Sexual Attraction-Indulge yourself in the Pleasures of the flesh



What does a sexologist do, exactly?

I was inspired to ask this after seeing this post from Melbourne-based sexologist Olivia Bryant of Tell Me Darling:

“You know you’re an obsessive sex nerd when you ask your partner to stroke 15 circles clockwise, followed by a microsecond pause, begin again until the timer goes off and then you take notes.”

Bryant, of Melbourne, has dedicated her life to helping women to realise their sexual potential. She’s one of a growing number of sexologists offering to help people lift their game. Or find their game. Or simply have more fun playing.

“If you’re like most women, you didn’t have a circle of older women teaching you how to create pleasure for yourself and your partner. And even though we live in a time that is relatively sexually free, as a culture we still embody negative messaging about what it means to be a fully ‘out’ and expressive sexual woman,” says Bryant.

She reckons that 64 per cent of women find sex a chore, and that this is, in part, because we’re not cooperating with our design – not just our design as women but also our design as individual women. And she’s full of information that makes me realise I actually don’t know that much about my own sexual self.

“Every woman is unique. It’s not helpful to talk about sexual experience in general, as genital anatomy is structured – and works – differently for everyone,” says Bryant.

“Each woman must become attuned to her own anatomy, and the pattern of stroke or touch that works best for her. The length and shape of your labia, the length of your vaginal canal, the shape of your clitoral hood or the distance between your most sensitive spots are all features that can affect your sexual experience.”

Be right back!

Bryant was inspired to become a sexologist after a chance meeting with a woman in a bar in New York who was writing a book about female sexuality and mentored Bryant’s sexual self out of her shell.

“I grew up feeling shy and repressed about sex. I didn’t feel like I had much of a libido and wasn’t particularly orgasmic. I went to my doctor in my early 20s and handed her a note about how I was feeling – I was that shy! She said she didn’t know what to do to help me. I felt really alone and ashamed,” recalls Bryant.

Opening up her sexuality created a huge shift. “I found a lot of personal power when I opened up my sexuality. My relationship to myself and to others completely shifted, as did my libido and orgasm. I felt called and driven to help other women clear the negative messages and fears that get in the way of being a fully expressed and satisfied lover of themselves, and others.”

And it’s sexologists like Bryant who are moving the science out of the realm of research and into the realm of practice. She sees clients one-on-one, and runs Pleasure Ed, weekend-long workshops for women who want to become more connected and authentic lovers.

“Pleasure Ed is about story telling – finding the courage to share personal stories as a means of healing shame and learning from each other. It sounds scary, but I create a safe space; it’s so powerful and liberating.”

She works with breathing techniques, movement and voice, and keeps the workshops small so that everyone can be heard. She promises to help women increase in sensitivity, have enhanced orgasm, and move beyond the shame that can hold so may of us back in the bedroom.

A woman, working with women in way a that moves beyond the man-pleasing approach common to many women’s magazines towards an approach that is, in essence, about pleasing yourself yourself?

Sign. Me. Up.

sex education blackboard image

People have been thinking and talking about sex almost as long as they’ve been having it, but the term ‘sexology’ – and its application as a specific research-based scientific field – is relatively new. And it’s a serious business.

Sexologists draw on other scientific disciplines like biology, medicine and epidemiology, psychology, sociology and criminology to inform their approach. They tend to ponder sexual development, dysfunctions and disorders, and sexual orientation, relationships, and activity – other people’s, and their own.

Sexology’s founding father is Havelock Ellis, a British physician who co-authored the first medical textbook on homosexuality, Sexual Inversion: Studies in the Psychology of Sex, in 1897. More famous sexologists were to follow, along with theories and approaches reflective of their place in the space-time continuum.

American doctor Alfred Kinsey founded The Kinsey Institute in 1947, and collected more than 18,000 anonymous sex histories from men and women. It led to the creation of the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, which allows people to place themselves on a seven-point scale of sexual orientation with extremes of ‘totes straight’ and ‘totes gay’ at either end.

Masters and Johnson are the inspiration for the Showtime drama Masters of Sex, and were famous sexologists in the 1960s. They observed people masturbating and identified four stages of arousal and orgasm, then published the results, some of which are just a little bit fascinating. They also had sex with each other – all in the name of research of course.

In the 1980s, Nancy Friday published My Secret Garden, a compendium of women’s fantasies, and in 2010 Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha published Sex at Dawn, a theoretical work challenging the notions of monogamy and fidelity and arguing instead that multiple partner relationships and matriarchy are the way to go.

This array of approaches shows us that sexology, and its practitioners, sexologists, are a varied bunch. Some – like Bryant – are more hands on than others, but they all have in common a healthy interest in sex.

So what exactly did Bryant discover when she asked her partner to stroke 15 circles clockwise, pause for a microsecond then start all over again?

That taking sex too seriously can be an occupational hazard.

“The purpose of the exercise is to hold myself in prolonged orgasmic state for as long as possible. The pauses shift energy and give me a break into which my body reaches for more sensation. This allows me to build sensation in my body, while stopping me from going over the edge into climax.”

But often what she experiences while exploring is not orgasm, but frustration.

“It’s totally symptomatic of me having to ‘figure it out’ or ‘get it right’…sometimes it doesn’t work at all,” Bryant continues.

“One or both of us may be off or in our heads. It really is a dance between partners, and while we are learning new things we’re in constant communication – it’s a great lesson in learning how to communicate clearly, because the payoff is pleasure. This is my job – I have to remind myself that it’s play, too.”

Tough gig.




Vanessa Murray

Published by Henry, on August 20th, 2014 at 9:35 pm. Filled under: EDUCATION SCHOOL TRAINING,SEX EDUCATION,SEX SURROGATES,SEXOLOGISTS. Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments |

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