Ep. #69 Arousing Women Holistically with Sheri Winston
If we can develop more empathy as men for where an individual woman is at in terms of their sexuality, we can help her discover herself . . . and become more fulfilled sexually also. That doesn't just make for great sex, it makes for deeper intimacy, more meaningful relationships, and ultimately, will help us develop and learn more about our own sexual expression.
This is a difficult subject to get good information and advice on. Women have as many sexual personalities as they do personalities. Their sexual anatomies are nearly as varied as their facial features. And that variety can be challenging to men, to understand it - and to make the most of sexual relations with our partners.
Today's guest is Sheri Winston. Sheri stands out because she has taken a very open minded approach to understanding Women's Arousal exploring everything from anatomy, to tantric sex to other ancestral and spiritual rituals to better understand "How women are aroused". This was documented in her 2010 book, "Women's Anatomy of Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure." The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists gave her the book of the year award saying that it is "the most comprehensive, user-friendly, practical and uplifting book on women's sexuality I've ever read." I personally found the information in her book different and enlightening in many places - and I learned some completely new stuff about sex and women's sexuality, which after my 10 plus years doing this, is a pretty rare. So I'd recommend every guy read it - it will definitely open up your minds to some new and important things about women.
Specifically, in this episode you'll learn about:
- Sheri's background, where she is in life, and her sexual journey (03:13)
- Sex positive culture versus sex negative culture (07:25)
- The use of language when talking about genitals / genitalia, sexual talk in bed, and societies' current sexual language limitations (14:11)
- What Sheri calls the pussy cat energy, and understanding the female network of the vagina (22:10)
- Arousal as an ultra state of consciousness towards enhancing sexual experiences (33:11)
- How women develop their awareness of their bodies (37:30)
- Encouraging self-pleasure and how to approach the topic in supportive ways (41:55)
- Women becoming multi-orgasmic and having different types of orgasms (44:56)
- Men, multi-orgasms, and moving energy to minimize genital problems (46:38)
- Coinciding the journeys of male and female sexual awareness (48:15)
- Recommendations for high quality advice in this area (51:35)
- Top three recommendations to help men get results as fast as possible with women (53:03)
Items Mentioned in this Episode include:
- Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play and Practice: The virtual book launch of Sheri's new book September 14 – September 16, with free giveaways during that period.
- Women's Anatomy of Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure: Sheri's 2010 book mentioned by Angel in the introduction and awarded book of the year by The American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.
- Center for the Intimate Arts: Sheri's website where you can find all books, blogs, articles, and other things to look at and read.
- Sheri's facebook professional page
- Sheri's LinkedIn.com page
- Jaiya: She is an internationally recognized sexologist and founder of New World Sex Education. She has co-taught retreats together with Sheri.
- Sex and Relationship Expert Reid Mihalko: Sheri considers Reid a fabulous sex educator.
- Amy Jo Goddard: Amy is a sex empowerment coach and considered by Amy as a great sex educator.
- Barbara Carrellas: Sheri thinks Barbara's books are wonderful and one of her favorites is called: Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty-First Century.
- Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson: Considered by Sheri as two wonderful tantra teachers and authors of some of Sheri's favorite tantra books.
Sheri's recommendations to help men get results as fast as possible with women:
Books, Courses and Training from Sheri Winston
Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Angel Donovan]: Sheri, thank you very much for making the time to come onto the show,
[Sheri Winston]: It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
[Angel Donovan]: What we'd like to do first is get to know you better as a person. Where you in life and where is your sexual journey. In your case, because that is like your topic / speciality. How old are you now, and where do you live, and what do you do?
[Sheri Winston]: I'm about to be 55 and I live in Kingston, New York, which is in the Hudson Valley; and I'm a holistic sexuality teacher. You might not have heard of one of those before because I made it up.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh great, I was gonna say I need to be told what that is.
[Sheri Winston]: I made it up because there wasn't a good name for what I do. I used to be, my background before I did this, is that I'm a certified nurse / midwife, gynaecology practitioner, registered nurse, license massage therapist. I was a child birth educator and doula. My focus for 25 years really was about birth predominately, and women's health and holistic healing. I stopped doing that work 15 years ago and transitioned into what I do now. You can think of it now as I am a midwife for people's sexuality. In some ways it's the same path. I just went deeper in. Because underneath all the birth stuff is the sex stuff.
[Angel Donovan]: Just briefly, what kind of areas did you study on your journey to this? Because I understand you looked into tantra and other things.
[Sheri Winston]: Oh sure. Actually, just to go back a step, I actually think birth, and the process of birth, and the women I worked with was the greatest teacher I could ever have about sexuality and all. I'll tell you a little bit about my personal journey.
I was teaching child birth education classes and midwifing and trying to help women during their pregnancy learn what they needed to learn so they could have the best possible birth, possibly even an ecstatic or orgasmic birth, which is one of the possibilities. But at least a really primal, natural birth. And I was teaching and learning about this stuff for over 10 years before I realized that I had unconsciously been using everything I was learning and teaching for myself in my own sex life. So I knew that my sex had gotten better and orgasms had gotten easier to have, and I had a wonderful husband, and we had a fabulous time. And things just got better, and better, and better over those 10 years.
Literally, I had one of those epiphany experiences where I suddenly realized I had unconsciously been training myself; using sounds and pelvic floor muscles, and intention, and awareness, and heart opening practices. All of those things had unconsciously seeped in. At that point, even though I was still midwifing, I got really interested in: if I came this far in the journey without even trying, without doing anything on purpose, what would happen if I started studying on purpose.
At that point, purely for my own edification, at least at first I started studying tantra and doula sexuality practices, and some Native-American sexuality practices, and also studying modern western sciences (understandings of the body and the brain, sexuality, orgasms, an all that). Then, I was kind of surprised that what I was learning there I was kind of bring back to my midwifery. That was enhancing my ability to help women in their birth and I started to see how it was part of one integral system, which was also pretty mind-blowing.
Anyway, when I retired from birthing babies I was teaching some classes and I started teaching more classes about sexuality. And it just became very clear to me that my next calling on my path was to really help transform our individual community and cultural planetary relationship with sexuality. So, that's what I'm doing.
