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Archives for : December2013

WOMAN’S GUIDE TO THE FEMALE ORGASM

Dr Gabrielle Morrissey discusses the parts that trust, honesty and attention play in achieving an orgasm.

THE ORGASMIC WOMANS FACE IMAGE www.goodgirlsgo.com

(Q) I’ve been seeing a guy for a few months, but I’m less experienced than him – which is intimidating. I’ve only ever slept with three guys and have never had an orgasm with any of them. Is this common? Is there a way I can fix it? Reaching orgasm has never been important to me, but it is for him and I don’t want to hurt his ego.

(A) Less than 30 per cent of women orgasm during sexual intercourse, and many find it difficult to orgasm through oral sex and other forms of sex play. As a result, nearly 45 per cent of women admit to faking orgasm while making love.

It’s important at the start of a sexual relationship not to fake arousal or climax. This only starts a vicious cycle of lack of pleasure for you, and less chance of orgasm, because you’re sending the message to your partner that what they are doing (which isn’t working) is what helps you climax.

ORGASM HEAD BACK

There could be several causes for you never reaching orgasm.

Perhaps none of your partners stimulated you the way you need to be to reach climax. Do you know what kind of stimulation it takes to achieve climax? Can you bring yourself to orgasm? It also might be that the stimulation is there, but you are unable to relax. Often, fear is a factor in preventing a woman from letting go into orgasm.

She may be self-conscious about her body, she may hold negative sexual messages about pleasure, and/or she might be afraid to be vulnerable and trusting with her partner. She might be afraid of intimacy and letting someone else bring her to full pleasure.

If any of these apply to you, it’s important to discuss it honestly with your partner. The more he understands what is preventing you from climaxing, the better you are both able to explore your pleasure together. However, if you feel the issue has more to do with a lack of the right kind of physical stimulation, open communication about what feels good to you is important.

It’s often important for a woman to feel aroused mentally and physically, beyond the genitals, in order to climax, so explore each other’s erogenous zones from tip to toe. Mind-blowing sex takes investment, attention and action. If you both want to have orgasms together, then rather than making it a goal each time, make it a discovery process you both invest in.

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Henry Sapiecha

THESE THINGS ARE MORE IMPORTANT TO WOMEN THAN GETTING A HUSBAND

“Financial independence is a great thing, but you can’t take your paycheck to bed with you.”

couple in love image www.goodgirlsgo.com

Thus speaketh Suzanne Venker in a charming apologia for domestic servitude published this week entitled “Why Women Still Need Husbands”. She’s the spokesperson for a US website called “Women for Men”, a social commentator unencumbered by an objective appreciation of reality, and an avowed anti-feminist. Venker holds the kind of convenient “boys don’t make passes at smart girls in glasses” opinions that get you on Fox News in the US

She’s back on TV this week discussing the interview in a clip that’s gone viral, advocating her latest skull-smack-wood brand of advice to American women. Her central message is that if you wish to be happy – drop your career, stop fighting for equality, find a husband and become financially dependent on him, while doing all of his housework and raising his kids. For Venker and Fox, you see, there’s just no girl as happy as an indentured domestic slave girl. I am writing this article so you don’t have to rage-blister your eyeballs by reading hers: Venker’s advocacy of women eschewing careers and financial independence cites benefits like the chance to “make more time for exercise”. I suppose this is because there is no man so unhappy as one paying for a slave girl whose buns are not tight.

Certainly, Suzanne Venker is posing the right question when she asks how women “can gain more control over their lives”, but her answer to allow one’s hunted-down husband to “bring home the bacon” so he can enjoy “a sense of purpose” while you scrub the skidmarks out of his underpants, stay buff and bang him for spare change is the nonsense of Opportunistic Fox Bananaland.

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That so many women feel so disempowered and stressed by competing demands of public and private life is not, of course, an individual issue remedial with the application of one husband, but as a syndrome caused by social factors that have to be addressed collectively. Here are the four things women need far bloody more than any individual husband, boyfriend or man-bot could ever provide.

