Shameless Woman

Pursuing an integrated life of sensuality, health, healing and rejuvenation

Slow Sex: The Art and Craft of Female Orgasm

For women, good sex may be about getting in touch with "Tumescence".

The first time I heard the word tumescence was when I was watching a remake of Robin Hood with Russell Crowe when he uttered these words..."I woke up this morning with a tumescent glow." It sounded sexy, but I let it go. I heard it again recently when meeting with other sex educators while discussing the fabulous new book "Slow Sex" by Nicole Daedone.

Slow Sex

And it really got me thinking, - so I looked it up and the literal definition of tumescence is all about sexual engorgement. We are literally talking erectile tissues filling with blood - such as the penis and the clitoris.


But I think I am with the Robin Hood character in thinking that tumescence is something more than an anatomical occurrence. Even the academic journals hovers around the word tumescence. Take for instance this quote from Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 3 Analysis of the Sexual Impulse; Love and Pain; The Sexual Impulse in Women:

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"Courtship, properly understood, is the process whereby both the male and the female are brought into that state of sexual tumescence which is a more or less necessary condition for sexual intercourse."

The slang for tumescence may be to "feel horny" or to be in sexual desire. The opposite of the glow of tumescence is a low libido. But what if we could really get in touch with the feelings of tumescence as a real state of being that has importance in the life of a sexual being instead of dismissing it with slang terms or worse blocking it out - and it's release through orgasm? What happens when we are not in touch with the natural feelings of tumescence that occur in many people throughout their lives - and simply work to shut it down or shut it off?


In the article "Determinants of Sexual Arousal and the Accuracy of it's Self-Estimation", it is reported what I already know about women from my own life and from my sexuality coaching practice:

"Women have found high levels of discrepancy between subjective and genital arousal in samples with and without sexual dysfunction (Geer,Morokoff, & Greenwood, 1974; Heiman, 1977, 1980; Morokoff & Heiman, 1980; Palace & Gorzalka, 1990;Wincze, Hoon, & Hoon, 1977). Laan and Everaerd (1995) as well as Korff and Geer (1983) suggested that compared to men, women in general may rely less on physiological cues to estimate their sexual arousal, and that this fact might explain why the discordance between subjective and physiological arousal is greater among women. Moreover, similar to men, women with sexual dysfunction tend to present lower levels of concordance between subjective and objective measures of sexual arousal compared to women without sexual problems (Morokoff & Heiman,1980; Palace & Gorzalka, 1992). Morokoff and Heiman (1980) showed that despite the lack of significant differences in physiological sexual arousal responses to erotic materials in women with and without sexual dysfunction, those with sexual dysfunction rated their subjective sexual arousal as significantly lower."

In other words, women often do not literally feel on a physical level - our own arousal or tumescence! Instead we tend to rely on our emotions, or social and religious clue to inform our minds of what our bodies are feeling. This disconnection from what our bodies are feelings from our consciousness throw many women into a place of sexual confusion, anger, low sexual desire and a general feeling of anxiety.

Perhaps that is why I love the book "Slow Sex: The Art of Craft of Female Orgasm" so much. Inside it's pages, author Nicole Daedone asks women (and men) to participate in a technique that she calls OM (orgasmic meditation).  Oming is in an odd way familiar to me - as it is a "one way touch" technique that I stumbled over in my own way in "Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner" (Rodale).

In Shameless, I discovered embodiment practices (in my own out of the box way),  and that is just what orgasmic meditation (Oming) is about.

In the OM practiced and introduced in Daedone's book, women are asked simply to tune into pleasure sensations supplied to their clitoris by a second person "stroking" them. They are asked simply to feel and connect to their genitals, pleasure and orgasm and most importantly, not to attach emotion to the sensations. A wild parlor trick for women use to approaching sexuality not from a place of sensation but from a place of consciousness.  It is a "practice" for many women to be able to do this. This are also asked ot separate the concept of orgasm from climax, a concept that I believe deeply in and call "Organic Orgasm".

I love this book and what it has to say about approaching pleasure for women. I love the boundaries of OMing, the call to attention, and the letting go of emotional language for women when it comes to getting in touch with physical pleasure.

Women are walking around disconnected to their genitals. Most of us have no name we are comfortable with to name them, and according to way too many studies we can't even feel our own arousal. Instead we look to food, or shopping, experience anxiety and embrace high drama in our lives to feel something - when perhaps all we have to feel is our own tumescence!

If you are in a woman, or in love with one - please read Slow Sex. It will bring a brand new perspective to your understanding of sexual pleasure and the "art and craft of female orgasm".

 

 

 

Pamela Madsen is a fertility/sex educator, blogger, author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association.

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