“Writing a good story is better than orgasm.
The satisfaction lasts longer”
– Fa Abdul
Orgasm Inequity – by Suzannah Weiss
I was young when I came to discover masturbation, and I had orgasms long before I knew what they were.
Nothing about it seemed complicated. I just rubbed “down there” for a few minutes, and it happened. But later, magazines, comedy routines, and sitcoms taught me that my body – and vaginas in general – were mysterious and complex, often too complex for those without them to figure out.
Confirming what I’d been taught, orgasms weren’t as simple with partners as they were by myself. This is to be expected to some extent. There’s a learning curve when you’re getting to know someone new. But what confused me was that not everyone seemed eager to learn.
“Sorry,” I (unnecessarily) apologized to a partner for taking what I thought was too long.
“It’s okay. I know it’s harder for girls,” he said – and then stopped.
Compounding the lack of effort I encountered from some (though not all) partners, it became harder for me to orgasm when I started SSRI antidepressants. When I told my doctor, she said, “Oh, that’s hard for a lot of women anyway.”
I knew my body long and well enough to know being a woman wasn’t to blame, but others didn’t share my view that the problem was fixable. I grew hesitant to bring it up with partners out of fear that asking them to perform the supposedly impossible feat of getting a woman off was too demanding.
Orgasm doesn’t have to be the focus of sex, but if a woman wants one, she should have as much of a right to request it as anyone else does.
When people say that women’s bodies are more difficult – and these generalizations typically refer to cis women and are accompanied by rants about how complicated vaginas are – they teach cis women that an orgasm is too tall an order.
The view that women are hard to please maintains what sociologists call the orgasm gap, in which men have three orgasms for every one a woman enjoys, and 57% of women orgasm during all or most of their sexual encounters, but 95% say their partners do.
These statistics may appear to confirm the stereotype that women’s bodies are more complicated, but there are other forces at work.
As many researches points out, the orgasm gap is conditional. Lesbians report orgasming 74.7% of the time, only 10 percentage points lower than gay men. In addition, women take under four minutes on average to masturbate to orgasm.
So you see, if you’re a woman having trouble orgasming, it’s likely not you. It may not be the result of any carelessness on your partner’s part either. You may just need to talk about it, challenge the myths you’ve learned about sexuality, and, if necessary, seek help for any psychological or medical conditions that could be contributing to the problem.
Or maybe it’s not a problem at all. Maybe orgasming isn’t important to you, and that’s your choice as well. But if it is something you would like, you have the same right to ask for it as your partner. If he expects orgasms from you, he shouldn’t mind you wanting one.
It’s not too much to ask, and your anatomy isn’t too complicated. The only thing that’s complicated is the toxic set of messages we’re taught about sexuality. But that’s not on you or your body.