The myth of the elusive female orgasm is a particularly nasty one in the great kingdom of sex. Why? Because it means that all over the nation, the globe, and possibly the universe, girls are not coming – at least not nearly as much as their male counterparts.
Out of an informal survey of several female friends, I found that only some of them have ever had an orgasm – by their own hand or in the hands of others – and that too many didn’t climax on a regular basis during sex. The same question asked of guys, however, yielded very different results. All of my male acquaintances claimed to have come. Ladies and gentleman, steers and queers, this is a problem. A big one.
Sex talks with my lady friends often follow a similar pattern: they voice their frustrations, liken straight up, penis-in-vagina, penetrative sex to a form of Japanese water torture (they use more diplomatic terms, though, like “boring”) and then conclude by saying. “But I understand, I’m sure it’s very hard.” This conclusion needs to be examined: what, pray tell, is so difficult about female sexuality? Perhaps it’s just a case of mind over matter.
There is concrete, somewhat empirical, evidence to refute the myth that the female orgasm is difficult to attain. Many women have a 99 per cent return rate when it comes to sex. My lady and I, for instance, have sex basically every day, boasting an orgasm each. I guarantee we’re not alone. The holy grail of consistent female sexual gratification is in reach; the problem is knowing how to get there.
In labeling the female orgasm as difficult, if not impossible, the woman is almost erased from the sexual equation. Why is it that a female orgasm is viewed as a conquest, something attributable to the skill of her partner, but is never a given? A man’s orgasm is always a given. In this way, women are still encouraged to lie back and wait until the man gets his. This view of sex means that basically no matter what position you’re in, you’re still doing it missionary-style.
The problem is not biological, but cultural. The construction of the apex of intercourse as penis-in-vagina penetration (PIV for our purposes) is the main culprit. I am not knocking PIV as a sex act; I think it’s great, and I’m sure there are many women who can get their rocks off from it. I just don’t think it should be touted as the one and only “real” sex act.
The issue is not necessarily that PIV is boring or doesn’t stimulate the woman on any level, it’s just that the main goal of PIV is also the end goal of PIV: when a guy comes, he loses his erection, and the sex suddenly stops, usually well before a woman gets hers. It doesn’t have to be this way. As noted in Natalie Angier’s Woman: An Intimate Geography, a woman’s erogenous zones extend well beyond the vagina: the inner and outer labia lips, the vulva, the clitoris, and the g-spot if only to name a few, and many of these areas just aren’t getting enough attention during PIV. Remember that there are many tools for sexual gratification, not just your penis or your strap-on. Your tongue can go lots of places your phallus can’t, and let’s not forget your fingers, either. They’re basically ten really flexible pseudo-penises that can curve up over the vulva, around to the g-spot with the heel of your palm resting and pressing up against the clitoris. These sex practices need to be rescued from the side-lines of foreplay, and can even be combined with PIV using a bit of creativity.
Girls, the responsibility is not on your partner alone. You are master of your own body, and this means your own orgasms. Guys come all the time because they know what they like: they start masturbating young and they keep at it. Meanwhile, most women I’ve talked to have rarely even dabbled in masturbation, at least before they became sexually active. The general response is: “I’m not very good at it.” It’s important to find out what you like so that you can replicate it later, over and over again.
The problem is that it’s still hard for girls to take up the cause of their own sexuality. Women are rarely encouraged to negotiate their sexual identity on their own terms. Women are still often viewed as commodities, which reinforces their passive role. In order for women to come more, women have to be recognized as active participants in their own sexual experience, responsible for their own orgasm.
People, we have work to do. Every girl should take her orgasm into her hands and come: loud, hard, and hopefully often. And remember, practice makes perfect.
Julie’s column will appear every other Thursday. Send her your O-pinions to firstname.lastname@example.org