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Am I ready & without rubbing my clitoris, will it even feel good if I am?

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Madison D. asks:

I have been with my boyfriend for about three months and I am not sure if I'm ready to have sex. How do you really know if you're ready? We have talked about sex before and he wants to do it but I'm just not sure if I want to or not. We have done other things and have also talked about those and if it felt good for us. It was just a little bit awkward talking about it with him at first, then I got more comfortable. He's not pressuring me into doing it, I just want to make sure I'm absolutely ready because I don't want to regret it.

There is another question I would like to ask. If you have been masturbating for quite some time (by rubbing my clit), and I mean a long time, will I only be able to get pleasure from rubbing or will having sex feel good too? I have read somewhere that you can get used to one thing and only be able to feel pleasure from it. My boyfriend has fingered me, it hurt a little at first but then it didn't. It's not that I hated it, but I also didn't get pleasure from it. I'm scared that I won't be able to get pleasure from anything else other than rubbing. Please help.

Heather Corinna replies:

Madison: I'd suggest you start by taking a look at our sex readiness checklist which I've linked at the bottom of my response to you here. It's a really excellent tool for getting a good overview of all the aspects of sexual readiness.

Now, a lot of people who are ready may still not check off ALL of those items, and with some of them, that's okay. The trick is to look at if you've got most of them accounted for. If you do, you're probably in a good space to be sexually active.

But hinging on ALL of that is the barest basic, which is you FEELING ready, and feeling sure that you're ready. If you feel uncertain that you're ready overall, or that you're ready for what you're doing now, but not for intercourse, then there's just no reason to rush in. Any type of sex really always keeps, and any type of sex is pretty much always physically, emotionally and interpersonally better when the people involved both absolutely want to be doing what they're doing, are and feel ready to deal with all the pros and cons, and have a very strong desire to be doing what they're doing.

I hear you saying that you're just getting to the point where you're comfortable with whatever sex activities you're doing now, but not so sure about adding more to the mix. So, why not stick with what you've got going on that does feel good, and which you do feel okay with for right now, and giving intercourse or whatever else you're considering a little more time?

In terms of what you're asking about clitoral stimulation and vaginal intercourse, all of us are capable of feeling a myriad of kinds of pleasure. If I really enjoy tomatoes, and eat nothing but tomatoes for a while, that won't change me in some way where I no longer can enjoy carrots. Same things goes for pleasure and your body. The fact that I really enjoy oral sex doesn't mean I don't also still really enjoy a good makeout session, and the fact that someone really enjoys manual sex doesn't mean they can't also enjoy oral sex just as much.

Certainly, it's important to understand that vaginal intercourse all by itself isn't super-duper amazing for a majority of women, period. But that isn't because those women got so into their clitorses that they can't feel pleasure from anything else. Rather, that's because unlike the clitoris -- which has more sensory nerve endings in the whole of it than any other part of the male or female genitals -- the vaginal canal doesn't compare. Not only is it far less sensitive (and after the first couple inches, it's practically not sensitive at all, which is why you can wear a tampon for hours and forget it's even in there), it's also just a different kind of sensation: it's much more general than specific and intense, the way clitoral sensation is.

So, for most women, while vaginal intercourse can be enjoyable in it's own way, physically and emotionally, for it to play a part in orgasm and to be super-sensory, you've got to combine that with at least some clitoral stimulus. And that's easy-as-pie to do: some sexual positions for intercourse will provide that all by themselves, and/or you and your partner can add clitoral stimulation with your hands before, during, and/or after intercourse, too. Same goes with when your boyfriend is inserting his fingers into your vagina: if that's all that's going on, that just may not be the ticket for you, as it isn't for a lot of women. Again, adding extra stimulation to the part of your genitals that's WAY more sensitive is the key.

Lastly, by all means, sometimes people do just get accustomed to one kind of stimulus, so it can happen that that one way is the quickest or easiest route to cloud nine for them. But that doesn't mean other things don't or can't also feel good, nor that you can't keep mixing it up so that any number of things feel good and are satisfying for you.

Here is that link to the checklist, as well as a few other pieces I think you'll find helpful:

written 05 Jul 2007 . updated 21 Jul 2008

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