The clitoris is central to female orgasm, but like everything else we know about sex and the human condition… it’s not that simple. Sex is every bit as much a psychological event as it is a physiological event, and the way we feel about ourselves, our bodies, our lovers and our relationships is relevant to our satisfaction, lack of satisfaction, and sometimes, mixed response to the muddle of it all.
Let’s tease it out, beginning with some statistics.
Cultural messages emphasize penetration as the consummate act of sexual satisfaction. In film portrayals of sex, whether rom-com, drama or even sexy indie, sudden passionate penetration and mutual orgasm in rapid succession is presented 73% of the time. It really doesn’t look much like the kind of sexual encounters that women most widely cite as accurate, let alone what they prefer for a mutually satisfying experience.
Research indicates that 37% of females require external clitoral stimulation to orgasm, and while it’s not mandatory for another 36%, it significantly enhances the quality of their sexual experience. Only 18% of respondents said vaginal penetration alone was sufficient for orgasm, and 9% reported that they didn't have orgasms during intercourse even with simultaneous clitoral stimulation, and only orgasm during oral sex. So, clitoral stimulation is mandatory, or increases satisfaction significantly, for 81 percent of females. That’s a big deal.
What else do women need to enjoy sex? Arousal.
Most of the data we have is for gender typical, heterosexual people. In this research, for most women, penetration in the absence of arousal first results in experiences that range from painful, to boring, to insulting. And when we feel that our experience doesn’t matter to our partner, it can lead to mistrust, resentment, hurt feelings and sometimes, trauma. When women feel sexually neglected, it harms the relationship. And, when women feel sexually considered and attended, it leads to both a greater sense of personal wellbeing and positive feelings toward their partner.
How to go about it?
For most people, sexual interest is signaled and arousal begins to emerge with flirting - banter and suggestion of desire is part of an initial engagement. Research shows that women are most likely to become aroused when flirting and attention lead to erogenous touching, and eventually, oral-genital contact. It’s slow, soft and tantalizing - to begin, anyway. Time is usually a key to female arousal, especially arousal that leads to orgasm. The practice that most reliably leads to arousal and eventual orgasm in women is oral sex. As always, it’s complicated, but research suggests that oral sex is both physiologically stimulating and psycho-sexually erogenous for most women. The data also indicates that women commonly perceive receiving oral sex as an indication of partner desire, partner concern for her wellbeing, and partner attachment. All of these statistics are, of course, illustrations of common but not universal feelings and experiences, and honest communication is arguably the most important feature in the narrative of a sexual relationship.
Sometimes, there’s a panic-point in communication between partners on the matter of female self-lubrication, and again, cultural messaging is the instigator. People are taught that lubrication is the proof of female desire- or lack of it. We’re told that a woman who isn’t self-lubricating in response to sexual engagement isn’t interested, and a partner sometimes responds with insult, anger or slackened desire. There are even female influencers gaining following based upon the assertion that all women will lubricate with enough psycho-sexual advancement, and personal/ partner sexual skills - in other words, blaming the woman and her partner.
Not so! There are so very many reasons why self-lubrication may be minimal and uncomfortably slow to arrive, or not happen at all. There are a host of medical conditions that can impair the capacity to lubricate when aroused, including autoimmune conditions, such as Sjogren’s Syndrome and thyroid disease, and other chronic conditions such as diabetes and stroke /cardiovascular disease. There are also pharmaceuticals that can impede the capacity to lubricate, such as SSRIs. On a day-to-day basis, a woman’s hormones have a significant impact on both ease of arousal and lubrication, and can flux with menstrual cycle, hormonal contraception, and in response to pregnancy, post-pregnancy and lactation. Perimenopause and menopause are ultimately hormonally-driven changes, and again, influence self-lubrication. Anxiety and depression can impede libido and self-lubrication. Women’s hygiene products, personal moisturizers and sex lubricants are most commonly rife with ingredients that disrupt pH, microflora and healthy function. And if there’s a history of misunderstanding and judgment on the topic, worry can interfere with arousal and lubrication as well.
Monitoring self-lubrication as a measure of female sexual interest is a remarkably inaccurate and harmful notion.
What we know is that female arousal does matter, self-lubrication is not evidence of it, and it usually takes time and specific attention to the clitoris. In many women, oral sex is either necessary or very important. We know that wetness greatly facilitates the sexual experience, whether we’re talking about oral sex or penetration. In fact, lack of lubrication during both penetration and oral sex can be painful, or worse- lead to irritation, UTIs, injured tissues, lesions and vaginal bacterial or yeast infection. Another interesting little fact is that the sensation of wetness itself can result in self-lubrication. So, lubricant is the obvious solution.
Of course, all lubricants aren’t all created equal. And unfortunately, most lubricants are harmful to female health. In the very least, lubricants should first-do-no-harm. They should perform well to enhance sex and satisfaction. And finally, ideally, the best lubricants will benefit a woman's health.
Curious is, arguably, the first brand in the marketplace to fulfill all of these qualifications, introduced in 2016. Curious lubricant is effective for both penetration and oral sex. Recently, we’ve heard from clients who are looking for something with characteristics specifically designed for oral sex. We listened, and we’ve formulated a product that’s a little different, and meets some very particular desires and needs.
