“I always almost orgasm, but I never do. Basically, it's the best sex of my life.” (Rebecca Martin, Frühling und so)
For some people the best sex of their lives involves an orgasm. It is certainly true in fiction, at least. In the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ protagonist Anastasia Steele has her first-ever orgasm during her first-ever sexual experience with a man. That sets the bar pretty high for us non-fictitious characters if you ask me. I see it as pretty unrealistic considering that she is extremely insecure about her body and knows virtually nothing about her sexuality. I simply can’t believe she was relaxed enough to be able to have that experience - but then she is fictitious and I’m having to deal with my reality. This does not resonate with my orgasm experiences.
Studies certainly suggest some real-life women have almost achieved something that could be called “orgasm equality” with men, but many women still feel under-served and wish for more – be it more clitoral orgasms, more vaginal orgasms or simply any orgasms at all.
A recurring theme that I’ve often heard from friends or in magazines is: ‘I think it’s me. I just can’t relax’. Is it really though? I wonder whether guys ever think ‘this deep-throating thing is really weird. I just can’t relax’. I believe those self-declared, too tense people can get much further than they think – and that they shouldn’t take it all on themselves. If I were to write a letter to my younger self I’d certainly want her to know that there’s a delicate balance to strike between emphasising achievability without creating unduly high expectations (because sometimes, as in history, progress is slow). There are some things that I’ve found that have helped me and others I know and I’d like to share them with you (and my younger self, but it’s too late for that!).
With your friends (or within a friendly online community) you can try communication as a tool for change. It will make you realise that whatever you think – you’re not alone. There are people who only learned how to bring themselves to orgasm with their own hands (instead of toys) because they wanted to do a video for Beautiful Agony and the sound of the vibrator was too loud. There are some who can only orgasm during sado-masochistic activities, but not during “vanilla sex”. There are those who find it easier to have vaginal orgasms than clitoral ones and others who had the former once and then never again. There are guys who are only able to have sex with a girl when they’re not in love. There are girls who don’t French kiss. There are people who don’t move at all during sex. There are also many people who can’t relax. It’s good to realise there are many different ways to have sex and fun, to masturbate and, yes, to relax.
With a sexual partner communication is key. Some women have been raised to be very polite and often don’t say what they want (the tricky thing is that you can think of yourself as being quite emancipated and only realise later that you actually have trouble speaking up about the most important details). If you think about it, how often does a guy say with ease and simplicity: ‘Do you want to give me a blowjob?’ How often does a girl say with the same ease and simplicity: ‘Do you want to go down on me?’
Whilst on the subject of partners you might find it helpful to try having fun with different people. That’s the only way I realised, for example, that length and quality of foreplay is the single most important thing that helps get me close to orgasm - that is all kinds of orgasm. I didn’t know what my body was capable of feeling before I had the pleasure of experimenting with different men.
Carefully chosen tumblr blogs can make the internet a great place to find an amazing source of re-education - I love them. You can get to see what happy people do during sex or foreplay, get to know what they look like, get inspiration for positions, get used to people with different body sizes or hair removal ambitions – or you can have fun sharing photos yourself.
With a little technical help toys can be a cool agent of change too. The internet is full of opinions and contradictions, but while you may continue to find articles which make you believe that the G-spot is a myth, you will also find many extremely simple and helpful descriptions of how to find your personal G-spot. Conveniently, for most women when they insert two fingers into their vagina pointing upwards, there it is (but only when they are aroused). I’m highly thankful to all the sex-toy inventors who continue to come up with ever more ergonomic and efficient toys to reach and stimulate it. So hopefully, we can conclude with Erica Jong that “Someday every woman will have orgasms - like every family has colour TV - and we can all get on with the business of life.”
Sadly I have to report that all is not well. There are some sad developments in the internet world which make it unlikely that women are going to be able to relax more about their sexuality and achieve more orgasms in the future.
In this article the journalist, Emma Holten, shares her story about how her Facebook and e-mail accounts were hacked and how her nude photos were shared widely online against her will. The backlash she describes is beyond words – three years of online harassment from people, all men. Why would you blame someone for taking nude pictures of themselves? Why would you shame them if you know the photos were taken for one special person and shared online against her will?
I’m not anti-porn per se. I really can’t see that there is much wrong with some people wanting to share their sex lives and other people wanting to watch it, but some developments really piss me off. So if female ejaculation is banned from British porn, we are banning a completely normal part of orgasm for some women! Apparently there is a hygienic justification, but sperm shooting all over the place is still allowed.
I hope we get rid of this uneasiness with sexuality someday soon and stop turning what is completely normal into something weird. Most of the time, it’s women who suffer the negative impact. If anyone is tempted to use the s-word in a pejorative way, please hear this: “A slut is a person of any gender who has the courage to lead life according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you.”