I was faking it…

one woman’s search for orgasm

Archive for the ‘sexual hang ups’ Category

Have I ever what-gasmed?

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I have a friend, Laura, who I’ve known since we were 12. Laura is a intelligent woman who never appeared to struggle with school work, however at some point during our shared journeys from elementary to high school she decided that she wasn’t smart enough to go to university. I don’t know how or why she came to this conclusion, but when myself and the rest of our friends shot off for various universities, she got a job in retail and never really left it.

Of course, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this career choice, if that’s what makes you happy, but I know, from the whistful expression that appears on her face whenever the topic comes up that there’s a part of Laura that would love to get a post-secondary education.

the extent of my sex-edification

the extent of my sex-edification

Unfortunately, no matter how many times I’ve told her that half the people sleep right through lecture and if they can still manage to succeed in ‘higher learning’ than so can she–she refuses to listen.

I’ve never been able to understand why Laura just doesn’t try it—enroll in just one class, instead of giving up before she’s even started—until I realized that is exactly what I’ve been doing for the thirty years. Only for me, the problem isn’t academics: it’s sex.

I took me several years of being ‘sexual active’ before I realized that I’d never had an orgasm. After all, for a first timer, just being naked in a bed with a man was exciting enough in itself—ohmygod he’s putting his fingers in there–so that I never wondered if I was missing out on anything. 

And even if I had, it wasn’t like I would have had the confidence to do anything abou: there is no time during life when communication is more awkward and uncomfortable (including funerals and underwater diving) than during novice sex. In fact, the very first time I had intercourse I was too shy to ask my boyfriend if he was wearing a condom—which he assumed meant I was on the pill. I wasn’t, and nether was he.

It wasn’t until I was in my first long term relationship that I actually became comfortable enough to talk about sex, and what I did and didn’t like—with my girlfriends (I was still years away from the guide-his-hand stage).

It was talking to friends like Laura, who was giving hand jobs to her boyfriend and fellow barista behind the counter by this point, that I first heard about ‘female orgasms’ and realized I’d never had one. As enjoyable as sex had been up till that point, I’d certainly never experienced ‘the earth moving’ or a ‘millions stars bursting across my pelvis’. What a rip-off!

So, I did what I was always did when something happened that seemed unfair: nothing.

Based on Laura’s stories, I assumed that, like my inability to whistle and turn my tongue into a U-shape, I just wasn’t genetically able to do ‘come’. And I never tried. That was about eight years ago.

However, last night, I picked up a book called I Love/Heart Female Orgasms. According to the books authors, Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot, I gave up way too easily.

While many studies have found that 5-10% of women have never had an orgasm, this statistic is misleading. Many of these women are young and haven’t learned how to orgasm yet…The percentage of women who would like to have an orgasm but are truly physically unable to is minuscule. Statistically speaking, it’s unlikely that you’re one of them (source, 66).

Ohmygod! I’m not broken! And ohmygod think of all the time and possible ecstasy that’s gone to waste because I was too timid and lazy to experiment with clitoral rubbing or nipple massage or any of the other techniques the authors suggest (but that’s for my next post).

Fortunately, it’s not too late: I’m thirty and this time, unlike that phase several years ago when I was determined to learn how to whistle—I’m going to make it happen.

And if Laura ever changes her mind and decides to take a chance, just think of all the fun she’ll have with those twenty-two year-old freshman.

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Narcissism, lust, and getting past Cinderella

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What do women want when it comes to sexual intimacy? Well, according to the Marta Meana, who treats women with sexual dysfunction , we all just want to be wanted.  Badly.

Female desire…is not governed by the relational factors that, we like to think, rule women’s sexuality as opposed to men’s…Really, women’s desire is not relational, it’s narcissistic” — it is dominated by the yearnings of “self-love,” by the wish to be the object of erotic admiration and sexual need (quoted in the Jan 25 New York Times article),

magic_mirror_evil_queen_snow_white

The problem is that being passive pretties leads to low lust—a trend to which the high number and variety of female sexual dysfunctions attests to.

Why is this happening? Feministe blogger, Jill, claims it is not due to any intrinsic nature of womenkind, but rather how they are represented in society:

Shocking, absolutely shocking, that when women are raised in a culture that equates the female body with sex itself, that positions the female body as an object of desire, and that emphasizes that being desired is the height of female achievement, women will see sex as a process primarily centered on male attraction to women, and will get off more on being wanted than on wanting (source).

She does have a point.

cinderella-muralAs a girl I really really wanted to be Cinderella. Not because she got to dance with the hottest guy in the ball, and marry him to boot, but because of the moment when she became the object of desire of every person in the palace– women and men alike stopped to gaze at her when she arrived in all her ice-blue glory.

Though I had lots of erotic urges during my adolescence and beyond, the most compelling desire I had above all was to be looked at and wanted.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I actually allowed myself, just once, to shift out of the role of the glittering princess, and be the aggressor. It was exciting (though my victim, who happened to bring a bouquet of roses to the event obviously didn’t seem to realize that he’d been seduced by a woman– at the end of the night he jokingly attributed our tryst to an inanimate object: the flowers).

I’m not suggesting that young girls should be hanging out in bars and picking up men for one-night-stands, but rather that the female role models our society offers—from fairytales to Seventeen Magazine, could be a little less concerned about making males want them, and focus more on what they actually want.  In bed, or otherwise.

Sex and the City and why I can’t orgasm

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Sex and the City is stealing my orgasms, and the orgasms of thousands of other members of their viewing audience.

The problem is that the women on that show are just too damn beautiful.

sex-and-the-city-movieIn The intimate history of the orgasm, Jonathan Margolis describes a 1999 poll which sampled 15, 000 sexually active adults in the US, Canada and the UK and found that “46 % per cent of anorgasmic women blamed the problem on lack of confidence in their appearance” (source, p.64).

That is to say, instead of letting ourselves be consumed by the act of love-making, we keep getting distracted by the image of Carrie Bradshaw’s sharp shoulder blades and the uncomfortable questions that they dig into our psyches: Am I too fat? Am I pretty? What does he think of how I look (especially now that I don’t have any clothes to downplay my thighs)? 

But that isn’t the only way that Sex and the City is apparently undermining the orgasmic potential of women like me.  Not only is the show’s cast of female actors totally thin and attractive but they also generally have really amazing looking sex. Particularly in the case of Samantha.

How are regular women like me supposed to be able to measure up to a woman whose sex drive,  at the age of forty, is able to consume handsome young men half her age?

In another, much smaller study quoted by Margolis, women engaged in sexual self stimulation (masturbation) were monitored in labs and then asked to report on their experience. The intriguing aspect of the experiment was that many subjects which exhibited all the physiological sensations of orgasms, climaxed they hadn’t orgasmed at all, decided instead that “what they had did not seem to feel like what it was supposed to be like it… [thus] women perfectly capable of orgasm refuse to believe that they are having a legitimate one and must instead be experiencing an inferior brand” (source, p.66).

That pleasing sensation around my pelvic region was nice, but since I didn’t scream and howl like Samantha’s did in episode four, season six, than it must not have been the real thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love Sex and the City. But perhaps, if we women are really serious about getting in touch with our own orgasmic capacity, we should start by trying not to compare ourselves to Carrie and Samantha and the rest of them. I, for one, vow not to watch any more episodes…at least till I’ve come.