Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Things I Found in Naomi Wolf's "Vagina"

(Update May 2021:  I have since has the great misfortune of discovering that Naomi Wolf has gone completely daft weird-ass theory about chem trails and the like. Does that discount this, which I really loved at the time? Dunno!)


Let's see, I looked in Naomi Wolf's Vagina and found:  an Adam Ant Album, a Bag of Bacon and...I'm sorry. I'm a child.

No, what I found was information--completely fascinating, mind-blowing information. Naomi Wolf's book Vagina: A New Biography--seriously--gave me a whole new Vaginal Worldview. Which is good because I previously held no Vaginal Worldview. So I can tick that off my "to-do" list.

Anyway, here's the story:

1. The basic premise.
Women are wired in complex neurological ways that make sexual touch blend with emotional experiences, creativity, and the experience of connectedness with the world. "Women are designed to receive pleasure, and experience triggers to orgasm from skillful caressing and rhythmic pressure of all kinds over many, many parts of their bodies. The pornographic model of intercourse--even our culture's conventional model of intercourse, which is quick, goal-oriented, linear, and focused on stimulation of perhaps one or two areas of a woman's body--is just not going to do it for many women, at least not in a very profound way, because it involves such a superficial part of the potential of a woman's neurological sexual response systems," writes Wolf.

2. Release the hounds.
When a lover stimulates a woman properly, it sets off all kinds of chemical fuckery. A lover who suckles a woman's nipple for example, will set off a release of the bonding love chemical oxytocin and she, perhaps without quite realizing why, will favor that lover over another. If a man* gives his lover a deep, deep orgasm, the kind where it feels like his cock is hitting some deep emotional/physical/spiritual place within, a woman can have a profound experience. Some women will feel an exquisite rapture, some will burst into tears, and 100% will take that dude's call next time around.

3.  Truly great sex is a spiritual experience.
Yeah, I said spiritual. When a woman is fully relaxed, open and receiving pleasure she can enter sort of a trance state. And when a woman comes, she gets a heavy dose of opiates, and the regions of her brain involving self-awareness and inhibition go dark. "This can feel to the woman involved like a melting of boundaries, a loss of self, and, whether exhilaratingly or scarily, a loss of control," writes Wolf. This blissful state is a transcendence, a falling/melting into something Divine.

4. Well fucked women get bombarded with all kinds of delicious sexual chemicals and get cranky when denied.
The heavy dosing of all these lovely chemicals--the bonding love squishiness of oxytocin, the rewarding high of dopamine, the sublime bliss of opiates--means that yes, love is a drug for women, and we can turn into fucking addicts. Our pleasure/chemical hit is potentially greater than a man's so we suffer more, biochemically, from withdrawal. Edith Wharton wrote that her lover's touch left her with "je n'ais plus de volonte": "no more will." "Addictedness to a lover who is 'right' for the autonomic nervous system in women is hard-wired," writes Wolf. "...If this is the person with the right touch to activate your unique neural network, you will go into withdrawal if he or she is not around you to do this again, and fairly soon. Actual, painful, real withdrawal." Uh, yeah. (See also: Elliott Smith, excessive playing of)

5. Maybe it's okay to go with your crazy?
The addictive force of sexual chemistry has such a tempting, strong pull--just an open-hearted leap into ancient currents of Passion and Life--but it also feels kinda...anti-feminist, weak and possibly unhealthy. Being so raw and open to someone is both frightening and wonderful. Especially since men might be experiencing the chemical bath on a less heady level. But Wolf spins this longing for connection as something important and essentially female : "Are we masochists, are we pathetic, or trivial minded? No, to the contrary. Rather, we are subject to a force that is extremely powerful--one that perhaps no man can truly understand. I think that what drives us is rather noble," she writes. "I believe we should respect the potential for 'enslavement' to sexual love in women; to our place with Eros and love."

