Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life

Author: Emily Nagoski Ph.D.
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by DesignerInTheCode   2019-01-13

First off, everyone is different. Every vulva and vagina is wired up a little differently. There are different concentrations of nerve endings in the perineum, vagina, and clitoris. Different techniques and things are gonna feel better to some than they do to others simply because of how you are individually wired up.

Second, we all have different acceleration and brake speeds. Accellerators are like turn-ons that get you going. But turn-offs or brakes come in two major groups: hand brake (like a constant drag) and a foot brake (stop right now). These things can be really sensitive for some and really insensitive for others creating different rates of arousal. They also work in combination where if you have some of your brakes on despite having lots of exciting accelerators, then there is gonna be a slower ramp up than if all your brakes were off. Things as simple as stress can be huge brakes for people. The goal is to turn all of the offs off and all of the ons on.

Third, physical reaction does not correlate with sexual desire or arousal. It is entirely possible for you to be really turned on and ready to go but not super wet. It is also possible for you to have an orgasm and not enjoy it or have no orgasm and still really enjoy it. Mostly what our body is saying is this is sexually relevant. But it has nothing to do with how you feel.

Fourth, a lot of sex is learned repetitive behavior. If you've had a lot of sex with masturbation or penetration, your body may be used encountering sex in that form. It may not react the same when you encounter it in other forms. The good news is you can retrain your body to respond in a way you desire through repetitive action to retrain.

Fifth, a lot of emotional stuff can interact with how your body and mind relate to sex. Shame around sex can be pretty common and may come up in strange areas you didn't expect. If something is off, it could be possible you have something from your past affecting things.

Sixth, sexual, romantic, and emotional attractions are all separate spectrums that are aligned for some but not for others. If you like having sex with men but enjoy being in relationships with women that is totally cool. It is also okay for this to shift as your understanding changes or as you grow.

Finally, this all just adds to understanding your own body and how it works. Because it is unique comparing to others may be less effective than exploring to figure out what is best for you. It is entirely okay for you to be however you are and is not necessarily an indicator of your sexuality. That comes from your feelings. This stuff can be tricky so just try to be gentle with yourself.

If you are interested in more info here are some resources:

Vagina by Naomi Wolf Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski Girl Sex 101 by Alison Moon and KD Diamond Sexplanations YouTube channel and podcast by Dr. Lindsey Doe

by vintagesauce   2019-01-13

If she's never had an orgasm, and considers herself to be "low desire", this book may offer a huge insight for both of you: [

by HeyYouFoundMe   2019-01-13

This book is awesome:

by kmnil   2018-11-10

Thank you for this. I think I need to figure out a way to have a situation somewhat like this.

Right now, he's so frustrated in general about it, he's like, "LET'S BONE! WHY DON'T YOU WANT TO!!??" And when I tell him I don't know, he gets mad, doesn't believe me, makes crazy assumptions like I'm cheating.

All of that definitely doesn't help me get in the mood. And right now, I'm not able to just say, "SEX, let's do it." I don't like it. I know he's upset. But to have sex when I don't feel it, it just doesn't seem right.

EDIT: Since this is a higher comment, I'll put this here. Thanks everyone for the advice and wonderful words.

I ordered Come as You Are and Mating in Captivity . I'm going to give them a read and not-so-subtly leave the books out so he can see I'm doing something for the cause.

by Ophelia_Bliss   2018-11-10

This isn't trouble! There is nothing wrong with you! Most women do not come from vaginal penetration alone. You are not defective! (And it's possible some of those other women were faking orgasm, which is a thing some women do, you know?)

I'm sure you all can have a lot of fun exploring this, but it needs to start from loving yourself, and your husband loving you, not from a place of thinking there's something wrong with you.

A few books that might help you learn to love your body and your sexuality:

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski

Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

by wildlife_bee   2018-11-10

Hey, I am a female[24] who has had the same problem recently. My BF initiated sex all through our relationship and I loved it and suddenly he told me this too. I have also been abused. I have two recommendations for you that might help you with the root of your problem (confidence issues and anxiety involving sex). I read two books to help with my healing process:

Come As You Are (Emily Nagoski) I <3 Female Orgasm

Both have tips about sex, healing sexuality, and learning about yourself. I HIGHLY recommend them. They changed my world. You will get something out of both of them. The first is a scientific look at what you're dealing with, and the second is more emotional/holistic. I recommend that one first (I<3 Female Orgasm), and then if you are still curious or are seeking more read Come as You Are

Edit: Links Below

by Waylander84   2018-11-10

Comparative sex drives is a very common topic over at /r/sexover30. I've recently been learning about a lot of this myself. You can find various different threads on the topic already, but some of the best advice you'll be given is to read Come As You Are . It's very common for partners to have different libidos, and the book does a good job of explaining why, and how to address it. I'm still mid-book with my wife at the moment but we already understand each other a lot more.

by searedscallops   2018-11-10

This book will give you some great insights: Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life

by frak8757   2018-11-10

since it is matriarchy monday, I'm going to recommend this book to anyone who is a woman or likes to fuck women. I haven't finished it yet but its pretty good so far.

by AddytheHobbit   2018-11-10

Everyone here has great advice about not pressuring yourself and being honest with your needs. A book that really gave me some good perspective on my libido was Come as you are . I personally have the opposite problem. I have a very high libido and two low libido partners.

