“Orgasm. Vagina. Clitoris. Ejaculation. Say it with me now.”
Once, in my gender and sexuality course, we were discussing articles about the female orgasm (The Moral Significance of Female Orgasm: Toward Sexual Ethics That Celebrates Women’s Sexuality), sexual dimorphism (Sexual Morality in the New Millennium), and other various sexual topics.
Well, we were starting to discuss the piece on the female orgasm when I made a realization. Most of the women (ages 18-24 minus the professor) in the room were pretty embarrassed and/or mortified to be talking about this. I realized this when I said something about stimulating the clitoris. I heard gasps and giggles, as did my professor.
To my professor's credit, she didn't bat an eyelash. She just stood up recited the line above and made all of us repeat after her. After about five times of repeating these words, the discussion finally started. Girls were still uncomfortable with the words, but hey, if everyone was saying them, then they could too.
This brought up an important topic: why is it that in a class of almost 20 girls, only three of us were actually comfortable with talking about the female orgasm? Why when the professor asked about experiences and knowledge about the orgasm only two of us raised our hands?
We see discussions of the male orgasm all the time—in movies, conversations, books, jokes, and so on. Yet, what about the female orgasm? The only representation I can think of is in porn where women are “squirting.” In reality, though, most women do not squirt.
So why aren’t more women discussing their sexuality? Why are most women embarrassed to even say the word vagina? It isn’t a dirty word. It isn’t a taboo word. So why do we get all weirded out?
I’m proud to say that I know my body well enough. I know what makes me tick, I know what gets me going. I only know this through self exploration and discussion with my closest friend. What about the women around me who are too embarrassed with their own bodies and the idea of the orgasm? Why can some women not even say it?
Furthermore, I have no idea if my orgasm is the norm. I don’t know what an orgasm is to any other women, since no one talks about it. Am I weird to have multiple? Am I weird that I can achieve one easily? Is it weird that I have many different levels of the orgasm? I have no idea.
So, that gets me thinking. If I don’t know, then how does anyone know? There is no “norm” to having an orgasm. Each one is different. So why aren’t women talking about this? It isn’t that we aren’t curious! Once I opened up in class, I was getting asked more and more questions. One girl admitted that she had never been able to achieve an orgasm in her life.
She's not alone! According to research from The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, only 29% of women report having consistent orgasms during sex. That’s a whopping 71% of women who either never have an orgasm during sex or only sometimes do! Many women require more direct clitoral stimulation during intercourse to achieve orgasm. The problem is that sometimes when women are too afraid to speak to others about these issues, they never learn how to achieve orgasms outside of sex. In other words, don’t feel bad if you can’t climax from plain old intercourse—many women simply can’t. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.
As Dr. Ruth (the single greatest sex expert and trained sniper) explains to women, “You may have to teach your partners exactly what you need with regards to clitoral stimulation in order to have an orgasm.” The only way to do that is to figure out what you need from your partner. Your greatest resource is likely going to be your closest friends.
Discussion is exploration and exploration is knowledge. Why shouldn’t women be more knowledgable about themselves and the female body?
I’m not saying we should be asking every woman we meet, “hey how are your orgasms?” What I am saying is it should be a topic that can be talked about in close friendships, in a class relating to sexuality, and so on without women getting embarrassed or upset. This is our body. This is our own process. Let’s talk about it.