I was faking it…

one woman’s search for orgasm

Posts Tagged ‘virgin

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.

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.

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

John or Jane: who’s hornier?

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Do boys really want it more than girls?

Like, duh, of course they do.

At least that was what I would have said if anyone had asked me that question as a teenager and was first beginning to navigate the opposite sex–or should I say, navigate the enemy.

At that time, boys were things that me and my girlfriends had crushes on but never dared get too close, partly because we were too shy to get past the blushing-face phase of the conversation, and partly because of the fear that if we ever wound up alone with one of them, they would morph into an eight-armed-incredible hulk-monstrosity that would consume our fragile bodies whole.

Sure, we were curious about sex, but we weren’t boys.  Boys wanted it so bad they couldn’t be trusted—that was just a fact of life—like chin pimples and math homework.

Thus, it’s not surprising to read the findings of currant ‘scientific’ studies: women have lower libidos than their male partners  and suffer, en masse, from disorders such as FOD. Right?

Naomi Wolf doesn’t seem to think so. In Promiscuities she debunks this ‘fact’, stating that “women have been considered more carnal than men for most of the record of Judeo-Christian history [and] that the belief  women want sex less than men is only over two centuries old” (p.142).

witch_burn1

the only way to tame a woman's libido, old school-style

Girls were the horny ones?  For someone who spent her entire adolescence trying to ward off boys, I found this as quite the shocker when I read this a couple days ago—but not in a bad way. 

“I want to see you wearing nothing but saran wrap,” whispered Steve as I passed by him in my high school corridor.  Steve was a popular but mean boy in my grade.

Though they were only words, it felt like he’d grabbed my butt or slipped his hand up my shirt.  My face turned bright red as I hurried off in the opposite direction.  Sex was something scary to me and he probably knew that.

Looking back on that time in my life, however, I also remember that the idea of sex excited me.

It was around that same time that I discovered The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer,  a fictional account of a young teenage girl’s illicit sexual activities. I spent many nights lying in my bed fantasizing about doing the things that she did, sneaking off to a bar and giving oral sex to a strange guy in the middle of the night. Of course, I never talked to anyone about those thoughts—not even my best friend—because girls weren’t supposed to think that way. That was what boys did.

I wonder what might have happened if I hadn’t been so embarrassed about my emerging sexual desires?  Sure, I’m glad I never ran off to the local Hells Angels bar but I would have liked to have replied back to Steve with a something more than tight lips and down cast eyes.

“Throw in some Cool-whip and I’m there, baby.”

I would have loved to see his reaction at hearing words like those come out of one of the quiet, ‘good’ girl’s mouth.

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