[Angel Donovan]: Thank you very much for that overview. Where are you at with your own relationships? Are you still married today?
[Sheri Winston]: Not to that man, no. My husband and I completed our marriage after 20 years and I have a very lovely...
[Angel Donovan]: Congratulations.
[Sheri Winston]: Yeah, thank you. It was a beautiful completion and a good 20 years. I am partnered now with a man and we've been together almost 9 years, actually.
[Angel Donovan]: Great. Thank you very much for that. The topic today is arousing women holistically. The first thing I recognized when I was reading your book was that you emphasized sex positive culture versus sex negative culture, and I realized it's something that we haven't talked about on the show, but it's a growing kind of movement that we don't really understand exactly what it is. You obviously have a very clear idea of where that's going and what that is. Could you give an overview of what sex positive culture really is about?
[Sheri Winston]: I can, but I will give the caveat that it might be defined differently by many different people.
[Angel Donovan]: That's interesting.
[Sheri Winston]: Yes, it's a very loosely defined term and I think also very misunderstood. In general - in fact in my book, the first book is Women's Anatomy of Arousal, but I just finished a book called Succulent SexCraft - I actually tried to defined it a bit in there. To me it's about people who generally agree that sex is a natural, normal, healthy, and important part of who we are. We would like to create a world where sexuality is understood and valued, where it's respected, where people behave responsibly - like respect and responsibility; there are 2 sides of a coin there - where we help people learn how to experience all of the joy and pleasure of which we are capable. My second book, the one I just finished, is really all about that. How we can use all of the tools we have to expand our abilities to have amazing sex with ourselves, and if we choose, with other people. So I think that's a general understanding of sexy positivity. Large segments of that community also feel that there's a sacredness to sex, like the tantra community and many of the other sacred sexuality lineages that sex is inherently somehow wholly; because it's what makes life, it's what made each of us, and that it can be part of your spiritual path and your journey, and part of the sacredness of your life, if you choose, and there are many understandings of that. But I would not say that is everyone in the sex positive movement, although that is quite common.
[Angel Donovan]: Would you say that this is a movement that is growing and how has it developed? What have you seen from it?
[Sheri Winston]: I think it is a growing movement. It's almost hard to call it a movement though, there's so many different pieces of it. There moving at different paces in different parts of the world. In the United States, we're moving towards accepting gay marriage, for example, and that's a big change from 10 years ago. I think of that as part of the sex positive movement that in the country I live in we're finally embracing that you can love whoever you want and be married to whoever you want. So that's a piece of it.
[Angel Donovan]: It sounds like an important value is openness and being non-judgemental, and accepting of each others sexualities as long as it is not hurting others.
[Sheri Winston]: That's a great way of saying it. I think of it as celebrating diversity; not even just tolerating it, but appreciating and celebrating this wonderful diversity as long as everything is consensual, and that's an important word that no one is transgressing anyone else. So that would be a part of it. Then there is a big community of people who are transgender and intrasex who are trying to create a more positive world for their sexuality to express. So I think that's one piece of it. The sacred sexuality world has continued to bloom and blossom, and that's becoming more common. I think 10 or 20 years ago if you said the word "tantra" people would have no idea what you're talking about. Now at least they have some clue, maybe, what that's about. Yet, I also want to note that there are many parts of the world where this isn't happening. Also note, equality of the sexes and sex positivity go hand-in-hand. So you have parts of the world where women don't have rights, or the equal rights with men. You usually also have cultures that are more sex negative where things are more rigidly defined...
[Angel Donovan]: Could you define sex negativity as well because I was interested in some of the example that you gave in your book?
[Sheri Winston]: Yes, I think sex negative cultures tend to be very fearful of sex and women, they go together. So in sex negative cultures you have a taboo, or a rule, or a law and if you go outside of that you will be punished. You can go to jail or you can be killed. In a sex positive culture we have guidelines and understandings based on a compassion, and a respect, and responsibility. There's still guidelines. We're still channeling the sexual energy in a way that will lead to a positive, loving healthy outcome for everyone. Sex negative cultures are trying to restrain, control, and dominate that sexual energy and women because they go together. If you step outside those boundaries, you will be punished. So that is one of the big differences I would say. Then there's an openness. The internet has been an amazing force, for good and bad. We could knock some aspects of it, but it's been an amazing force for getting information out to people, for helping people find other people like them so they can create communities and support each other. In a sex negative culture there's also a lot more control of information. Those are countries that are trying to keep information from getting to people.
[Angel Donovan]: Obviously, there are some examples of that in the muslin world and the middle east for example. Do you want to say something about this?
[Sheri Winston]: Well, I just want to add, again, I'm in the United States so we still have both forces at work here too. We still have states where they don't teach any sex education to kids or they teach abstinence-only education. We have an incredible number of states where they are not mandated to teach scientifically medically accurate information. Basically, there are states where it's ok to teach whatever you want, even if science and medicine completely disagree with the reality of what you are saying.
[Angel Donovan]: That's interesting. So there's a lot of divergence across the U.S. Which is one of the most advanced states? Would it be California or somewhere like that?
[Sheri Winston]: Exactly. If you go to Alabama or someplace, not so much.
[Angel Donovan]: Ok great. Have you seen other countries in world where it's pretty advanced as well? I don't know whether in terms of sex positivity it's something a bit more natural to their culture?
[Sheri Winston]: I think the Scandinavian countries are a great example: great sex education, very low rates of unintended pregnancies, low rates of disease. So, in western Europe it varies from country to country, but there are a lot of countries that are so much more natural and accepted that that's what humans do. In every country there's all these subcultures so it's sort of hard to say with a blanket statement. But I will say that I think that there are more and more people moving towards a sex positive outlook and approach to sexuality, and that's encouraging to me.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes, it's very encouraging. One of the things I picked out from this discussion of sex positivity was the use of language and the language that we're used to using around sexual parts and the limitations we currently have. Could you talk a little bit about the limitations we have with language?
[Sheri Winston]: Yes, isn't it crazy that we don't have yummy, comfortable, sexy ways to talk about body parts that are sexual and the activities we might do with them. We've got medical scientific words and they don't tend to be sexy. 'Intercourse' is not a sexy word.
