Territory is about understanding the tools with which you have been given to use on your orgasmic journey.
First lets get back to basics - Our genitals are all exactly the same just arranged differently.
To quote from the wonderful Emily Nagoski’s book Come as You Are - "About 6 weeks after the fertilized egg implants in the uterus there is a wash of masculinizing hormones. The male group of cells formed from the embryo responds to this by developing its prefab universal genital hardware into the male configuration of penis, testicles and scrotum. The female cells do not respond to the hormone wash at all and instead develops its prefab universal hardware into the default, female configuration of clitoris ovaries and labia."
So many things to talk about here! I mean that surely explains a lot.
I cant say enough how knowledge is golden at this stage, especially when it gives us so much capability to connect with our body and its potential for pleasure.
To put this into context I would like to explain the way in which i believe lack of knowledge has lead to a disadvantage for women when it comes to orgasmic pleasure.
If you take arousal as an example - Boys have been seeing their erections from a very young age, likely as young as 3 and at the point where they are able to make the connection between erotic thoughts and their erections they begin to create neural pathways from their penis to their brain laying the foundations to control and understand their bodies physiological response.
Now when we get to women and our ‘lady boners’ - remember we are all the same just arranged differently - its gets a little trickier because our genital transformation is going on inside our bodies and unless you are carrying a mirror between your legs throughout your teenage years its very unlikely girls are able to make that same very powerful visual connection. If we want to catchup in this department, we must firstly get to know what our bodies look like and what they are capable of. Within the guide we have a few images of the anatomy of our genitals specifically the workings of the vulva and clitoris.
Erectile tissue in your vulva for example is a vital piece of information and to begin to create these neural pathways of connection to this tissue you must use your most powerful tool - The mind. Being present during self exploration is key whilst noticing the feelings of being aroused and where in your body you are feeling them. Can you feel the blood flowing to your vulva making your lips and genitalia plump? When you are aroused take a look in the mirror, what does it look like? What does it feel like? Your are providing your body with a map to return back to this wonderful place so you must use every sense available to strengthen this memory.
Something which is very important to mention when discussing our bodies is how important it is that you have a good relationship with it. It is the most powerful thing you own and with orgasm being the pinnacle of pleasure that it can create we must be in adoration of what it can achieve. If you are ashamed, disgusted or embarrassed of your body then this will inhibit your ability to feel pleasure. You dont have to love everything about yourself but when it comes to sexual experience you must give way to the power and wonder of its pleasure capabilities. Understanding your body starts with loving it first. Now repeat after me I LOVE MY VAGINA, ORGASMS AND FULFILLED SEXUAL EXPERIENCE SHALL BE MINE. hehe
When we talk about pleasure in this section it is important that we cover pleasure from both genital and extra genital perspective.
By this I mean putting pleasure into context so rather than sitting it on some distant pedestal we put sexual pleasure alongside everything else. For example the pleasure of eating a delicious meal, dancing the night away or spending time laughing with friends. When it comes to sexual pleasure I believe a fine balance must be struck. Yes we must revel in the the ecstatic feelings and sensations are bodies can produce but we must also focus on bringing these wonderful yet absolutely natural physiological responses into the mainstream consciousness. Shedding the shame and negativity that has been put upon us by external conservative influence.
Something extremely important to understand is that we are all different when it comes to what we find pleasurable. Much like we have different tastes - some people like spicy foods some people don't some people like bananas some people despise them. This very same variety of taste applies to sex and to achieve orgasmic pleasure you must be ready to embark on understanding what your own unique taste is. Included in the guide is a handy print out - Colour in your erogenous zones. This is a fun way of communicating your likes and dislikes with prospective sexual partners with some easy steps to follow to start to understand the framework of pleasure.
Remember that pleasure and pain are two sides of the same coin.
Take for example if your partner comes up and kisses you on the lips you may find this very pleasing however if a complete stranger were to suddenly kiss you on the lips it would likely be quite displeasing. The same action but in different context. It is good to understand what kind of levels of contact apply to you. I am an extremely tactile person often found rolling around with my friends many of whom I affectionately kiss on the lips. This is my stage one but for other people it could be completely the opposite. Both are great you must find out how you do you. For optimal arousal it is important to build up the levels in the correct order. If you skip from friendly contact straight to ecstatic sexual contact you are likely not to be turned on enough and highly unlikely to get there through just this type of contact.
Taking your time to build up your arousal will allow you to transcend into higher states of pleasure, making orgasms stronger and the experience more fulfilling. Try to stick around in zone 2 and really take your time enjoying those feelings and sensations getting outside of your head and into your body.
When embarking on this exploration try to start off slow and gentle - the clitoris is extremely sensitive and if not aroused can be painful to touch. Once you have taken the time to become aroused your genitals should be plump and moist much like the male erection you should be looking for these signs before anything other than gentle stimulation. Start with the same pressure you would touch your eyelid and build from there. It is much easier to build up or ask for more pressure than it is to come back from pain and start over.
