As a mother of a toddler, I can’t quite recall that last time I read a book that didn’t involve me imitating animal noises while snuggled under an Angry Bird comforter. So it would be an understatement to say I was excited when my friend Shanna Katz asked me to review her book titled; Your Pleasure Map: A Woman’s Q&A Guide to Hotter, Naughtier, More Adventurous Sex. This is a “choose your own adventure” book for sexual enjoyment. And I sure got some tips for plus size sex within it!
Shanna is a Board Certified Sexologist who shares her wisdom with you in an informative and yet relatable way. I had a difficult time putting her book down and read it over the course of a few nightly bubble baths. I not only learned some new tricks for the bedroom but I also learned a lot about my body. Do you know the clitoris is actually 3 – 6 inches long!
I laughed often, blushed a little, and couldn’t wait to share my new found knowledge with my partner. I’d encourage every woman to read this book but especially us mamas who often become detached from our sexual needs after having a baby. As Shanna says, “Women deserve more information, particularly more accurate information about how to feel empowered sexually.” I’ve invited Shanna to share some of her sexual expertise with the Plus Mommy community!
Talking To Your Partner About Your Body
Shanna in your book you talk about how having an open dialogue with your partner is key. What about a woman who has just had a baby? How would you suggest she talks to her partner about not only her desires (or lack thereof) but also fears she might have regarding how her body has changed?
I think even starting a conversation is important. We don't talk about sex, sexuality, needs, changes in desires, etc in general, and especially not when we now have a newborn who is sleep depriving us. Make time for both check-ins, and intimacy. It's ok to say “I don't even know what the changes are, or what that looks like for our sex life, but I just want to touch base with you and let you know what things are changing, or that I'm having some feelings about how my body is now.”
We can't just magically expect our partners to read our minds and know all of our feelings, concerns, fears, etc. Give your partner respect by opening the conversation, and let them be part of the dialogue, instead of shutting them out as you get weighed down by your own insecurities. You're a team; work together on moving through the post-partum process!
I remember taking a bath when I was just over a week postpartum. Candles were lit and I was listening to the music that was playing during my labor. I felt completely relaxed and was curious how my body had changed. I slowly reached down and was traumatized by how my vaginal opening had pretty much quadrupled in size. I leaped out of the bath to find my mother who was visiting from out-of-state. When I asked her if it would return to normal she responded with, “pretty much.”
Can you speak to how our vagina changes after birth and why lubricant becomes a vital component for many of us during sexual encounters?
Well, I'd say (as you know from my lube section), that lube is love, regardless of whether you've birthed or not. Lube adds much needed cushioning lubrication, lasts longer than natural lubrication, and just makes sex better overall, period. That being said, our bodies are pretty phenomenal. They can stretch to birth a child (and/or open to take an entire hand during loving vaginal fisting), and then heal themselves to go back to where they were.
While it can feel traumatic to experience these body changes as they are happening, I think it's also an opportunity to really acknowledge the phenomenal things our bodies can do. Keep up with your kegel exercises (both before and after birth!), get a good bottle of your favorite lube (water or silicone based — stay away from oil, as it can prevent your vagina from going through its self-cleaning cycle), and be gentle with where your body is at any given moment in time.
How To Feel Confident
In your book, you say, “Confidence and enthusiasm are sexy. Period. If you feel good about you – about how you look, how you fee, and how excited you are for whatever sexual adventure is about to happen, then you’re far more likely to be viewed as sexy by others.” I 100% agree that confidence is the sexiest thing in the bedroom. You delve into this in your book but can you share some suggestions with my readers for how to feel confident?
Do what feels authentic to you. If you feel sexiest in a tank top and yoga pants, don't go drop money on a negligee. If you feel the sexiest when you're on the dance floor, make a priority to go dancing with your love. Despite the way that media tries to sell us on the “perfect” look, the “perfect” date and the “perfect” way to do romance, the perfect way is whatever is perfect for you. As long as you are being true to yourself, your confidence will shine through!
Another more concrete tip; when you're trying something new sexually, and are nervous about it, blindfold your partner. Make it sexy; tell them how blindfolding them will enhance their other senses, etc (which IS true). Then, once they are blindfolded, do your thing! No matter how silly you might think you look, they can't see the faces you're making or any oopses. Whether it is a new oral sex technique, or trying out domination, or even just a different position, you have some wiggle room to try it out until you feel more confident in pulling it off, and they get to enjoy their full spectrum of their imagination.
Plus Size Sex Tips
Let’s talk about plus size sex! Do you have any tips for good positions or even toys that are a little more size friendly?
I freaking LOVE that Tantus has dildos with handles, like their G-Force and their Goddess Handle, among others. How brilliant is that? As a fat girl, it can be hard to get things where they need to be, whether I'm by myself or with a partner. Adding a handle to some of their more popular dildos makes them both more plus size friendly, and also great for people with disabilities that may have issues with grabbing and/or angles. The Sapre Parts Joque Harness is SUPER comfortable, machine washable and their size B fits waists up to 65″! For trying something a bit more kinky, the Under Bed Restraint System is perfect and can be tucked away when you have company or crawling kiddos — your own body weight acts as part of the bondage, so it's not size specific at all. Of course, my recommendation for ANYONE with a vagina is this amazing set of Kegel Balls. It's like a 3-set of dumbbells for your vagina to keep it in shape, and you can up the weight and the reps as your vaginal PC muscles get stronger. Love them (and helped to beta test them – full disclosure!)
We had a question from the Plus Mommy Facebook page that I wanted to ask you, “The sound your stomach makes when in missionary. How do you make that “better”?”
I'm not sure which sound you mean because everyone's bodies make all sorts of different sounds during sex; that's just part of it, regardless of size, shape or orientation. I'm also not sure what you mean by “better” – for some people, the sounds of flesh hitting other flesh, of moaning and groaning, or panting, or anything, are part of the hot and sexy sexual experience. You could try putting pillows or a Liberator item underneath you, which might both change the angle, and hold your body in a position that doesn't make noise. You could also try out maybe a bustier or underbust corset that could hold your body still while you're moving all around…but honestly, I'd say recognize it, embrace it, and just realize that whatever that noise is – it's a fabulous byproduct of the hot sex that you're having!
Not a question, but I have to say that the “Orgasmic Bliss – Info about Orgasms” chapter was one of my favorite parts of your book. I’m sure I’ll be re-reading it often!