Women's Sexualities
  Dr. Carol Rinkleib Ellison

Generations of Women Share Intimate Secrets of Sexual Self-Acceptance

Table of Contents



Part I: The Sexualities of Women

Chapter 1: Our Sexual Selves

  • Sexuality Is More Than Sex

Part II: Development: The Path to Sexual Womanhood

Chapter 2: Sexual Discoveries: Childhood and Beyond

  • Self-Discovery in Childhood
  • First Experiences of Self-Stimulation and Orgasm
  • Critical Periods for Orgasmic Responsiveness
  • Self-Stimulation and Orgasm in the Teen Years
  • Finding Our Way in the Teen Years
  • Acquiring Language
  • Changing Sexual Mores
  • Women Who First Masturbated After the Age of Seventy
  • Sexuality: A Lifelong Work in Progress

Chapter 3: Thinking About Sex: Attitudes and Values

  • Your Sexual Heritage
  • The Primary Roles of Parents
  • Themes for the 21st Century
  • What Would You Want Your Daughter to Know About Sex?
  • What Would You Want Your Son to Know About Sex?
  • Parents Really Can't Win
  • Having Different Values Than Your Parents
  • Finding Our Own Way
  • Most Parents Really Do Care

Chapter 4: Love, Sexuality, and Sexual Boundaries

  • Nurturing Fathers
  • Violative Fathers
  • An Unprotective Mother
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Brothers and Cousins: From Curiosity to Coercion
  • The Edge
  • Brother Abuse
  • The Wounded Sexual Se

    Chapter 5: The First Time

    • Getting Ready
    • The Preteen Years--Figuring It Out
    • How Do You "Do It"?
    • Decoding the Dance of Courtship
    • Learning "Sexual" Skills Through Play
    • Curiosity About Penises
    • Who Will It Be? The Dimension of Romantic Attachment
    • Crushes
    • Almost Dating
    • The Dance of Courtship: Intermediate Steps
    • Dating
    • Coming of Age
    • Oral-Genital Sex
    • Out at the Edge
    • Alcohol and the Edge
    • Danger Zone: High School Girl-Women and Older Boy-Men
    • When, Where, and with Whom?
    • First Times in the Early Twentieth Century
    • Technical Virgins--Everything-but-Intercourse Sex
    • Trust, Feeling Safe, and Fear of Pregnancy
    • Marriage: the Next Step
    • Bridging Two Eras
    • For Women Born at Mid-Century: A New Trend
    • Coming of Age During the Sexual Revolution
    • It's What You Do in College
    • Being in Love Replaces Marriage
    • Age of First Intercourse
    • It's What You Do in High School
    • Women Attracted to Women
    • Finding Our Way--We Learned How--and It Got Good
    • Which Comes First, a Relationship or SEx?
    • Rite of Passage
    • Young Women in the 1990s
    • Getting It Over With: Alcohol, and Doing It for Him
    • The TV Generation
    • First-Time Experiences Without Consent
    • Another Look at a Danger Zone: High School Girls and Older Boys
    • Healing First Times for Women Who Were Sexually Abused

    Part III: Sexual Partners: Licit and Illicit

    Chapter 6: Partners and Contexts

    • Living Arrangements
    • Sex Outside the Safety and Structure of Commitment
    • Casual Sex: Commitment Only to the Here and Now
    • Self-Acceptance
    • Finding Our Way
    • Once-Again-Single
    • Further Thoughts on Love and Connection

    Chapter 7: Consensual Non-monogamy and Affairs

    • Consensual Non-monogamy
    • Jealousy in Open Relationships
    • Affairs
    • Why Do Women Have Affairs?
    • Attraction Outward Meets Dissatisfaction Within
    • Trying to Get Pregnant
    • Other Reasons
    • Affair-Prone Women
    • Decision Making: Thinking About Having Affairs
    • Reasons for Not Having an Affair
    • Would You Have an Affair in the Future?

    Part IV: Erotic Pleasure

    Chapter 8: Solo Eroticism: Masturbation and Fantasy

    • How Many in the Survey Recently Masturbated?
    • Vibrators
    • Why Do Women Masturbate?
    • Orgasms in Masturbation
    • Masturbation Fantasies
    • Using Erotica

    Chapter 9: Sexual Satisfaction and Partnered Sex

    • Satisfying Sex and Associated Feelings
    • Satisfying Sex in Ongoing Relationships
    • Closeness, Love, Acceptance, and Safety
    • Satisfying Sex in Not-So-Satisfying Relationships
    • Sexual Activity and Alcohol and Drugs
    • Arguing Before Sex
    • Orgasm
    • Age and Sexual Satisfaction in an Ongoing Relationship
    • Orientation and Sexual Satisfaction
    • Satisfaction with Frequency and Quality of Various Touching Activities
    • Satisfaction with Total Amount of Sexual Activity
    • Sexual Affirmation and Sexual Satisfaction

