This post stems from a discussion some friends and I had on Facebook that really indicated to me how starved women are for validation about their personal experiences with orgasm. I am sure this discussion also applies to people of other genders as well although the details might be somewhat different.
If you’re a woman living in the U.S. (or many other countries), you struggle with managing a million messages per day about how gross, old, fat, fucked up and socially unacceptable your body is in order to sell you bullshit. And then after telling you how gross you are, you get the Dove Real Beauty campaign that makes you feel bad for feeling bad about yourself. The spiral of bullshit never ends.
What makes me incredibly sad, however, is that this shaming permeates our sexual bodies as well. Your vagina is gross. (Debby once had me print out all the Someecards that contained the word “vagina.” Most of them made me want to cry.) Your labia are gross and should be surgically removed. Your pubic hair is gross. (I admit that I am into Brazilian waxing myself, but I still believe that pubic hair maintenance is a personal thing, and it’s all good). YOU ARE HAVING THE WRONG KIND OF ORGASMS. To the point that for some women it’s easier to just fake it, or avoid sex entirely.
I remember when I was 12 or 13 I would sneak into my mom’s sex books (mostly written in the 70s and 80s) to yanno, learn things. And these books were SERIOUSLY BAD sometimes (I recall one of them saying that you can tell if a woman had a real orgasm or faked it by whether or not her nipples were erect. Lolwhut?) I had been experimenting with masturbation for a while and was still figuring out how to have an orgasm. I vividly recall one book that included instructions for “HOW TO HAVE AN ORGASM.” IIRC, it involved getting into some crazy starfish position and masturbating with your partner’s penis. I didn’t have access to a penis yet (though I would shortly! early bloomer) so I was SOL.
I had my first orgasm at age 14 after getting some legitimately helpful advice from the now-defunct LA zine “Ben Is Dead,” which suggested aiming a massaging shower head cranked to maximum force at your chocha. I vividly remember my first orgasm, it just felt weird, and the “evolution of man” image flashed through my mind’s eyes at the point of climax for reasons I still don’t understand. A year later I graduated to the Hitachi Magic Wand, because I was lucky enough to live half a mile from Good Vibrations, could pass for 18, and had $40 in birthday money to blow on my first sex toy at age 15.
Some 20 years later, I think I’m pretty damn lucky to understand my sexuality so well, and to help out others as a sex educator and blogger. (I was so thrilled when a friend told me she discovered her A spot with her partner after a workshop I taught, and I love helping my friends shop for their first sex toy.) I can tell you this much, though: while I can tell you the many ways that I can have an orgasm, I would never, ever presume to write a book where I tell YOU “HOW TO HAVE AN ORGASM.” I can make suggestions for things you might like. But figuring it out is on you, maybe with some assistance from toys and partner(s). This idea that there is a correct way to have an orgasm is still incredibly pervasive, not only in messages from the media, but even from sex-positive educators like Betty Dodson, who insists you shouldn’t tighten your muscles and hold your breath during orgasm. (I get that she wants to encourage people to have other types of orgasms, but there’s actually a Tantric technique that uses the tightening and breath holding that’s given me some of the most amazing orgasms of my life.)
So here it is, beloved readers of all genders:
- There is nothing wrong with you if you’ve never had an orgasm.
- There’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t know whether or not you’ve had an orgasm.
- There is nothing wrong with you if it takes you an hour, or three hours to have an orgasm.
- There is nothing wrong with you if you cannot come from vaginal penetration alone. (I always wonder with this- are women expecting to have clitoral orgasms from this, or G Spot orgasms? These are very different things in my personal experience.)
- There is nothing wrong with you if you come very quickly.
- There is nothing wrong with you if you only can come from oral sex.
- There is nothing wrong with you if you can’t come from oral sex.
- There is nothing wrong with you if you need extra lube or vibrator to get off. We collectively need to get over fear and shame around using vibrators with partners. A vibrator doesn’t replace or supplant partner sex, it supplements and enhances partner sex.
- There is nothing wrong with you if you don’t have multiple orgasms.
- There is nothing wrong with you if you need kinky fantasies to get off.
- There is nothing wrong with you if your G-spot is more sensitive than your clit.
- There is nothing wrong with you if you don’t have a G-spot.
Here’s the funny thing- no matter how we get off, we often thing there’s something wrong with it. Part of the problem is we don’t talk freely and openly about sex as much as we should, but even in the polyamory and BD/SM communities where people do talk about sex a lot, you might feel inadequate because another person can do this thing that you can’t. Repeat after me: every body is different, and your personal experiences aren’t intrinsically better or worse than anyone else’s, they’re just different.
Does that mean that I think you should stop looking for your G-spot, or give up on attempting new ways to get off? Not necessarily, but I think you should explore and keep an open mind for your own pleasure, and not because you feel your body is weird or inadequate in some way. And if you try something and it doesn’t work for you, it’s not a big deal. Try something else, or keep doing what you know works well. Just understand that your body is okay just the way it is, even if it’s different from other people’s bodies.