Speaking of Orgasms
A certifiably on-brand and relevant image of Martha about to eat a hotdog. Here, Martha shares her thoughts and frustrations with the Orgasm divide.
A few weeks ago, after a round of especially underwhelming sex, I found myself thinking about the differences between the male and female orgasm*. As you do.
I thought of all the times that I, as a straight woman, had engaged in sex of some kind and had been left unfulfilled. Let me assure you - there’s been a lot.
It goes without saying, there is an issue here. The orgasm gap, whilst perhaps not quite as clearly outrageous and demeaning as the gender pay gap, is still yet another way in which women are subordinate to men.
Whilst partly, I’m sure in certain cases, it is down to laziness, ignorance or a genuine attempt that just doesn’t quite do it, I also think that a good chunk of the divide can be attributed to the way that the female - and male - orgasm is discussed… by both men and women.
The language of the patriarchy has always depicted femininity and womanhood as some kind of complex, mystical ‘other’. I would argue that this is seen at its clearest in the way we speak about the male and female sexual systems.
Despite being female for my entire life, I have always felt that the penis is the default sexual organ. It is the most comfortably and casually discussed, it is presented as wonderfully straightforward. There’s no mystery with a penis. In the bedroom, getting it to function the way you want it to is, in theory, a piece of cake.
The vagina, on the other hand, has always been depicted as a total mystery. Even to a lot of women, the female sexual system is confusing. With all of its hidden nooks and crannies, the multiple features for sexual pleasure, the vast-ranging techniques… to truly understand the female sexual organs, society suggests that you’ll need a lot of patience, dedication, and perhaps a manual.
Therefore, in the bedroom, it is considered a little frustrating but generally acceptable if a man is unable to make a woman cum. The vagina is, of course, a puzzling maze of bits and bobs. However, I have always felt that the opposite - a woman unable to make a man cum - is something really quite embarrassing, given how supposedly fool-proof the penis is.
Who does this kind of discourse really benefit though?
In these situations, the woman is left feeling as though she is at fault, not good enough, and not sexy enough. The man, at best, is relatively unfulfilled, and at worst feels a degree of pressure to cum, making it all the more likely that he won’t.
After speaking to a few of my male friends, it doesn’t even seem to be the biggest deal in the world for men if they don’t cum. So why do we, as women, put so much pressure on ourselves to make a man cum if it doesn’t matter that much? My friends added that phrases like, “cum for me”, or questions like, “is it me?” pretty much guarantee that they won’t cum. I’m certainly not saying this is the case for all men, perhaps it is just a few. But I think it should be discussed all the same.
I really think it’s time the way in which we discuss the male and female orgasm changed. The depiction of a man capable of making a woman cum as some sort of sex god needs to end, because it presents female orgasm as a kind of unexpected but terrifically exciting bonus to sex, rather than a standard practice. Equally, the concept of the female sexual organ - the vagina, the clitoris, the g-spot, etc. - as utterly mind-boggling and beyond male comprehension needs a rethink. Really, it is only confusing in relation to the patriarchal default, the penis. Let’s scrap the default, and even out the sexual imbalance.
Additionally, I think the presentation of the penis as utterly straightforward should be reassessed. Give it some credit. It has its complications like anything else, and treating it as easy to use doesn’t help anyone. Heterosexual sex being deemed a situation where the man is expected to cum every time needs to change - men, like women, are sometimes just not in the mood. Sometimes it really does have nothing to do with the girl. It’s about time we started believing that.
*For clarification, I use the terms male/men/boys to include all those who identify as such, and female/women/girls to represent all who identify as such too.