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Everything You Were Taught About Penetration Is A Lie

If you have a vagina, this should be of interest to you.

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Many of us are told that the best way to achieve orgasm is through penetration, and that if there is no penetration, you're not having real sex.

This belief is so pervasive that it informs a lot of our understanding about sexuality.

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And it fuels many common misconceptions about sex, like the idea that a woman hasn't lost her virginity until she's been penetrated, or that a lesbian couple isn't having actual sex, or that it's normal for a woman's first time to be painful, or that a woman is a "cocktease" is she doesn't want to have penetrative sex.

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But, basically all of that is nonsense.

Why do we place so much value on penetration?

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It's because of coitus-centrism, which is the idea of sex focused on classic "in-out" intercourse. Coitus-centrism is an endorsement of penetrative sex and invalidates other forms of sexual contact.

In-outism stems from the idea that the purpose of sex is reproduction. In other words, sex is only necessary for making babies, and pleasure is secondary, or possibly not a consideration at all. But in a world where sex isn't practiced just for reproductive purposes, the concept of in-outism has become obsolete.

But even though we no longer have much use for this concept anymore, it's become deeply entrenched, and our understanding of sex remains focused on the penis and on male pleasure. Women are passive and submissive, and the man is the active object. The penis dictates the extent of sex: the act begins when the penis is erect and ends when it ejaculates. Feminine pleasure is disregarded and unimportant. It's also the reason that foreplay is considered "warm-up" for real sex, and tends to focus on getting the man erect, and not on the woman's enjoyment.

If I haven't had penetrative sex, have I lost my virginity?

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Virginity is less of a medical concept and more of a cultural concept stemming from gender issues. Rose Olson, author of a study in Reproductive Health about "virginity tests," explained it best: "Virginity is a concept that has been used to sexually exploit and humiliate women and girls throughout history. Its definition changes depending on who you talk to. We need to change the way we talk about virginity. 'Losing your virginity' implies that you are not in control of it. No one besides you, not a hymen or another person, can 'take your virginity away.' You are in control of your body, and no one should define you by your sexual history."

If we abandon the concept of virginity, then a person's first time having sex is defined by them, and can include penetrative sex or not. Sex doesn't need to be synonymous with simple in-outism, and there is a wide range of pleasures to explore.

Ok, but if I'm going to have penetrative sex, is it normal that it hurts?

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No. Penetrative sex shouldn't hurt. In some positions, some penises may be too big for comfortable sex, but most penises fit in most vaginas, as long as everything is properly lubricated and everyone is relaxed and ready for the experience. In fact, penetration doesn't even necessarily break a woman's hymen the first time she has sex.

Pain, and sometimes possibly even bleeding, is most likely caused by tearing due to a lack of lubrication. Before sex, a woman should talk to her partner about her preferences, and she can always use a good lubricant to help things along.

Of course, some people may have conditions that can cause penetrative sex to hurt. If lube isn't helping, you may want to talk to your doctor.

Can non-penetrative sex be as pleasurable?

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It's often more pleasurable. Penetration isn't the only way to achieve orgasm, and according to some studies, it's actually the worst way to do it.

The most sensitive part of the vagina is the clitoris, which is located outside the vaginal opening. During penetration, the penis comes into contact with the walls of the vagina, which is pleasurable for men, but less so for women. The vaginal walls have very few nerve endings, otherwise child delivery would be even more unbearable.

Statistically speaking, men are more likely to have an orgasm during vaginal penetration, while women are more likely to have an orgasm when they practice a variety of sexual acts, which may include penetration or oral sex.

And in another survey published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine, only 65% of women who had vaginal sex in their most recent encounter reached orgasm, while 81% of those who had received oral sex achieved it, and 94% of women who had anal sex achieved orgasm.

In other words, nonpenetrative sex can not only be very pleasurable but, statistically speaking, it's MORE pleasurable.

So nonpenetrative sex (or at least sex that isn't solely focused on penetration) is possible, necessary, and even more enjoyable.

Now let's have some fun!

This post was translated from Spanish.

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