‘Personally, apart from when we’re trying to make babies, I think WAY too much emphasis is put on achieving orgasm for both men and women.’
Like many women, I have never had an orgasm from penetrative sex alone. I have left previous lovers — some of the best lovers I’ve ever had — feeling inadequate because as much pleasure as they have given me they haven’t regularly and consistently pushed that particular button. To them, my inability to get off equates to their failure to fulfil me. I can assure you (and them) this is not the case. Some of the most satisfying sex I have ever had involved almost no direct stimulation to me at all.
Worse, if a guy sets out with the sole objective of getting me off, in most cases it’s not going to happen, or not without a very big lead up, by which time he’s tired, I’m tired, and everything just gets compounded:
‘Shit. He’s waiting for me to come. He must be getting sore/bored/frustrated. Now I’m off the boil again. Fuck. It’s never going to happen. Just relax. Try again…’
As long as I know the focus is on me and my pleasure, not his, the chances of me getting off are fairly slim. Take the focus off me, let me do my thing, and it might just work. But even then, is the effort worth it? For me to get there, I find myself ‘leaving’ my partner and our shared space, and drifting into the world of my fantasies, something which doesn’t feel particularly intimate, and in many ways, unnecessary – for me, at least.
Ultimately, I don’t have sex to achieve orgasm. It’s an entirely different drive and pleasure — one that I can’t give myself, whereas I can give myself orgasms all the time.
Let’s reverse the situation. If it’s the guy who can’t get there, in a complete double standard, I assume I must be doing something wrong. I have failed as a lover.
A male friend of mine complained about this recently. ‘Why do women always think I need to come? I’m often perfectly happy to just enjoy the sex without all that expectation.’
It seems natural to me – and makes evolutionary sense – that male orgasm not only concludes a heterosexual encounter but signifies its success (see every hetero porno ever made, ever). The female orgasm on the other hand, has been described as the evolutionary equivalent of the male nipple.
Yet the emphasis on orgasm, male or female, seems to create a layer of pressure and expectation. It’s fairly common for a woman to not achieve orgasm, and it’s becoming more apparent that men are increasingly (or more publicly) facing similar issues/pressures. Men and women are now faking it.
What if, when we take away the evolutionary impetus of the sexual encounter, lovers set out with the mutual goal of simply enjoying one another’s bodies, without any fixed end point in mind, without any pressure to orgasm, and instead focus on the mutual intimacy and pleasure of giving one another sensations and experiences we can’t give ourselves?