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1. Free, Accessible Childcare

Government-provided childcare enables families to make practical and shared choices around parental leave, work commitments and career development as well as socialises children among one another, provides them with early-onset educational benefits, and creates networks for the families of an entire community. Why millions of dollars are being committed to a parental leave scheme that benefits only a handful of women well when it could be directed to childcare and therefore benefit the whole community extremely well is as suspicious as it is impractical. That the heavily female-dominated childcare work industry has just been denied yet another payrise is shameful in its disregard of the benefits that quality childcare provides everyone.

2. Equal Pay

“Unlike women, a man’s identity is inextricably linked to his paycheck. That’s how most men feel a sense of purpose,” writes Venker, for whom size really does matter as she equates a desire for more and more money an “integral part of masculinity”. Perhaps it’s Venker’s persistent, dark ages belief that a penis is so “integrally” related to an income which is one of the other great causes of women’s stress – the gender pay gap which in her own home of the United States sees women, despite the law, receiving 23% less income than men for doing the same job. In Australia, it’s up to 32.3% in some industries – and widening.

3. Social Parity

While women remain underrepresented in cultural depictions, positions of leadership and in non-traditional industries, the social status of women remains less than that of men, making women vulnerable to insidious sexism, discrimination and gendered abuse. While women are portayed as objects and not subjects by culture – as “love interest” rewards for masculine heroic achievement in mainstream narratives and cum-canvasses in the overwhelming majority of porn – women are therefore treated as objects, generalized, stereotyped, and socially unconsidered. This leads not just to the stress of being invisible in the workplace, ignored for promotions, burdened with stereotyped expectations like a capacity for “multi-tasking” (aka doing more work for less money). It’s also the financial pressure of keeping up idealized physical appearances as well as fear of the ultimate gender objectification: rape and sexual assault. Suzanne Venker would do well to remember that majority of violent crimes against women are committed by the spouses she encourages us “to lean on”.

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4. Reproductive Rights

It’s a significant cause of stress for women that their right to determine whether to become mothers or not is a choice that governments around the world are progressively trying to deny them. The demands of motherhood aren’t always chosen and sometimes not shared: gender roles purported by the likes of Suzanne Venker persistently represent parenting as a female role, and therefore culturally enable too many men to eschew equal parenting responsibility without consequence. To deny the right of every child to be wanted and every mother willing by denying women their reproductive agency for ascribing “personhood” to foetuses is fomenting in legislation such as Zoes’ Law in New South Wales and the activism of renegade anti-choice MP Geoff Shaw in Victoria. With a threatened return to the coathanger era of reproduction politics, is it any wonder women are stressed?

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Henry Sapiecha

DO WOMEN NEED TO WEAR BRAS HIGHLIGHTED IN THIS VIDEO

THE BOOBY POLICE HAVE A SAY ABOUT THE NECESSITY OR OTHERWISE OF WEARING BRAS BY WOMEN

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breast measuring image www.goodgirlsgo.com

Henry Sapiecha

WHY DO WOMEN WEAR BIKINIS IS EXPLAINED IN THIS VIDEO

Is bikini wearing by women a sexual thing or…..did it just evolve based on what men liked?

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Henry Sapiecha

TEN STRANGE THINGS ABOUT WOMEN SHOWN IN THIS VIDEO

WOMEN HAVE FASTER BRAINS IT IS SAID , PLUS….

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Henry Sapiecha

MORMAN WOMEN BARE ALL TO MAKE A POINT

MORMAN WOMEN GET NAKED TO HIGHLIGHT SOME ISSUES THEY DEAL WITH

mormon woman image www.goodgirlsgo.com

morman amanda image www.goodgirlsgo.com

morman janeanne image www.goodgirlsgo.com

morman kara image www.goodgirlsgo.com

morman kathryn image www.goodgirlsgo.com

morman katie image www.goodgirlsgo.com

morman monica image www.goodgirlsgo.com

morman renee-image www.goodgirlsgo.com

One of the most striking things about artist and feminist Katrina Barker Anderson’s photography project (it’s NSFW!) The Mormon Women Bare, is how the women photographed often write alongside their photograph about feeling that their body was not their own. It belonged to God, or to their husbands, and definitely to the male gaze. Their bodies were something that they had to keep in check. And in a culture that perpetuates the male gaze as the only one that matters and where women are constantly told that their bodies are wrong, or will bring about wrongs, or that they don’t belong to them, these photos become a quite powerful stance against all of that.

