I was faking it…

one woman’s search for orgasm

Posts Tagged ‘sexual desire

Why don’t girls masturbate?

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There is a woman that I see in the lobby of my workplace every morning, waiting for the elevator. She wears special stretchy pants and carries a cane in her right hand to help support her weight.

She is fat.

I don’t know anything about this woman, other than that she works somewhere in the same building as me, and yet I can’t help but make instant judgments about her.

She should take the stairs. She should cut refined sugars out of her diet. She should take aqua fit classes. She should do something about her body because it’s unhealthy and gross and totally out of control.

do you find this as jarring as I do?

sex, lies and diet yogurt?

There is nothing as unifying to the female gender (at least in Western societies) as our obsession with weight.

Even the most micro-thin women I know complain about their figures every once in a while. And then, at the other end of the spectrum, there are the thousands of women like me, who have spent years being literally obsessed with food and exercise.

We women spend a lot of time and energy focused on controlling our bodies–and I wonder why I’ve never experiment with masturbation till now?

According to sex educators Solot and Miller, the most frequently asked question that women pose to them in discussions around the use of vibrators as self-pleasuring tools, is “Can I get addicted?”(source, 174).

I almost laughed the first time I read that, imagining a business woman with blond highlights and a power suit huddled next to a dumpster in a downtown alley with a vibrator between her legs.

It’s not crack cocaine, for god’s sake, it’s just a vibrator—what are those women so afraid of?

How about you, Jaquie, what are you afraid of?

The grin dropped off my face pretty fast when I realized that I’m no different than the rest of the vibrator-phobes: for the past three years my boyfriend has been suggesting that I get a vibrator, and for the past three years I’ve been resisting doing so. I always told myself that it was because I was interested in the electronic stimulation, I wanted to do things naturally, but now I think it was fear that was stopping me.

When I was in grade ten, a friend, Michelle, and I spotted a man sitting on the hood of a blue Honda in our school parking lot. One hand was hidden beneath a blanket and his body was vibrating.

“Oh my god! He’s jacking off!” said Michelle—we instantly broke out screams and ran for the gym entrance door. Later on that afternoon, hanging out next Michelle’s locker, we curled up our lips in disgust and named him the ‘car perv’.

That was my first impression of masturbation. And as Head and Shoulder’s likes to remind us, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Though female masturbation has since my adolescent days finally made its way into popular culture, through shows like Sex and the City, back then, the practice was framed as something that only boys and dirty old men did, and as a result there has always been a part of me afraid that if I started masturbating I would lose control over my body and turn into the ‘Car Perv’. I resisted urges to explore and touch myself when I was in my teen-years and so I suppose it’s not surprising that at the age of thirty I’ve never orgasmed.

Though I eventually get past my eating disorder, I still today find myself analyzing and judging how I look and how other women look, and I still feel a tinge of embarrassment telling my boyfriend that I ‘tried out’ the vibrator while he was out.

I wonder, if I might have a different, more compassionate and confident view of the female body if, back during those early years, I focused on enjoying and exploring my body instead of trying to control it.

A fat body is, after all, just one expression of the female form, just as whacking off on top of a car is just one expression of sexuality.

Female sexual arousal: demystified at last?

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Does the image of two bonobo monkeys ‘doing it’ turn you on? Well if you’re a women then, according to the a study conducted by Meredith Chivers, it most certainly does, and if you think differently it’s because your just not paying attention to your vagina.

In Chiver’s study, (as referenced in the Jan 25 New York Times article) women’s level of arousal was measured as they viewed various images, including the bonobos. Tiny plastic probes were inserted into the subjects’ genitals, which in turn monitored genital blood flow via a machine known as a plethysmograph.  A high blood flow measure was interpreted as evidence of sexual response. In addition to the ‘scientific’ readings, the women were asked to identity which of the images did or didn’t ‘do it’ for them.

According to Chiver’s, women got this last part (yeah, the part where they actually had to make a decision) wrong:

[The women’s] blood flow rose quickly — and markedly…as they watched the apes… [However]…mind and genitals seemed scarcely to belong to the same person. The readings from the plethysmograph and the keypad weren’t in much accord…Whether straight or gay, the women claimed almost no arousal whatsoever while staring at the bonobos. (source)

The machine said yes, but their thumb said no. Chiver’s conclusion? Like the magician’s attractive assistant, women are ‘split’ in half-with their minds in one side of the box and their bodies in the other.

Excuse me? I checked it out on youtube just be sure—and I can confidently say, that as a woman, strawberry Jell-O is more erotic to me than Bonobo porn.

"Does this turn you on, m'am?"

"Does this turn you on, m'am?"

It shocks me that, sexologists like Chivers think can wire up a girl’s clit and claim that it gives a more accurate and authoritative assessment of her sexuality than what the girl being tested believes for herself?

Arousal is a complex interplay of emotion, experience, biology and I’m sure a lot more—and to reduce it to a Pavlovian like experiment–ring a bell and get a bone, show a penis and make her wet—seems ludicrous.

And what scares me most about Chiver’s experiment and the scientific rationale informing it, removes the agency of the person that the genitals’ belongs to—essentially undermining women’s ability to be masters (or mistresses) of their own bodies.

 As someone who’s out to do just that–take control over my sexuality–I’d like to tell her where to stick those wires.

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.

female desire: oceans and ironing boards

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A woman’s desire is like an electric iron, slow to heat up and slow to cool down.  A man’s desire, on the other hand, is like a light bulb, capable of being turned on and off in a matter of seconds.

This is what, amongst my twenty and thirty-something friends, is considered common wisdom on the nature of male and female sexuality.

I’ve never felt comfortable with those two images—partly I suppose because irons make me think of ‘stay-at-moms’ from the 1950s whose only interest in sex is to please their husbands and make babies. But I’ve also resented these comparisons because they seem so flat, so functional and practical—like most things in North American society.

i have a feeling she's not 'turned on'

i have a feeling she's not 'turned on'

In Promiscuities, Naomi Wolf describes the ancient Chinese view on the nature of male and female desire:

“The male may be ‘more volatile, more active and quicker’ than the female, like fire, but, while women are superficially calmer, the force of their desire is deeper and stronger, like water” (182).

Imagining my libido fueled by the expansive and overwhelming energy of water is lot more intriguing than imagining it as a household appliance. And perhaps, even, revealing.

When I was seventeen my girlfriend, Alison, and I went on a canoe trip up the local lake. We paddled to a remote spot, beyond the reaches of the usual assortment of screaming children and partying teenagers. We didn’t need beer or pot: it was intoxicating just being two young women out alone in the big bad woods.

Sometime after the hotdog and marshmallow dinner, we decided, to go skinny dipping.

There is nothing scarier—and yet more exciting, as a young woman, than, after all the years spent making sure your shirt isn’t too tight of your skirt too short, willingly taking off your clothes.

It was a beautiful clear night, and the sound of our giggles echoed across to the other side of the pitch black shore as we paddles in circles around each other—careful never to touch one another but high on the eroticism of our own boldness and the pleasure of the caressing waters.

Afterwards, we lay next to the fire, energized (in a way that now makes me think of the female orgasm’s post-climax state which I’ve been reading about so much recently).

This wasn’t the last time I wound up skinny dipping on all-female camping trips, and I wonder now if it there isn’t something particular about the connection between women and water, as articulated in Wolf’s example, that draws us women in, giggling and bare-bottomed each time.

I like to think that night on the lake with Alison was the first time that I, as a woman, made physical contact with my own innate, sexual desire, and that the current of that power still remains in me–just below the surface.

Written by jaquieonassis

January 23, 2009 at 6:44 pm