sex

'Every day I masturbate with a new sex toy, then I post about my orgasm on Instagram.'

My clitoris is currently on a break.

In the last seven days, it’s been fondled more times than a baby lamb at a petting zoo. If my clitoris were an iPhone, right now it’d be in planned obsolescence mode.

It’s an inevitable occupational hazard, when your job involves bounteous amounts of masturbation.

I’m not a sex worker per say, but I do use a lot of sex toys, and write about my experiences in exchange for money. I guess you could call me a ‘sexfluencer’ – think: Instagram Influencer, but, like, with dildos. Where most top beauty and fashion bloggers get paid serious cash in exchange for plugging a new lipstick or jumpsuit, I make a very comfortable living talking about sex toys on my feed.

And, contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t get into doing this because I’m a nympho. Like most women, I grew up fairly detached from my sexuality. I believed sex was a kind of currency women exchanged with men in return for commitment, and not something to be spoken about.

My vagina was a strange, foreign object I never dared look at, and masturbation felt immoral, like a secret betrayal of my relationship. As such, my solo orgasms were routinely followed by shame and self-flagellation.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, given we still culturally regard vaginas as dirty, and female masturbation as taboo. In a 2017 survey published in PLOS One, one in five women reported having never masturbated. Like, literally ever, in their lifetime. It might also explain why a large number of us also don’t even enjoy sex.

Most research estimates just 65 percent of women routinely orgasm during sex, as opposed to 95 percent of men. That’s a bigger inequity than the gender pay gap. But no one’s talking about it.

“What’s wrong with me?” a female follower asked me recently, in a DM.

“I can’t orgasm when I have sex with my boyfriend. I’m only 21. What’s wrong with me?”

I get these questions daily via my Instagram. They’re almost always from women, and they almost always include some form of “Am I broken?”.

When I explained to aforementioned follower that, at the ripe old age of 21, it was highly unlikely she had any issues with her libido, and more likely her boyfriend wasn’t allowing her enough time to orgasm – given the fact most women take at least 20 minutes to climax during sex – she responded: “I’m crying tears of relief. I had no idea it was normal to need longer”.

I wondered how long this young woman had been having unsatisfying, dutiful sex with her boyfriend, convinced her lack of enjoyment was some biological failing.

That’s the thing about female sexual pleasure – we don’t learn anything about it in school. While we’re taught about male erections and ejaculation in sex ed, we tend to focus on female menstruation, and pregnancy prevention.

And when young women were interviewed in one of the largest studies ever conducted on sexual behaviour, their answers reflected this disconnect. Startlingly, female respondents reported experiencing pain in their sexual encounters 30 percent of the time.

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Really stop and think about that. Almost one third of the time young women are having sex, they’re in pain. And yet, it seems like we’d rather gouge out our own eyeballs with ice picks than dedicate a single hour to acknowledging female sexual pleasure out loud.

So yeah, say what you will about my unusual job title, but when I upload a sex toy review on my Instagram feed, I’m doing it because I want the shame and the pain to stop. Because I want to live in a world where women aren’t uncomfortable looking at and touching their own bodies, and sex isn’t a service we provide for our partners.

I’m very upfront about admitting I’m not a doctor and I don’t have any formal training in sexual health. I’m not here to provide medical advice or be anyone’s relationship counsellor; that’s kind of the point.

I don’t want to medicalise sex, or be an “expert”, I want to talk about it like a normal, relatable human being. Lauren Curtis’s x-factor might be her on-point eyeshadow tutorials, mine is my willingness to talk about sex and masturbation openly, from my own experiences.

The fact that the small group of girlfriends I started out sharing that with has grown to a loyal following of over 23,000 Instagram fans, just reinforces how much need there is for us to be having these discussions.

And yeah, like I’m sure any other influencer would agree, there are serious perks to the gig. In a couple of weeks I’m being flown across the world and put up in a five-star hotel while I promote a new sex toy line, I get paid to sit around and talk about my orgasms, and my bank account balance and adult toy collection have never looked healthier.

There are cons to this job too, of course. When you own more sex toys than you can physically fit in your small apartment’s cupboards, you have to get creative with storage (FYI: suction dildos make surprisingly good coat hooks), and if I have a busy week of paid trialling and posting to do, then my vagina and clitoris eventually need a break (I never thought I’d say this, but there is such a thing as having too many orgasms in a single day).

Not to mention the fact that posting about my sexual experiences online means I’ve been served just about every creepy comment and come-on you can imagine.

But I can honestly say it’s a small price to pay for the reaction I get when a follower lets me know they’ve had their first orgasm with a toy I recommended or asked their partner for something they were previously too nervous to bring up in bed.

And quite frankly, the only thing better than having loads of orgasms every day, is monetising those orgasms. Even if it means my clit needs to take a holiday every so often.

To watch Nadia’s sex toy reviews, you can follow her on Instagram.

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