“A woman’s orgasm is such a fragile thing, dependant as much upon her mind as on her clitoris.”
― Megan Hart
Ladies, have you ever had an orgasm?
I had a conversation over the weekend with a bunch of women in their mid thirties. Almost half of them had never had an orgasm.
Most of them weren’t bothered.
Either they had bought into the idea that women don’t really enjoy having sex, it’s just something that they do to keep their partners happy, or, they were too uncomfortable with their own bodies to want to focus on them for long enough to learn how.
In some cases both.
Some of them genuinely believed that other women who told them that they do have orgasms were lying due to societal pressure.
This has made me want to go around asking all the women I know, in fact all the women I meet, whether they’ve ever had an orgasm.
As this isn’t socially acceptable in real life I asked Twitter instead – #haveyouhadanorgasm?
The exchange that followed has inspired me to write a series of posts about women and sex to hopefully start a conversation about orgasms, and failing that at least I’ll have satisfied the overwhelming need that I feel to do something about this.
I’ve been thinking and reading about sex and sexuality a lot recently anyway – I’m going to review some of the best books I’ve come across so far – as I’ve been reconsidering a whole lot of things, trying to reestablish what I think and feel outside of the knots in my poorly brain. And it seems for many women that would be a pretty good place for them to start as well.
Not because they’re necessarily unwell but because they don’t know what they want to start with.
As teenagers we’re taught how to avoid pregnancy and sexual transmitted infections, if we’re lucky we might receive some education around what a respectful and healthy relationship looks like; but aside from that it’s quite easy to take away the impression that when it comes down to the action itself there isn’t much too it – just get on with it and everything will naturally happen as it should.
And if that isn’t particularly pleasurable then either that’s just the way it’s supposed to be or there’s something wrong with you.
But it doesn’t really work like that.
To have a healthy and satisfying sex life, just like any other aspect of a healthy lifestyle, you need knowledge – about yourself and your partner – effort, and practice.
But as your mother always used to tell you – if a thing is worth doing it’s worth doing well.
And sexual activity, either with yourself or with someone(s) else, that brings you pleasure is something definitely worth doing.
There seem to be a number of, sometimes conflicting, obstacles to this which I’ll look at in more detail over the next few weeks.
As we all know many women are uncomfortable with their bodies and the way that they look. This means that they don’t want to concentrate on them too much and they don’t want anyone else to either.
But unless someone does it’s nigh on impossible to work out the best way to bring you to orgasm.
It’s not the same for everybody, nor is it something that anyone else knows instinctively how to do for you.
Then on top of this we’re bombarded all over the place with contradictory messages about women’s sexuality.
With conservatives and traditionalists on the one had trying to teach us that sex isn’t something to be particularly enjoyed by anybody, especially not by women who are supposed to remain ‘pure’ and unsullied by thinking of such things. And possibly not all by anyone who isn’t a heterosexual.
And on the other we have the more liberal attitude that women should have sex with whoever they want, whenever they want, as this represents liberation and empowerment.
As well-meaning as it may be this message is also problematic as it sets up an opposing ideal that some women then feel pressured to live up to – as an independent modern woman I must be having lots of sex, ideally with lots of different partners. And once again there is no suggestion that women do this because it gives them pleasure.
Conversely, and this is the contradictory part, we also, as a culture, have a very goal oriented attitude towards sex. Particularly heterosexual sex. The goal of sex is orgasm, for two heterosexual partners the goal is specifically to achieve orgasm through penetrative sex. This usually works well enough for him, less often for her.
This very narrow definition of what constitutes ‘having sex’ unhelpfully leaves out most of the things which might result in reliable orgasms for women – as most women need direct clitoral stimulation to climax.
It also puts a lot of pressure on to this having of orgasms business. For women and for men as well. After all, if the point of having sex is to have an orgasm, and you ‘fail’ to have one, what does that say about you? And yet that expectation to ‘perform’ to a climax makes it less likely that either party will be able to, as to be able have an orgasm you first need to be able to switch off and relax.
On top of which none of it makes any sense. Especially the male-centric version.
Does it mean that if nobody has an orgasm that it isn’t sex? If a penis doesn’t ejaculate into a vagina it isn’t sex? So a cis-man has to be involved for it to count as ‘sex’? If orgasms and penetration are what make it ‘having sex’ what does that say about foreplay? That it’s dispensable? That it isn’t ‘real sex’? That it isn’t supposed to be enjoyed?
And is getting your rocks off all that ‘having sex’ is about? What about romance? Or intimacy? Or connection? Or just plain fun?
I think it’s worth considering why we do the things we do in a sexual context and what we mean when we talk about having sex.
Anyway, those are my initial thoughts on the subject, as I said at the beginning I’ll be elaborating on them over the next few weeks. So now it’s your turn. What do you think? Can you relate to any of this or do you have no idea what I’m talking about?
And most importantly, have you had an orgasm?
12 thoughts on “Have You Had An Orgasm?”
I orgasm a lot! I think I’ve had one nearly every day since I was 14 and I have multiple ones. But never from PIV. Being comfortable with a man enough to tell him that is really important. Men with big egos are all ‘but wait until you try THIS penis!’
I’m surprised I can orgasm at all because in my household as a child, I was taught that any kind of sex is dirty and women shouldn’t even joke about it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Men like that make me sigh. ‘No, mate, a woman’s anatomy doesn’t magically alter because you whip your cock out. And, seriously, both you and your partner(s) could be having a much better time if you’d get over yourself and have a grown up conversation about what works for you both.’
