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We asked an expert why female sexuality is still so taboo


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The sexual health and safety of women is something that isn’t spoken about enough, filled with misconceptions and ignorant ideas.

The issue was highlighted in a recent study conducted by husband and wife team, Dr David Delvin and Harley Street psychotherapist Christine Webber.

Christine is very open about why she and Delvin undertook the study in the first place.

“Both [of us feel] very strongly about giving people information that will help them to have good and happy sex lives," she says, "and which will also enable them to understand what is really normal and what’s not.”

Despite being aware of the myths and mistruths around female sexual health, there were still some surprises when the results came in. Christine said that what she found most surprising was to do with the amount of female orgasms that were claimed to be experienced (almost 40%) and the number of women that suffer pain when they climax – “This is rarely talked about and yet, as you’ll see from the results, about one in seven have this problem.”

One of the reasons for the study was to determine how we can make a difference and raise awareness. So, does all this misinformation just come from a lack of education?

Christine is "could not be more delighted" at the subject of Sex and Relationship Education becoming compulsory.

“Education gives us choice and accurate information about conception and infection," she says. "In countries where there is good sex education – such as the Netherlands – the age of first intercourse tends to be higher and the rate of unwanted pregnancy lower than in countries where sex education is poor or non-existent.”

Despite the lack of talk about woman and their sexual habits, Christine doesn’t believe this is because of a cultural taboo and instead argues that women’s sexual pleasure and response might be something that men find difficult to understand, due to numerous reasons.

“A woman’s sexual urge tends not to be as constant as a man’s sex drive," she says. "Our sex organs are more hidden away than men’s are. We have menstrual cycles, which generate fluctuations in mood and hormones. Women have more medical interventions below the waist than men… So our intimate parts are not reserved solely for pleasure.

"Nature has seen to it that men have a surge of pleasure when they ejaculate – in order to ensure the continuation of our species. Sadly, a woman’s orgasm is not required for her to get pregnant.”

Whilst there will be no easy answers to these issues, Christine does believe that education should start early and encompass all aspects of the body, regardless of gender: “I believe that all children should be taught that love and desire come in many different forms," she says.

"I think it’s also helpful that boys and girls should be taught together. A lot of schools are also discussing gender dysphoria these days and I think that is a good thing and helps children from a very early age to learn respect for other people and their feelings.”

Sometimes the issue of communication can be to do with our own acceptance of our bodies, and as a young girl, this means that everything to do with your own body might be avoided. Christine speaks of a study she conducted previously, specifically focusing on the Baby Boomer generation.

"Practically every respondent made the point that she was much more confident now she was older, and also how much she valued that fact," Christine says.

“Today’s young woman have more pressure than ever before to look great and to act in a sexy way. It’s tough. So, if this survey of ours helps put the record straight for just some young women, and enables them to understand that their needs and behaviour are normal, then I will be very happy.”

But what is bringing such insecurity to young people? The answer is well understood and researched: “The internet. But, conversely, it is also a brilliant resource in terms of garnering reliable information about sex.”

Christine gave a good example of how the internet – and specifically porn sites – has changed how both men and women approach the act of sex: “I saw a young woman who was astonished when she was having first-time sex with her boyfriend and at the critical moment, he withdrew his penis and ejaculated all over her face,” Christine says. “She found it insulting and unpleasant, but he was completely bewildered by her response because all his sexual knowledge had been gleaned from porn videos…[this] gives a very false impression of normal, loving and pleasurable sex.”

There are a lot of takeaways from this study, particularly to do with the function of the female body during sex and what exactly we’re being taught about how sex works. But there was more that Christine hoped the public became aware of in the aftermath of the results.

She says: “We want women to feel that however best they get reliable pleasure, then that is right for them and they should enjoy it without feeling that they are inferior in any way to the kind of cavorting they can access on their screens.”

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