I still cannot have an orgasm with most people. It’s difficult to let go 100%. 


An interview with Jolanda.


Painting by Emma Buggy.

Jolanda | Age: 28 | Location: Birmingham, UK | Occupation: Immunologist | No. of sexual partners: 45

Why did you take part?

I decided to participate because back in the San Francisco polyamorous community we used to talk about alternative sexuality very often, and I miss doing that. l enjoy talking about it, it's probably one of my favourite conversation topics. 


What events in your life shaped your sexuality? What’s your story?

As a teenager I knew I wanted to be experimental but there was a lot of judgements around that. Women who are open to sexuality are not supposed to be good women; there is a lot of shame associated with being open about your sexuality. I wanted to try being with different people. I was really curious about how various bodies would feel. At some point I had a long-term boyfriend. We tried different things that pushed my boundaries, but he was very manipulative and isolated me from my friends, which made me quite unhappy. 

When I moved to San Francisco I got involved in the local polyamory community and that really affected me. I learned how to talk about sex and relationships. It was an is easier in English - I still associate Italian with shame and the church. Traditionally talking about sex is really taboo in Italy. San Francisco was great and I had a relationship with a couple. They were advanced in being poly and I was a newbie. I loved that time - I really liked dealing with two people at a time. I consider myself bisexual so it’s great to get a girl and a guy at the same time. It was very heart opening but didn’t last very long. I was new to the situation and I fucked it up. I still fully identify as polyamorous. 

After that I moved to London and had a boyfriend for 2 years. We broke up just 2 months ago. Now I’m single. I live with a housemate and we cuddle but have boundaries. I know how to set what I want and don’t want. I literally made a list of what I was ok and not ok with in the sexuality between us. I didn’t want to live by myself and it was really difficult to find someone that would be accepting of me bringing people over often. I feel proud of where I am. 


What does sex mean to you?

For a lot of people sexuality is very shallow. I’m interested in the connection with the other person. For a lot of people it’s mostly about physical attraction. It has meant a lot of growth for me; understanding what my own boundaries are, what I want. It has been a tool to know myself more. You can also sex to repress your feelings, to not think about something difficult in your life, but I try to not do that. 


What’s difficult about sex?

I still cannot have an orgasm with most people. I’ve orgasmed with maybe 3 people. It’s difficult to let go 100%. Mostly when I come it’s by myself. I used to come with my last boyfriend but I was also always touching myself during sex. It takes a long time to reach orgasm. I need my partner to have the willingness to be patient and wait for me. He was really good about controlling himself. After we became comfortable I was able to come about once in two weeks with him.


What do you most enjoy about sex?

I love the liberation in it. Being free from old concepts of what is ok and what is not ok. It can be a lot of fun. One of the pleasures of life, a stress release


Do you orgasm?

Sometimes. Sometimes what helps me to come is to think that I want to come or that I deserve to come. If i don’t come, sometimes it’s frustrating; other times it can be relieving to let go of the need to have an orgasm. When it happens, I can feel it in different parts of my body. I had orgasms in my chest, in my head, full body experience. I have huge variation in orgasms, they can be short, minute long, multiple orgasms.


How often do you have sex?

I meet people on regular dates. 2-3 times a week. Sometimes I have sex sometimes I don’t.


Do you masturbate?

I masturbate about twice a week. I have special lube. It’s super concentrated. It’s my best friend these days. Sometimes I watch porn, sometimes I fantasise.


How do you see female sexuality portrayed in the society?

As women it seems like we have to match a certain standard. If you don’t match it you don’t deserve to have whatever people who do match it have, be it love or pleasure.


What’s your advice to women?

Don’t allow people to step on you. Set your boundaries.


What’s your advice to men?

Don’t be too pushy.


Is there anything you want to explore?

If I were able to let go of expectations I would be able to orgasm more easily. I’d also like to find more people who are willing to follow what I like and don’t like but that requires patience.