[Angel Donovan]: It's not something we want to say to our partner.
[Sheri Winston]: You don't want to go, "Would you like to have intercourse with me tonight?" We just don't talk like that, it's just not. And some of those words, other people might not know what they mean. When I was a medical practitioner if I was giving someone a safer sex talk and I said, "If you let your partner ejaculate in your throat, you could get a disease," she might not actually know what I meant. But if I say, "If you let your guy cum in your mouth while you're giving him a blow job," she knows what I mean.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[Sheri Winston]: But as a medical professional, I'm not really suppose to use words like 'cum' and 'blow job' because they're profanity and they're street slang. So those words are "charged" and we call them dirty words, as if a word can be dirty. So we're in between. Neither language is yummy and comfortable. Then their are the vague euphemisms which we use a lot because we're not comfortable with the topic and we don't have good language. So, "down there" is what they want for women, that their genitals are just "down there". This dark mysterious place that is far away.
[Angel Donovan]: Interesting. In Asian culture often they'll often call it little brother for instance. It's the same rule. It's very common there.
[Sheri Winston]: Then there are also medical people who are so uncomfortable with sexuality that they can't take an accurate medical history or sexual history of a patient because they will use things like, "Are you sexually active?" or "Are you having relations?" "Are you being intimate?" Even our medical people don't necessarily have the ability to be comfortable with sexual language. It's a big stumbling block. My approach is all words are just words. Whatever we make them mean, and they're all all fine.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. The clinical ones are not at all cool to use and the dirty ones they seem a bit cooler to use and obviously they're all in the films. We feel more comfortable with them, but we really don't feel comfortable with them in the bedroom for most of us. It's something that we kind of have to work on. Is that the solution? Because obviously we need these for better communication. We need to be able to talk about this stuff. Is it to use dirty words and become more comfortable with those?
[Sheri Winston]: I think its to find your own comfortable vocabulary, whatever that may be. Then find the vocabulary you can use with a partner. You can go the way I went, which is I decided I would use any words and all words. I'm also borrow words like 'yoni' is the sanscript for female genitalia, and it's a beautiful word - "Yoni!" It's nice. It rolls off. It's round. It's yummy. It's a nice word. But if your partner doesn't know the word 'yoni', he doesn't necessarily know what that means... I think we also want more specific words when we're talking about female genitalia as I think we will talk a bit more about. There are many different parts there and we might want something stroked, and something else rubbed, and something else lightly tickled, and something else really firmly held. If we don't have words for all the different parts, it's really hard to communicate with a partner about what you want. If we can't do that, then we have a hard time getting what we want from our partners.
[Angel Donovan]: Practically, for example, a shy guy at home that's going to end up with girl that he's interested in, for a relationship, in bed one night... What would you suggest to him if he's hesitant about what kind of words he should be using? Starting to use dirty words you hear. You kind of feel the pressure. A lot of guys, obviously, they're watching a lot of porn these days. That's where they get their reference. And obviously that's pretty much all dirty words.
[Sheri Winston]: I'll just throw this in. I mentioned the internet and the pluses and minuses. One of the minuses is while porn has normalized sex in a lot of ways, it's also not a good place to get your sexual education. The techniques you see in porn often don't work on real other human bodies. The language you see being used in porn might not be a turn on to your partner. I'm a big fan of talking a lot before you get sexual with somebody or checking in as you're being sexual. A wonderful question to a partner would be, and you might even want to start where you are, which is, "I feel a little awkward asking this question." Then say, "It's true. I'm not sure what language to use, what words to use. I don't want to insult you. I'm delighted that we're here in bed together." Everyone wants to hear that. "I'm delighted that we're here in bed together and I want to be able to talk. Are there words that really work for you? Are there words that don't?" It could be like the word 'bitch'. Like, "Uggh, don't call me a bitch." That's just not yummy.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes, people have specific trigger words. It triggers them. Maybe it's a negative experience from the past or something of their reference says 'bitch' is a really a bad word. I don't want to be called that.
[Sheri Winston]: Exactly. So it's a great thing and it's a wonderful kind of an ice-breaker just starting a conversation that's actually going to help you have a better sexual experience: "Tell me a couple of words that I should totally never use with you? Ok, great, I will never use those words. What are the words you like?" You might find a partner going, "I don't actually have words I like either. Isn't this a problem? Let's make up a word, or let's invent a word, or let's just have the word we hate the least and practice using it." That's how you create your own comfortable vocabulary for yourself and a partner. Maybe you hate the word 'boobs'. Maybe you rather have 'breasts'. Maybe your partner thinks the word 'kit' is so exciting that you decide, "Ok, I don't really like that word, but I'm going to learn if it's an ongoing relationship. I'm going to learn to desensitize myself because it's a word that's a turn-on for him."
[Angel Donovan]: I think to start off with, the first step is a continuation of whatever conversations you've been having, because the way they've been interacting with you... Are they using dirty words in their usual conversation. Has the girl called you 'mother fucker' before, just playing around, teasing you, whatever. Then she's probably going to be ok with that kind of language in the bedroom. There are some indications that can help you also just from your relationship as it exists. So, it's like a continuation?
[Sheri Winston]: It is, although for some people it's going to be different, when you are kidding around in a bar than when you are actually in bed. The other thing is, if you're having these kind of conversations, it makes it easier when you get to the, "Do you like to be licked this way or that way" conversation. Those kind of feedback things really makes sex be phenomenal. We have, I think, a cultural map of sex, but we don't talk about it. Whether it's porn or romantic comedy, it doesn't matter. If they see each other, they kiss, the clothes go flying, they have amazing sex without any kind of "a little to the left". We don't know how to have erotic feedback conversations that actually are part of the turn on. Nobody taught us to go, "Oh baby, I love that you're stroking me there and it would feel even better if you did it really softly. Oh yeah, oh yeah, just like that. That is great. I love that." Nobody taught us how to do that. So we're like, "I want to ask her something, but I don't know how and I don't want my partner to feel insulted or told what to do." We can also get really lost in the woods of that.