Introducing Sweet Spot
Curious Sweet Spot is the only intimate lubricant available that’s specifically formulated for female oral sex. It has a smooth, silky, slightly sweet taste and mouthfeel that’s perfectly suited for oral play. It feels light and soft, and it’s easy to apply just the right amount with fingertips. Crucially, it excludes ingredients that harm tissues and interfere with pH and a healthy vaginal biome, and includes an array of plant sourced ingredients that rejuvenate, nourish, and protect intimate tissues.
It tastes good. Just like you.
As always, Curious lubricants increase pleasure, in formulas that deeply contemplate the science of female physiology in tandem with respect for sexual needs. While it’s perfectly fine to use Sweet Spot for penetration, we suggest shifting to Curious Lubricant as the preferred lubricant for penetration or with use of toys.
Here’s the lineup of ingredients, with some useful information about what each one brings to the formula, and how it affects your body.
Coconut (Cocos nucifera) fruit oil extract, organic
Coconut fruit extract is an exceptionally silky, non-greasy oil extract that improves barrier function without harmfully coating the vaginal epidermis. This is a multifunctional ingredient that is produced using steam extraction to eliminate the long chain triglycerides that cause the oil to crystallize and separate. It decreases water loss via the mucosal membranes, transforming dry, irritated and inflamed surfaces into soft, hydrated tissues. Studies indicate Coconut fruit extract is anti-inflammatory, mildly antimicrobial and antioxidant.
Coconut fruit oil is similar to coconut MCT oil, containing a high concentration of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) and non-estrogenic phytosterols. MCTs are more efficiently metabolized than LCTs (long chain triglycerides) because they cross the double mitochondrial membrane rapidly and do not require carnitine (a compound needed for metabolism). This rapid metabolic conversion of MCT into cellular energy increases absorption of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids and serves to protect, maintain, and restore sensitive tissues.
Plant-origin phytosterols, organic
Phytosterols are particularly beneficial when we don’t want a heavy occlusive barrier that can interfere with the maintenance of healthy vaginal pH and natural cleansing, but we do want the benefits of lubrication and a light barrier. Phytosterols are particularly desirable in this formula, since they offer therapeutic intimate skincare benefits. Research supports the use of topical phytosterols to accelerate regeneration and injury repair both via antiinflammatory properties and by increasing the rate of cellular turnover. Not only does cellular turnover support healthy vaginal pH, it's key to maintaining the structural integrity of clitoral tissue, which is crucial for maintaining the capacity for arousal and orgasm over the lifespan. Protecting tissue from aging processes has an impact on function, and isn’t merely a matter of appearance in the case of the clitoris and vagina.
Unlike beeswax, this fraction of beeswax doesn’t contribute a heavy waxy layer that can interfere with healthy vaginal pH and natural cleansing. Instead, we use the slightly creamy polyphenol extract for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-lipid peroxidation value. It contributes cellular membrane and tissue protection, and also extends shelf life.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum) seed oil, organic
Pomegranate oil supports your body’s ability to maintain pH naturally, by promoting vaginal cell turnover. It’s a spectacular ingredient for vaginal health. How curiously appropriate, that pomegranate seed should be the source of such a remarkable oil for intimate vitality. Pomegranate oil contains 70% punicic acid, a valuable Omega 5 fatty acid that reduces inflammation and aids in cellular repair. Pomegranate seed oil is the only natural source of this highly beneficial fatty acid.
It’s high in antioxidants--- higher than red wine, and similar to that of green tea---and notably promotes collagen and elastin production. Our pomegranate oil is quite remarkable in that it is a potent keratinocyte proliferation stimulator specific to the epidermis. This means that pomegranate oil notably improves elasticity and increases cellular turnover. So, old skin sloughs off more quickly, increasing tissue integrity and providing a growth medium for the all-important friendly bacteria.
The fact that pomegranate oil assists the body in maintaining pH integrity is a very important feature of our formula, in that vaginal pH is the result of a diverse and balanced ecosystem in the vaginal vault and vulva. It’s a complex and elegant system, involving crucial cellular turnover that is supported with pomegranate oil, which leads to a desirable lactobacilli population, and lactic acid production as a metabolic by-product. The lactobacilli and the lactic acid it produces are a foundation of healthy intimate function.
Peach & Rose, or Spiced Vanilla, or Cherry flavors, organic
We included a touch of flavor, at the request of our clients who find it a playful addition to this formula. We’re always concerned about the possibility that flavoring lubricant will miscommunicate an idea that there’s anything problematic about the natural taste of a woman. There’s nothing sexier than the natural smells and tastes of a woman. That said- women have asked us for a little bit of sweet and a little bit of flavor, and this is our response.
Stevia rebaudiana leaf, organic
Just a touch! Our stevia is special, because it’s an extraction that separates and removes the bitter fraction that some people find unpleasant. Stevia extract is 250-300 times sweeter than sugar, and is a non-carbohydrate so won’t feed or encourage yeast overgrowth.
*This product is safe to use for penetration, but is not compatible with latex condoms. It is compatible with polyurethane and natural-material condoms and dams. This product does not protect against pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection. This product contains no carbohydrates, no glycerin, no sticky gelling agents, no water, no broad-spectrum antimicrobials, no silicone, no parabens, no fragrance and no gluten.