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        Sexual Pleasuring

  • What is this thing, we call ‘Sexual Pleasuring’?
  • Why Use the Term ‘Sexual Pleasuring’?
  • Why Should We Talk About 'Sexual Pleasuring'?
  • What Theoretical Model of 'Sexual Pleasuring' Will Be Taught and Why?
  • Why Does the Acceptance of 'Sexual Pleasuring' Feel So Awkward?
  • Are There Any Rules to Feeling Sensual / 'Sexual Pleasure'?
  • How Does Accurate Sex Information Enhance an Individual’s Experience of 'Sexual Pleasuring'?
          (Please Scroll Down to Find the Answers to the Above 7 Questions)

   1. What is this thing, we call ‘Sexual Pleasuring’?

Pleasure: "Pleasure is a mixture of physical sensations and emotions: savoring a delicious meal, playing tennis, or taking a walk on a beautiful day" (Heiman & Lopiccolo, 1988 ).

Sensual and Sexual Pleasure: "Sensual and sexual pleasure result from an interaction between physical sensations and your thoughts, feelings and attitudes. The particular combination of ingredients that evoke pleasure is uniquely your own" " (Heiman & Lopiccolo, 1988).Sensual and Sexual Pleasure: "Sensual and sexual pleasure result from an interaction between physical sensations and your thoughts, feelings and attitudes. The particular combination of ingredients that evoke pleasure is uniquely your own" " (Heiman & Lopiccolo, 1988).

Sexual Pleasuring: Sexual pleasuring is the process of giving and/or receiving sensual and sexual pleasure.

    2. Why Use the Term ‘Sexual Pleasuring’?

The term ‘sexual pleasuring’, is used to develop a discourse that is inclusive of more than just an inventory of sex facts. Sexual pleasuring includes:

  • Knowledge of sexual facts
  • An awareness of environmental pressures/influences
  • The interaction between physical sensations and your thoughts, feelings and attitudes
  • The process of giving and/or receiving sexual and sexual pleasure

  3. Why Should We Talk About Sexual Pleasuring?

More appropriately, "Why shouldn’t we talk about sexual pleasuring? Isn’t it important to be able to identify what makes us feel safe, aroused, excited, and good. Whether the purpose of sexual relations is for procreation or sexual stimulation, when most people talk about ‘wanting good sex’, they are really talking about wanting the feelings associated with these behaviors. They may want to feel like they are contributing to the human race by making babies, they want to feel excited, aroused, sexy, masculine, feminine, powerful, alive, and/or needed (Zilbergeld, 1992). Wouldn’t it be helpful for everyone, if the individual involved not only identified her/his needs, but were able express them in a way that someone else understood?

    4. What Theoretical Model of Sexual Pleasuring Will Be Taught and Why?

In the past, sexual pleasuring focused on knowing what the ‘right’ moves were, ‘lasting long enough’ or waiting for something ‘big’ to happen. This model prevents people from developing their full sexual potential (Zilbergeld, 1992). The emphasis on performance and unspoken rules acts to create an uncomfortable tension (Barbach, 1975), which discourages persons from revealing themselves. To penetrate this boundary of tension caused by the friction between performance and reality is difficult. Penetration, seen as verbalizing ones intimate needs, requires enough self-assurance to allow oneself, to be in a vulnerable position (Barbach, 1975).

In contrast, to promote intimacy with self and others, the new model of sexuality, which I call ‘sexual pleasuring’ similar to (Zilbergeld, 1992) new model of sexuality, places an emphasis on pleasure, closeness, partner and self-enhancement. This focus is conducive to a person’s development of their sexual potential. This happens because the new model explodes the old definition of scripted lines, and proscribed interactions. The new model in addition to creating a discourse on direct genital contact includes ALL possibilities without placing value on one specific act over another. For example, hand holding, intimate conversations, lip touching, a comfort with self, and accurate information are all considered part of the sexual pleasuring process. The foundation of success sex education lies not only in the gathering of accurate information and communication skills, but a feeling of comfort with ones own learning process (Barbach, 1975). By ones own learning process, it is meant that a person will feel comfortable devoting time and energy to the discovery of self, otherwise known as feeling comfortable practicing sexual pleasuring. Sexual pleasuring like any other activity requires practice.

At first, this new model of sexuality may feel awkward and funny. Yet, like all new activities a certain level of risk can be expected. The first time you tried making Sushi, you risked burning the rice. The first time you tried biking, you risked falling off the bike. The first time you attempted to read you a book you risked mispronouncing a word. In fact, all of these activities may feel unnatural. Yet, after reaching a certain level of skill and familiarity with the process, these behaviors which once felt unnatural become a natural extension of self. Sexual pleasuring is no different (Zilbergeld, 1992). It is not something that a person automatically knows how to do. The idea that sexual behavior comes naturally is a false misconception (Barbach,1975).

