Chantelle Otten is Lovehoney’s resident psychosexologist who is passionate about empowering people to feel great about their sexual health, self-esteem, communication and education.
Having spent time living, studying and working in Holland, Chantelle grew up with the European mindset that talking about sex, pleasure and relationships does not have to be shameful or taboo. A natural born communicator, she enjoys creating a setting where her clients can feel relaxed and free to talk about their sexual health in a safe, judgement-free environment.
With numerous awards, accolades and published medical journal articles, Chantelle is not only an internationally acclaimed psychosexologist, but also a caring and empowering sex educator. With a background in scientific research, sexual medicine, and counselling, she believes that sexuality and self-esteem are an integral part of life that everyone is entitled to. Good sexual health should always be enjoyable, pain free and without prejudice.
This week, Chantelle answers the questions you sent to Craccum about sex, sexuality and pleasure.
How do students living in shared apartments have sex when flatmates are around?
A house full of flatmates can make it challenging to have sex, but it’s definitely not impossible. If you’re conscious of your roomies listening in, then why not schedule a playlist to pop on while you’re doing the deed. The music will mask all of your moans and groans and provide a beat you can get down to. It’s also best to stick to positions that require a little less athleticism, particularly if you have a squeaky bed on your hands. The sexy spoon is a great position thanks to the limited thrusting required, and if you happen to be unlucky enough to get busted in on during your alone time, you can just pretend you’re having a cheeky cuddle.
Quiet sex toys are another great option for sharehouse sex and there are a huge range available. My favourite would have to be the Womanizer Premium Smart Silence Clitoral Stimulator. This one features an innovative smart silence function which only activates once it comes into contact with your body. You can enjoy the mind-blowing sensations that this oral-style toys deliver without all of the noise.
What are some ways of having sex when you experience pain or immobility?
A lot of people experience pain during intercourse for many reasons, but the good news is there are way around this so you can enhance your sex life. First thing’s first: it’s a good idea to go see your doctor to find out why there is pain. If you don’t get an answer, get an assessment from a sexologist. Sex shouldn’t be painful, so if it is an ongoing pain, we need to find out why!
Next, regardless if you’re already wet, you can always stand to be wetter. Lube acts as a buffer, helping with sexual pain caused by friction, water-based lubricant is typically the safest for sensitive skin. Additionally, sex toys are literally designed to increase arousal and the more turned on you are, the less likely you are to experience pain. If clitoral stimulation doesn’t hurt, embrace clitoral vibrators. If you’re really wanting to go with penetrative, inserting a cool or warm stainless steel dildo can help reduce pain. Experiment with your body and discover what your pleasure is. Don’t rush and if something arouses you, focus on that and go with it!
What ideologies do you think are most damaging towards our sense of positive sexuality?
Sex is often portrayed as some kind of ‘performance’ when depicted in movies and on television, which gives people a false sense of reality. We actually need to focus on pleasure in the bedroom. Because when you think about it, sex is so individual. It’s messy, it’s sweaty, and it’s unique. It’s not always pretty and we should never try and be something or someone that we’re not. Additionally, we need to remember that sex is an umbrella term, and it does not just mean penetration and orgasm: it’s everything that’s on the sexual menu. It’s important for people to explore their unique sexual menu, try different options, and experiment with different spices and cuisines in the bedroom.
Who should/when should I see a sexologist?
You should see a sexologist if you are experiencing any issues that are impacting your sex life. I see individuals and couples for sex advice, therapy, and empowerment. Common questions I hear include:
● My partner wants to have sex more often than I do
● Our desires are different as a couple
● We would like to get more out of our relationship
● Sex is difficult! I have a sexual problem or my partner has a sexual problem
● My partner and I are growing apart
● I don’t have an intimate relationship
● I have issues or problems that interfere with sex and relationships
● My illness is affecting my sex life or my relationship
Is it okay to be scared of your first time?
It’s completely normal to be scared about having sex for the first time. It’s okay to be nervous or anxious, because it’s unlike anything you’ve ever done before. But to make the experience less intimidating, I would suggest getting familiar with your own body and taking some time to explore what you like and dislike. Whether that’s indulging in a little self pleasure, or simply admiring your body in the mirror, getting familiar with your body will help you to feel more comfortable and confident when it comes to sex. You’ll also be able to better communicate your desires to your partner, which will make the overall experience so much better.
Can some people just be born unable to cum? I haven’t been able to ever 🙁
Some people will not be able to orgasm… but there are many, many ways to experiment and try. I believe that if you are trying too hard to orgasm, it’s going to be difficult. The most important thing to do is aim for pleasure, enjoy the sensation and have fun. I would recommend a sexology appointment if you are distressed about it!
I used to enjoy sex but recently I haven’t wanted to do it at all (as in the last year). What’s wrong with me?
Nothing! There will always be stages in our lives where sex is high on the priority list, and sometimes it will be low. It really depends on what has been going on in your life, psychologically, socially, and physically. To be honest, many people are struggling with COVID-19 and sexuality. I have a sexual self esteem guide that might help you get your confidence in this area back. Or go to a sexology appointment. Don’t be hard on yourself; sex drive takes work!
Is it possible to orgasm without touching your genitals? If so, how?
Yes, whilst most orgasms are achieved by stimulating the genitals, there are many ways to stimulate other parts of your body and reach orgasm. The lesser known erogenous zones such as the ears, the neck, the scalp, and even the feet can stimulate feelings of pleasure that can lead to orgasm. If you really want to turn up the heat, try experimenting with sensory play products such as a feather tickler, or a scented massage candle.
Did you learn something new too? For more tips, you can follow Chantelle on social media at @chantelle_otten_sexologist