NYC222 cover image See all stories from issue #222, September/October, 2010

More Embarrassing Questions—and Answers
YCteen staff
Sex Advice Column

Last spring, we had our peers submit their most embarrassing sex questions. We made it anonymous, so people would feel free to ask things they’d be too embarrassed to ask otherwise. (If you read the April issue, you’ll see answers to queries about first times and a sexual phobia.) There were a lot of great questions we didn’t have space to answer last time, so we decided to print a Part II. Doling out answers and advice is our own resident sexpert Virginia Vitzthum—former sex columnist, author of two books on dating, and editor of our sister publication, Represent. Here goes…

NYC: Can you be sexually attracted to someone you just met?

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Virginia Vitzthum: Yes. If it feels like sexual attraction, it probably is. But is this instant pull toward another person’s body enough to jump into bed with them? Probably not. For that you’re better off getting to know the person—finding out if you have anything in common, if they’re nice to you, and if you respect each other. Waiting until you know the person to have sex has several benefits, including better sex. You’re far less likely to feel crummy about it afterward if you already have a bond with this person. Which leads to the next question...

NYC: How do you know if you truly and really reached the stage of an orgasm?

Vitzthum: I’m guessing a girl wrote this one, as boys’ orgasms generally leave a trail of evidence. With girls it’s trickier, because the climb up toward an orgasm feels very good, and you may wonder if that was it. But generally, you know if you came if that climbing feeling ends in a release or explosive burst of pleasure that’s very intense and then ebbs away into a feeling of contentment. A sneeze is not a bad comparison: The build-up is the “ah, ah, ah, ah” and the “choo” is your orgasm. Everybody’s body is different, so different people may experience orgasm in different ways.

Technically, a female orgasm is really just a contraction of muscles. According to The Multi-Orgasmic Woman, by Montak Chia and Rachel Carlton Abrams, M.D., it all starts with arousal. If you’re feeling turned on, you experience “increased blood flow to genitals, resulting in engorgement or swelling of the clitoris, labia (the lips around the vagina) and vagina.”

That’s the “ah, ah, ah” feeling. The “choo” feeling is actually “the pleasurable contraction of the pelvis floor, or pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, and the smooth muscle of the vagina and uterus.” At the same time, your heart rate and breathing speed up, and your pupils dilate. “These observations may demonstrate how orgasm can be measured in the laboratory,” the authors note, “but they give no voice to the singular, sublime, and transcendent experience that is orgasm.”

Although it’s a very nice feeling, girls should not feel bad if they don’t have orgasms at first. It can take years to figure out exactly what you need in order to come. Masturbation is great research into your body’s ins and outs. You’ll probably find the most sensation in your clitoris (which is outside and in front of the vagina). Play around with different ways of rubbing it, and you may well stumble upon an orgasm. Most girls and women don’t climax from intercourse unless the clitoris is also stimulated at the same time, so there’s nothing wrong with you if you need something more than just in-and-out.

We’ll have more questions and answers in upcoming Sex Ed columns.

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