However, once sexual pleasuring feels ‘natural’, things may not always go as planned, therefore, the new model of sexuality includes not only learning how to access resources, but how to accept help from others. For example, some couples would benefit from the occasional reassurance from their partners that they are doing the right things. Other’s who are having difficulty with some aspect of their sexuality, like becoming pregnant, many benefit from seeking further information from doctors on fertility options, such as In Vitro fertilization. Or, for example, those on medication for depression, may experience a loss of sex drive may benefit from a medication switch, or at least knowledge that this is a common side effect. Feeling entitled to such knowledge and comfort seeking out help is one of the most important aspects that a person could learn how to do. There will be many unforeseen obstacles in the future, and most individuals will not know the answers to all of the questions. Learning how to access help will ease their ability to overcome the obstacles that are in their way of achieving their goals. Again, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy sexual pleasuring. Sexual pleasuring, like all relationships is an on-going process that takes time and energy.

   5. Why does the acceptance of sexual pleasuring feel so awkward?

Culturally, in the United States the notion of sexuality was founded on Puritan notions: Abstinence and Control (Winks & Semans, 1994). In short, people were told that sex was bad and dirty and sexual urges should be controlled, unless in the sanction of marriage.

Some of the dual messages included:

  • To women : 1) Women’s genitals were dirty and should not be touched

2) Women’s genitals were their most prized possession and was the best gift they could give their husbands (Barbach, 1975)

  • To men: 1) Men should be should be sexually experienced and ask women to sleep with them

2) Only marry a virgin

To discourage the discovery of sexual pleasuring, men and women were both told that:

  • Masturbation causes hair to grow on hands and could cause insanity
  • Sexual promiscuity leads to sexually transmitted infections Winks & Semans, 1994)

As a results of these dual messages and misconceptions who wouldn’t feel at least a slight level of guilt or discomfort when embarking upon the process of discovering what feels sexually pleasurable? And yet, sex is just another potentially satisfying aspect of life, like hard work, children or recreational activity (Barbach, 1975).

   6. Are There Any Rules to Feeling Sensual / Sexual Pleasure?

While many laws exist in the United States, that attempt to proscribe what type of sex people can have, and whom to have it with, there are no right or wrong ways to feeling sexually stimulated. There are only personal likes and dislikes. Nobody but that individual, has the magical ability to decipher what feels pleasurable (Barbach, 1975). Determining what feels good is a personal decision. Thus, learning about one’s own body is a personal self-discovery process, likened to the process of learning about what type of foods, sports or professions feel right. Given that there are no rule books to sexuality (Barbach, 1975) and sexuality is fluid and changes over time (Laughman,1994), developing one’s own sexual potential is an ongoing process that may take a lifetime to discover. Therefore, at any point, during the lifecycle a little bit of guidance in the process of understanding self is useful.

    7. How Does Accurate Sex Information Enhance an Individual’s Experience of Sexual Pleasuring?

"Accurate sex information is important helps us all build more intimate relationships and conquers fears and prejudice" Winks & Semans, 1994 page 9). Furthermore, according to Dodson (1987) Lack of information about sex causes many people physical pain and suffering. For example, without information about what feels pleasurable, some women may have difficulty showing their partner how to stimulate their bodies to the point of being well lubricated before intercourse. Without proper lubrication, intercourse can cause pain. In this example, pain could be avoided by changing the type of foreplay engaged in, increasing the amount of time spent, or the addition of synthetic lubrication. These options all would have reduced the pain experienced by the woman, thus, increasing the couples overall sexual experience. Courses, which not only provide students with more options, but also explore the dynamics of each situation enable:

  • Women to become more orgasmic
  • Plan pregnancies more effectively
  • Men to last longer
  • Men and women to make all sexual experiences positive
  • Men and women to practice safer sex

Reduction of this phenomenon is critical. According to Ubell (1984) men and women aged 18-60, found that only 67 % of the men, and 64 % of the women reported having a reasonably happy/satisfactory sex life. In other words, one out of three adults feel dissatisfied with their sex lives. Therefore, one out of three adults are struggling with the very issues that this curriculum seeks to address.

All tips written by Alex Robboy, LSW



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The Founder: "Alex" Caroline Robboy, LCSW, QSW, CAS

Ms. Robboy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Growth Inc and How To Have Good Sex Inc.  Alex practices marriage and family therapy and sex therapy, and also conducts periodic seminars about human sexuality throughout the northeastern United States.

Ms. Robboy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Masters degree in Social Work, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality Education and a Post-Masters Certificate in Marriage Counseling & Sex Therapy. Through the American Board of Sexology, she is a board certified sexologist and through the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists a certified sex therapist.  Additionally, she is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of the American Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.


  Our Philosophy sex is like dancing, it changes every time. It depends on culture, atmosphere and mood. Sometimes it is done alone, with a partner or in a group. It can be fast and hard or slow and soft. Sex is a combination of non-verbal negotiation and verbal cues: a scream, a twitch of the toes, or a flush of the face. There is no one 'right' way to move, only what feels good to all those involved. 
     The purpose of this site is to share information. Thus, if you have any ideas, thoughts or information that you believe others might benefit from, please e-mail your tip to and I  will be sure to include it on either our weekly newsletter or here on the actual website. 

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September 6, 2006