(Getty Images:Timothy Shonnard)
“Good sex is like good bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.”
~ Mae West
Right, back to our #haveyouhadanorgasm series.
(I don’t recommend reading this at work or anywhere that your grandmother might read it over your shoulder during your festive family gatherings.)
As we talked about previously our education and our societies offer only a narrow idea of what constitutes sex; and I think this is keeping many people, particularly women, from enjoying as satisfying and orgasmic sex lives as they could have.
We also suffer from a paucity of language with which to discuss sex.
We’re taught as youngsters that we ‘lose our virginity’ the first time that we have ‘Sex’. ‘Sex’ meaning heterosexual intercourse between one cis-man and one cis-woman; specifically the part where his penis thrusts into her vagina until he ejaculates.
This leads to teenagers indulging in ‘everything but Sex’, up to and including oral and anal sex, in order to ‘preserve’ their ‘virginity’ because they are constantly being fed the message that it is important that they wait before they lose it.
And yet rape – forcing a person to have sex with you – is defined in England and Wales as the insertion of a penis into another person’s mouth, vagina or anus.
It also leads ignorant people to question how non-cishet couples have ‘Sex’ if they don’t have appropriately interconnecting sexual organs. Although clearly the sex that these couples have is also ‘Sex’.
We talk about masturbation as having sex with yourself, and yet we don’t really consider it to be proper ‘Sex’.
And we call all the kissing, cuddling, touching, caressing, fondling, intertwining that comes before the penis in vagina part ‘foreplay’. The, by implication less important, part that leads up to the main ‘Sex’ event.
And yet sexual activity is so rarely just about a man climaxing inside a woman that it’s a wonder that we have such an unimaginative, goal orientated view of what we regard as proper ‘Sex’.
One that leaves out most of the things that are good about it and fails to consider a woman’s orgasm a necessity.
People engage in sex with one another for any number of reasons: to relax, to bond with one another, to have fun, to express their feelings for one another, to experiment with what feels good, to feel connected to another human being, to console one another, to prove to themselves that they are attractive, and, of course to satisfy their drive to experience orgasm.
(Obviously reproduction is a different matter.)
But not one of these requires the act of heterosexual intercourse to be satisfied.
In fact many people might actually have a more satisfying time if they ignored that part altogether and concentrated on other way to make each other and/or themselves feel good. Women in particular may experience orgasm more often as it has repeatedly been demonstrated that most women need direct clitoral stimulation to orgasm.
Even then, do we really need either/any party to orgasm before we will officially deem them to have had ‘Sex’?
Most of the things I listed above as reasons why people engage in sex can be achieved without anybody having an orgasm. A goal-oriented conception of ‘Sex’ which requires that at least one person does lest the experience be deemed a failure, even when all parties got what they actually wanted, just creates a whole heap of unhelpful, unnecessary pressure to perform satisfaction rather than actually feeling it.
Pressure, as we will talk about at a later date, being one of the worst enemies of orgasm.
And since ‘Sex’ is such a loaded and taboo term why should it apply more so than to a quick, insignificant one-night stand with a stranger than to a long, lovely night in bed with someone you’ve just fallen madly in love with but didn’t actually happen to copulate with?
Our language and discussion around sex needs to change, it needs to embrace variety, diversity, context and nuance. This will make it easier for us to see that there are as many ways to ‘have sex’ as there are people wanting to have it, which would make it clearer for each of us to work out what we want and need to be satisfied. A climate much more conducive to orgasms than the present cultural mainstream.
2 thoughts on “What Do We Mean By ‘Sex’ Anyway?”
I agree. I won’t be teaching my kids about virginity. I think I rushed into having PIV sex when I was very young becaus I’d fooled around so much and didn’t ‘feel like a virgin’ anymore when I absolutely wasn’t ready for the consequences of the relationship issues/contraception/potential pregnancy/std side of it.
You should look into tantra. I don’t know if you have already, but it’s really similar to what you’re saying about enjoying th experience and not having the pressure to climax (and because of that the orgasm is ultimately better).
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I do wonder as well if more young people would wait until they were ready to do anything sexual if they weren’t in such a rush to ‘lose their virginity’.
I’ve only heard of tantra because of Sting but I’ll certainly look into it, and then probably write about it, since I do about everything else 🙂