[Angel Donovan]: The way you just put it and the example you just gave was really good because gave a lot of positive reinforcement, and encouragement, and direction.
[Sheri Winston]: Yeah, well, I had to learn how to do that and that's one of the things I teach. I teach over 50 classes so I have lots of classes. One was "How do we give erotic feedback in a positive way" and I didn't know. Once I started figuring out that I actually need to give feedback if I want my partner to learn how to give me exquisite pleasure. And I want to get feedback so I can give my partners the pleasure they deserve. It's like, "Ok, how do we do it? I don't know. I never learned this." It's all learnable though. That's the key.
[Angel Donovan]: Excellent. I wanted to dive into one of the big subjects in your book of course is the anatomy of the women's sexual parts and how that all works. It struck me how that first of all, as you say in your book, many vaginas / pussies are very different, which I don't think a lot of guys know. They kind of expect it as something similar that they're going to come across each time. To get started, where would you start to explain?
[Sheri Winston]: Well, I like to start with saying that vulvas are just like faces. Everybody has 2 eyes, and a nose, and a mouth, and yet we look really different. There are all kinds of different beauties. So that's a good thing to know. The basic parts are pretty much the same parts, but the size, the shape, exactly where they are in relation to each other is extraordinarily different. Again, just like faces. I will also mention that many, many women are very ashamed and have a lot of negative feelings about their genitals.
[Angel Donovan]: Why is that?
[Sheri Winston]: We were trained from when we were little. There's all these commercials about being not so fresh and jokes about smelling like fish, and a lot of cultural "down there". It doesn't even have a name; such a foreign territory. So a lot of women don't really own their genitals, not all women self-pleasure. So for women to learn an accurate map of their genitals, and explore them, and get in touch with them, literally. And learn what they have and how it works, and then we can teach our partners what we have and how it works. There are some things that tend to work really well for most women most of the time, except when they don't. I'll talk more about the genitals in a minute, but I just have to throw in one of my favorite little maps which is that for most women our sexual energy is called pussy-cat energy and for most guys their sexual energy is a bit more like puppy-dog energy. You don't play with a pussy-cat and a puppy-dog the same way. The cat is not going to fetch the ball. She might bring you a little birdy when she's in the mood, but you want to fetch then you want a dog. If we start understanding that our sexual energies can be very compatible, but aren't necessarily operating the same way, then it becomes easier to understand how you might want to approach pleasuring a woman if you're a man, which is often might well be the opposite of what works for you.
[Angel Donovan]: We've talked a lot about anticipation in past episodes. We had a neuroscientist talk about how that works in the brain, Andrea Kuszewski. So I guess you're referring in some part to that.
[Sheri Winston]: It is part of that and it's also that the pussy-cat energy, or the energy that most women have more of when it comes to sex - I never like to be absolute - is the energy that needs to open. It takes time. It's slow and it's cool, and it has to get fired up. Most men, their core sexual energy is that energy of penetration and it's very hot, and fast, and fiery. We can all learn. As a woman I can learn to fire up my energy faster. And my men can learn how to slow down their energy and spread it out. So, it's all the same tools that we use, but we might learn at different things. The energy tends to go from outside to inside so when you're exploring your own genitals, if you own female equipment. If you're a man and you're visiting, and want to give pleasure to female equipment, you really want to start on the outside. Well, you want to start with the whole person, the whole body, the non-sexual parts, turning on the brain, and then bring the energy into the sexual parts. If you're in the the crouch, as it were, you still want to go on the outer parts and get that all big and juicy and engorged before you go inside. Those are sort of general rules of thumb that will work most of the time for most women. Now the specifics, that's your home-play assignment with any particular partner. The thing about female genitals, like I said, everybody has all of the parts I'm going to name.
Women have a network of arousal equipment. We tend to think of the head of the clitoris, what most people think of as the clitoris, but it's actually just one part. The head of the clitoris, I like to think of that as the jewel in the crown of erectile tissue. It's super sensitive and it's a wonderful part, and should get all the attention it deserves, but we have this whole circuit. This interlocking circuit of erectile equipment that most of us don't know that's it there. We're not playing with it. We're not getting it turned on. It's not getting engorged and we're not getting the affects of having the whole system activated. So beyond the head of the clitoris, the clitoris itself has 3 parts. There's shaft of the clitoris which is underneath the hood. Then the clitoris branches into 2 legs, which are like a wish bone, and runs down the bone, the pubic arch bone. Women also have erectile tissue under the labia. Their called vestibular bulbs and there's one on either side, underneath the labia and outer layer of muscle. And those are sadly unknown and ignored part.
In fact, for most women, the best part of her vulva to play with first would be the vestibular bulbs. This isn't rule of thumb of course, but if you start with the bulbs, which you can play with from the outside of the outer lips, and get them big and puffy - get them engorged just like penises get engorged - that's a great way to start play. And then maybe some clitoral play. Then when all the outer part of that network is nicely swollen and engorged, at that point it might be time for penetration with something like a finger. When you are inside the vagina, there's 2 more erectile structures. There's the urethral sponge (which is above the roof), and the perineal sponge (which is under the floor). The urethral sponge is a tube of erectile tissue that surrounds the urethra and is the source of all the cultural stories we have about the G-spot. I don't use that name because it's not a spot and the man it's name after didn't have one, but it's actually a tube of erectile tissue. Playing with that when a woman is at a high level of arousal will usually feel highly pleasurable. If she's not aroused enough and you're inside her too soon, it's just gonna not feel good. Then there's also erectile tissue under the floor. When all of those structures are engorged and big, and puffed up their all aware that their connected and at that point playing with almost anything gets everything.
[Angel Donovan]: The one under the floor is, just to be clear, is towards the anus?
[Sheri Winston]: Yes, its as if you were putting a thumb inside the vagina and pushing down towards the butt. It would be under the thumb, and it's actually in the wall between the vaginal canal and the anal canal.
[Angel Donovan]: I think one other thing that would be interesting is the cervix and how that is because I know that can be uncomfortable for some women if you touch that.