For Barker Anderson, the goal of the project was to take a stance against body shaming and objectification, especially in the Mormon community. She wanted Mormon women to connect with their bodies in a way that mattered.

She writes of the project on her website

“Women around the world deal with objectification, body shame, and the burden of the male gaze. Mormon women have an added layer of complexity and heavy expectations: while being warned against becoming “walking pornography,” we also face immense pressure to be attractive and fit. We must both attract and protect against male desire. Even though Mormonism teaches us our destiny is to become like our embodied Heavenly Parents, the hyper-focus on modesty leaves many of us feeling disconnected and ambivalent about our bodies. Our sense of self can feel so eclipsed by the expectation to be a wife and mother that we no longer see our bodies as our own. Separated from our skin by layers of clothing, many Mormon women lose touch with the capabilities and power we innately possess. Mormon Women Bare seeks to empower women to reclaim our bodies. Through photography and personal narratives, women are seen as beautiful, flawed, vulnerable and real. Women of different shapes, sizes, and ages demonstrate that bodies need not bring shame but can be owned, celebrated, and honored.”

While too often ‘taking your clothes off for empowerment’ is as shallow as it sounds, and extreme measures aren’t always the way to change a conservative culture, there’s nothing extreme or indeed shallow about this project.

The women featured are honest in their appraisals of how they feel about their bodies, and brave, to be participating in something like this. I imagine that it was freeing for them, and I hope that in seeing themselves this way, they can feel the connection with, and appreciation for, their bodies that they had been missing in the past.

See the Mormon Women Bare project here, remember that it is NSFW

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Henry Sapiecha

WOMAN TELLS HER STORY OF BEING RAPED IN AFRICA

A love of adventure drew Philippa Strickland to the ancient island of Lamu, off the Kenyan coast. It was beautiful and captivating but, as she discovered, even paradise has a dark side.

Philippa Strickland on hiking trip image www.goodgirlsgo.com

He seized me with his left arm while his right hand brandished a knife at my throat. I tried to grab it, but the blade sliced across my fingers. I’d first noticed this man moments earlier staring at me as I left a nearby restaurant after breakfast. We were alone on this path. Before I could think or act, everything went black.

When I could see again, I was on the floor and he was straddling me as he adjusted a balaclava on his head. His build was unimposing but, in his right hand, he still held the knife and now pointed the tip of it down at my chest. I wasn’t so much scared as dazed by what I saw, convinced it was a delusion I just had to wait out.

What’s happening?” I asked. Hearing my own voice, I realised this was no dream. The sounds were too clear, the colours too vivid and the smells too intense: the stench of human excrement filled my nostrils. I looked around. I was lying underneath an overturned wooden boat that had been propped against a wall to create a makeshift public toilet. How did I get here?

Confusion and panic overwhelmed me, stunning me into submission. “What do you want from me?” He put his face close to mine. “I only want one thing,” he replied and his eyes darted down to my hips. My heart began to thump, my terror palpable in this closed-off world. I started to plead with him, “Please don’t do this to me.”

He pressed his hand heavily over my mouth and looked piercingly into my eyes: “I have two men out there watching for me. If you make any noise, I will tell them to come here. Do you want one man raping you or three?”

