Our world has set up penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI), specifically, as the “default” sexual activity - as the one kind of sex the majority of people will tend to think of when someone says “I had sex.” This was definitely the case in my adolescence. In fact, there was the notion that it only "counted" as sex if your penis penetrated her vagina. I remember a phrase oft used to enforce this notion, "Yeah, but did you fuck her?" PVI certainly isn’t the only kind of sex people have, it’s just one of many ways to be sexual with someone else, but that’s not how it’s presented a lot of the time.
When something is framed like that, as the thing to do, people will tend to learn, covertly and overtly, that that’s what sex is and that’s what they should want. Strong messages that people should want something tend to pack quite a punch, especially for people who are very concerned with normalcy, which is a lot of people.
Emphasizing PVI does a disservice to everyone who has sex. It makes foreplay seem less important, it pressures people to have penetrative sex before they may be ready, it perpetuates a heteronormative and phallocentric notion of sex, and it limits the amount of pleasure that can be experienced.
Could "I had sex" also mean oral sex? Anal sex? Digital sex? Mutual masturbation? Phone sex? Perhaps it is time to start thinking about outercourse in addition to intercourse.
Many men ask me about ejaculation control and state that they're somewhat familiar with Mantak Chia's 3-finger, Million Dollar Point technique. Something I always make abundantly clear in my work with men is the dangers of using such techniques.
The reason is simple: You are using external force to stop ejaculating. Now, this may well be ok if your intention is just to not externally ejaculate. But, if you're concerned about circulating sexual energy, having different kinds of orgasms, and making sure your pelvic muscles are healthy, the Million Dollar Point technique is not useful.
The applied force to the perineum traps sexual energy in that area, which can cause physical and energetic complications. This is because you're creating a stoppage, not a recirculation of sexual energy.
This forced stoppage of sexual energy creates congestion and, if done too regularly, can also create a stopping pattern in the body. This manifests as physical tension and tightness in the pelvic floor, which actually hastens the urge to ejaculate and limits your capacity for experiencing pleasure as well as different orgasms.
While there are some effective ways to use the Million Dollar Point technique - utilizing a combination of massage, breathing, and visualization - I've found that many practitioners become falsely obsessive with stopping ejaculation at any cost, which can lead to sex-charged guilt when some seed is released. Which, in turn, creates a whole new set of anxieties and tensions.
Not only that, these kinds of techniques can actually cause retrograde ejaculation, where the seminal fluid is sent into the bladder and is then expelled during urination. So, in actuality, you're still releasing your seed, perhaps just not when you think.
Ejaculation control is about the recirculation of sexual energy. If you're relying on creating a forced blockage at the perineum because your abilty to recirculate sexual energy is not good enough to re-direct the ejaculatory impulse to the rest of the physical and energetic body, you are doing yourself more harm than good.
Everyone has stories about men's sexuality, including women. Here's something for the women who have messaged me. These are general and will not apply to every man:
(1) We respond to praise. We aren't sex-crazed animals with no self-consiousness surrounding sex. We feel self-conscious about our weight, or parts of our body, and can really be affected by this when being sexual. We like to hear compliments.
(2) We fear intimacy. We don't have a lot of outlets for intimacy in our lives and society tells us that we shouldn't want or need it. So taboo is this desire for intimacy that its possibility can terrify us; not because it's smothering, but because we realize how desperate we are for it.
(3) We like sex for sex's sake. While intimacy and post-sex cuddling can be wonderful for many of us, sometimes a little "throw-me-down sex" is exactly what we want, plain and simple. This isn't about dominating you, it is about ravishing you.
(4) We want to be touched. We aren't just our cocks, the rest of our body feels great when you touch it. We just don't tell you to move your hands elsewhere because we're afraid that if we do, you will shut down and not touch us at all.
(5) We have sexual fantasies. We want to share our fantasies with you but we worry that you will shame or judge us. We also want you to share your own sexual fantasies with us.
(6) We want you to be vocal and honest. Heavy breathing, groaning, and moaning are all sounds that turn us on. Talking and asking for what you want during sex is also a huge turn on. We want you to embrace sex. But, we don't want you to fake it. If the sex isn't good for you, we want to know.
(7) Erections aren't everything. We can be aroused and not have an erection, just like we can have an erection but not be particularly aroused. If we aren't hard or able to get it up, it doesn't mean you don't turn us on. There are also ways to be sexual that don't involve an erection.
(8) Ejaculation isn't the be-all and end-all. There are plenty of reasons we might not "finish" and just because we don't, doesn't mean we're not enjoying ourselves. It's also not your job to make us "finish".
Women experience more pleasure than men.
An often made claim is that the clitoris has 8000+ nerve endings, double the amount found in the penis.
The source of this claim is Lowry, Morrione, and Lowry's 1976 book, entitled "The Clitoris." In it, the authors reference studies of cows and sheep, stating that bovine penises had about 4,035 nerve endings while the clitoris had 7,733 (Thank you @jessica_ann_pin for tracking down this citation). As a 2015 journal article in Clincal Anatomy and a 2018 journal article in Differentiation note, the human clitoris and penis are embryological homologues. They are homologous. This means they are similar in position, structure, and origin.
So, theoretically, the human clitoris and penis should have similar amounts of nerve endings. To my knowledge, there are no studies conclusively stating and comparing the number of nerve endings in the human clitoris and penis.
The clitoris may be more sensitive than the penis, but not because it has more nerve endings. A 2013 article in the Journal of Sexual Medicine notes that the glans clitoris has greater variability in receptor density compared with the glans penis.
Because they seemingly have a similar number of nerve endings, but the clitoris is generally smaller in size than the penis, there is smaller area for these nerve endings to be packed into, thus potentially making the clitoris more sensitive.
The belief that cis women’s primary sexual organ has twice as many nerve endings as cis men’s - that female pleasure is more intense than male pleasure - might sound empowering, but this perpetuates the view that women feel things more intensely and that female sexuality is fundamentally different from male sexuality.
People with penises can experience just as much pleasure because they ostensibly have the same amount of nerve endings, just spread across a larger surface. If they're able to spend time heightening sensations and exploring the nuances of stimulation, men can experience as much pleasure as women.