[Sheri Winston]: The cervix is the part of the uterus that dips down into the back of the vagina. I was taught when I went to school, and this was clearly the focus of a lot of my education, I was taught that the uterus had nothing to do with sexual arousal or sexual pleasure. In the United States at least that is the message that we are giving women, and doctors are giving women, because we here can sadly say that we have the highest rate of hysterectomy in the world. We take out more uterus' in the U.S. than anywhere us. Doctors routinely tell women it will have not have any affect on your sexual response. I knew that wasn't true decades ago because I would have patients who had hysterectomies telling me that it had affected their sexual response, and I believed them. So part of me - I call this the hunt for buried pleasure - where I started discovering the parts that were missing from my education, and other parts that were missing, and kind of putting it together into this new map, which is what the Women's Anatomy of Arousal includes; sort of the heart of the book, what's really the crouch of the book.
Anyway, so what happens actually is that the uterus is a player in arousal and orgasm. What happens is as a woman gets aroused, the uterus moves up and forward, and of course the cervix is part of the uterus. It's not a separate structure. So as the uterus moves up and forward, the cervix is pulled up and out; not totally out, but out of the way of the back of the vagina. If a woman is having intercourse or some kind of penetration and she's not aroused enough, you can be banging into the cervix which is usually uncomfortable or possibly painful. The uterus actually moves during a woman's fertility cycles so it can be at different places at different times of her cycle. A position that worked great during the ovulation part of a woman's cycle when the uterus is highest up already, and when she's most easily turned on. During ovulation mother nature is point on. At that point, it's not usually a problem, but maybe 2 weeks later right before she gets her period, or she's just started her period, it's sitting lower down and that same position might be banging into it - the uncomfortable. So it's really great to know that it's a mobile organ. In fact, what happens during orgasm is the uterus and the attached cervix actually bounce up and down. Part of the orgasmic response is the uterus kind of going bum, bum, bum, bum during the orgasm. You can actually feel that, which is kind of cool - homework assignment.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes, that's very interesting. I have met a couple of women in my time who did contact with the cervix, but I think it's extremely rare.
[Sheri Winston]: Well, there also are nerves that enter the vagina in front of and behind the cervix and they can be highly pleasurable spots to play with. For most women, the cervix itself is not so much a pleasure spot, but in front of it or behind it can be. Then there are some women that actually really like having their cervix played with directly. But, those places where the nerves enter in front and behind, are hot spots for most women. If you play with them when she's already very, very, very turned on.
[Angel Donovan]: So it's kind of like the more aroused someone is, the more relevant the deeper parts of her anatomy are going to be to stimulation.
[Sheri Winston]: Yes, and I think we have a tendency to do what I call premature penetration. By that, I'm not just putting this on men, as women because we don't understand our own arousal, and our own genitals, and understand these sort of maps and models of: we're with a male partner and he's got a hard-on and he's ready, and we're kind of turn on (we're medium turned on maybe) and we think it should be time for penetration. I like to say to women, "If there's anything in your vagina and it doesn't feel absolutely mind-boggling awesome, it's not time yet for it to be there. That's the rule of thumb. So women can be a better guardian of our gate and kind of go, "It would be nice to have your penis inside now, but I don't think I'm at the point where it would absolutely awesome yet. So let's get me more turned on.
[Angel Donovan]: It's not necessarily all women that have the confidence. Some women will say, "You've got to put it in me right now." But I think the majority of women don't tend to be as confident, even when they're kind of really wound up or very aroused.
[Sheri Winston]: In my new book Succulent SexCraft I talk about arousal so a bunch of people actually understand. Arousal is an ultra state of consciousness. Compare it to going up a flight of stairs: If not turned on at all being the ground floor and step number 10 is orgasm. Think of arousal like I could be at a 3 or a 7 in that journey up the stairs. So there's levels of how turned on you are. The stairs also have depth and width. So it's also about how deeply are you in your arousal trance at any level. So you can be at a pretty high level arousal, like even an 8 or a 9, but your trance is pretty shallow. Whereas if you take more time, plan the stairs, and really, really get everything turned on, you could be at a 7 but deeply, deeply in that ultra state of arousal trance. Something might feel fabulous at that point.
[Angel Donovan]: Explain to the guys at home. Does 10 mean orgasm?
[Sheri Winston]: I'm saying 10 is orgasm for my imaginary flight of stairs.
[Angel Donovan]: So 10 is getting to that stage of physical arousal where you're going to cum basically, because I think that makes more sense when you're talking about this depth thing. People can understand that more as an emotional or being more in state, kind of like being more lost in yourself.
[Sheri Winston]: You can be at high level arousal, but get there really quickly and not be in such a dramatically altered state.
[Angel Donovan]: It's not very deep. Like you said, it's very superficial. It doesn't really affect your brain so much. I know for a guy if it's very, very quick a literally a minute later it be hardly as if anything happened, if it was really, really shallow. But if you have a really deep, long emotional connection where you can be lying there for minutes blown away.
[Sheri Winston]: Yes, or hours. It's not just emotional, but it's actually brain. I mean it's brain-body, mind-body, brain, the whole thing. It's literally how deeply we're in an altered state. When you're really deeply in an altered state - you ever have those sexual experiences where it's over and you kind of come back into your body in the present and suddenly you realize your head is hanging off the foot of your bed?
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Sheri Winston]: And your like, "How did I get here?" Like you've so been in that trance that you aren't even aware where the edge of the bed is or where the walls are anymore. That means you were deeply in that trance state.
[Angel Donovan]: We all got a journey to learn about how we get into this. It's like a journey for both women and men in order to be able to get to these different states of depth, rather than just the pure physical arousal. Although obviously with women, it seems like they need a certain depth and experience just to get to depth of arousal in the first place.
