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Keeping the Sparks Alive:
Sexual Tips for the Woman

by Stanley Ducharme, Ph.D.

In a previous article, I discussed some sexually related tips for guys. Now, it’s time to turn the tables! In this article, I’d like to discuss some of the concerns that women have shared with me regarding their sexual lives. Although there are obviously no right or wrong ways to be intimate, several common topics seem to emerge from time to time. Being aware of these common issues, could translate to a more positive experience in the bedroom.

First of all, let’s get rid of some of those old myths that have been around for ages. This folklore would have us believe that women don’t enjoy sex as much as a man; women shouldn’t initiate sexual contact and it’s wrong for a woman to have a strong sexual drive. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that women, similar to men, can’t be stereotyped and all lumped together. A woman’s sexual appetite differs from one woman to another. Some women love sex more then any man and some women couldn’t be bothered. The point is: every woman is unique and every woman has different likes and dislikes. That’s just the way it is.

From the onset, don’t assume that most guys have a clue about a woman’s sexual anatomy. The fact is that guys are not that familiar with the workings and functioning of a woman’s sexual equipment. This is foreign to us guys. To help insure a better sexual relationship, a little education can go along way.

In teaching your man, be gentle, supportive and mindful that the male ego can be a fragile thing. However, instructing your partner as to where and how you would like to be touched can boast the sexual satisfaction you both receive. Either do this all at one time or give him some pointers at times when the mood and ambiance are right. Make it part of the sexual act. Believe me, he will appreciate your sensitivity in helping him along.

From the start, remember that taking ownership of your sexuality is an important aspect that leads to sexual satisfaction. As the woman, you have the responsibility to make sure that your sexual life fulfills your needs. This is an important concept. It requires that you take equal responsibility for your sexual relationship. You both must insure that your intimate relationship is working. Blaming each other for a sexual predicament is not a productive solution. Finding fault never solves a problem. Honest communication does.

Taking responsibility also means figuring out what’s wrong if your sexual interest is low or non-existent. If fatigue or stress is an issue, don’t just live with it. Solve the problem and figure out how to resolve it. It may mean seeing a doctor, having hormone levels checked, seeing a therapist or getting some help with the housework.

Many women, as well as men, would prefer sleep instead of sex. If possible, don’t let fatigue always be the reason not to have sex. Being chronically tired because of the demands of motherhood or caring for your man is a signal that you are trying to balance too much. Something needs to change. Usually, it means altering a schedule or how responsibilities are divided up. Be creative and make some small adjustments in your routine. Having no sexual interest is not just unfair for your partner; it’s unfair to you as well. Don’t settle with something that could, in the long run, hurt your relationship. If left unchecked, ultimately it likely will hurt the relationship. Sex is just too important in a relationship.

In the sexual area, all too often women tend to be the more passive recipient of sexual contact. Although this may be understandable in some cases, a woman’s needs are equally important. Being passive about your pleasure as a woman serves no useful purpose. Paying equal attention to your own unique sexual needs is not a selfish gesture. It’s being independent and taking care of yourself. It’s a healthy response and something to strive for.

Men like to be with women who can be active partners and who know what they want. Be clear with your man if you want to take things slow and easy or want sex to be more passionate tonight. Vary the amount of control you exercise in the sexual act. If you want something to happen, initiate it. Taking the lead and making it happen will eventually make your intimate relationship more fulfilling.

It’s no surprise to any of us that boredom and routine are the biggest enemies to a long- term sexual relationship. Spice it up. Push yourself into new some new horizons by doing something different. Go beyond your comfort zone and try something new. Share a sexual fantasy, try a new position, talk dirty or do something equally outrageous. Don’t take it all so serious. Sex is supposed to be enjoyable so go ahead and have some fun with him. Once in a while, be a little wild in the bedroom! He’s your soul mate. Go ahead and take a risk.

When you feel affectionate, communicate this to your partner. Unfortunately, some women are reluctant to express their affection. Convey your feelings and affection! An ongoing lack of affection can have a very negative outcome. If you are feeling romantic don’t hesitate to sit close or even on his lap in the wheelchair. Hold his hand or give him a hug.

Affection breeds intimacy. If there has been a lack of intimacy in the relationship, try a little tenderness. Let him know that you’re feeling close and romantic. Communicating this by words as well as action demonstrates your love and the caring feelings that you have for your partner. Never take for granted that your partner knows how you feel about him. Unfortunately, none of us are mind readers and hearing how much someone cares about you can be a real confidence booster. We all love positive feedback

Many women have difficulty touching their genitals and giving pleasure to themselves, especially when their partner is around. The same can be said for using a “sexual toy”! Self-stimulation, with your partner, takes some practice and getting used to. For most women, this reluctance goes back to those negative messages we all learned as children. Masturbation was regarded as shameful and unhealthy

Back then, most of us learned that touching ourselves was wrong and something that we shouldn’t do. Giving oneself sexual pleasure was considered shameful and definitely not something to be done in front of another person. That was unthinkable. These messages don’t need to stay with us for life unless they fit our values as an adult. Changing this attitude however takes some real effort. No one ever said it would be easy. Nevertheless, it is a critical step for a fulfilling sexual life. Bring your values up to date with who you are today.

The presence of a spinal cord injury or medical condition in the man requires some special tactics. As for touch, many women, will move and guide the man’s hand to areas that give them pleasure. Show him how to get you aroused. This hands-on-learning approach insures that you are being touched where and how you want. Furthermore, it lets your partner know what you enjoy and what feels good. Even if there is an absence of sensation, don’t assume that he won’t enjoy this. Tell him how good it feels. Let him watch. Us guys can get sexual pleasure from almost anything!

When a spinal cord injury is present, men and women have special needs in the sexual department. First and foremost, they want the sexual experience to be pleasurable for both of them. There is always the concern that sex won’t be as pleasurable for the person with the SCI. No one wants to be the only member of a couple who is getting pleasure from the sexual act. That would be a real turn off for most people. If you’re enjoying the intimacy, let your partner know. Guys love to know that their partners are getting aroused! It’s an ego thing.

Sex is a give and take for both people. In the absence of some physical functioning or sensation, emotional intimacy and closeness are even more important. Use this intimate time to break down some emotional barriers. Those quiet moments lying together can’t be minimized. This is what a marriage or relationship is all about. Turn on the music; bring out the wine. In other words, capitalize on it. Enjoy it together!

In summary, your sexual relationship will be what you make it. Like it or not, the intimacy, or lack of it, is a reflection of the whole relationship. Take some emotional inventory and ask yourself if you’re happy with your sexual life. Is your partner happy with it? If not, make some changes. Spice it up! Try something new! You’ll be surprised what a big difference it can mean for you and your relationship.

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