Sex has an interesting history in our culture.
Unfortunately it’s still being played out today: a little foreplay, a little lubrication, man enters woman, man orgasms, man withdraws, rolls over and goes to sleep.
Now why would any man be so selfish? Is it because he’s ignorant of what feels good for a woman? Or is it because he just can’t be bothered to think about her needs? Or is it that he just doesn’t know a woman has needs?
There are probably just as many explanations as there are sexually unsatisfied couples in the world.
But one possibility is that what we can call “wham bam, thank you ma’am” men are simply uncomfortable with intimacy and connection and deep feelings.
But whatever the explanation, why are women are still putting up with this situation? Whatever the reason, it’s about time that ended. You’ve all heard the joke, no doubt: “What do women do after sex?” Answer: 5% fall asleep, 5% take a shower, 5% read a romantic novel, and 85% go and get their vibrators.
Why would women put up with sex as simply something that was “done to them”? If you happen to be a man reading this, consider for a moment if you’re using a woman as a passive instrument for your sexual pleasure.
Even worse, are you actually having fantasies about being with another woman or indeed with anybody other than the person you’re with, while making love to your partner? (If you are, get some advice about pleasuring her here.)
We don’t know how many couples are living with sex life like this – which is to say, a sex life designed purely for male satisfaction – but it’s probably fair to assume that it’s a significant proportion.
The patriarchy is so deeply embedded in our culture that this is not surprising. In most societies, for centuries, men have seen women merely as objects or possessions, useful for the domestic chores, sexual pleasure, and providing an heir.
No wonder it’s taken so long in our culture for things to change. Really, it’s only since the feminist activists in the post-Victorian period began to think of women’s pleasure that there has been an awareness that women require sexual pleasure too!
And even masturbation was to boo, the Catholic Church in particular regarding it as a mortal sin alongside masturbation rape and murder.
No wonder that our society is now so obsessed with sex when it was so obsessed with the absence of sex for so long!
So the question for the moment is whether it is possible for women to really have equal satisfaction in bed. Are they still so sexually disempowered that it’s impossible for them to get sexual pleasure in the way they would like?
You see, sexual equality – at least in terms of orgasmic pleasure – is not brought about by simply wanting this equality to happen. For one thing, making love in a way that satisfies both man and woman is not so easy.
There are built-in barriers to feminine pleasure. One, in the fact that while the man’s orgasm is virtually guaranteed (except in cases of delayed ejaculation), a woman’s orgasm is far from certain. Her clitoris receives little stimulation during intercourse, for one thing.
Another reason is that the very act of talking about sex requires a high level of emotional intelligence and sensitivity. Most people are not comfortable enough with their sexuality to talk about it openly and frankly. Moreover, women often can’t communicate their sexual needs. This is because they’ve been brought up to expect men to be in charge of their sexuality.
And so women continue to put up with unsatisfying sex, even though there are plenty of places willing to provide sexual training (such as tantric massage techniques), information, and support. Any couple that wishes to establish a more equal sexual relationship can do it, but it requires commitment.
Before we go any further, of course we should also mention the fact the premature ejaculation is a major factor in sexual inequality. We don’t know exactly how many women could reach orgasm during intercourse if men didn’t ejaculate so quickly, but it’s likely to be a significant number.
This isn’t a matter of applying blame to men for unsatisfying intercourse. We’ve all grown up with a culture in which these things are expected, and perhaps even acceptable.
So in truth, “standard” penis-in-vagina intercourse is never going to provide women with enough orgasms to satisfy them completely, let alone narrow the orgasm gap between men and women.
Of course some women don’t have a problem demanding their rights in bed. They know what they want and they ask for it. But even this doesn’t mean that she’s going to be heard by her male partner.
The accepted sexual script which we almost all indulge in – that of limited foreplay, male penetration and ejaculation followed by his satisfaction and her frustration – has been kept alive from generation to generation. This is because it fits with the biological imperative in men to ejaculate quickly and the female difficulty in reaching orgasm.
And there are a few other problems which also underlie sexual inequality.
For one thing men believe that what feels good for them must also feel good for their partner.
And of course there isn’t much reason why men, who as far as I’m aware don’t possess a vagina, should know what it actually feels like to be penetrated. It’s a belief that seems stubborn and resistant to change: that a man can satisfy woman by thrusting into her vagina.
This gets reinforced because in an early sexual relationship, most men ejaculate quickly. However, the women these men ejaculate into don’t speak up about how they want things to be because they too are ignorant about their sexual needs and expectations, and the possibilities open to them.
And so in a way right from the start, men are trained to expect that sex will consist of male penetration and orgasm, and very little else.
Even leaving aside all cultural issues such as the economic power of women to live independently of men, it’s fair to say that most couples are stuck in a dynamic that is not helpful. So what are we going to do about this?
Well, we’re not going to fake orgasm, which is one of the ways that women apparently soothe their men. Of course, men may have such fragile egos that they couldn’t possibly be told that they’re not satisfying their women!
Joking aside, sadly modern women do have a pressure on them to express sexual pleasure, otherwise they might be thought of as “frigid”.
And in this situation, it’s even more likely that a woman is going to accept the inadequate sex which men are foisting upon her without complaint. That’s because she may well see her failure to reach orgasm as being due to something inadequate or wrong with her.
As you can see from the above comments, it’s a bit of a muddle for all of us, but women are the ones who really miss out on sexual pleasure. So what I’m saying is that men have a responsibility to learn how to make love better.
The website I linked to above is one of the ones where there is useful information that can actually be applied in a practical way. This will help a couple bring the relationship between male orgasm and female orgasm more into equality.
Now, it takes courage for a woman to admit that she’s been faking orgasms for a while, because it exposes the possibility that she might have been telling other lies about her level of satisfaction with the relationship.
And yet there’s a simple motto that says actually “honesty is the best policy” – and that’s no different in sexual relationships to any other area of human life.
My advice to all men reading this is to find a way of pleasuring a woman that gives you satisfaction. You also need and to accept that whatever’s happened in the past is over and done with (faking orgasms included).
Start afresh, look forward, and enjoy finding out how you and your partner can work together to produce a happy and satisfying sex life that will give both of you the greatest pleasure.
Of course it possible to enjoy making love without having an orgasm – and that’s true for both men and women.
But, yes, particularly true for women, who might value the feeling of closeness that intercourse gives them, and who may well be satisfied to have this dimension alone in their sexual relationship.
And that doesn’t alter the fact that at the end of the day, it’s necessary for a couple to experience sexual pleasure in its fullest form for their relationship to reach its maximum potential.