WARNING: Adult content
"I WAS a little uncomfortable in being faced with a vulva to play with on my iPhone," said single Melbourne woman Kellie, 47, "but I thought if men used this app for practice then my sex life would be fabulous!"
Kellie is one of many Australian women using a sexual pleasure education and information site, OMGYES. Over the past month, she has been using the iPhone app with simulated vulva to master 12 clitoral stimulation techniques, which have been scientifically proven to lead to heightened stimulation and orgasm.
OMGYES offers videos, images and the phone app that allows users to observe, practice and master the stimulation techniques alone or with a partner.
"When it comes to masturbation, I've always been in a rush to finish but no more. I'm going to use these techniques on myself until I meet the guy who is willing to sign up to this site and pleasure me stupid," Kellie added. "I can't wait to tell every woman I know about this."
She's not the first woman to find the program life changing. Actor Emma Watson last year told feminist icon Gloria Steinem she has subscribed.
Melbourne sex therapist Lynda Carlyle believes OMG is a helpful tool, but that sexual pleasure is a complex science that a website can't fully address.
"Sexual pleasure comes down to how we feel about ourselves; healthy body image, self compassion, physical and psychological health and confidence set us up for sex. Context and environment act as cues for connection and intimacy, so considering what you enjoy, what gives you pleasure, and what turns you on enriches the experience.
"Your ability to relate to a partner, communicate your wants and desires and accommodate the wants and desires of another person is the tricky part."
The program was developed through extensive research and surveys of American women of varying ages, cultures and in every state. From this, scientists from Indiana University and The Kinsey Institute have distilled methods for achieving orgasm and sexual pleasure.
"When it comes to sex and pleasure, everyone's trying to play it cool. No one honestly knows what's going on exactly," OMGYES program director Claire Kim said. "What feels best changes a lot between people and even for the same people over time. Our surveys show people in couples aren't telling each other what would make sex even better for fear of hurting feelings."
The program has step-by-step video guides (yes, vulvas and vaginas that " aren't porn - amazing in itself) and evidence-based techniques and proof of what affects women's sexual confidence and pleasure.
There's an app with a virtual vulva (not recommended for use on public transport or in the office) that teaches 12 arousal techniques that have been tried and tested. Techniques include "edging", "staging" and "rhythm".
OMGYES - like the best TV shows - operates season by season with a different focus. This season is all about clitoral stimulation (four times as many women orgasm with clitoral stimulation as penetrative sex) and the next two seasons look at internal stimulation then sex and pleasure during pregnancy and post-partum.
"For each topic, our PhD researchers do thousands of surveys and interviews via Skype - asking people what breakthroughs they figured out about pleasure that they wish they'd known sooner. Then the most prevalent ones we choose names for and follow up with detailed research into those," Ms Kim said.
OMGYES isn't solely designed for women. Rather it's targeted towards anyone with a curiosity or investment in women's sexual pleasure. That's women, men and couples. And interestingly, despite being a US-based site, the majority of users per capita are in Australia.
While the majority of images and videos online that depict women's vulvas and vaginas are airbrushed pornography designed to arouse and entertain men, OMG has enabled a powerful re-positioning of women's bodies and genitalia as sources of pleasure for women to own and appreciate. Rather than videos or interviews being titillating with screaming orgasms, the frank discussions around pleasure, bodies and ideas around sex feel more like a (very candid) conversation with friends.
Melbourne based Julie, 35, who is in a long-term relationship, has been using OMGYES for a fortnight.
"I am so glad someone is finally doing something like this," she said. "We are told that men like sex and women go along to please them, which really isn't true in my experience. I have always been the more sexual partner in my relationships, even though I find it very, very difficult to orgasm with a partner.
"I found it really helpful to see real people actually demonstrating what works for them. Not only did it make it easier to copy, but also to show my partner so that he could see exactly what to try on me. It really opened a dialogue between us and made me a lot more comfortable giving him precise instructions which had seemed awkward to bring up during sex. It's hard to talk about specifics 'in the moment' but when the objective is to learn, it's a lot easier.
"The site and app did make me think more about my approach to sex and where it came from; a lot of Catholic shame. I still have a long way to go but [using OMG] has started that process.
"My only suggestion would be more specific instructions around large labia. They don't tend to stay wet or stay where you want them to, which can make things a bit tricky and sometimes painful."
For partners and the benefits they gain, OMGYES is practical on-the-job learning.
"Only 17 per cent of women orgasm from just penetration. Four times as many women orgasm if there's simultaneous clitoral stimulation," Ms Kim said. " So it comes down to fingers and tongues on the clitoris, whether during penetration or not. And women are the absolute Jedis when it comes to ways of touching the clitoris. So, best for partners to learn from and replicate those ways."
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