When I first started having sex I didn’t know what a non-me induced orgasm was.

By this point I had been masturbating to images of Jared Leto/humping couch cushions/putting an electronic face exfoliation tool against my clitoris for years! But when the penis party kicked into medium gear, I wondered if I would ever experience climactic pleasures at the hands/tongue/privates of another. Would they eventually figure out the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that was my vulva? Or would I be forever doomed to intensely gyrate against sweaty bodies with no delicious outcome?

I concluded that the latter was more likely after I began intercoursing. The idea of my body ejaculating was seeming like a distant fairy-tale and I began to wonder if it simply wasn’t real. Did a bunch of folks invent the idea of sex orgasms so they could claim that sex/marriage/general life was the tops when it was clearly the nots?

“But why was it the nots?” I pondered while I jilled-off in the tub. “Was it me? Clearly couldn’t be since I’m quite excellent at getting me going. Was it who I was banging? Or was it… a combination of both?” I didn’t know the answer and I didn’t put any time or energy into finding out what it was. I continued on my string of ‘okay’ lovemaking for about a year. I mean, if I was excited and enjoying myself and the vagina was relatively wet what did it matter that I wasn’t experiencing pure bliss/heaven on earth/the only activity that beats Game of Thrones watching?

Because, now that I have gotten more than a dozen hundred tastes of it, there ain’t NOTHIN’ that I would choose over a good gettin’ off. Except maybe a Game of Thrones season premiere, or a gourmet doughnut, or a tender friend g-chat convo, or one of those napping hats that you put on your head so you can nap on public benches. What I’m saying is it’s pretty high up there and factors heavily into my weekend plans.

But how, HOW did I write my own guide for receiving pleasure? Through lots and lots and lots of experimentation, evaluation, and communication with the partner givin’ it and with my anatomy receiving it. Our bodies and our bodies’ desires are continually in flux. What we wanted five years ago could be the opposite of what we will want tomorrow, thus sexual exploration is a perennial journey. I have discovered the following tips and tricks along the way.

  • Pay close attention to the spots that make you shake-ity-shake-shake
    We’re all aware that a large chunk of what goes down during sex can feel a-okay/seriously a-okay/mind-blowingly a-okay. And even if it’s not the best experience in the history of experiences, it can still be rather enjoyable. We each possess bewitching buttons that can, when pressed, release a goddamn earth shattering sensation that I refer to as the “oh my gawds yes please yes moreeeeeeee nowwww and foreverrrr.” Although humans are well-oiled machines, we’re not identical in construction and our parts are mega-varied. When a dude nailed my button pressing and I discovered an exciting new switch I didn’t know about previously, I would add it to my mental list of knobs that open a door to a magical land of quivering/squirting/quiver-squirting. With this list, I can have a cool, casual, graphically detailed chat before and after coitus and provide specific instructions in operating my vulva software.
  • Be honest with your buddy of coitus and give ‘em notes like you’re grading a paper
    But remember to be gentle when doing so as well. No one needs to go all Teaching Mrs. Tingle when it comes to copulation direction. Most of us are pretty insecure about our boudoir skills so be tactful/kind/positive, yet at the same time direct and for the love of God, tell the truth. My orgasms were never helped when I lied to my boyfriends to avoid hurting their feelings. Just because I didn’t like THAT didn’t mean I didn’t like THEM. I was constantly panicked that they would be insulted by my feedback (which is insanely silly in retrospect since my body was their/our mutual assignment). If given in a non-insulting manner, notes do not come off as criticism in the slightest. It’s more like a conversation. Maybe this guy’s previous girlfriend LOVED THAT and HATED THIS but I’m crazy into THIS and with THAT I’m like “nah, don’t do THAT ever, please and thanks.” Point is, communication is key and if you don’t tell ‘em what you’re into they just won’t know.
  • Switch it up, try stuff, and let your bod be a metaphorical/literal suggestion box
    There are persons I have been with that have exposed me to wonders within my vagina that I was not cognizant of. I’m frequently quoted as saying; “oh my, I didn’t know that was there and it did that,” and “oh my, I’m glad that I do now have both of those pieces of information.” Additionally, requests from lovers aid in the expansion of my mind and my fornication tool kit. They ask if they can do a, and I say if I can do b, then the educational lecture commences. If I hadn’t been open to other possibilities of pleasure, I wouldn’t have uncovered certain delightful actions that my clitoris cannot live without now. Let ‘em be your guide and in turn guide them on what you’re interested in, and what might interest them, while always (of course) only doing what you feel comfortable with.
  • When you think about you touch yourself, oohh
    Although this has predominantly been about orgasms WITH another human (or multiple other humans), often the best way to inform others of what makes you vibrate is by using a vibrator. The person who knows what you desire best is you, and if you want to truly perfect your climaxes you need to get personal with your bad self. If you know that you enjoy caressing you in a specific location and with a specific motion and with a specific force then you can teach someone else how to do the same. Once you are an expert in you, you will be able to take others under your wings, which may or may not be a metaphor for your labia lips (it for sure is).


Jess Beaulieu is a writer, comedian, and feminist from Toronto, Canada. She co-hosts a weekly podcast about periods called The Crimson Wave available on iTunes. Follow her on Twitter: @msjessbeaulieu