    Chapter 10: One Hundred+ Years of Women's Orgasms

    • Sexual Goals--Defining Sexual Success as Orgasm
    • Clitoral and Vaginal Orgasms
    • Manufacturing Orgasms
    • Women Who Have Vaginal and Simultaneous Orgasms
    • Women Who Don't Fit the Orgasmic Fashions of Their Times
    • A Liberating New Definition
    • More History
    • The Clitoris, Sexual Arousal, and Internal Sensations
    • Penis Size
    • The G Spot and Female Ejaculation
    • Still More History
    • Faking Orgasm
    • Why Women Fake Orgasms

    Chapter 11: The Infinite Variety of Women's Orgasms

    • The Experience of Orgasm
    • How Women Experience Orgasm
    • Variety in Orgasmic Experience
    • Variety in Pathways to Orgasm
    • Crying and Laughing with Orgasm
    • Multiple Orgasms
    • Factors That Facilitate Multiple Orgasms
    • Orgasms from Non-genital Stimulation
    • Orgasms Without Any Physical Stimulation
    • Dream Orgasms
    • Waking Orgasms Without Physical Stimulation
    • Simultaneous Orgasms
    • Facilitating Orgasm
    • How to Increase Erotic Pleasure and Enhance Your Orgasms
    • Focus of Attention
    • Shift Your Attention from Performance to Pleasure
    • The Setting and Other Sensory Enhancements
    • Communication and Interaction with Your Partner
    • Women Who Are Not Experiencing Orgasm
    • Imagery for Learning to Become Orgasmic


    Chapter 12: Sexual Concerns and Problems of American Women

    • What Actually Happens When Real People Have Sex?
    • Most Important Sexual Concerns and Problems in the Past Year
    • Issues of Desire and Frequency: The American Way of Life?
    • Too Tired/Too Busy
    • Lower Sexual Desire Than I Wanted to Have
    • Sexual Interest
    • Sexual Arousability
    • A Sexual Detective Considers Low Sexual Desire
    • Desire Discrepancy
    • Problems Related to Physical Responsiveness
    • The Big Six
    • A Male Partner's Difficulties with Arousal and Erections
    • Her Partner Ejaculating Too Quickly
    • Retarded or Absent Ejaculation
    • Antidepressants and Sexual Responsiveness
    • Other Aspects of Women's Physical Responsiveness
    • Vaginal Pain
    • Lovemaking Problems and Concerns
    • Finding a Partner
    • Other Relationship Issues
    • Fertility and Reproduction
    • The Reproductive Dimension of Sexuality
    • Sex and Menstrual Cycling
    • Fertility
    • Becoming Pregnant
    • Pregnancies of the Survey Respondents
    • Having a New Baby
    • STDs/Safe Sex
    • Body and Health Issues
    • Menopause
    • Other Body/Health Problems and Concerns
    • Sexual Orientation

    Chapter 13: Sexual Choreography: Creating Pleasure in Partnered Sex

    • The Experience of Erotic Pleasure
    • Creating Erotic Pleasure
    • Transitions
    • Building Arousal Through Simmering and Teasing
    • Knowing We Can Take as Much Time as We Need
    • Sexual Arousal
    • Erotic Stimulation: Creating a Composition of Sensations
    • Transition, Physical Responsiveness, and Satisfaction
    • Take Care of Details
    • When Partners Have Different Sexual Styles
    • Sensual Styles
    • Fantasy During Lovemaking
    • Low-Key Fantasies
    • Fantasy Themes
    • Sexual Role Enactment
    • Intimate Trance
    • The Loving Relationship
    • Sex Outdoors
    • Fantasy in Lieu of Involvement
    • When Partners Have Different Images and Expectations
    • Invitations and Sexual Initiation
    • Saying "No" to Sex
    • Consequences of Just Going Along
    • Consenting to Be Intimate: Effective Sexual Negotiation
    • A Sexual Detective Considers Nonverbal Responses
    • All You Need to Start Is Interest
    • Put a Structure Around Your Spontaneity
    • Rituals for Relationship Maintenance and Enhancement
    • Weeknight Sex

    Chapter 14: Sexual Self-Acceptance

    • Your Sexual Self
    • Self-Acceptance
    • Emotional Blocks to Self-Acceptance
    • Regrets
    • Forgiveness
    • Understanding
    • Body Image Blocks to Self-Acceptance
    • Another Look at What We Want Our Daughters to Know
    • Sexual Self-Acceptance
    • Some Teachings of Richard Olney



    SEXSA Circles

    • Questions for facilitating SEXSA Circle discussions
      (There are questions here for the topics in each chapter.)