When we consider the efforts that women have made over generations for equality, it humbles you.

Today while interviewing the president of Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon, I learned that the early beginnings of the organization began with women sewing diaphragms that they procured in Italy and Japan into their petticoats. Many women were arrested when they were handing them out on the streets in New York.

Likewise the fight for women’s right to vote was a violent and often bloody battle. Without the courage of women who came before us, it is hard to imagine where we would be today. Yet still as we approach the month that has honors the fight for Women’s Equality, it is not hard to see how much more work there is to do.

As I write this there are tens of millions of female sex slaves, child brides and other atrocities that our sisters globally face every day. It is easy to throw your hands up believing it is futile, until you consider that it is and has always been our collective consciousness, the collective energetic upsurge of all our accumulated choices that has always moved us towards equality.

Reclaiming our right to equal pleasure is a powerful place to begin, not only because we know that feeling empowered to move towards your own sexual pleasure enhances your self esteem and improves your mental and physical well being, but also because it provides a foundation of self advocacy that empowers every other area of your life. Here are four powerful techniques to equalize the pleasure in your relationship.

1. Learn About Your Sexual Anatomy

I was in my forties before I learned about the clitoral organ system, which is much more than the small nub on the outside of the vulva. It’s legs are comprised of erectile tissue that is similar to the penis. The clitoral legs surround the entire vagina which is why, when they are engaged and aroused, penetration can feel amazing, but when it is not aroused, can be really uncomfortable, painful or like nothing.

The sensation and pleasure of female pleasure comes from the clitoris, not the vagina. And for the record, the clitoral hood has more nerve endings than any other part of the body and is the only human organ system solely dedicated to pleasure, which is why I imagine, it means “key” in Greek.

2. Become More Mindful and Less Thoughtful

Experiencing orgasm requires a full immersion in the sensations of the moment you are in. Instead many women have thoughts that disrupt their most aroused moments. Classic articles in Cosmopolitan that encourage you to “look hotter naked” reinforce the idea that sex is about external beauty, instead of the truth of the raw internal surrender that allows the body to lead.

Try these ideas:

  • Get out of your head and into your body; this is essential and empowering.
  • Really focus on how it feels to be in your body during sex; this is arousing in and of itself.
  • Practice mindfulness so you can witness your thinking process; this helps create space to just feel.

3. Ask for It

Knowing what you want, what you like, what you dislike, and being able to ask for it is the game changer – and not only in the bedroom.

Centuries of history have taught women to accommodate others, to be pleasant and polite, and not ask for more. Many women have felt guilty or that they didn’t have the right to ask for the kind of attention and touch that would bring them pleasure.

The fear of speaking up in the bedroom is not that far removed from what keeps women silent in negotiating salaries or putting their views out in an office meeting. There is a ground-breaking power to being a person who freely speaks their mind and asks for what they wants. And it is worth pursuing.

4. Become the Star of Your Fantasy Life

I was also in my forties when I first learned about feminist porn – where women are not the objects of male fantasy, but are actually running the show. These films dispel the myth that women are less sexually oriented, demanding or desirous than men, and they inspired me to trust my but their own lust and desire.

This was an important turning point for me to stop looking away from my fantasies during sex, but to allow myself to revel, embellish, and savor the story lines that were rocket fuel for my arousal. Giving yourself permission to witness and embody your sexual fantasies is a game changer.