- Emma Louise Alvarez
'The Name of the Game is Pleasure' - Today is National Sex Day
© Illustration by Laura Holtslag Alvarez
From the orgasm gap to pleasure as part of the sex-ed curriculum - Annabelle Knight discusses all things sex.
National Sex Day is, simply put, a celebration of sex. But it is also more than that; it is about exploring each other's bodies, exploring your own body, and redefining what pleasure means to you within and outside of your relationships.
Annabelle Knight is a sex, relationship, dating, and body language expert. She is also a bestselling author and a celebrity relationship coach; she is qualified in life coaching, couples counseling, and psychosexual therapy.
We had the opportunity to interview Annabelle for National Sex Day and discuss how the current sexual education curriculum could be improved and some of the misconceptions about lube, sex toys, and masturbation.
Are orgasms the 'end goal' of sex?
Orgasms are an important part of sex, but they’re not the only part. People tend to view orgasms as a form of ‘task completion:’ that once orgasm has been achieved, sex is over. I would recommend shifting that focus to pleasure.
Pleasure is often completely overlooked during sex and is largely considered to be a by-product of heading towards climax. This sort of thinking damages the chances of reaching the "big O." It’s widely accepted that the less pressure you put on yourself to orgasm, the higher the chances are that you actually will. I often talk about sexual mindfulness; this is about practicing being in the moment.
During play, stop to notice how your body is reacting, take time to enjoy every aspect of the experience, and really work on what feels good for you at the moment.
What are the different types of orgasms?
There can be a lot of misinformation about orgasms - a quick google will throw up so many different answers, from five main types to twenty-three! The beautiful thing about orgasms is that they can happen for pretty much anyone, no matter how you identify, who you choose to go to bed with or what’s between your legs.
Clitoral - from stimulation of the clitoris, pleasure is received, and excitement builds, which then results in an orgasm where the muscles spasm up to eight times per second!
Vaginal - occurs through internal pleasure being received; vaginal orgasms also include the G-spot.
Ejaculatory – This is what we all know to be the standard male orgasm; stimulation of the penis occurs, which causes an erection, followed by the sexual build-up and then release.
Anal – usually occurs in people with a penis but can happen for anyone. This is through anal stimulation, both of the external nerves and internal.
Nipple – Approximately 1% of all people can climax through nipple stimulation alone.
Imaginary – Ever felt aroused upon waking? Chances are your imagination has been going into overdrive while you slept.
© Illustration by Laura Holtslag Alvarez
What is the orgasm gap?
This is a social phenomenon that references the disparity in rates of orgasms between people with a penis and those with a clitoris. In hetero cis couples, the gap is the largest, with 20% of women never reaching orgasm while only 2% of men say the same.
How can you explore new kinks safely?
The best way to explore any new kinks is to be open and honest with your partner about what it is you’d like to try. It’s equally important to chat about it, create boundaries that you’re both happy with, and always settle on a safe word. If you’re worried about having the conversation, then try the ‘5 things list’ exercise. Take a notepad and pen, and you should each write down five things you’d like to try in the bedroom, then compare lists. You can gauge your partner’s reaction to everything you’ve put, and who knows… you may even have the same thing twice!
Why is kink-shaming problematic?
Kink shaming can cause real emotional harm to those being shamed. The funny thing is that the ones doing the shaming usually harbor the most shame themselves. People internalize shame surrounding sex for various reasons; it could be through poor sex education, religious reasons, or societal norms. I always say that if it does no harm to others and makes you happy, then go for it!
To what extent is the current sex education curriculum in schools sufficient?
Sex education has come a long, long way in recent years, something that I am extremely pleased to see. However, we can always be doing more. I’d love to see sex and relationships education centering more around pleasure and less on having babies. After all, most of the time, people have sex for fun!
I think pleasure should be one of the cornerstones of sex and relationship education. To give pleasure a miss in the curriculum is a terrible idea. For (young) people to be able to make informed decisions… they need to be informed!
Queer sex and queer love should also be taught as part of sex education; it should be transitioned in and out of as easily as hetero sex is. Including LGBTQ+ elements into the sex education curriculum isn’t just a good idea; it’s necessary. There are around 2 million people in the UK that identify as LGBTQ+; that’s a lot of people to miss out on sex education and other people to remain ignorant about.
The bottom line is that education breeds acceptance, so putting aside the academic nuts and bolts of sex ed, we’d see a huge rise in general acceptance and understanding if we were to include more LGBTQ+ parts in our education program.
What are some negative stigmas or misconceptions around masturbation, sex toys, and lube?
Sex toys and lube can get a bit of a bad reputation sometimes. This is because some people see them as a way to ‘fix’ a broken body or broken sex life. This isn’t the case at all. I encourage people to think of sex toys as the cherry on top of their sex life and think of lube as more of a bedroom essential to maximize pleasure.
What are some of your tips on how to discover your personal sexual preferences?
The biggest tip I can ever give anyone for exploring their personal preferences when it comes to sex is… to masturbate! Solo sex sessions are not only the safest way to discover who you are sexual, but they’re also a lot of fun! Masturbation provides a safe, judgment-free space for you to cast away any preconceived notions you may have about sex and to experiment freely. The name of the game is pleasure, and who doesn’t like pleasure. I’d also recommend reading erotic fiction to get your imagination fired up and try different techniques. A good sex toy will help you in this as most of them offer different speeds, patterns, and textures.
If you'd like to read more about Annabelle and her knowledge about sex and pleasure, then you can visit her website here: http://annabelleknight.com
To read more about the orgasm gap then you can visit this article link.