The genitals we see in pornography are usually of one type. Women with petite, neat, symmetrical shaven vulvas and men with long, large and continually hard penises. Comparing yourself to these genital types, you can feel inadequate or lacking, that something is wrong with you, your unusual or even deformed. Feeling this way about your genitals affects you on many levels and undoubtedly impacts how you feel sexually and your ability to enjoy sex.
Myths about sex from our culture can also affect us especially the myths that men should get hard and stay hard, that all women love ‘big cocks’, women “should” always be lubricated and if not there is something wrong with them and that we “should” all look the same. There are many more.
Browsing through Cosmopolitan magazine at the age of 29 I saw an advert for labia surgery. I had never heard of it before but it gave me hope. I hated my genitals. One of my labia had been cut during childbirth five years previously. I rarely looked ‘down there’ before having a child and the birth left me with one torn labia that was shorter than the other. I thought I was deformed. Knowing part of me would do something as drastic as to have part of my labia cut off was a defining moment. I knew I had to do something about how I felt about my genitals and I had other worries and fears about sex. My search led me to Shakti Tantra. My first tantra workshop was a revelation. Seeing other women’s genitals, I realised that the appearance of our genitals is as diverse as our faces. It was such a relief and I started to see the beauty of my genitals and this transformed how I felt about myself.
The sexual teachings of Quodoushka also liberated my limited understanding of my genital anatomy and my sexual potential. Quodoushka is an incredible body of teachings from the Twisted Hairs Elders of the Sweet Medicine Sundance Path. In the wonderful book, The Sexual Practices of Quodoushka, Amara Charles shares how Quodoushka categorises men and women into nine different sexual anatomy types.
Each anatomy type is defined by an animal – for women there are sheep, cat, buffalo, bear. wolf, antelope, deer, fox and dancing woman. For men, coyote, dog, bear, pony, horse, elk, deer, ram and dancing man. Studying the behaviour of each animal can deepen your understanding of the naturalness of each anatomy type. Wolf women can be loyal, playful and like to make noise, deer men are quick, alert and graceful lovers. A variety of characteristics are considered to determine which anatomy type you are:
Lubrication, ejaculate, taste, temperature, time to orgasm, preferred type of stimulation and sexual demeanor will all be affected by our health and wellness such as diet, fitness, stress levels and for women, their menstrual cycle.
When I first heard these differences I was amazed – I had never considered the variety of our genitals and how this impacts on our sexual pleasure.
You don’t need to know your type (you have to be read by someone who is trained in Quodoushka). However reading about the types you might find that some resonate more than others. Getting to know your genital anatomy, your likes and dislikes, your natural style is a great discovery. For many, this is exploring what lies underneath the sexual behaviours that they have learnt from others, or through porn or habits.
With curiosity, you begin to understand why it is you enjoy certain kinds of stimulation or sexual positions more than others and how this can be different with different people. Appreciating the uniqueness of your own sexual anatomy is empowering as you can connect and cultivate your natural sexual preferences, style and gifts.
However, the genital anatomy types are are not a rigid system of classification. As Amara highlights in the book, with practice, you can cultivate any of the sexual abilities from the other genital anatomy types.
Amara also writes that there is no perfect match for genital anatomy types. There may be preferences, but anyone can learn to be with anyone. When two (or more!) new bodies come together, it is a time of exploration, discovering the songs your bodies sing together.
I leave you with the wise words of Amara Charles:
Taking the time to find out about your partner’s anatomy type gives you a way to explore the kinds of pressure, speed, and timing she [or he] likes best. You will also gain a better sense of when to change your touch and timing if something doesn’t work for her [or him]. Remember, however, that there are no fixed formulas, and that you must always pay close attention to what she [or he] wants in any given moment. The best way to increase your sensitivity and skill as a lover is to be curious, ask questions, get feedback and stay open for change.
If you have concerns about your genitals or would like to find out more about our workshops, please do get in touch.
Sarah Rose Bright