A patient, inquisitive, attentive lover is required to reach orgasm with great aplomb so choose your partner/s wisely.
This pillar is about self exploration - specifically masturbation.
Understanding your own body, what you like and dislike in the comfort of well you and only you will set you up for pleasurable orgasmic experiences with partners. After all unless you plan to choose sexual partners solely based on their psychic ability you have got to know what you find pleasurable.
This means a voyage of exploration and experimenting. And guess what because you have decided to take this part of the adventure solo, what you do stays with if you if you wish. So don’t be afraid. Firstly I would implore every woman to take a long look at what they have got going on downstairs. This visual representation of your genitals and arousal not only lets you get to know your own unique brand of vagina but also starts to feed your imagination with imagery to add another sense, aiding future arousal.
Again a huge part of arousal is in your mind once you can conjure up the exact image of your plump labia your brain can start talking to that labia telling it what to do. Remember the neural pathways that men create when seeing their erections from Territory...
Another big tip when it comes to this self love exercise is simulation. By this we mean set the scene. Take a bath, relax, dim the lights make your bedroom the kind of sanctuary you would want to make love in and then make love to yourself. Take your time and get back to your erogenous zones building up the sensations. Something we would suggest during the times where you are searching out knowledge to impart on future sexual partners is to step away from the vibrator. This is about exploring the kind of sensations that will be replicated by another human and I’m afraid humans don’t vibrate.
Understanding your likes and dislikes and how far you wish to go with a chosen partner is very important in the context of pleasure. If you are uncomfortable or feeling pressured because you are trying things for the first time with a partner this will inhibit your pleasure and the experience can swing to being very unpleasurable. That’s not why we should be having sex after all, so some time to think about these things is really good.
Communicating about sex has a lot to do with breaking the cycle of shame and embarrassment when talking about this subject.
It helps to start with the people you trust the most. Engaging with your friends openly and honestly about sex is such a powerful tool to start to breaking down these very established taboos. Pleasure being the final taboo.
Considering the huge swathes of women not gaining their rightful pleasure from their sexual experiences we can see why people feel sheepish to talk. But in order to move forward we must learn from each other. Believe me once you start opening up, people actually have a lot to say and there are likely to be many a night of hysterical laughter when discussing personal experiences no matter where you are in your personal journey.
When it comes to communicating your desires, likes and dislikes we must rebuff a powerful myth that talking about sex isn't sexy.
Something that is consistently compounded in the films we watch.
Hollywood rarely depicts sex scenes that include any kind of affirmation of pleasure or consent and this representation of sex that shows all partners just telepathically knowing how to get the other off and have amazing sex is doing more damage I believe than any pornography we have become so afraid of. Talking about sex is absolutely sexy because you know what is not sexy? Shit sex.
For example if you are touching or caressing you partner and you ask them do they like it? You might get a no which is in fact great! Because that allows you to try something different until you get a yes. Had you not asked at all, that same action would have still received the negative physiological response but with no space or understanding to correct it. If you ask because you genuinely want to know and genuinely want to be part of the mutual exchange of pleasure you must be ready to give and take instruction with pleasure as the obtainable goal.
Set aside your feelings of not being good or rejection because the end yes supersedes all no’s up to that point. An orgasm will let any bumps in the road on the journey melt into insignificance. If you are the one exploring try asking closed questions that require a yes or no answer that make it easier for clear communication without halting the flow.
One thing we have found to be very successful is talking about the kind of sex you like when you in the least vulnerable position. Ie. not naked about to get down to it. Somewhere that means you can talk openly without either one of you fearing testing out your theories is the next step. Dinner is good or if you're feeling particularly shy, out for a walk side by side where eye contact can be avoided at the most excruciating moments.
If you are talking with someone you trust and respect these conversations should not be too hard for long. Think of it like teaching your unique language of pleasure, its going to take you imparting some knowledge and lots of practice. And what a great thought that is!
The Ladies Behind 'Ladies Come First'
Two sisters who had enough of hearing the same old story
Fempowerment Activist, Isobella and The Fortune Teller
Orgasms and sex education will literally change the world and so if you have something to say about it then you should start saying it now. The power we hold in every one of our hands is just inside our heads. This guide is not decree absolut but hopefully you will learn something. The end is so far for equality in general but equality between the sheets is a battle that can be won over night quite literally. So talk to people about your fucking experiences because we have much to learn from each other. To my sexual goddesses of knowledge Betony Vernon and Emily Nogaski you taught me so much and I will be forever grateful that you took the time because you are both fountains of wisdom the world needs to drink from.
Pants Designer at the Little Black Pants Club
Alice believes in the empowerment of individuals through education- 'Ladies Come First was a way for us to put some basic information out there, that people could apply in their own lives. Consumer culture offers prefab solutions to complex problems without always giving people the knowledge they need to apply those solutions. I firmly believe that the first step towards changing prejudices is to offer the insight and experience that builds empathy.'
You can see Alice's latest project here-