Philippa Strickland with a local woman in east Africa-image www.goodgirlsgo.com

I’d arrived on Lamu Island, off the north-east coast of Kenya, the previous afternoon, September 4, after travelling 24 hours from Nairobi on overcrowded buses along dusty, potholed, dirt roads and, finally, by boat. I was exhausted, but captivated by the beauty of Lamu Town as we entered its port. Described on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as “the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa”, the crumbling architecture lining many of Lamu’s cramped laneways dates back to the 14th century, when the town was established along a major Arab trading route.

With beautiful, white-sand beaches fringing the warm Indian Ocean, car-free streets heaving with life, the aroma of grilled fish drifting along the esplanade and the call to prayer permeating every crevice of its dilapidated buildings, the town made me feel as if I’d been transported back in time. This was everything that excited me about travelling. I dumped my bags at the hotel, grabbed my camera and went out to explore the foreshore as the sun began to set. It was humming with activity: veiled women with children in tow bustled purposefully among the shops, and donkeys lugged loads of cement from boats to building sites as the menfolk ambled from their evening prayers.

I knew this paradise had its dark side, however. In 2011, Somali pirates kidnapped a disabled French woman, Marie Dedieu, from her home on the small island of Manda just west of Lamu; both islands are part of an archipelago lying 100 kilometres south of the Kenya-Somali border. They refused her her daily medications for cancer and heart problems, which resulted in her death, and then attempted to sell her body. Two weeks earlier, a British couple had been abducted further up the coast in Kiwayu. Judith Tebbutt was held for six months before being released for a $1 million ransom; her husband, David, received a fatal shot to the chest as he tried to wrestle with one of the gunmen.

These events had had a significant impact on Lamu’s tourism industry, and although people were gradually starting to return to the island, the restaurants along the foreshore were empty. I was the only guest in my hotel, which my 2010 guide book described as “often full both in and out of season”: it was multi-storeyed with eight rooms sprawled haphazardly over three floors. Run by a friendly local family, it had an open terrace on the roof that overlooked the mosque next door.

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As a tall, blonde, 31-year-old white woman, I didn’t go unnoticed in Lamu. In the narrow streets, young men sat in groups drinking tea or playing board games, gesturing for me to join them. Having spent the past nine months in Africa, I’d grown used to the attention and chose to ignore it.

The freedom to explore the world like this was infectious. As a keen photographer, I could be wherever I wanted to be, whenever I wanted to be, just to catch the best light; I could change my plans on a whim. Other travellers would ignite my interest in new destinations or alternative routes, and the friendships I’d made on the road were enduring. Every day was new and exciting and my perspective on the world and my own life had been challenged immeasurably.

Travel had equipped and enriched me in a way my formal education never had. I had backpacked like this for the past 10 years, spending eight or nine months overseas, then returning home to Adelaide to work in order to fund the next trip. Nothing bad had happened to me – yet.

I stared at the knife wedged into the sand next to my head, unable to look at the man looming over me who was now rocking rhythmically back and forth. It was the same sort of knife I used to chop vegetables at home. There was blood pouring from the cut on my hand: it was no toy. Dread collided with confusion, which fused with a constant wish to deny the reality of this situation. This wasn’t me lying here, it was someone else, and I wanted her to know what to do because I didn’t.

I thought about grabbing the knife, but then what? And if he overpowered me? All rational thought was stifled by fear of his every movement. Without the knife in his hand, he had become perversely gentle in his actions. When he saw the blood on my hand, he interrupted his awful rhythm to wipe it with my underwear and apologised for hurting me. His attempts to convince himself that this was something other than what it was infuriated me, yet I decided to act on this fleeting glimpse of humanity. Despite being unmarried, I tried to reason with him, saying, “My husband will kill me if he finds out”, and struggling under his weight.

He clasped one hand over my mouth and pressed the other down on my neck, tightening his grasp until I could scarcely breathe. The aggressor in him left me powerless. He looked around, checking for passers-by or signals from accomplices. I tilted my head to follow his gaze – I wanted to know if there really were other men on lookout – but he yanked it back sharply. Angered, he pulled the knife from the sand and motioned to stab me in the chest with it. “I will kill you,” he whispered menacingly, his eyes threatening through the holes in the balaclava.

