There’s an enduring idea that women are bloody complicated.
Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em, say cheery slogans on BBQ-ing aprons. Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars, declare book titles. Women: What are they thinking, ask those virus-packed articles that pop up when you try to re-watch Bridget Jones’s Diary.
The overall message is this: Women are so different to men, so complicated and impossible to understand, that you might as well just give up bothering to work them out.
Nowhere is this message stronger than in the world of sex.
While the penis is perceived to be pretty simple (rub it, lightly squeeze it, play with the balls if the owner so desires), female genitals and women’s sexual pleasure are discussed as if they’re one of the earth’s great mysteries.
And when they’re discussed in such away, men are given a licence to just give up trying.
If we accept that the female orgasm is too complex to understand, it’s perfectly okay for women not to achieve orgasms when they have sex. It’s impossible.
But we’re all pretending.
Yes, female genitals are a little more complex than the penis. Yes, women’s orgasms are not as simple as pushing a button.
But the complexities of our lady caves really aren’t as mysterious as we all seem to think they are.
The clitoris really isn’t that difficult to find, despite what all the 17 minute YouTube guides and in-depth articles on the expedition of finding the clit may have you believe.
If straight men took the time to just look at the vulva before ramming their penis inside, they’d see the clitoris straight away. It’s right there, at the top of the vaginal opening, with a little hood on top (it’s actually much bigger than it appears, but this is the bit you can actually see).
The clitoris is not hidden away or at all difficult to find, but the myth prevails – because straight men are too worried about doing something and it not resulting in a shuddering orgasm to try things out, too egotistical to ask their female partner to educate them, and too lazy to take the time to do their research.
Are you scared to look, straight men? Are you worried that looking at the vagina will turn you into stone?
But straight men’s lack of knowledge about the location of the clitoris isn’t the main issue.
The real problem is that when women tell them what they want, men go momentarily deaf.
When straight men say women are confusing and that they have no idea what women want sex-wise, what they’re actually saying is: ‘I can’t be bothered to listen’.
It doesn’t matter how many times research points out that the majority of women orgasm through clitoral stimulation – straight men will still expect that jackrabbit thrusts will make their girlfriends moan. And if that doesn’t work, it must be that their partner struggles to orgasm, not that the guy is doing it wrong.
Straight men have learned that if a woman doesn’t orgasm, that’s okay – sex ends when they jizz. And so they’re taught not to question what they could do differently, or ask what actually works for the person they’re having sex with, because they don’t think the female orgasm is necessary for sex.
So they’re allowed to be lazy, focusing only on their own pleasure and pretending to be baffled when the person they’re having sex with doesn’t erupt into climax.
To be clear, an orgasm isn’t necessary for great sex. You can not orgasm and still be deeply satisfied. It’s not the be all and end all, and if someone just isn’t going to orgasm, trying to force it or refusing to give up is pointless.
What we’re really talking about is an orgasm as a marker of pleasure, and making sure that even if orgasm isn’t achieved, straight men are making all the effort they can to ensure that their partners are actually enjoying sex. It’s not just the female orgasm that’s shrouded in mystery, but even the idea of women enjoying sex.
The mystery around female pleasure is there to protect straight men from their own failure. It’s a way to excuse their lack of effort by suggesting that it’s not a failure on their part, but simply the complex and confusing way women’s bodies work.
No wonder that straight women are having the least satisfying sex out of everyone. It’s not that our bodies are too complex to enjoy orgasms (otherwise women who have sex with women would also be seeing dismal results. Lesbians say they orgasm 86% of the time, while straight women come just 33% of the time), it’s that we’re missing out because of the laziness of our straight male partners.
That’s not to say that all men are screwing up, before the NOT ALL MEN brigade join the comments section.
There are plenty of straight men who are great at giving women orgasms and making sure they’re having a grand old time – and that’s usually because they’ve actually paid attention to women at some point in their lives. They’ve taken in the lesson that oral sex is more likely to give women orgasms than penetrative sex, and they understand how to touch the clit because they’ve taken feedback from their partners.
These straight men are brilliant.
But this is a problem with our culture – one that doesn’t discuss female pleasure in sex education, one that encourages the idea that a man’s orgasm is essential while a woman’s is optional, one that balances pages of blow job tips in women’s magazines with a picture of a hot woman in underwear in men’s mags, and one in which men’s sexuality is treated as straightforward and simple while women’s is impossible to understand.
This mindset does a disservice to men, too, suggesting that their sexual pleasure is basic and guaranteed, while women get the fun, exciting stuff.
The strength of this mindset makes women accept straight male laziness, and makes men feel unable to ask what would actually work. Women take in the message that their lack of orgasms is a fault on their part, just part of having a woman’s body, and so expect that they won’t get off. Straight men think it’s similarly impossible to give women orgasms, so they give up.
The solution is pretty simple.
First off, stop kidding yourself that female pleasure is a huge, mysterious thing. It’s really not – but everything feels like a mystery if you’ve never bothered actually exploring it.
Look at the vulvae. Do your research. Get an understanding of where the clitoris is, which parts feel good when you touch them, and how the vagina actually works. It’ll make up for the thousands of Cosmo sex tips straight women read in preparation for making you feel brilliant.
Then ask. Ask what your partner wants, and actually listen. You can’t get away with saying you don’t know what women want when you’ve got your hands over your ears while they yell ‘GO DOWN ON ME FOR LONGER THAN A CURSORY LICK, PLEASE’.
Women really aren’t that complex if you listen to them. The same goes for their vaginas.
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