Adventurous Virgin Asks How Do I Open Up Sexually?

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Betty Dodson

Dear Dr. Betty,

I am a sixteen year old girl who has not had sexual contact with another person. I live in a small town and I have never really been seriously attracted to anybody to the point that I would want to start a relationship with them, except for one of my now best friends who turned out to be gay. ( I know that sounds bad, the whole shy girl is only attracted to unavailable men thing) I have a strong group of friends and I am very busy with schoolwork. Other things have always been the priority and that has never worried me much. However, college is not far away and with it new people and opportunities for sexual exploration.

I have been masturbating fairly regularly for a little over a year and I have been orgasmic for about nine months. I consider myself to be a sex positive feminist and have taken it upon myself to become educated about sex by reading, watching youtube channels like yours an Sexplanations with Dr. Doe, and listening to programs like the Savage Love Cast. I am not ashamed of sex, I love and know my sex organs, and I have no delusions about female chastity.

Despite all of this I still somehow have the desire to have intercourse with only the man I marry (though not strictly after I marry him.) I connect with very few people and when I do it is gradually but intensely. I often find that I have to be emotionally attached to someone before I become attracted to them and I think that the kind of person who I could open up to sexually would be the kind of person who I would want to be with in a long term relationship. Sometimes I worry that I am less sexually liberated than I would like to think.

This wouldn't be a major problem except that I have a strong sex drive and I have known since before I knew what sex exactly was that I wanted to be very sexually exploratory, creative, and even kinky. Can I reconcile these two seemingly contradictory desires and how do I differentiate between what I genuinely want for myself and what has been ingrained in me by society and my upbringing?

Dear K,

The conflict you describe is universal for any thinking girl in this confusing and conflict-driven world. Society uses sex to promote everything and yet we still have strict rules as to when and how it's appropriate to engage in sexual activity. Giving yourself orgasms with masturbation which is what I practice and teach, is often regarded as sinful by many. So I applaud your successful self-loving practice. You are wise beyond your years.

When I was 16, I enjoyed manual sex with my steady boyfriend throughout the last two years of high school. I didn't go "all the way until I was 20 after I'd left home. So outer course is a valid form of teen sexuality that kids rarely engage in. What a shame. When I look back, it was some of the best partner sex of my life.

Right now, you believe in the Romantic notion of "One Love Ever Lasting." Just tor a moment, consider that you might have several meaningful loves in this lifetime. Meantime, there's nothing wrong with wanting some kind of emotional attraction/attachment before becoming sexually intimate. That's quite natural.

Before doing any vaginal penetration with a lover, become proficient using some method of birth control Also know where and how to get Plan B, a morning after pill, just in case. It can be purchased on Following is my personal opinion on birth control. I don't trust methods that alter our hormones, so I didn't use the pill. I prefered barrier methods: a diaphragm. This required learning a modest skill. Some women master the Rhythm Method based on observing their vaginal secretions to determine their fertile days. During those times she avoids penetrative sex. The practice of "pulling out" just before ejaculation is not safe, but it might help to some degree.

Every method has some problems built in. Girls must be fitted for a diaphragm by a doctor, but in the US, it's rarely recommended these days. The different uterine devices (IUD) are costly and invasive. So we're back to the condom that is still a safe method if a young man or woman knows how to use one.

Another thing I advise against is struggling to have your orgasms from vaginal penetration. If it happens that's nice. But once I discovered the orgasmic bliss of clitoral stimulation combined with vaginal penetration, it freed me from Victorian morality. This kind of thinking is dominated by sexual ignorance based upon Dr.Sigmund Freud's theory that clitoral orgasms were inferior to vaginal orgasms. That's the male model of sexual response that rarely works for women, but it still remains in place today. It's up to women to change this dynamic by finally stating our pleasure.

Learning to differentiate between what I genuinely want for myself and what has been ingrained in me by society and my upbringing has been a lifetime pursuit. As a wise old woman, I'm still sorting that one out. The good news is that this becomes one of the most fascinating endeavors that calls upon all my creative abilities as I consider a multitude of possibilities.

Sharing our bodies with another person (or many people as I have chosen to do) is a primary concern for all of us at every stage of our lives. I suffered many conflicts as a youth as I struggled to justify my sexual urges with being a "good girl." As a result, I questioned moral standards that defined "appropriate sexual behavior" and continue to do so today. I believe I have a human and divine right to define my personal morality. Even if that means going beyond conventional social conditioning and religious beliefs. I own my body and can determine my own morality. Sex is the life force fueling our creativity and joy for living. Never underestimate the energetic and healing powers of having consistent orgasms at every age throughout our lifetimes.

Dr. Betty