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Panic and fear enveloped me once again. Nothing had prepared me for this disarray of thoughts, resulting from a deprivation of basic rights or alternatives. I didn’t want to submit to this, but what was I risking otherwise?

Abruptly, he stopped, listened. Was somebody coming? I held my breath and strained to listen through the accelerated beating of my heart thudding in my ears. He yanked up his shorts, snatched the knife and my bag from the sand, crawled out from beneath the boat and was gone. My instinct was to chase him. He had my wallet, camera and lenses – I didn’t want him to get away with any more than he already had. I scrambled out into the path and ran after him. I saw him 100 metres away and then he disappeared, consumed by the sand dunes and vegetation that lay beyond the restaurant. I stopped. What was I doing? This man had a knife. Defeated, I stood in anguish, screaming.

Two young men ran towards me. While my words were lost in translation, my distress was understood and I collapsed on the sand. “We call police,” they said. “Wait.” One of them disappeared around the corner, returning with the couple who owned the restaurant where I’d had breakfast a short time earlier.

“What has happened to you?” questioned the woman, obviously shocked at my appearance: hair tangled with sand and excrement and blood staining the cream shirt and long skirt I was wearing. “He stole everything … and he raped me,” I replied. She covered her mouth in disbelief before stepping forward to embrace me. “The police are on their way,” she said. “We will take you to hospital.”

The Lamu Hospital, serving the island’s 100,000 residents, was a cluster of buildings surrounding an open-air courtyard on the edge of town. I sat in the surgery feeling numb. Had all this really happened?

The young Muslim doctor who treated me was warm, compassionate and worked with a professionalism and focus that contrasted significantly with the modus operandi of the police, who repeatedly knocked on the door, interrupting her examination, to ask me basic questions that they’d forgotten during their initial, muddled interview. They appeared listless and confused.

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The doctor’s assessment was methodical and thorough. She carried out blood tests, took swabs and explained in detail how the USAid antiretroviral drugs she was prescribing would work to reduce the risk of infection. While the man’s HIV status was unknown, the prevalence of the virus in Africa, and the devastation it has wrought across the continent, are only too well known. I couldn’t even contemplate what this could mean for me. While I had an Implanon rod inserted under the skin of my upper arm to prevent unwanted pregnancy, I had no control over HIV.

For the next month I would need to take five tablets a day, taken in different combinations, plus a course of antibiotics. Like many drugs, the antiretrovirals are not 100 per cent effective and, after three months, I would need to be tested for HIV. I have yet to undergo this blood test. I choose not to think about the possibility of an unwelcome outcome: I’m not preparing myself for that, for the simple reason that I don’t know how to.

The doctor also addressed my psychological state. “Maybe you are still in shock and this will not hit you until later,” she said. “But remember, this is not your fault and, no matter what happens, you will be okay.” While I wanted to believe her, sitting in a hospital full of strangers, 10,000 kilometres from home, I wasn’t so sure. “Is this common?” I asked.

“For white women, no. But for local women, particularly young girls, yes. I see too many cases.”

The drop in Lamu’s tourist numbers following the events of 2011, and the subsequent rise in unemployment, had apparently taken its toll on this small community. As I sat in the hospital courtyard waiting for the results of blood tests for sexually transmitted diseases, an elderly man approached me. “I’m so sorry this has happened to you,” he said with sincerity. It seemed that news had spread fast. “This is because of the drug problems. This never would have happened before. Lamu is a peaceful place. But do not expect anything from these police.” He lowered his voice, before adding, “They are all involved.”

I was taken back to my hotel to shower and change. In an attempt to steady my nerves, I drank the last of a bottle of red wine I’d bought two days earlier. I returned to the police station later that afternoon feeling calmer and more rational, but infinitely exhausted. The officer who’d been appointed to my case asked the same question posed earlier by his colleagues: “Would you be able to identify this man?” I repeated that, since his face had been covered, this would be difficult. “Well, there is not so much we can do,” he sighed. “But we will try our best.”

