If Alfred Kinsey is the Daddy of sexology, then August McLaughlin is its cool, fun Aunt. She’ll tell you tantalising tales that your own mother wouldn’t dare to - but she has your back all the way. August is among a small group of thought leaders in the field of sexuality, flying the flag for better sex and empowering women to find their pleasure and inner confidence. Her story and modest roots may begin in the chilly plains of Minnesota, but her influence is now global. She recently attended the United State of Women Summit as a nominated change maker and even chatted about clitoris rings with political activist Gloria Steinem!

The core of her life’s mission, though?

Better sex for women.

August’s theory is that if we aren’t taught to value and seek sexual pleasure, we’ll always be out of sync - with ourselves and the world around us. Sex, orgasms, desire and pleasure are all ways in which we connect to ourselves and to one another. She advocates that seeking fulfilment and nourishment through sex is not only natural but absolutely essential to our survival.

However, contrary to the overt and subliminal messages we experience in the media, through our early years and into early adulthood, female sex and desire are laced with stereotypes, assumptions, moral judgements and even moral panic. All breeding grounds for insecurity, trauma and emotional disconnect.

Her own experience with overcoming a severe eating disorder helped shape her perspective:

“Embracing my sexuality helped me heal from a severe eating disorder. I was sitting in a college classroom between treatment sessions and the professor started a discussion about sex. I realized in that moment that I'd never really talked about sex, not even with my long-time boyfriend I'd been having sex with. That spurred many emotions in me, and set me on a bit of a rampage to learn all I could. Later on, I realized that was also when I stopped wanting to starve myself or the body I had newfound respect for.”

It’s with an enhanced sense of curiosity that we find ourselves slipping in to some familiar territory with August - sex talk. Luckily it’s water off a duck’s back for her and she has a vast arsenal of insights, research and even scientific experiments to her name to illustrate her life’s work.

Skirt Club: You had an MRI-gasm (an orgasm in an MRI machine). What was that all about?

August: Honestly, I was just excited to be part of this important research. It seemed like a fun, fascinating and, yes, spicy, adventure. I didn't expect to learn much, and certainly not as much as  I did! It took stimulating my clitoris in an MRI machine to realize that I'd been downplaying "small" orgasms as no big deal/not actually orgasms for years. The orgasm MRI experience probably ranks up there as one of the most outrageous experiences. Truly, every day is an adventure and many of the "smaller" moments mean just as much. Hey - like orgasms!

Skirt Club: we all (think) we know what orgasms are all about. But do we?

August: Orgasms are amaze-bulbs! (See what I did there?? Clitoral bulbs instead of "balls", haha! They release all sorts of feel-good chemicals in the brain. These same chemicals are linked with falling in love, euphoria, stress relief and more. Orgasms also activate the parts of the brain associated with pleasure, memory, fantasy and visceral sensation. Put all of that together and it's pretty magical.

August is no novice to this field. She’s even identified seven kinds of orgasm women can have. We knew there were seven erogenous zones (thanks Monica from Friends!), but seven types of climax? We need a lie-down!

These new insights are a tonic, even for Skirt Club - and we consider ourselves black belts in pleasure-giving. But since we now live in a sexualised culture, you’d think society’s knowledge of sex and stimulation would be a bit stronger - is there anything people are still surprised about when it comes to orgasms?

August: Many women I talk to are surprised to learn that our orgasms can grow stronger, and sex can become more pleasurable, with age.. Our sexuality is a grand adventure and a journey. The more we learn and grow and evolve in our lives, the more luscious our orgasms can be.

“The notion that our sexuality fizzles away and dies over time is a load of hooey”

It’s encouraging news. Orgasms aren’t one-dimensional, just like sexuality isn’t binary. Our orgasms might even get better with age - like a fine wine! We need to see sex as something of a life-enhancer rather than a guilty pleasure. So what advice would August give to Skirt Club newbies entering the fold for the first time?

August: Don't let fear hold you back. If you're nervous, talk to the woman you want to give pleasure to about that. Starting from an honest, vulnerable place is pretty powerful. And whatever fears you have are probably a whole lot bigger than any potential un-ideal outcome. It's also okay to start with baby steps. In fact, I recommend them.

We’re crushing pretty hard...and our mission to spread the word about #MindfulOrgasms for women is music to August’s ears.

“Mindful orgams - I LOVE this! Mindfulness is one of the most powerful tools for your Girl Boner tool box. And orgasms themselves are extremely mindful, in my opinion. Little brings us into the present moment like a glorious BIG O”.

There you have it - sex and science in one glorious package. Now....we’re off to do some ‘research’ into those seven kinds of orgasms...


August McLaughlin is a friend of Skirt Club, based in LA. She’s a writer, advocate, and frequent speaker on sexuality and gender issues. Her brand and podcast, Girl Boner, is all about recognizing and embracing female sexual pleasure. Her book “Girl Boner Journal: A Guided Journal to Sexual Joy and Empowerment” is our now on Amazon. Follow August on Twitter and articles/news on her website GirlBoner

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