Just because you’re solo dolo during this quarantine, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your orgasms. You might need a little (or a lot) of guidance to achieve the big O, especially if you’re not use to being “on your own.” Lucky for you, leading sex therapist Shan Boodram has launched her series, Sexology with Shan Boodram, on Quibi, a new digital platform for quick bites of content. She shows viewers how to navigate the realities of sex, dating, relationships—and yes, orgasms.
“Relationships and our relationship to our sexuality is a big part of our daily lives, which is why I am over the moon to be a part of Quibi’s Daily Essentials slate,” said Shan.
The certified sexologist and intimacy expert is doing two weeks of COVID-19-themed episodes that started rolling out April 13 with a new COVID-themed episode available every weekday through April 24. Shan caught up with MadameNoire to tell us why Sexology should be your new daily essential and guide us through achieving climax all by yo’ fine self.
MadameNoire: There’s a lot of women during this quarantine season who are self-isolating and want to pleasure themselves, but maybe masturbating was never really their thing—where do they start?
Shan Boodram: Try utilizing water to your advantage. If you’ve got a bathtub try putting on the faucet and scooting your butt to the very end letting the water hit. Decide whether you want direct or indirect contact with the clitoris might be nice. If you have a removable showerhead that’s also an incredible tool to utilize as well to see how much or little pressure you like. It’s a tool that’s already there.
You can also use coconut oil to give yourself a vulva massage, DJing, hitchhiking, however you call it—it’s rubbing of the clitoris. Coconut oil is pH balancing. It’s not necessarily the best thing to use with a partner, but by yourself it can be pretty safe. You might have other products you could also use as lube like olive oil can also be used as lubricant as well as avocado oil.
Read up on it online so you make sure that you are not putting your pH in jeopardy by whatever household product you use. You can always just use your natural lubrication as well, too. Porn has seen a spike in viewership during this time because some people need visual stimulation. They’re doing their absolute best to social distance and keep themselves, their family and community safe by doing so. So, you might need some extra help while you’re doing this beautiful thing for others, and that’s where online forums of adult entertainment can be helpful.
As for the quarantining part of this question specifically… I would say self-pleasure can be a big part of your self-care during this time because it can reduce stress, it can help to alleviate pain, it can help you go to sleep—all things which people might be struggling with during this time. On the flipside, I just think there’s a lot of pressure for people to keep up their normal routine or try to mimic a normal routine as best as possible during this time. But if you just don’t really feel like it has ever really been your “thing” and it doesn’t necessarily feel like your thing right now, I wouldn’t put the pressure on yourself.
MN: Orgasms don’t come easy for many women, what’s the easiest way to achieve one on your own?
SB: I’d like to challenge that notion that orgasms don’t come easy. A high percentage of women — I think it’s above 85% — can achieve orgasm on their own. Orgasms through penetration don’t come easy to many people’s vulvas. Only one third of women can achieve orgasm regularly through penetration. And I think the number gets even lower when you consider those who don’t need any clitoral stimulation at all, it’s just penetration. There’s a lot of research now that indicates that all orgasms are actually clitoral. It’s just that some people’s clitoris is closer to the vaginal opening to receive sufficient friction through penetration and some people’s are not. All that to say, I think that we should stop pushing forward the myth that orgasms are elusive, hard to achieve and confusing for women, because it creates a sense of complacency in our partners. Also, it creates a sense of complacency in ourselves, to not try to challenge ourselves because we think of it as a challenge. It really isn’t.
The clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings. It’s the only known body part that’s sole function is pleasure. I say this as a euphemism: if you rub the lamp the genie will likely come out. For most people, if you rub the clitoris, you’re more than likely to achieve an orgasm. A site that I like to refer people to is OMGyes.com. They have women describe something like up to 12 different ways they like stimulation that brings them to orgasm. For some that’s tapping, for some that’s orbiting—these are all adjectives used to describe the way that you stroke the clitoris. For some people that’s humping, so having a layer of clothes on and rubbing up against a pillow or something. But if you think about it like, “okay, I’m just trying to figure out what feels best for me to stimulate this body part that’s only known function is pleasure” I think we can take some of the confusion or difficulty out of it.
MN: What’s your most important rule for a successful solo session?
SB: I think that sex, whether that be with yourself or with a partner, is the best when your only goal is, “how good do I want to feel for as long as I feel like feeling that?” and that’s what you’re there to do. You’re there to give your body pleasure, endorphins, relaxation, and self-care. For some people that might result in orgasm and for other people that might result just in a feeling of completion, for no other reason.
One of my favorite books is called Come as You Are and it describes orgasm as simply a release of sexual tension, not necessarily hallmarked by fireworks or this incredible wave. If you feel like you’ve built up sexual tension and now that sexual tension has been released, there doesn’t have to be some big event that’s associated with that.
MN: What toys do you recommend to take your pleasure up a notch?
SB: On my show Sexology we have an episode out this week that’s all about quarantine sex toys. What I tried to keep in mind with this is how can we create assemblance of connection or an opportunity for connection through our toys. If you’re quarantining with your partner, how do you make your sessions unique? If you are quarantining away from your partner, what are ways that you can incorporate digisexuality so that your partner can play with you without actually physically touching you? And if you are by yourself what sex toys are going to switch it up and really give you this unique experience so that you remember this time as being a positive sexual experience for you, if you are in the mood to be sexual.
MN: Why is a show like Sexology necessary now more than ever?
SB: Content like this is timely forever until we fix this problem at a fundamental educational level, until it becomes seen as a mandatory part of raising functioning, happy and healthy human beings and thus is mandated across all school boards. Until that time, I truly believe that content like this needs to exist. I hope that [the show we created] inspires other educators and I hope it inspires legislation makers to see why education like this is so necessary. It is not as frightening as terrifying as people think.
MN: What has been your experience as a Black woman in the sex education space? How is Quibi changing that?
SB: For the past two big jobs that I’ve had, when the contracts were sent to me or the brief was sent to me my name was not on the documents. Whether that’s a Freudian slip, I don’t know. But twice it happened to me where they had another white educator’s name, which is an indicator to me that I was second choice. Being second choice is still an incredible opportunity and I do feel privileged in how far I’ve been able to get. And I do acknowledge how many incredible Black and Brown women who have so much to offer this space don’t have the opportunities that I have. As a woman who is mixed with Black, I definitely have noticed that my darker-skinned Black women peers have a very different experience than mine. But nonetheless, my experience is unique.
This Quibi opportunity was the first time I felt like an unquestionable first pick. I’m not aware that they were even auditioning other shows or thinking about other experts. From the beginning, I’ve been uplifted as someone that they trust and a voice that they wanted their audience to have access to. That’s new. Quibi has definitely been a beautiful first for me in that way.
(Editor’s Note: Quotes have been condensed for clarity.)