This is a post inspired by my years of "faking it" in the hopes that women everywhere will start asking for what they want, feel confident in communicating their needs and know that they are innately deserving of pleasure, in and out of the bedroom.
I can't even tell you how many years it was after becoming sexually active that I had my first orgasm. Honestly? I thought I wasn't capable. I thought there was something broken in my body that just meant I would never have a real orgasm. I remember hearing multiple times that "it was just harder for girls". I was so accustomed to faking it and I felt guilty if I didn't at least pretend. Since I was an adolescent I have spent a great deal of time researching and educating myself on greater cultural implications of what this means as well as female anatomy and what feels good for me. In this post, I will be unpacking what "orgasm guilt" is, the gender orgasm disparity that still exists today.
In 2009, the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) asked 1,931 U.S. adults ages 18 to 59 about their most recent sexual experience. The findings show that men are more likely to orgasm than women — 91 percent of men said they climaxed during their last sexual encounter, compared with 64 percent of women. Interestingly, women report a much higher rate of climax when masturbating alone.
Eighty-five percent of men said their partners in that recent sexual encounter had reached climax, far higher than the percentage of women who said they orgasmed. The statistics vary between heterosexual and homosexual couples as a 2014 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that lesbians had around a 75% orgasm rate. That means, for us hetero ladies, that we are FAKING IT. If we cannot be honest with our partner, then we probably should not be opening ourselves up to that person. If we want to have amazing, fulfilling, mind-blowing sex then we have to be better communicators; more on that topic later.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
As a teenager, my secret guilty pleasure was buying copies of Cosmopolitan magazine and reading them at the pool or in my room at night. Page after page after page filled with tips, tricks and article based around pleasing your man. Overwhelmingly, there was never a discussion around self-pleasure or tips on how to be a better communicator in bed.
I hate to continuously blame the media for the taboos and disparity surrounding sex, but, here are again. The media has always portrayed male pleasure as the definitive point for having sex. Society has given males an entitlement to orgasm. Heterosexual intercourse has been explained and displayed to us as done, finished, over, when the male reaches climax. If the female has an orgasm? Just a cool bonus. Society keeps instilling in us that it is only males that want sex, therefore, because they "care about it more" it means that somehow their pleasure means more than ours. Without proper access to sex and pleasure education, many women accept this narrative as told by the media and society.
HOW DO WE FIX THE GENDER ORGASM GAP?
I can't speak from experience when it comes to sexual education in schools. I attended a private Christian school for both primary and secondary schooling. Do you know what our sexual education consisted of? It didn't. We were told that it was sinful to have sex before marriage, so we just better not do it. The end. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? I digress. We still need better and more well-informed knowledge for our public school sex-ed programs. Young women need to be taught that their pleasure is just as important as their partner. Young women need to be taught about the clitoris and how men and women do not both have equal anatomical access to orgasm via penetrative sex. Young women need to know that self-pleasure is important, necessary and a safe way for her to explore her body.
We have to start teaching and holding clitoral stimulation and penetration as equal. Sex does not have to end after your partner has climaxed. Maybe you don’t consider achieving an orgasm an important part of sex, and I would like for you to look inward and ask yourself why. Why do you not consider your pleasure equal to that of your partner? Could it be that you feel unworthy of unadulterated pleasure? Sit with the feelings and thoughts that arise. Secondly, I ask you to place the same value on your comfort and pleasure as you do your partner’s even if you deem that orgasm is not an important part of sex for you.
Communication is most likely the highest contributing factor in the orgasm gap. Even in the 21st century, the female orgasm is treated with indifference and viewed as taboo. Read this post for 6 tips on how to be a well-fucked woman, including how to become a better communicator in, and out of, the bedroom.