Women's Sexualities
  Dr. Carol Rinkleib Ellison

Generations of Women Share Intimate Secrets of Sexual Self-Acceptance
Photo by Cynthia Sheffer, 2000 Sacramento, California

Selected Excerpts from Women's Sexualities

Faking Orgasm - an excerpt from Chapter 10

Have you ever faked orgasm? If you have, think about all of the reasons you had for doing that. If you have never faked orgasm, why not? Approximately 70 percent of the 2,311 women who provided Survey information about faking orgasm had done so at least once. About three-quarters of those who had ever faked had done so no more than fifty times, but some had done it a lot. Nearly one in ten of those who had ever faked either entered a number between 150 and 10,000 times or wrote in another answer such as countless or a bazillion. One drew in an infinity sign.

What is it that motivates these women to fake orgasms? They offered a variety of reasons, which you will find in Chapter 10. 

Facilitating and Enhancing Orgasms - excerpt from Chapter 11

Think for a moment: If you're orgasmic, what - if anything - do you do to facilitate the release of your orgasms? In the Survey, 2,371 women marked one or more items as applying to them from a list of fourteen we provided.

So many women, born between 1916 and 1974, wrote in additional information about how they reach orgasm that in Chapter 11. I am able to present you with a smorgasbord of suggestions for increasing erotic pleasure and enhancing your orgasmic potential. I have put their comments in four categories: focus of attention; physical stimulation and techniques; the setting and other sensory enhancements; and communication and interaction with your partner. 

Creating Erotic Pleasure - excerpt from Chapter 13

Erotic pleasure is a composition of sensations. We can experience scents, tastes, visual images, the varying qualities of the touches we give and receive, feelings emanating from our muscles and internal organs, and the voluntary and involuntary sounds made by ourselves and our partners. Using our bodies and breath we can create and experience sexual energy, pleasure, erotic feelings and sensations, feelings of love,feelings of joy and the experience of oneness with another.

During sexual activity, your attention may shift between your sensations, breathing, fantasies, mental impressions, and a variety of emotional feelings. You can sense physical tension developing, expanding, and releasing; you may notice sexual energy intensifying, moving and releasing. You also may be aware of memories, judgments, performance expectations and other mental images.

An erotic experience is a process in which one thing leads to another. Descriptions of aspects of this process are included in Chapter 13 (Sexual Choreography), together with specific suggestions you can use to enhance your lovemaking.

Self Discovery and Shame and Guilt - excerpts from Chapter 2

What are your earliest memories of body awareness and self-stimulation for pleasure? For some girls, the first awareness of down there - of having wonderful, magical, special genital feelings - involved totally innocent discovery uncolored by any parental or social prohibitions.

Connie said: "The first crush on a man I ever had was on Moe of the Three Stooges. I saw him on TV and was just in love with him and his long hair with the bangs. I had this big teddy bear, almost as big as me, and I remember humping this teddy bear at night thinking it was Moe. I remember rubbing my genitals against it. I don't recall if I had orgasms, but it felt great. That's a very clear memory. I couldn't have been more than three years old."

Without words to label the experience, there is no judgment, only curiosity and acceptance. The typical girl, however, develops a sense of privacy around sensuality/sexuality at an early age. Doors are closed, and sometimes impulses are inhibited; she becomes aware that the adults around her aren't always comfortable with her explorations of pleasure.


Finding Our Way Through Shame And Guilt

What do you remember of feeling shame, embarrassment and guilt in your early childhood? It is likely that these feelings were important in the formation and emerging of your sexual self. Emotions are body reactions that we perceive and label with meaning. Our emotions prepare us to act, or keep us from acting, and they provide us with vital information for our survival and development.

Shame and guilt are social emotions. They serve to provide us with awareness of social limits and reticence to act outside of them. Feelings of shame and of embarrassment, a related feeling, play a significant role in our socialization as we are growing up.


As adults, when we experience shame or guilt, we can understand that these emotions mean that we are breaking some internalized rule. As adults we can consider: Whose rule is it? Where did I get it? Does it make sense for me to follow it? The young child is too limited in experience to have this vantage point. Consider how Roberta changed her view over time: "When I was real young - we were between four and seven - my brother and some neighborhood kids played doctor and stuff, explored each other's bodies. When I did it, it was just exploratory, but, over time, I was ashamed of it. Now, I think it's just part of growing up."

In this brief description, Roberta leads us through the critically important process of finding one's way to self-acceptance. From the young girl's perspective, she engaged in innocent exploration. Later, she became aware of social prohibitions and felt shame. Still later she understood that it's just part of growing up and felt okay about what occurred: That's just how it was.

Many of us grow up with a sense of shame about our curiosity-driven early experiences of sexual exploration and experimentation, because we have no way of knowing that so many others are having these experiences, too. The many, many examples in this chapter demonstrate how typical and normal - most of these experiences are.

The Teachings of Richard Olney - Excerpts from Chapter 14

The founder of Self-Acceptance Training, the late Richard (Dick) Olney, described self©acceptance as "the experiencing of oneself physically, intellectually and emotionally in any present moment without the inhibition of simultaneous self evaluation, self criticism or self judgment." Dick had many sayings of self-acceptance. Among them were these gems:

It's over, and that's the way it is.
Everything that has a beginning has an ending.
It's better to have a direction than to have a goal.
I learn by going where I have to go
I do the best I can, and my best is good enough.
There are three things I value: peace of mind, awareness of beauty, health.
I'm alive. I'm real.
Nothing ever stays the same. Everything changes.
Well, we'll just have to see what happens, won't we.
Here in the Hand of God I take my stand.
Remember to breathe.
Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.
Take my hand and we'll walk together.

Self-acceptance is experiencing what is happening right now without being distracted by regrets or resentments about what has occurred in the past or worries and catastrophic expectations about the future. In sex, this might mean that you are enjoying what is happening right this moment, not distracted by thoughts about this morning's argument with your partner or concern that you might not reach orgasm.

Self-acceptance is a moment to moment possibility, not something anyone has all the time. Self-acceptance is not the absence of negative feelings. Self-acceptance is the acceptance of all your various feelings as sources of information about your world and your experiences.

Self-acceptance is present when you experience such feelings as anger,jealousy, fear, love, joy, or happiness fully when they occur and then let them go. Letting them go allows you to be finished with that moment and ready to experience the next moment's emotions. In Women's Sexualities you will find many specific examples of women finding their way to fuller acceptance of their sexual selves.

Tom Biesanz, who was a student of Richard Olney, has created a website called Alive and Real that is dedicated to Dick's work. There you will find transcripts of some of Dick's self-acceptance training lectures and sessions.

Your Self-Acceptance Sayings

If you have sayings of self-acceptance you would like to share with others, write them here.

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