Top 10 Takeaways from the New York Times Bestselling book "Come as You Are"
Top 10 Takeaways from the New York Times Bestselling book
Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life
by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
A quick note: the descriptions used below refer to a person’s biological categories – the anatomical descriptions that are often considered “male” and “female” – however, there are plenty of men, women, nonbinary, and trans folx who do not fit into these categories. As the author, Emily Nagoski, states, “trans and nonbinary people deserve excellent, science-based, pleasure-oriented sex education, too...” yet there is still too little research to say for certain that what is true about cisgender sexual wellbeing is also true for trans folx. It probably is, and the information stated below will likely be helpful for everyone regardless of gender and identity.
1: You are normal.
Unless you’re experiencing pain (in which case you should see a doctor), the sex you’re having, or the feelings you have about sex, or about not wanting to have sex, are normal and there is nothing wrong with you.
2. Males and females have the same parts organized in different ways.
This is what’s called biological homology – the same biological origins, though they may have different functions. For instance, both males and females have a round-ended, highly sensitive organ to which blood flows during arousal. For females, this organ is the clitoris; for males, this organ is the penis. Same parts, organized in different ways!
3. Only about ¼ of females orgasm reliably with intercourse.
Rather, females more often orgasm through manual sex, oral sex, vibrators, breast stimulation, and many other ways. Let me say it again for the folx in the back – 75% of the time, females will not orgasm through intercourse alone.
4. Female genitals don't behave in accordance with her emotional experience as often as male genitals do.
For instance, if a penis is erect, the person attached to the penis is often turned on (though not always); however, the behavior of a woman's genitalia (being wet or dry) may not match her mental experience of feeling turned on or not. Because a female is "super wet" that does not mean that she is "ready" or wants to have sex.
5. Some people experience spontaneous desire for sex, and some don’t.
Both are normal and oftentimes have nothing to do with feelings of love, desire, or attraction. Women can be normal and healthy and never experience spontaneous sexual desire.
6. Sexual response is driven by a “dual control model” which consists of a sexual accelerator and sexual brakes.
These components respond to sexual stimuli (genital stimulations, visual stimulations, and emotional context). Increase the sexual accelerator and decrease the sexual brakes to promote sexual desire.
7. Context matters.
For some people, to feel sexual desire, they need to feel safe, relaxed, energized, and connected with their partner, not in their heads thinking about their to-do list or whether they have made their kids' school lunches. For others, stress may increase the desire for sex. Some individuals may feel "ready to go" at a moment's notice. All normal.
8. You have been lied to.
Society has told you that if you don't experience spontaneous arousal or mind-blowing orgasms, or you don't desire sex with your partner as often as he/she does, then there is something wrong with you. Society has tried to make you believe you are broken in order to profit from your insecurities. You, in fact, are normal! It is the world around you that is broken.
9. The most important factor in creating and sustaining a sex life filled with confidence and joy is not what the parts are or how they’re organized but how you feel about them.
If you believe you are normal, your parts are normal (perhaps even beautiful), and your feelings about your sexuality are normal, then you’ve already taken the first steps to a healthy and fulfilling sex life.
10. You are already sexually whole by just being yourself.
If you want to learn more about this topic, then I encourage you to read Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
The book is available in paperback, audiobook (read by the author), and kindle formats.
Nagoski, E. (2021). Come as You Are: Revised and Updated: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life. Simon & Schuster.
Jen Hill is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist Associate at Enhancing Intimacy Counseling. Jen works with couples, families, and individuals working on relationship concerns, communication, parenting, divorce, and pregnancy or postpartum issues. If you are interested in scheduling a session with Jen, you can see more about her at www.enhancingintimacyaustin.com/jen-hill. Please call 512-994-2588 or email email@example.com for more information.