In the glory days of 2002, American rapper Khia released a parrrrrrticularly saucy track, titled ‘My Neck, My Back (Lick It)’.
It reached number 12 on our beloved Aria chart, which you’d think would indicate us ‘Strayan’s aren’t too embarrassed when it comes to talking about (or humming along to) thangs related to sex.
*takes a moment to get my neck, my back out of head*
And, if the utterly insurmountable list of synonyms for intercourse on Urban Dictionary is anything to go by, it’d seem we’re all relatively fascinated by the act, in all it’s glorious forms.
But, of course, it’s not all coitus-fuelled rainbows, funny euphemisms for dicks and BDSM-loving unicorns Down Under.
If you grew up in Aus, you were probably
unfortunate enough blessed to get the bulk of your sexual education from frighteningly heteronormative places – such as the sneaky sealed sections of Dolly Doctor, the articles in Girlfriend and the sex ed given in our classrooms.
Condom on a ‘nana, anyone?
With this in mind, we had a chat with renowned Sydney-based Relationship Counsellor and Sex Therapist, Matty Silver, to get the low-down on what actually happens in a sex therapy session – as well as the main concerns you’re seeking ~sexual healing~ for.
Silver has been a sex therapist for the past seven years, and during her time, she says the main concern that drives clients (particularly young men) into sex therapy, is… Performance anxiety.
Performance anxiety affects all areas of life where we feel pressure to do a good job – whether it’s on the football field, whilst public speaking… or even on the toilet.
Where it gets serious is when it starts to impact your ability to get aroused; and stay aroused.
40% of Silver’s male clientele who experience sexual dysfunction in the forms of premature ejaculation, erectile issues (like an inability to keep it up), delayed ejaculation or the inability to ejaculate at all.
“Through my experience, it’s not so much a ‘physical’ problem with young men, like one might experience after taking certain medications or with age. It’s actually just performance anxiety,” explains Silver.
It can begin from very early on in sexual development, or can be spurred on by negative sexual experiences, such as being ridiculed by sexual partners for coming too quickly.
But what actually goes on in a session, and how does Silver help her patients in overcoming their psychological boner killers?
First and foremost, Silver tries to put her clients at ease. Her main concern is with normalising sex, and getting her patients to talk about sex without shame or embarrassment.
“What I usually do – I ask for a sexual history. I ask them if they had problems when they first started masturbating, at say, age 13 or 14.” Silver mentions that asking these sorts of questions, in a str8 up way, breaks down any awkwardness or discomfort the person she’s treating may be feeling.
“I mean, everybody masturbates.” She assures me.
She finds that after that initial consult, and by purely putting a name to the condition, a lot of these patients overcome their psychosexual issues.
When it comes to her female clients, Silver says their concerns are a little different. A large majority of the females she sees have trouble achieve the big O.
“Only one in five women can achieve orgasm through [penis in vagina] sex” she tells me. Of course, P in V sex isn’t the only valid form of doing the deed; but for heterosexual women who want one up ’em, it can be really frustrating.
“After I tell them that statistic, I say to a girl: if you learn how to have an orgasm on your own, then you can teach your partner. Try new things. Don’t use your vibrator all the time. Read something sexy. Look at something sexy.”
look at anything but this
Another, lesser known concern of young women who see Silver is a condition called Vaginismus.
Vaginismus – painful spasmodic contraction of the vagina in response to physical contact or pressure, especially during sexual intercourse – affects 1% of the female population. A friend of mine who suffers from the affliction says sex, for her, feels like “being penetrated by a dildo wrapped in sandpaper” (her sense of humour hasn’t been affected by the condition, thankfully).
It’s the concern of about 10% of Silver’s clients; but it’s a condition that’s rarely spoken about or acknowledged in mainstream media and sexual education classes.
Silver tells me that she’s approached numerous publications wanting to discuss and bring attention to vaginismus – but she’s been met with reluctance. “Vaginismus seems to be such a taboo that people don’t want to write about it.” Ironic, really, when you consider that the majority of people Silver sees for the condition only learnt that they had it through reading about it online.
“It’s 100% treatable” Silver assures me; with a combination of therapy sessions and physiotherapy to help train the pelvic floor muscles to relax.
I wrap up (condom joke) the interview by asking Silver if she thinks attitudes towards sex amongst Gen Y have changed since she first started working.
“Oh, no, no, no,” she says, “sex is sex.”
And we’re still as fascinated by it as ever.
Image: How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days.