6.  The optimum ways to fire up a women's sensuality look a lot like Tantric sex.
A lot of Tantra--at least as far as I can tell from studying it exactly zero days---has to do with setting the scene, enjoying the process, relaxing the woman and coaxing her to open up gradually--literally and metaphorically, until she is sort of bursting with ripeness. A lover offering reassurance and admiration will affect what's going on between a woman's legs, reports Wolf: "If he or she keeps talking along those lines, watch how readily your vagina responds to the touch--as the Tantric masters say, it should literally yearn toward and open for the lover's hand, to draw it closer, or do the same for a lover's penis."

A slow, non-goal oriented touch will take a lover over the contours of a woman's body, kissing, stroking and coaxing each one to open up before moving to another. After going through each "gate," a woman will be fully receptive--probably pretty fucking blissed out--and only then it is then okay to enter her. Wolf describes this Eastern model of vaginal opening as "akin to an 'unfolding' or an 'unfurling,' a 'coming alive,' or an 'expansion'--more like a time-lapse photograph, like a lotus expanding in the sun."

7.  Whether you think it's a G-spot or not, it needs to be stroked.
"Find her 'sacred spot,' then hang out there far longer that you think is necessary." While scientists are still dithering about whether there is a G-spot or not, Tantric masters have been in there stroking said "sacred spot' and making the ladies come. Carefully, slow stroking of the spot--which is part of the whole neural tangle, but can also be considered to be sort of a back end of the clitoris--is highly effective at making women purr for you. In one study researchers gave 89% of their female subjects orgasms by "systematic digital stimulation of both vaginal walls." This despite the lab conditions and calling it "systematic digital stimulation of both vaginal walls." Considering 43% of women report sexual desire and response problems, the results are truly stunning.

8.  The usual idea of tensing and focusing to reach orgasm might not be optimal for women.
"Many women--and Tantra gurus--report that while clitoral orgasm involves bodily tension and release (a lot like male orgasm), 'sacred spot' orgasm involves relaxation. Many women learn to have sacred spot orgasms, those Tantric four-star never-ending orgasms, by actually directing themselves to relax and lose consciousness during sacred spot stimulation--to their surprise, this can make the orgasm come in sequential inexhaustible waves--rather than tensing up and focusing on sexual thoughts or fantasies, which women then to do to secure clitoral orgasms (and which Western images of sexuality model.)"

So yeah. There you go. I am still kind of processing it all but am curious what you all think.... Do tell.


p.s. I also found the object below in Naomi Wolf's Vagina.**

* I'm going with some hetero language here today b/c I am hetero. For now.
** Statement is untrue.

This is a rerun. Please adjust expectations accordingly.

(photo source: Lady Cheeky)


caitlingrace said...

Well now I have to go and get the book!
I've always been fascinated by tantra but it just all seems to take so damn long. Then I found out about Nicole Daedone and Orgasmic Meditation and that is something I can totally get onboard with and so hubby and I have been having a ball trying it out.

in bed with married women said...

Caitin--I just forwarded this to Nicole Daedone. I totally agree. I went to one of her workshops and the guys (who were strangely handsome, btw) were really earnest and interested in learning how to properly touch a woman--like definitely willing to spend the extra time for the reward.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it sounds right. My Brazilian friends when making out, their guys always caressed & nursed at the women's breasts, just part of it all.

caitlingrace said...

Hey Jill your blog inspired me to write a new post on being a powerful woman:
basically have more soulful sex ;)

Spiffy McBang said...

Under the category of "just what do all these chemical effects do": When I started dating someone about a year and a half ago, after a couple of weeks she said she'd basically stopped smoking and drinking because she didn't feel like she needed it. Not completely, just down to "hardly", in her words.

For all that, though, I have no idea if I was kind of naturally doing a lot of the things you've listed, or if she was just wired a little differently. I mean... we did spend a lot of time naked. I guess the whole take-your-time Tantric idea doesn't have to happen from the start, right? You can get some of it out of your systems first and then lounge around with the nice easy touches.

...definitely asking that woman at the gym out tomorrow if I see her.

Anonymous said...

this sounds kind of passive on the (receiving) woman's part: directed relaxation, slow stroking of the g-spot, etc.
As if the partners "take turns", such as it is: one giver and one receiver.
Is that an accurate interpretation?