I had similar experience growing up, thankfully none of it stuck!
My friends and I talk about orgasms all the time. I have yet to come across anyone who will admit she’s never had one, to be honest. And most of us freely admit to masturbation and watching porn, and if you don’t orgasm with hobbies like that… I’d be intrigued. The first boyfriend that could make me orgasm was a big deal to my friends because they ask about it and knew it hadn’t happened yet and when it did, they wanted to know.
The men… they don’t really ask, to be honest. They sort of just assume that because I enjoy the sex, that at some point I must have had an orgasm. It’s charmingly naive. But I have no problem correcting that viewpoint. I’ve had men tell me that I definitely came and I laugh and tell them “Nope. I was turned on, don’t get me wrong, but that was definitely not an orgasm…” And I also get horrified thinking of how many other girls have lied to them and said they came to make them so confident that my pleasure meant I had an orgasm.
Which isn’t to say I think an orgasm is the end-goal of sex. I’ve had great sex where neither of us had an orgasm. (Although for him, there had to be a reason and that reason almost always has to be stated. Like that we’d already had sex multiple times, or the alcohol, or whatever. So I suppose perhaps for men, that pressure to climax is an interesting thing to consider.)
Yeah. I’ve never faked an orgasm, and it makes me wonder why women feel the need to bother when men will just assume it happened regardless because they don’t know what it actually looks/sounds/feels like.
I love this post. And yes, I’ve had many, many orgasms, most given by me in my youth and teens. I’ve had orgasms during sex occasionally before I started taking anti-depressants but now, I get close but never quite there. However, I can still achieve an orgasm by myself. To me, sex is about pleasure. I’ve never been the romantic sexual partner and I don’t like to cuddle after sex. It’s all about enjoying yourself and even though I don’t achieve orgasms during sex doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel good, because it’s still amazing. I was never brought up with the idea that sex was bad. The only concern my mom addressed was pregnancy and STDs. Having said that, I was very uncomfortable in my skin so I didn’t have my first sexual experience until college. Furthermore, I’ve only been with a few partners because I got married young. Now that I’m older and comfortable with my body and myself, if I were single, I would probably be promiscuous. I’ve always envied men because for them, sex is always straightforward. But I do love that we women can enjoy sex in so many different ways.
I’m glad you liked the post. And that you’re having orgasms.
I hear you on the anti-depressants. It’s a shame they’ve not managed to design them yet so that they don’t impact so much on your sex life. The orgasms might help you get better, and the fear of not being able to have them puts people who need them off taking them.
I think being uncomfortable in their skin holds a lot of people back from the experiences they might want to be having unfortunately, hopefully if we become more open about things like this the access to information will help with that.
I’ve never slept wtih anyone but I’ve definietly had an orgasm so there is that.
What bothers me most is the narrow definition of sex, like you mentioned that often doesn’t even encompass sex for same sex partners. I think there is still a long way to go for society to make it okay to talk about all of this openly and without shame. Heck, even I feel ashamed telling people that my 27-y/o self is a virgin because society tells me something is probably wrong with me.
There is definitely nothing wrong with you.
I plan on doing a lot of talking about all of this. I think people are getting pretty used to me talking about stuff that they thought you weren’t supposed to mention, so hopefully it will go okay.
Oh good lord, really? That saddens me deeply.
I remember telling a friend when I was about 17/18 that I didn’t know if I’d ever had one. “You’ll know,” she told me. She was right. I remember that first time, and what a surprise it was.
I don’t think I’m multiorgasmic sadly nor can I come from PIV, and can’t imagine ever both climaxing simultaneously… but yes I’ve had my fair share!
To add to that though I can definitely enjoy myself whether I do or not. Which is a good thing given that they’re more elusive for me.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, really. Given some of their descriptions of what for them has so far constituted sex I’m actually amazed that they’ve carried on bothering.
Haha I have had many (not to brag), but I’ve had the most since I started to think about sex differently. I think we buy into the idea that women shouldn’t bother expecting one. I think as well that sadly porn can impact this (although it is certainly not all to blame). We are exposed to ridiculous footage of women having a penis stabbed in and out of her vagina with little to no direct clitoral stimulation and women think there’s something wrong if they can’t orgasm in that way, with men thinking it’s weird if they don’t. Also, women are trained to worry more about what their male partner will think, so they focus so much more on faking an orgasm to please him than they do about asking for what they need – it doesn’t help their partner to know how to please them!
I once read that it’s a complete myth that you should just have sex until the man climaxes. There’s no reason you can’t continue a couple minutes more until you get there (provided a guy can physically do that). I mean, ever get so so close but then the guy overtakes you? So what? Keep going – you’re so close – what does it matter if he orgasms a few seconds/minutes earlier? There’s other ways to help a woman climax than penetrative sex too, if a guy can’t continue, but the whole intimate act shouldn’t be abandoned if a woman still wants her orgasm! I have had much better sex since realising that I might not always reach climax (fatigue, stress, putting too much emphasis on the end goal etc) but I do always DESERVE it. I would think most guys would be supportive of this because they really genuinely do want to please. Anyone who doesn’t, should be kicked out of bed immediately!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Just want to clarify about the guys continuing after their climax – if using a condom this might not be possible. But in a committed, disease free relationship – game on! 😉
LikeLiked by 1 person