Shame, uncertainty, and fear hold too many people back from being their full sexual selves—I know this was the case for me, for too long. Here’s my true-life story: how I learned to embrace pleasure, starting in my mid-twenties!
When I turned 15, I worked up the nerve to masturbate for the first time. I was scared and I didn’t really know what to do with my genitals, so I let the water running down from the bathroom faucet pour over my vulva. It was thrilling, and I was kinda ashamed of it...and kinda not.
When I was 18, my second date put his hands down my pants, and I told him to slow down. I was afraid; I wanted to be told what was OK and what wasn’t.
When I was 21, I got married and had intercourse for the first time, in a hotel room on my wedding night. We didn’t know what we were doing, and I bled. But I didn’t mind, I was too excited.
When I was 22, I wondered whether Jesus watched while my husband and I were screwing.
When I was 23, I got depressed, and ill, and pleasure became irrelevant for a while. Recovery was a struggle.
When I was 25, I told my primary doctor that I didn’t have a libido but wanted one. He told me to take antidepressants—even though I clearly stated I wasn’t depressed—and to keep having sex with my husband. I changed doctors, got better medical advice. I started learning that often you have to fight to have your needs met, because no one else will do that for you.
When I was 26, I had a child and discovered how amazing vaginas truly are. I later had my first vaginal orgasm, and it blew my mind. (Have you tried kegel exercises?!?) Then I researched the clitoris because it was a felt, but unexplained and unseen, concept to me. (Truly a testament to how lacking the American sex education system is.)
I also started buying sex toys because how else was I going to get all the pleasure I wanted, especially with a chronically stressed and dissatisfied partner?
When I was 28, I realized that quality mattered, and I picked out my first silicone dildos. Now I didn’t just want to get myself off, I wanted to know why some toys felt better than others. I was happy that masturbation seemed like a normal thing now, not a shameful one.
When I was 29, I wrote a few sex toy reviews, not knowing what to say except for what I had felt.
I decided that I wanted to educate others about why good toys were good, and about how sexual pleasure was nothing to be ashamed of. I played with whether I could start my own site.
When I was 31, I was nervous as hell when I told my (now) ex that I was thinking of starting a sex toy review blog. He was largely uninterested in my hobby.
I was terrified when I registered my domain name and signed up for web hosting. I even had to call the internet service provider and tell them my chosen site name (*yikes*, I wasn’t comfortable with it yet!) to gain access to my site’s dashboard.
Once I got in and started exploring, I was hooked. I had words to say, words about sex toys! Awesome sex toys! I worked all weekend long. Still, hitting “Publish” for the first time was majorly nerve-wracking.
When I was 32, I stopped being hesitant about talking to people about my newfound profession. I went to a sex-related conference and showed my face to the world. I learned from sex educators, I read a ton of toy reviews, and I wrote and wrote my own sex-related pieces.
Now I’m 33 and I’m one of the top sex toy reviewers in North America. I will talk to you about genital anatomy and body-safe materials for hours.
I will ask whether you (or your girlfriend) likes pinpoint or broad clitoral stimulation, or what your level of anal experience is, or whether you want your dildo to be realistic (and how big?!), before I recommend a toy to you.
I will do all this because I’m not afraid anymore.
Along the way, I realized that sexual pleasure isn’t shameful, isn’t scary. We may have good sex or bad sex with partners, and safe sex is hugely important. There are pitfalls, of course...and that’s why we have to educate ourselves.
No, I’m not scared now; I’m proud to be a part of the good side of the Information Age. The sex-positive section of the internet where you can find all you need to know about quality sex toys, or orgasmic difficulties; about building a long-term erotic relationship, or BDSM basics. About using sex toys in public, or how to stimulate the G-spot! And on and on.
It’s all out there, if you’re open and looking for it!
That’s my story... What has your sexual journey been like?
Phallophile Reviews explores and ranks body-safe silicone sex toys, from thrusting dildos to G-spot vibes to suction cup positions and more! Follow the author, Felicity, on Twitter or Insta for her latest toy adventures.