A Heron's View said...

There is a lot more involved in having mutually pleasurable sex than 'Wam bang thank you Mam !"
It needs to be treated like a journey through beautiful countryside by admiring the scenery, strolling through the woods, stroking the leaves gently, softly bathing in the waters before swimming rapidly to the bank.

in bed with married women said...

Caitlin, Fabulous! Go, girl, go!
Spiffy, ok, I've given you a few days, the deal with the gym chick...?
Anonymous, I would say so. Women often have "spectatoring" issues where they observe themselves or think about what they need to do next or whatever and take themselves out of the moment of just feeling and being. having this unrushed time w/ no demands/goals is conducive to finally relaxing and just going with it. so, in that sense, taking turns = good.
A Heron's View, yes. Lovely.

Jill Hamilton said...

Some comments via Facebook:

From J: "It doesn't sound like Naomi Wolf ever talks about the fact that people are animals. What about the virtues of behaving in ways that that would make critters on the Discovery Channel stop and stare in confusion? Gleefully horrific acts that destroy the ability of the rational mind to control anything?

This romantic notion that a woman requires to be treated like something other than a plastic fuck doll has some merit. I get that. But the rest of this touchy feely stuff is just nonsense.

Women want the same thing men want. The difference is that with men, we're ready to go when 2 (or sometimes just 1) of our 5 senses are triggered. With chicks you have to trigger 3 or sometimes 4 of them.

And I like goal-oriented sex. It's one of Stephen Covey's habits of highly successful people."

From B: "How long is all this suppose to take from beginning to ecstasy? it's seems time consuming...I have kids who may spring in without warning. Love the article, Jill."

And my very favorite, from another J:
"I loved this so much I printed and pasted it in my diary."

Anonymous said...

Works for some women, not all. Some are not wired to be receptive.

Spiffy McBang said...

We belong to a climbing gym, so I asked if she wanted to go climbing. Logical!

She said no. :\

Unknown said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Point number eight answers a question that my wife and I have been puzzling over for years! She likes G-spot stimulation, it gets her worked up, but she never knows what to DO with it. Now she can try just relaxing, losing herself in it...oh boy, fun times ahead.

BTW - would be interested in hearing input from others on if this works for you.

Also - Best Headline EVER!

in bed with married women said...

Joe, thank you 3x as well. And yes, i second your call for input.

anonymous, hmmm, I'd like input on that as well. anyone?

Spiffy, bleh. she's clearly unworthy.

Clea Simon said...

Thank you for this! Didn't want to wade through the book, but was hoping for a nice summary. Which has now been forwarded to DH with a succinct: "Read This. Really. Thank you."

And thank you!

Can't Keep Anything to Myself said...

This reminded me of a movie I saw a while ago, Diary of a Nymphomaniac. You should watch it (if you haven't already seen it of course). Assuming you have Amazon Prime, you can watch it on Amazon. It does have subtitles, but I really liked it.

Anonymous said...

"Many women learn to have scared spot orgasms"????

in bed with married women said...

nice catch anonymous! kinda changes the whole meaning there, huh.

Buck said...

Dang good post! This is great information (feel like such a "guy" saying it that way) and it helps me get it. It is truly different for men and women and I for one will admit my understanding is more of the experiential rather than the empathetic persuasion. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Jill, this isn't strictly relevant, but I was wondering if you would consider doing a blog on sexual fantasies and how they can play into intercourse. Personally, I've recently tapped into a train of thought that really excites me, but it's not something I feel I can share with my partner. I worry that it disconnects me from him during sex (he doesn't know that my mind is elsewhere). This is causing me a lot of guilt and I feel like it's actually worsening our sex life. Is this a concern you've experienced?

Jill Hamilton said...

Good on you Buck.

And Anonymous. THAT is an excellent question. I will pose it to the void when I write a new damn post.

Ruth said...

Great book review, off to buy my copy. Thanks Jill.

Anonymous said...

Caitlin, don't they all just have the most fantastic titles?