The book is a fairly dense and scientifically focused look at sexuality (from a mainly cis-fem perspective, its only flaw I think). There are quizzes sprinkled throughout to help you gain insight into what “gets you going”, as well as any unconscious emotional baggage you may have about your sexuality, among other topics.

by MuvHugginInc   2018-11-10

I can not recommend highly enough, Emily Nagoski's book Come As You Are . It really helped me and my wife understand that it's not about drive or feelings so much as biology and chemicals. I mean, not entirely, but you know what I mean. It was a fantastic read.

by Cest_la_Fille   2018-11-10

First off, unless you know for a fact that this is a hormonal issue, don't assume that. It could be that your wife is responsive desire, which isn't about hormones, but about how some people, men and women alike, work sexually. The book Come as You Are can explain if you're not familiar. I highly recommend reading and discussing it together. If you do know that it's a hormonal issue, then speaking to a doctor about options is the first step.

Masturbation can help to rev up a woman's sex drive, but a mental component is very important as well. Activities such as fantasizing, reading erotica, watching porn, and generally making a willing and active effort to keep sex on the mind will enhance the benefits of masturbation. If there are mental blocks, or issues of shame or discomfort around sex and masturbation, those things will need to be addressed first.

by [deleted]   2018-11-10

Come as you are is what's popular now.

by ace_of_sppades   2018-11-10

Switch or get your hormonal birth control. It's well know to kill libido. Come as you are BY Enily Nagiski PhD is a great resource for learning about female sexuality.

by Cest_la_Fille   2018-11-10

Come as You Are is an excellent idea, but don't just buy it for her, you should read it too. It never hurts to have a deeper understanding of your partner, and it could offer some starting talking points.

It's good that you're expressing your need for better sexual communication, and that she doesn't shut it down. The issue seems to be that you have been unprepared. If you are going to start the conversation, you should plan on contributing to it beforehand. On your own, watch some porn, read the Sex Report Sunday topic in this sub (you can even do a search for past ones), read some smut or erotica, and figure out what kind of diversity it is that you are interested in, so you have some suggestions ready when she asks "Like what?"

by HubbleSaurusRex   2018-11-10

My heart goes out to you. I know from experience that this is a painful situation to be in.


Your sexuality is normal, and there is absolutely nothing weird or wrong about the way you are wired. I recommend this lovely, woman-focused book for shedding light on how human sexuality works: [


A few of the big takeaways for me were:

  1. For each of us, sexual desire has an accelerator and brakes. To be in the mood for sex, we need to have less of the stuff that turns us off and more of the stuff that turns us on. The book is a great guide for exploring what might fall into those categories for us. Undone dishes are often enough to hit the brakes for many women. Feeling emotionally disconnected or un-supported hit the breaks in a big way for me.
  2. Lots of people, in fact about 70% of women, are wired for "responsive desire," which means never / hardly ever experiencing a spontaneous desire for sex, but experiencing desire as a response to rather than in anticipation of erotic stimulation.


by 33saywhat33   2018-11-10

Congrats on waiting!! For the 3 month mark I think you are doing OK. Do you feel comfortable using oral sex on her? (my wife can't come unless I do).

First, She should see a OBGYN to make sure things are OK.

There is a book that might help you both. Come as you Are is really really good. I'd suggest both of you read it. It will give you a solid foundation for you sex life and female sexuality. I wish I had read it before I got married.

Keep practicing oral sex. One day she will just explode and squirm. Hold on! It's fun. But she needs to be relaxed and clearly she's tense. When she's orgasming and seems she's slowing down, come up and try PIV (Penus in vagina) as she will have lots of natural lubricant, and that might be the ticket.

And work on all senses before and during sense. Need a song playlist? (no joke).

You are using lube...right? You can get it at a big chain drug store or WalMart.

by 33saywhat33   2018-11-10

Come as You Are is a great book. Pls read Amazon reviews. It's of the premiere books on women's sexuality.

Of course, both pls see your MD first.

Also, Mojo Upgrade is a great couples sex quiz to find mutual sexual interests.

Good decision. We've been married 30 years and I'm just now having open talks with my wife. Unfortunately, her response has been poor. Right now, I'd take a mini-win as she see her MD and read a well respected book. The Mojo upgrade would be a big win. That's right, just taking a 10 minutes quiz is even off limits.



by the_emuhlee   2018-03-19

Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski really helped me out! There is an entire workbook component and everything!

by TrendingCommenterBot   2018-03-19


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