[Sheri Winston]: Generally speaking, that's a generalization because it can be really different for different women, or at different times, or with different partners. For most women to get deeply, thoroughly, totally turned on and into that deep, deep arousal trance, it's going to take 30 to 45 minutes. However, I want to say for guys, you can get into that same deep, deep trance state. Yes, it might seem easier for most guys to sort of speed through the arousal journey and get to their orgasm, but everyone can learn how to sort of slow it down and spread it out so you get really skilled at kind of bringing the energy up and letting it down, and building it up, and expanding it because we can all - men and women - have absolutely astounding arousal and orgasmic experiences that before I didn't even know where possible. Now I know that not only are they possible, but they're learnable. And we can learn it by ourselves. I call it playing our own instrument, like we really can get great at playing our own instrument and make amazing music by ourselves, really getting deeply into that through improvisation music making trance. The more skilled I am at doing that with myself, the easier it's going to be to play an amazing duet with a skilled partner. So all of those skills we can learn with ourselves really can also enhance our partner play so we can have pretty mind-blogging experiences, and not just serendipitously or not just because we're madly in love, or in lust; but because we can create the setting and the container and do the kind of things that will enhance the trance.
[Angel Donovan]: One of the things I wanted to touch on is that I think a lot of guys aren't aware of how women develop their awareness of their bodies and the journey many of them have to go through over their lifetimes, or maybe their early years. Can you give a women's perspective how she might go through being kind of unsure about parts of her body to some experimentation just so guys, when they're meeting different types women, they can get an idea of where she's coming from in her sexual experience? I don't know. It might be a bit hard to do that.
[Sheri Winston]: No, it's a great question and I think I can answer it. For starters, most women need to learn their path to orgasm. For most guys, it didn't take you that long to figure out to jerk off and cum. But for women, first of all, half of teen women don't self-pleasure. They don't touch themselves. They don't pleasure themselves. They're not exploring, experimenting. They're not learning how to play their own instrument. So I'm always telling women who have not yet had an orgasm; which is probably 10% of women and probably significantly higher for younger women, or have orgasm challenges as sometimes you have them and sometimes you don't, but you don't know why; the first thing that women need to do is self-pleasure. So those sexes are our learning laboratory, our rehearsal hall. That's where we run experiments. It's really an important part of our relationship. So if you self-pleasure, you can start learning how to move through the arousal journey, how to have orgasms, what works for you. For guys, if you're meeting women, particularly younger women, they may not self-pleasure and they may not have had orgasms yet, or they may be challenging thing for them. So it's important to understand that to support and encourage them to explore with themselves. Most women, by the way, also are not orgasmic from intercourse and that's one our culture maps that's really wrong. Because in the porn and in the movies, whatever, women are always coming from [ ] away. And the truth is, that's not usually the best way for women to learn how to have orgasms. If we have a map that says when you get to that activity you're suppose to cum and it doesn't work, people think there is something wrong with them. So they're going, "This is a bad map." It's a learnable skill. You can learn to cum from anything. You can learn to cum with intercourse and you can learn to cum from anything else, including hands off to full-on, full-body orgasms. But those are advanced skills.
[Angel Donovan]: How does a woman learn to activate different parts of her anatomy? Is this an accidental journey for some women? They'll be in bed with a new boyfriend or guy and suddenly start responding differently. Is it because different positions are involved? How would you say women progress through these stages? Because most women don't sit at home trying to figure this out, I guess.
[Sheri Winston]: The one's I talk to do.
[Angel Donovan]: Because they've read your book.
[Sheri Winston]: The one's who are reading my book are doing that. That's why you get a book like the one I'm putting out so you can actually have a guide. It's easier with a guide. It's easier if somebody gives you an accurate map of your genitals. It's easier if somebody lays out a way to understand arousal and what it is, and how you can move through it, and how you can enhance it. Because the truth is, yes, of course you can touch yourself with your hand or a vibrator, but if you also know you can use your breath, and how to use sound, and how to use your pelvic floor muscles, then you've just got a lot more tools in your toolbox for enhancing that experience. So what we can do with partners and what happens with partners is, well, sometimes they've learn something that we haven't learn yet. So you might have a partner that's encouraging you to make sound when you were being really quite before. By the way, this is for you guys too because guys, you guys can be really quiet. Sound is a turn on for women too. So learning how to make sound or you might have a partner who has discovered the vestibular bulbs. Maybe he doesn't even know the name of them, or maybe he read my book. I gotten emails from women I've never met thanking me for my book because they met this guy and he was a great lover, and they said, "How did you know how to do all that." And they said, "I read Sheri Winston's book." Seriously, I gotten emails like that. You might have a guy that knows about the vestibular bulbs and plays with them, and it might be the first time anyone's put energy and attention into a really lovely, and engorgable, arousable part and of course that's a fine, fine thing, and being able to talk about it and communicate about it. What are you doing?
[Angel Donovan]: So you come across a girl who doesn't seem to be orgasmic. It depends on the culture. In some cultures they say, "I'm not sure. I think so," which means she hasn't experienced it yet and she's probably just uncomfortable about it. If you talk to them about do you play with yourself - is this something you should encourage them? I typically encourage the girl to do it, but they are often very embarrassed about it. Are there any ways you would talk about that? Is it a positive thing for a guy to try and encourage her to play with herself when she's got time to yourself?
[Sheri Winston]: I think it's a wonderful thing to encourage and I think it's a great opportunity to model and not being ashamed, and to encourage her not to be ashamed, and to own her body, and to her learn about it, and look in a mirror at her genitals while she's pleasuring, all of those things. As long as it's said in a loving, supportive way. Not in a leering kind of, "Uggh, even imagine me..." If it's said in a porn way like it's for male pleasure, if it comes across that way to her, that might land that well. But if it really comes across in a caring way like, "Sweetie, this is your body and you're just learning what you got and how it works, and the more you learn to play your own instrument the better the experience is going to be and I want to support and encourage that." Then that I think is a very loving thing. Just keep reassuring her when you're with her genitals are beautiful and delicious and smell great, and you love looking at them. You can say to her, "Do you think they're ugly because I think they're gorgeous." I think a lot of girls are worried about smell. So you can say, "I love how your [ ] smells. I mean, to me, that's like the sexiest smell and taste in the world."
[Angel Donovan]: Which is really true. If you like the girl, is typically going to be your response to her.
