I was faking it…

one woman’s search for orgasm

Posts Tagged ‘slut

Why orgasms matter and defining them doesn’t

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“Orgasm is one of society’s most compelling, shaping forces”–those are the first words that appear on the back cover of Jonathon Margolis’ book, O: The intimate history of the orgasm.

The crucial word that Margolis appears to have forgotten to include in this broad sweeping statement, is the word ‘male’. As in, ‘male orgasms’.

Whilst discussions and theories on the history of the penis and its built in ability to orgasm are generally framed in terms of how and to what extent this particular aspect of human anatomy has influenced the development of civilization since the dawn of man, the equivalent body of research exploring female orgasms centres instead on defining the nature of woman. Specifically, what is woman and how does her orgasm determine that definition?

the virgin whore dicotomy, yours for only $9.99

the virgin whore dicotomy, yours for only $9.99

Is she genetically programmed to be promiscuous–searching as many mates as possible to satisfy the demands of a sexual design that makes her capable of outlasting her male counterpart several times over? Or, is her inability to orgasm quickly and easily a reflection of her true sexual motivation: that being security and love?

As someone on her own quest for orgasm, I realize in doing so, not only am I poised to explore a new world of sexual sensations, but also am, in this way, exploring the kind of woman that I am. Whore/virgin? Mother/witch? Feminist/slut?

Not having had an orgasm is, I think, a testament to my capacity as a nurturing human being.

As a sexually active adult female whose sex life in the past five-ten years has been confined to monogamous relationships, I am generally acutely aware of my partners’ progress during the process of love making: is he satisfied? Is he aroused? Is he going to orgasm? And I’m not alone.

In his book, Margolis refers to a study which asked women how important the attainment of orgasm during sex was to them. Only 10% of respondents said that it was “extremely important” (source, 106).  The same study also asked how important women felt their partner’s attainment of orgasm during sex was to them–41% said extremely important (source, 106).

To this women, having or not having an orgasm is irrelevant because what makes me happy is my ability to make someone I love is happy.

That is where I’m coming from—and the part of me carrying me forward now is the part that has decided it wants to experience an orgasm, the part of me that is curious about what this internal power source, which desires self-mastery and control in a way that I have never before dared. Chasing after the infamously elusive orgasm is, for the firs time in my life, allowing me to get to know what in past eras, this would have been called my ‘inner witch’ –or today’s parlance, my ‘inner feminist’.

Thus, defining my relationship to orgasm, is also about my defining my relationship to myself and the kind of woman I am or want to be.

Sexologists, historians, and researchers probably won’t ever give up trying to define the whys of the female orgasm. Nonetheless, my point is that the complex and ambiguous nature of the female orgasm isn’t something we need or even could ever pin down, just as the nature of woman, isn’t something we need or even could pin down.

And that, my dears, is the beauty of it.

Virgin or Slut: choose your poison

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The crappy thing about being a young, adolescent girl (which I no longer am, thank god) is that either way, whether we’re doing ‘it’ or not, we feel ashamed.

Not only did feel guilty (see previous post) acknowledging my status as a sexually active young woman when I finally started having sex, but there was also the guilt that accompanied being a sexually inactive young woman.

Careful to avoid the label of slut or skank, I was one of the ‘good girls’ that vowed to wait for true love before giving up what seemed so precious and valuable that it was almost a real, tangible thing in my mind—like a golden bracelet with words virgin engraved on the surface.

And then of course, came the day when a boy I’d had a crush on since I was 13, the one with the most beautiful face I’d ever seen on a boy, asked me out at the local supermarket (much to my delight and shock because ohmygod I was wearing sweatpants and a ponytail and was not dressed for such a life-altering encounter!).

if only i'd had a pair of these...

if only i'd had a pair of these...

We went out for dessert, which consisted of him eating a slice of apple pie and me stirring my cup of black coffee nervously (those were still in my eating disorder days when I thought girls were more desirable to the opposite sex if they professed to have no appetite, but that’s for another post).

Afterwards, we went to his mom’s (empty) townhouse and watched TV on the couch in total awkward silence.  All I really wanted was to taste his perfectly formed mouth: he invited me up to his bedroom instead.

