She Comes First: Quotes on Improving Your Sex Life

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "She Comes First" by Ian Kerner. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are some She Comes First quotes? What can we learn from these quotes about healthy sex?

In She Comes First, Ian Kerner claims that traditional beliefs about sex benefit men, not women. To make sure women experience pleasure during sex, their partner should make sure she has an orgasm first.

Read below for She Comes First quotes that explain why female orgasms should take priority.

She Comes First Quotes

Ideas regarding sex in traditional mainstream culture are centered around male anatomy and satisfaction—penetration is the pinnacle of sex, and sex is over when the man ejaculates. However, Ian Kerner explains that these beliefs often leave women unsatisfied. In She Comes First, Kerner explains that for sex to adequately satisfy both partners, we must change the narrative—men should ensure their female partner orgasms first. And the best way to accomplish this, Kerner argues, is through cunnilingus.

Here are three She Comes First quotes with explanations to help you understand the book better.

“One should not make more assumptions than are absolutely necessary.”

Kerner explains that traditional beliefs about sex—like what it’s supposed to entail, how long it’s supposed to last, and how to know when it’s over—are based on male anatomy and rarely result in female orgasm. So the first step in learning how to please your female partner is to understand what these beliefs are and why they prevent female orgasms.

First, most men believe that penetration is the part of sex that feels best for men and women; however, Kerner explains that this is not the case for the vast majority of women. Most women need external clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm, and vaginal penetration alone fails to do this (we’ll further explain these anatomical details later in the guide). Consequently, men are more likely than women to orgasm during sex.

(Shortform note: Kerner explains that men are more likely than women to orgasm during sex because their preferred method (penetration) is based on what pleases them, not what pleases women. Experts agree that heterosexual women generally have lower rates of orgasm than their male partners and add that women in lesbian relationships are much more likely to orgasm during sex. Whereas heterosexual women orgasm during sex with a familiar partner 61.6% of the time, lesbians orgasm 74.7% of the time. Researchers suggest that this might be because the expectation to prioritize male sexual pleasure is absent in lesbian relationships.)

Second, men can both get aroused and reach orgasm much faster than women. Whereas most men orgasm within two minutes of stimulation, women generally need more than 21 minutes of clitoral stimulation to reach orgasm (not including foreplay). Consequently, men tend to orgasm before their female partner is even close.

(Shortform note: Many experts agree with Kerner that the fast pace of male arousal and orgasm can cause issues with sexual compatibility among heterosexual couples. However, some believe that these issues may dissipate as men get older. They elaborate that starting around age 50, the pace of male arousal and orgasm tend to slow down and more closely align with that of women—rather than getting quickly aroused and erect from thoughts alone, men over 50 tend to need more physical stimulation and foreplay. This leaves more time for kissing, cuddling, touching, and so on, which provides women with the proper foreplay they need before sex and makes the experience more satisfying for both partners.)

Third, sex is traditionally over once the man ejaculates. Kerner explains that this is because after ejaculating, men tend to quickly lose their erection, arousal, and energy and need a long recovery period before being able to have sex again. This is called the “refractory period” and varies in length between men. Since men usually orgasm first and then tap out, women often don’t get the chance to orgasm at all before the session is over.

Ultimately, traditional beliefs about sex deny women the proper stimulation and time needed for them to reach orgasm. So to ensure that your female partner is equally satisfied during sex, Kerner says you must ensure that she orgasms first.

“When it comes to pleasuring women and conversing in the language of love, cunnilingus should be every man’s native tongue.”

Once your female partner is sufficiently aroused, Kerner says that it’s time to move on to cunnilingus where you’ll build her arousal even further until she orgasms. We can break Kerner’s process down into four major steps: making first contact, establishing rhythm, introducing manual stimulation, and bringing her to orgasm. This process should take anywhere from 15-45 minutes, not including foreplay.(Shortform note: Kerner explains that cunnilingus is the step where you build your partner’s arousal until she orgasms and that this should take about 15-45 minutes.

However, this large window of time may leave some wondering what exactly to expect. Sex experts provide a narrower window based on recent research, explaining that it takes women between six and 20 minutes to orgasm during partnered sex with an average of 14 minutes. So while Kerner’s low-end estimate of 15 minutes is fairly close to the average time needed for women to orgasm with a partner, his high-end estimate of 45 minutes seems a little extreme compared to the 20-minute high-end estimate experts report.)

“Imagine going through years of your life with the gut feeling that none of it really matters yet, that it will start at some point in the future, and that the present doesn’t really count. Does this feeling seem familiar? Have you ever told yourself that everything will ultimately fall into place once you [fill in the blank]? Who wouldn’t wind up numbed to real hope and possibility after exerting so much energy for stuff that really doesn’t matter?”

Once you understand the clitorial network and its key players, Kerner explains that you must understand the female sexual response process. Kerner divides the process into four steps: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.

The first step in the process of female sexual response is excitement. When a woman first becomes aroused, her mind and body prepare her for a sexual encounter. First, chemicals and hormones are released that emotionally prepare her for sex. Then her body responds—breasts increase in size, blood flow to the pelvic area increases, the clitoral head protrudes from the hood, and the vagina begins to lubricate. After excitement is plateau, the stage where arousal tends to increase until it’s released through orgasm. During the process, muscle tension will build, the clitoral network will become more sensitive and the clitoral head will go back into its hood, and breathing and heart rate will increase. Right before orgasm, the clitoral head will emerge again.

After plateau, the next step is orgasm. Orgasm is when the built-up tension from plateau releases all at once. When orgasm occurs, the vaginal walls contract rhythmically and the woman will experience waves of pleasure for 10-20 seconds on average. Some women release ejaculate—Kerner notes that this is a unique alkaline liquid from the female equivalent of the prostate, not urine.

(Shortform note: Kerner’s 10-20 second estimation of the average female orgasm may actually be on the short end—longer female orgasms can last between 20 seconds and two minutes, and one study showed that 40% of women polled experienced 30-60 second orgasms. Further research shows that, as Kerner explains, some women ejaculate and some don’t—but the statistics on the commonality of female ejaculation aren’t settled—a 2017 study reported that nearly 70% of women ejaculate, while other estimates range from 10% to 50%. And while Kerner claims that female ejaculate is not urine, recent studies show that female ejaculate is mostly urine—the alkaline secretions Kerner mentions make up a marginal percentage of the liquid.)

The final step is resolution—the stage where she returns to a pre-aroused state. Kerner explains that this stage varies greatly between men and women. Women take much longer than men to return to this state, meaning that they remain aroused longer and can have consecutive orgasms. Further, whereas men tend to be tired after orgasm, women tend to want more interaction like talking and cuddling.

She Comes First: Quotes on Improving Your Sex Life

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Here's what you'll find in our full She Comes First summary:

  • Why traditional sexual practices leave women unsatisfied
  • Why men should ensure their female partner orgasms first
  • An instruction manual on how to satisfy women and engage in the best sex possible

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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