By the Book: Sex Talk with Your Local Librarian, Chapter 2

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Written by Emma Willig.

Every single person deserves a healthy sexual relationship.

Read that sentence again. And a thousand more times until it is under your skin. Last month, we talked about taking the nervousness out of sex and making it fun. In my opinion, you can’t have fun when you’re having anxiety-ridden-probably-low-key-acting-super-casual panic attacks.

A healthy sexual relationship has so many facets that we will cover throughout this column, but it starts and ends with you – knowing your own body, your likes and dislikes, your partner, and knowing that you are in control. Your words are just as important as your actions, and both of them tell a story.

Sex Fact: Female orgasms are still an enigma. We may not know why, but scientifically, we do know that it takes longer for women to orgasm – sometimes up to four times longer than men. There’s a wide range, but make sure you (and your partner) are working together until your brain and your body are ready!

It’s crucial you know how your story starts. There’s a huge embarrassment vibe that fills the air when someone somewhere whispers the forbidden word: masturbation. Especially and very particularly for women. Men masturbating can quickly turn into the brunt of a middle-school-maturity-level joke. Sorry not sorry, but women masturbating is unspoken and nonexistent. This needs to change.


This month’s book is "Girl: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You" by Karen Rayne, Ph.D. It’s a Y.A. nonfiction book, and it has facts. It’s co-authored by a series of women, from a reproductive health specialist to a non-binary femme activist. The cool thing about this book is that it makes the scientific jargon easy to understand, and it’s incredibly relatable. Check it out at your local library!

I cannot tell you how many of my sexual partners have asked me to “pleasure myself” for them, but T.B.H. I was like, “Uh, bro… No.” For me, it was always immediately humiliating, off-putting, and made my “pleasure” about my partner and not about me. I felt like that was my partner’s job; if I wanted to do that, I could be alone.

Now pause… Don’t get it twisted. I know there are a lot of things incorrect with that line of thinking, but that’s the honest truth to my feelings in those moments. I do understand that there is a great reward in knowing that your satisfaction satisfies your partner. After all, great sex is about trust and teamwork. However, you can’t tell your teammate what play to make, if you haven’t entered the game. 

Emma’s Two Cents: If it’s clear that your partner hasn’t broken down some walls with you, A. You need to talk about it, and B. Don’t make things about you – make it about the experience of togetherness. Sex. Is. Emotional.

My message to my ladies: You can masturbate. Girl, be liberated. It will take time, patience, and maybe some assistance. After a few attempts, it might not be your thing at all, and that is okay, too! Find strength in simply knowing that you are allowed to orgasm with or without a partner, and that your sexuality matters. This is the start of the journey to having a healthy sex life. Whether you have one partner or many, that’s not the point. The point is knowing that once you can break down the barriers within yourself, then you can open up to trusting others. You can also start to articulate your likes to your partner, which is just another key factor in this process.

Next month I’ll bring to light some of the more difficult topics of sexual health and how we can all make it a little easier on ourselves. Get it babe, and have a super fun month!


Catch “By the Book” from your local librarian Emma Willig on the first Saturday of every month for a journey through the strange and wonderful world of sex.