[Sheri Winston]: I would hope so because that's what's it's there for. Mother Nature planned it to be pretty yummy. Tell her those things. You can even ask her what are the things she's still shy, ashamed, or embarrassed about. Most women think they're too fat, or they're too big, or they're too small, or too something. You can find out what her thing is and let her know, "God, I love your ass. I love the curve of your belly. I love the size of your breasts." Whatever size they are. They're breasts. I mean come on. It's a good thing, whatever size they are. Help her reprogram her stories about herself. That's a real gift that you can give her. Of course, it will come back to you in good ways because the happier she is with herself, the more confident, the more comfortable, the more she discovers her own pleasure, the more fun she's going to be for you to play with.
[Angel Donovan]: Besides encouraging her to play with herself would there be other things you could do to help her on her journey depending on where's she's at?
[Sheri Winston]: Give her a copy of my book [laughter]. I'm not kidding. I don't know anything else that give women and their partners a read-it-yourself that kind of a guide. I don't know anywhere else where that the map exists that's accurate and useful. For me, that was really incredibly empowering and expanding of my own pleasure. Make it fun and play, not all serious. It's fun, and it's playful, and an exploration, and a creative improv. So when you bring that attitude toward your experiences together, that will spill into her other parts of her life as well.
[Angel Donovan]: In terms of going from orgasmic to multi-orgasmic, is that difficult for a lot of women? Is that like a big jump? I like to give guys an idea like if she says, "I've only had 1 orgasm." Gives guys a bit of a perspective about that. Are there a very small percentage of women that are multi-orgasmic?
[Sheri Winston]: No, I don't think so. I think a reasonable percentage of women have learned to have more than 1 orgasm. It's another learnable set of skills. I think it's easier for women to learn to go from having 1 orgasm to having 2 or more orgasms that it is for men to learn how to be multi-orgasmic and to have non-ejaculatory orgasms. I think that appears to be a much harder challenge for men to learn non-ejaculatory orgasm and so forth. But for women, once you get to 1, the more attuned you get to yourself and the more skill you get, it gets pretty easy to get to 2, 3, 4 dozen orgasms. I mean 'dozens'. Women do have really awesome orgasmic capacity. You can have dozens, and dozens, and dozens of orgasms, or orgasms that go on for 5 minutes, or an hour. Women can learn to ejaculate and have ejaculatory orgasms. You can orgasms that are centered in different parts of your body. You can have heart-gasms, and you can have laugh-gasms, and sob-gasms, and energy orgasms. There's just an amazing orgasmic menu. No, menu is not the right world - realm - that we can visit, and experience, and connect to. I think everyone has that potential. That's why I always talking about how all this stuff is learnable. Do don't have to learn it, but you can if you want.
[Angel Donovan]: One of the horror stories I had that came to me about that quite early on. I don't know if other guys had heard about this and might have similar concerns - Is that, one of my friends was practicing it [multiple ograsms] for a while and he didn't quite do it properly and he got a lot of pain like some semen shot back into his ball or something from the exercise. That's the way he explained it. I don't know what scientifically, but it's possible. Is this something you've come across and is this an obvious mistake that can be avoided easily for guys who are interested in learning that?
[Sheri Winston]: Well, I think that there's the energy part of male multiple orgasm and that's what's circulating the energy and not letting it stagnate in your pelvis, in your genitals, and in your balls. So there's an energetic part, and then there's also a physical part. For men who are sort of trying to practice this and learn it, if they have that experience, really just some massage actually can move that, relax that back. I suspect it was kind of a combination of energy and physical that he had that experience. I don't think it's that common and most men, naturally, for your balls hurt you're just going to reach down and rub them because they're yours and you know [ ]. Men are much more comfortable touching their genitals than women are. You have to touch your penis every time you pee ever since you first got out of diapers, right. Men are more comfortable touching themselves just in general. Massage can help for something like that, but in the future I would certainly experiment for someone like that with having experience with making sure you are moving the energy because I think it's mostly stagnant energy and congestion, blood congestion. That's the problem.
[Angel Donovan]: In your book you talk about the journey of men and women together. Can you give us an idea of how? Because we've been talking about the journey are quite different in terms of how we develop our sexual awareness. How can we make these coincide better?
[Sheri Winston]: I think if we're open to recognizing that our partner can be a wonderful teacher. I can learn things from my partner about male sexuality. He can learn things from me about female sexuality. We can learn from each other about how to - again, it's like making music together. If you're playing a duet with somebody and you're playing the piano and they're playing the violin, you've got two different instruments but you're going to learn to how to make them work together. And you can appreciate each other instead of making the other one wrong. It's really easy for women to make men wrong because you guys are always in a hurry. You are too genital focused. You're pushing too hard. Instead, if women can kind of go like, "Oh man! They've got this sexual energy that's really driving and that has a lot of genital energy and focus to it. So, I can learn from men how to take my more diffused feminine kind of sexual energy and I can learn how to fire it up faster, and pull it in and have more genital focus. I can also learn that what my partner might like is more genital attention earlier on in our sex play. That I can give him that and we can have the understanding that just because I'm touching yours doesn't mean I'm ready for you to touch mine. And conversely my partner - I generally partner with men - so my man can learn how to slow down, spread it out, cool energy down. Learn how to let their whole body get turned on instead of just their cock. And they can learn how I, like many women want my whole body turned on before my sex parts are touched. So he can learn what my pace it and what my signals are and we're also teaching each other what are our signals. What are the signals that I want more of this or less of that? And that's an ongoing learning process too. If we approach our sex partners as teaching partners, and learning partners, then the whole thing can be fun. Then everything's fun. Even when something doesn't work we can go, "Oh, well that didn't work. I wonderful why? Let's think about that." Not that we want to do all of that talking during our sex. We might want to do it after, before, in between sexual play, but we can have a lot of fun learning together.
[Angel Donovan]: That's a good point to make: that you don't want to start a full-on conversation about how your sex life is while your actually in bed. That's going to kind of completely blow it.
[Sheri Winston]: Exactly. I think we should have time that we just talk about our sex when we're not having it. I think we should have time to more having our sexual improv. I think it's also great to do what I call play-pens, which are times and space set aside just for learning about something like how to give erotic feedback, or how do you like your genitals played with, or what kind of erotic fantasies have been going on for you. So you can actually set up little games that are just like, "Let's take a half hour and play a touch and feedback game." And then we're done with that, or let's take 5 minutes to play this game, or let's take an hour... It's all imagination. You're using your imagination to come up with creative, fun learning games to play with each other, a lot of fun.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes, thank you very much for that overview. Rounding out the interview now, a couple of questions that we ask everyone. First of all, who, besides yourself, would you recommend for high quality advice in this area? Someone you respect or someone you've learned from.