There were definitely warning bells as I mounted the carpeted steps to his room, but in the face of his god-like presence how could I say no? He was the guy every girl in my school had fantasized over and he had asked me out.

Maybe he just wanted out make-out, I thought.

Maybe not.

I’ve since learned that boys who resemble the men in Gucci ads are not to be trusted. It didn’t take more than a few minutes before we were lying in his bed and I felt him tugging my panties down to my ankles.

Was this how I wanted it to happen? With this guy, who gorgeous as he was, had only ever had one conversation with me the entire four years since we’d first been going to school together?

Thankfully, as paralyzed as I was, I managed to squeak out a tiny “stop” before we went ‘all the way’. And in about the same amount of time it took him to get me undressed, he had dropped me off by the side of the road in front of my parent’s house.

Of course, he never called me again.

According to feminist theory, I should have felt empowered for standing up for myself—but I didn’t. I felt horrible. I felt ashamed for  not being ‘mature’ or ‘cool’ enough to keep my mouth shut and let him take what he wanted from my body.  I wasn’t a slut, I was worse: I was frigid, or better yet, a cock-tease.

Granted, I had managed to hold on to something I thought was important to me, but the sense of shame I felt for doing so was just as strong as it would have been if I’d hadn’t told him to stop.

Damned if you, damned if you don’t.

Now the real question is, where did all that sexual identity guilt go? I have a bad feeling that it’s still living inside me somewhere.

Written by jaquieonassis

January 19, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Bladder infections: am i being punished?

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It’s been two and a half years since I had once last—but sure enough the day I start writing about my desire to orgasm I get a bladder infection.

There are two parts of getting a bladder infection that I hate. The first is the pain—a dull burning that that makes me feel like I have a bloated pig corpse in the cavity where my bladder once was. Even though the pig is dead, it still gets pissed when I need to pee.

206-09-pig-roast-tupi-philippines1The second part about bladder infections that make me uncomfortable is having to utter the words ‘intercourse’ to health care professionals.

In fact, ever since I first lost my virginity in my early twenties (yes, I waited longer than most) I’ve disliked having to reveal any part of my sex life to adult strangers. Or, even worse, adult non-strangers—as happened following one of my first times having sex and the unfortunate incident of a condom breakage.

After the initial panic passed, I managed to haul my ass into a clinic to get a prescription for the morning-after-pill. I could have, of course, gone to see my family doctor, but specifically avoided his office. He was a nice guy, but he happened to have delivered my sister when she was born and went on regular hiking trips with my parents. The last thing that I, who would have gladly bought the little white pills out of a vending machine and thus avoided any human interaction at all, wanted to do was admit that I was having sex to someone who was virtually my uncle.

I was sitting on the white-paper sheet of the clinic daybed, when who arrived to see me but, of course, Dr. Uncle!

I was mortified.

Somehow I got through the visit without passing out from embarrassment, got my little pills, got sick from their effects on my body (I swear those things are made out of Drain-o) and am still happily childless to this day. However, even fifteen years later I feel the same stomach tightening nervousness I did back then when I have to sit down on those white-paper sheets and tell someone about my sex-related health issues (I still keep my eyes out for prescription vending machines but have yet to see one).

Why is that?

In Promiscuities, author Naomi Wolf describes how women’s sexual activity has been forbidden in western societies for centuries, citing such horrific forms of social pressure as those imposed by the Burgundians, where any female sexual activity outside of marriage was considered ‘adulterous’—even for single girls and widows—and thus marked the ‘perpetrators’ as untouchable for the rest of her life.

Though on the surface our society supposedly encourages sexual exploration and freedom amongst its female populace, the same sense of moral condemnation still persists below the surface—labeling girls and women sluts for expressions of sexuality which might be easily overlooked were they men.

My bladder infection is pretty much cleared after three-days of antibiotics, however my discomfort at having to admit to the male doctor at the walk-in-clinic that yes, I am still an unmarried women having sex, makes me realize that I’m still holding on to some of that Burgundian-style shame.

And to get rid of that, I’ll need a lot more than a few white pills.