get when you need to pee but the fluid is not urine. In addition to other differences, ejaculate contains more prostate-specific antigen than urine, and more prostatic acid phosphatase, as well as glucose.
Image courtesy http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0d/Female_anatomy_with_g-spot-en.svg/512px-Female_anatomy_with_g-spot-en.svg.png
The existence of the G-spot and the anatomical reasons behind female ejaculation have been questioned for some time. I like Sundahl’s book because she includes a plethora of women’s personal anecdotes about ejaculation in her sources. The Wikipedia page on female ejaculation is a great source if you’re interested in the literature and history of the debate.
If you want to try ejaculating, Sundahl does a good job of walking through the steps to do so (she has taught entire classes on ejaculation, with rooms full of women stimulating themselves and ejaculating together). Essentially, you should stimulate yourself on your own, as ejaculation requires a great degree of comfort. Once you feel aroused and your G-spot is engorged, squeeze your PC muscles, allowing the pressure that has built up between your legs to release. If fluid does come out, don’t stop yourself – let it flow! Have towels underneath you, as a lot of fluid can be released. Crouching is a good way to start. Pee before you begin, so you can be convinced that you’re not peeing if and when you ejaculate. The ejaculate fluid is typically clear and scentless.
Female ejaculation is not something that a lot of women do without teaching themselves first. Sundahl discusses the role of release and letting go in ejaculation, and the difficulties that many women have doing so. We suffer from a lack of sex positivity in our society, and, oftentimes, women hold back during sex in order to ensure the pleasure of others, to seem in control, etc. Such social norms conflict with the physical and emotional release necessary for ejaculation.
Photo courtesy http://o.getglue.com/topics/p/female_ejaculation
Furthermore, women lack education about our own anatomy. If we knew our sexual anatomy more fully, we might be more able to explain what ejaculation is when someone we know experiences it. We’d also be less afraid of letting go when on the verge of experiencing it ourselves.
For these reasons and more, I really appreciated reading Women’s Anatomy of Arousal. I not only learned the form and function of my own body, but I also became more sexually in tune with myself thanks to the exercises Winston suggests. She encourages everything from PC exercises and breathing to making noises and buying toys. She also does a great job of clearing up anatomical misconceptions.
Many people think that the clitoris is just what you see in the diagram below. Firstly, a clitoris can be much larger than this, or smaller, and there is no “normal” size. Secondly, it is much larger than what is visible on the surface, and all of it can enlarge with pleasure.
Similarly, there isn’t a normal size for the labia, and the terms ‘minora’ and ‘majora’ are problematic because they cause women to think their labia should fit those concepts. The terms inner and outer, as shown below, are helpful alternatives. To see the large variety of labia out there, refer back to Safia’s post: The Discomfort with Naked Bodies.
Image courtesy http://www.mylvrdoctor.com/images/VDiagram.jpg
I can’t recap all I learned but I encourage everyone to explore their own bodies, and their potential for pleasure. The books I mention here are great resources but, ultimately, I think the best tools for learning our ourselves and those around us. Try new things (only as you’re comfortable, of course) and talk about your body and its experiences with people you trust. It will pay off.
Questions to ponder: Do you think social constructs affect women’s ability to ejaculate? Do norms shape the way we think about female ejaculation? Do you know enough about your own body? Are you happy with the levels of pleasure you’re able to achieve?