4.0
January 12, 2012

Don’t Say You Don’t Have Orgasms.

As women who have sex with men, it’s sometimes tough to talk about our own experiences because to do so, given our cultural pressure on men to perform, is to emasculate past or present partners. It’s one of the most hurtful or embarrassing things you can say about a man, right? That he can’t “satisfy” a woman?

“There is undeniable pressure on men to “perform” sexually, for example. I try to have sympathy for men who feel this pressure — but it is difficult sometimes, because its major effect on my life has been to silence me. To make me feel as though I couldn’t ask for anything sexually. As though I couldn’t express my needs without hurting my boyfriend’s feelings or making him angry.

And even now, when I talk about this stuff, I am as vague as I possibly can be about the exact timeline. The last thing I want is for people who know me to read this and know exactly when I started having orgasms.” Source: Searching for a Unified Theory of Orgasm: Part Three by @ClarisseThorn — The Good Men Project

So, yeah… Good of Clarisse not to advertise data that might be hurtful to past or current partners.

But as she said, if the pressure for men to “perform” by “giving” women orgasms (and let me pointedly say–climax–the goal-oriented, going-over, quite masculine-defined version of orgasm, vs. the much broader sense of orgasm I prefer: the entire experience of turn-on, the wild ride of pleasure that can happen regardless of attire, touch, or venue), the effect of that pressure – combined with men’s place of power in our culture – is to stifle women’s latitude to speak of their experience.

It’s tough to make it better without naming it.

If a woman intrinsically insults a man by mentioning her own pleasure or satisfaction, and she doesn’t want to insult or hurt him, she can’t really:
– talk to him about their sex
– talk to other people to get their experiences, ideas, or inspiration
– often, even admit to herself that their sex isn’t hitting the spot, because to do so is to complain about (or even denigrate) a man she cares about and doesn’t want to hurt.
But I want to point out two important problems with this whole paradigm:

1. Men don’t make women come.

Orgasm (or climax–take your pick; we’ll hash out the distinctions elsewhere) is a potent and complex brew, the product of a woman’s biochemistry, psychology, state at the moment, practice and habits, relationship, and… admittedly, the skill of whoever’s touching her body and soul at the moment.

Yes, there are men out there who are, as my mentor Nicole Daedone says, “lighting up the power grid one woman at a time” with their sexual skill. And such a man does have the distinct skill of opening erotic doors for women whose hinges have heretofore been a bit rusty. Even for women whose doors swing freely and fluidly, an extraordinarily skilled lover can take her to new wings of the mansion. But those men are seldom the ones the prudent woman will settle down and make babies (or even house payments!) with. Those men thrill at the variety of women they can serve, and their skill set in the erotic realm is often not matched on the emotional, spiritual, and/or logistical fronts.

For every woman who’s never climaxed, there are many others along the spectrum of arousal who climax without genital touch, or even without being touched at all. As one of them (yes, I still blush, knowing my dad has internet access and could read this in the unlikely event he wanted to), I definitely take credit for the emotional, mental, and spiritual skill such surrender to sensation requires. I’m not saying such skill is available to everyone; I’m simply inviting you, dear reader, to take responsibility for your own sensation, if you’re female, and to stop taking it so hard if your favorite woman has not been climaxing when she’s with you, to the extent the two of you would like.

2. Relationships are complicated.

Did I really just need to write that? Guess so. See, in addition to your own body’s responsiveness (or lack thereof,) your own inhibition (or lack thereof,) and your current mindset (I’m guessing you’ve always got one of those), your interest in sex and your experience of thrill and/or satisfaction within it are profoundly affected by the state of the relationship. And in this venue, I’m talking very specifically to people who are, as the magnificent Esther Perel says, “mating in captivity.” You’re in a committed relationship. That means you share a life. Logistics. Finances. Head colds. Flatulence. Empty glasses (sans coasters) on the end table. Last year’s tax return (unfiled) on the mantle. Rude comments, made in a moment of hurt. The hundreds of details that make up a day together are, on balance, almost all detriments to turn-on (the way you’ve probably been living, anyway) and therefore to climax. So let’s not pin it all on the poor dude’s performance, shall we?

My intent with this post is to help create more power, more sense of possibility, between men and women. I want more orgasm, and to have that, we’re gonna have to take the conversation out of the deep freeze. Let me know in the comments how these thoughts open the conversation up for you and your partner. Or follow me on twitter; I’ll follow you back, and then you can send me a direct message only I will see. Or email. I really want to hear.

Love love,

 

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hazeleyes Nov 12, 2015 12:11am

i am open to admit that i dont orgasms.I've never had one and my number of partners is double digit. i found i have just accepted it (lame i know at 28) and get more satisfaction that the male is happy. gotta luv it when the male says but that trick worked on xyz.. thats nice lol… even self play.. get a small tingle n then im bored.

usagi May 26, 2015 2:51pm

lucky you, orgasming without touch.

ive been trying to figure out how to get off at all for ten years now and i don't really feel any closer then when i started.

paul May 9, 2015 2:24pm

Thank you for writing so candidly about such a sensitive topic and I wholeheartedly agree with your points. I can only speak from my own perspective and experience as a man. There are tremendous expectations that our society (and media) places on sex and most are unrealistic ard unhealthy.

We, as men, choose to derive our self-worth from our ability (or inability) to “make”our partner climax. I subscribed to this erroneous approach for many years until I learned to think from a different perspective and consequently I was able to change the way I related to my partner.

Your post hits the nail on the head when you suggest that open, relaxed and honest communication about our sexual likes, dislikes, wants and needs develops a trust between partners that far exceeds hot sex. It creates a satisfying intimacy that lasts. I say this from experience as my wife and I have been married for over 30 years but the first 20 we’re nowhere near as satisfying as the last 10. The tipping point was our communication and our willingness to grow.

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Michele Christensen

Michele Lisenbury Christensen believes committed partnership can provide stability + sustainability, spirituality + soulfulness, and sensuality + sensation… all at once. In her writing and relationship revolution services, she marries yoga psychology, brain science, embodied spiritual practice, and her own journey to turned-on marriage and motherhood to help couples build their capacity for smokin’ hot relating. Get LovingWithPower weekly here: http://lovingwithpower.com/