[Sheri Winston]: Well, a woman named Jayia whose a teacher that we've actually co-taught retreats together. I love what she does and have a great deal of respect for what she does. Another sex educator I love - a bunch I love so it's a little hard - Reid Mihalko is a fabulous sex educator.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes, we've had him on the show.
[Sheri Winston]: Great. Amy Jo Goddard is a great sex educator. The trouble here is that I'm going to forget people and then go, "Oh, I should have mentioned..." I love Barbara Carrellas and her books are wonderful. Urban Tantra is one of my favorite books. Two wonderful tantra teachers - Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson. They've got a bunch of books about tantra that are some of my favorite books about tantra. I'm sure I'm forgetting about all kinds of people I know and love, but those are a few. I think that just having the attitude that sex is something to learn about is really what I what to look for in teachers. This is learnable. It's not like some people got really lucky and the sexual orgasm fairy sprinkled them at birth or something. I really thing there are people who are trying to say, "Hey, I learned how to do this and so can you, and here's some steps you can take to learn."
[Angel Donovan]: Yes, that's some great recommendations. Thank you for those. Last question: the top 3 recommendations, what they be from you to help men get results, get better at this with women as fast as possible? What would be the main things that you would think are important for them to focus on?
[Sheri Winston]: I would say the first thing is to slow down.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes, it's good that you repeat that.
[Sheri Winston]: By slow down I mean a couple of different things actually. I mean, think about kissing. When you're kissing, start slow and soft, and at a slow pace, and with a soft mouth, and just lips. Then slowly build, like let things build slowly, and that goes with whatever you're doing, and any body parts. It's just that your first touches might be slow and soft, which is good, but that your whole progression from start to finish takes its time. And about being present, I think, is another piece. So if you are kissing her thigh, but you're thinking, "I'm getting to the pussy. I'm going to the pussy. I'm just kissing her thigh because I know I'm suppose to do that before I get to the pussy," we know that. We get the intention. We get the energy. So if you're kissing a thigh, be kissing the thigh. Be present to the deliciousness of the thigh. It's about being present to what's actually happening as opposed to, "But I'm doing this because I want to get the edge. I want to get turned on enough so that we can fuck..." If that's the agenda and you're always pushing for that, we feel it and it actually tends to close us up. You want to open us up. I think that's a good one. Learn to read her signals and encourage her to give bigger and clearer signals. Obviously, if she's laying there like a dead fish and not giving you any signals if you're doing something pleasurable to her, encourage her if there's something she really likes - to move a little, to make a little sound that will actually enhance your own pleasure. We need to give our partners signals so getting those clear, if she wants you to do something faster, or harder, or slower, or softer. She might not be able to tell you that because she doesn't want you to feel criticized. She doesn't want you to think that she's doing a bad job. So you can ask and we love a 'yes' or 'no', 'a' or 'b' question, not something that makes you think because that takes you out of trance; but, "This is soft and this is hard. Which do you like better?" or "Do you like this slow touch or do you like it medium?" - slow or medium, here or there. Or, "Are you ready for me to go here?" That is really hot because we get to tell you without having to go through all that. "Not quite ready" or "I love this slow" or "Slow is good, but fast is good too." Making it easy for us by asking really simple questions, but don't ask, "What do you want?"
[Angel Donovan]: It's better if you're leading, and she can say, "Yes, I like that. I want more of that. No, not so much of that."
[Sheri Winston]: Exactly. But don't just say, "What do you want?" Because we don't know and that involves a lot of thinking and direction, which we don't really want to give and you don't really want to take. Right. So that's about how we do that dance of who's leading, what's happening, and how we can communicate so we can dance really gracefully together.
[Angel Donovan]: That's great. Thank you for those three points for the guys. Thank you so much for making your time available for this today and sharing your ideas. You've obviously been doing this for a long time, and it's really great to get a bit more of a female perspective because we often don't think where they're coming from, especially when it comes to different stages of sexual development basically.
[Sheri Winston]: Well, I think that that's all really good stuff and I'm happy, happy, happy to share because that's my mission. I'm on a mission. This is it.
[Angel Donovan]: Thank you very much Sheri.
[Sheri Winston]: I do want to mention that my new book Succulent SexCraft: Your Hands-On Guide to Erotic Play and Practice. We're having a big virtual book launch September 14th through 16th. Anyone who buys the book in those dates has access to now what's well over a $1,000 of free goodys that my various sex teacher and other kind of teacher friends are giving.
[Angel Donovan]: Where can the guys find out more about that? If you can give the basic 3 points of the book.
[Sheri Winston]: It's about becoming erotically skilled. It's for men and women. It's for people who are solo and partnered. I guess the short version is that it's about learning to play your instrument. It's about learn about all the tools you've got to expand your ability to have extraordinary sex and ultimately become like a master musician, an erotic virtuoso. Everybody has that ability. So this is the map and the guidebook and gives you lots of things to think about and play with, and practice. Also, there's even a web component of the book because this is going to be like an ongoing thing. so anyone who buys the book gets access to a special part of my website where there's even more practices and it's going to grow into something interesting. We'll see with that.
[Angel Donovan]: Great. So we'll have links to your site in the show notes so the guys can find you.
[Sheri Winston]: You can also find me an IntimateArtsCenter.com is our website. You can find all the books, and blogs, and articles, and tons of stuff on my website to look at and read. So go there and play.
[Angel Donovan]: Great Sheri. Thank you very much.
[Sheri Winston]: Thank you so much. It's a pleasure.
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DSR Podcast is a weekly podcast where Angel Donovan seeks out and interviews the best experts he can find from bestselling authors, to the most experienced people with extreme dating lifestyles. The interviews were created by Angel Donovan to help you improve yourself as men - by mastering dating, sex and relationships skills and get the dating life you aspire to.
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