He then asked a young officer to chaperone me to the hotel of a friend on the other side of Lamu Town. “I just walked from there,” came the young officer’s lethargic reply. I was too drained to argue or care, so I left alone.

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I spent that night with an English friend in her hotel. She’d informed me the previous week that she’d be holidaying on the island, but until now we hadn’t met up. She listened in disbelief as I related my day of horror, which was in sharp contrast to her experience of Lamu – she’d spent days alternately wandering through the town and sunbaking on the beach.

Sitting on her balcony talking, I felt vastly disconnected from the person who’d been lying under the boat only hours before. My ability to relay the incident without emotion or distress was disconcerting to us both, and finally attributed to shock. I slept restlessly next to her, waking frequently to check she was still there and questioning myself about the reality of it all. This was something that happened to other people, not to me.

My friend was visiting the island with a group of former colleagues, one of whom was a journalist now working in Nairobi. He contacted the Kenyan police in the city, and they arranged a meeting that would take place the following morning at the local police station. All chiefs of police and government officials on the island would be there. Although I was sceptical about the efficacy of such a meeting, I agreed to go with the journalist.

I woke up in pain, my muscles remembering the struggle of the day before. The gathering began with an outpouring of condolences and assurances that absolutely everything would be done to find this man and prosecute him. Unfortunately, with few leads to work with, it soon deteriorated into a search for a scapegoat, the finger of blame wandering back and forth between me, for travelling alone, and the restaurant owners; according to the police, they should have employed a guard to monitor the 50-metre public path where the assault had taken place, despite no previous concerns regarding safety in the area.

Once again, I was infuriated. This family had responded to my screams, alerted the police and accompanied me to the hospital. I didn’t want to hear them accused of anything. Enough was enough. I excused myself.

It was time to contact my family and book a flight home to Adelaide. First, I stopped to thank the owners of the restaurant for their kindnesses the day before. “Today it is you,” said the woman with emotion. “Maybe tomorrow it is me.”

I walked back to the hotel with apprehension. What would this predominantly Muslim community think about an uncovered white woman being attacked like this? I needn’t have worried. In an incredible show of solidarity, women I didn’t know stopped to embrace me or to say simply, “We are sorry this has happened to you.”

As the plane took off the next morning, I looked down at the waters of the Indian Ocean, the white sands of the archipelago and the ancient town of Lamu. Its beauty was stunning, but I was relieved to be leaving it behind – for now. I knew I’d be back, though. I loved Africa: its landscapes, its cultures, its people.

As I watched the villages becoming specks in the vast mosaic of Africa, I thought of the women I’d seen in my travels here: the loads they carried, their relentless chores and the children they bore in harsh conditions. What other, unspoken perils did they endure? While I could get on a plane and fly away, they had no option but to stay.

Philippa Strickland-image www.goodgirlsgo (2)

On September 21, after I returned home to Adelaide, insurgents from the Somali militant group al-Shabaab stormed Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, killing more than 60 civilians. I feared the impact this event would have on Kenya’s tourism and the people of Lamu. In regions of the country that relied so heavily on foreign visitors for economic stability, what further knock-on effects would these communities experience?

The gang-rape of a 16-year-old Kenyan schoolgirl in June sparked widespread protest when it was revealed last month that the police response to the violent attack had been to force three of her attackers to cut the grass around the station before releasing them. The police had also urged that the mother “clean her up”, thereby destroying all forensic evidence.

At the end of October, I was told a man had attempted to rape a schoolgirl on Lamu. His build and knife fitted the description I gave. Angry locals caught and beat the man with the intention of lynching him before police intervened. He was taken to hospital under police surveillance. I wasn’t surprised to learn that later, while in their custody, he escaped through a bathroom window.

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Henry Sapiecha

THE THINKING WOMAN’S VIEW ON SEX & ORGASM

There is a scene in Zoe Heller’s novel The Believers that perfectly sums up a social attitude towards sex, pleasure and the different ways they are assumed to matter to men and women.

ORGASM CHICK--

Rosa, a young woman in search of religious meaning, has returned to New York after years spent living as a socialist in Cuba. After having dinner with an old acquaintance, they return to his apartment, where he pours them some wine and puts some romantic music on.

Rosa’s sexual intentions in the moment have less to do with pursuing pleasure and more to do with challenging some preconceived ideas about herself, and she worries that her date will try to engage her in slow, tender lovemaking. So it comes as a surprise (and a relief) when the act turns out to be so different from its precursor. Her date ‘fucks her like a dog’, quickly and furiously. When it’s over, he tells her it was amazing and asks, ‘Did you come?’

As a reader, I laughed because the idea was so comical. While I’m sure there are some women (and men) for whom three minutes of vigorous thrusting would be enough, they must be few and far between. The idea that anyone could reach adulthood and still imagine that orgasms emerged out of nowhere in response to the presence of a penis is ludicrous.

Rosa answers, “No,” for she is honest to a fault. But to spare the feelings of a man she doesn’t really care about and considers relatively boring, she quickly adds, “But that’s okay. You know, I don’t always have to…” Her date nods his head knowingly and replies, “Yeah. It’s like that for a lot of women.”

The scene is deftly handled; an arch, satirical look at the disconnect between stereotypical sexuality and its reality. I immediately thought of all the other women whose forays into The Great Lover’s bed had ended in apologetic assurances that it was them and not he who experienced sexual dysfunction. Meanwhile, he continues unchallenged in his belief that the female orgasm is an elusive thing, something that we enjoy rarely as a bonus on top of the main act, and certainly can’t pin down when casual sex is on the cards.

It’s this so-called elusiveness that consumes much of the ‘debate’ about female sexuality and pleasure. Are women having enough orgasms? Are they having them at all, and if so, are they the ‘right’ kind of orgasms?

The New York Times recently reported on a study undertaken by the Kinsey Institute to determine the frequency with which women orgasm and in what kinds of situations. It found that women are almost twice as likely to enjoy orgasms with a sexual partner when they were in a long term relationship as opposed to a one night stand or casual arrangement. Further, that at a strike rate of 80 percent, men were twice as likely to orgasm than women in the latter situation, who were only hitting the jackpot 40 percent of the time.

Leaving aside for a moment the notorious unreliability of studies, particularly those conducted with limited conditions such as a diminished age group (the Kinsey Institute interviewed 600 college students, many of whom might only be new to experiencing sexuality with another person), the impact of geography and culture (for example, to what degree American culture frowns on women participating in and pursuing casual sex) and the scope of sexual preferences canvassed (the report appears to look only at heterosexual relationships), these kinds of ‘findings’ really only exist to service pre-existing ideas that continue unchallenged and unchecked.

To wit: that the female body and its genitalia is more complicated than that of a man’s, and that as a result it has happily resigned itself to having more subdued needs.

But sexual pleasure does not end with an orgasm; it’s precisely that kind of thinking that leads to the assumption all sex should be penetrative, and ends as soon as a man ejaculates. It’s heteronormative thinking, ignoring the myriad ways queer people negotiate the exchange of pleasure when traditional dichotomies of gender are removed from the equation. And above all, it’s sex negative crap that does nothing to further our understanding of our own bodies or the things we desire to do and feel with them.

In reality, it’s the lack of adequate sex education delivered in a culture of slut shaming that poses the greatest threat to women’s sexual enjoyment (if indeed they ARE in pursuit of an orgasm, which they may not be – intimacy is complex, and our reasons – both women and men – for seeking it out may, as in Rosa’s case, have nothing to do with physical release). Our society is still too wrapped up in the idea that pleasure is given by someone else rather than controlled by ourselves.

And unfortunately for women, long cast as both the performers of male fantasy and ingenues in our own, it is still all too often assumed that we are little more than empty vessels waiting to be awoken by someone else.

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Henry Sapiecha