Says this kick-ass massage therapist…
A few weeks ago Unicorn and I watched a documentary on Netflix called Orgasm, Inc. The film discusses the unnecessary medicalization of the inability of women to attain orgasm. In essence, (spoiler alert — but women already know this) the problem women have with reaching orgasm have nothing to do with their bodies and everything to do with our society and our minds.
First, from the time we are young we are taught that we are not pretty enough. Media images, our peers, every where we look there are messages about beauty standards and how we aren’t attaining them. This causes unrealistic expectations for women (and men) regarding female attractiveness. It is also part of why I love this internet meme (aside from the fact that they are all femme and white):
Bottom half, way hotter.
Secondly, one in four women are the victims of sexual violence in their life. And these are just the women who report it. Of course women are going to have a difficult time reaching climax if sex has brought pain, shame and powerlessness to them in the past.
Finally, women are taught that we are the arbiters of sexual relations. Our society argues that men want sex, sex is bad, and that it is the job of women to police sexual activity. I call bullshit.
In the 1950s Alfred Kinsey’s famous study of sexuality was released. In addition to finding out that straight people like to have gay sex (gasp!) he also discovered that women enjoy sex (interestingly, this was the more shocking finding at the time). Nevertheless, so many women are taught that sexual pleasure is wrong and that they should work to prevent it.
Anyway, all of this to say that it is no wonder women have such messed up relationships to their bodies and sex. It is heartbreaking.
Last night I was at a dinner party with some friends and a few acquaintances. During the dinner we played a board game version of Never Have I Ever. As the game went on I learned that none of the other women at the table had ever used sex toys – even a vibrator – and none had ever seen pornography. I was shocked! It makes me so sad to think that so many women are so unaware of their bodies. So unaware of what they like, what they don’t like. So ashamed of sexual pleasure.
So, it is my plea, that all you women out there get down with yourself. Get to your nearest feminist sex shop and do some exploring. You can thank me later.
In her last post Unicorn mentioned that she has had very different experiences in dating men and women. She and I come at this process from different perspectives. She has mostly dated women and I have mostly dated men. As we move forward in our bi-poly exploration I’ve been struck by the differences in expectations between men and women in dating. As a sociologist, I’m really interested in how our socialization and conditioning have shaped this. A few things I’ve noticed:
As Unicorn mentioned, relationships move very quickly with women. After just a few dates you get bombarded with text messages, expectations of monogamy, and intense desires to meet up regularly. With men, when you are early in dating its more typical to see one another once a week (maybe twice) and to receive a couple texts a week. (Obviously there are exceptions).
I also learned from a couple of friends who date women that, if it isn’t stated otherwise, it is expected that both parties are monogamous and dating from the first date forward. With men, I think it is assumed everyone is dating someone else unless there is a conversation about monogamy.
Now, I don’t believe that there is something innate that makes women want to settle down and men want to explore. Unicorn and I are clearly two exceptions to that rule… But, my broader point is that I think it is something we are socialized to do. But why?
Unicorn and I have both recently read Sex At Dawn which provides an anthropological look at human sexuality. It argues that monogamy wasn’t common until human societies transitioned to be agriculturally based – when it mattered if people knew who there kids were and which mouths they had to feed/would help them on the farm. Why then, centuries later, have we stayed stuck in this pattern? Why do women fight to hard to claim territory? (In my experience, men do this later in the relationship and with equal fierceness, but… you get my point). Thoughts?
In the meantime, read Sex at Dawn.
I had the most lovely experience last week, of going to a coffee shop and seeing the most wonderful man waiting for me in a booth. He smiled at me immediately, acknowledging his luck at my arrival, and he immediately started up a lively conversation that lasted the better part of four hours. We talked about everything and about all these nerdy pursuits that we both have. This is the kind of person that I love- a person that can make conversation about anything, because they are truly interested in everything. I was told once by an ex that I am the easiest person in the world to buy a present for- because I like almost everything in the world. I am also an easy person to please on a date- take me to any museum and I will be happy because I am learning something.
Anyway, as this man talked, I studied his face, his eyes, his little beard and curly dark hair, and I knew that this would be a good man to have children with. And who knew that was such a factor for me? But at the same time I got a little scared feeling, because I don’t want to date one person or I guess for one person to ask me to stop dating people. But as PHOENIX counseled me later, with men you get more leeway. I’m used to dating women, when it feels to me almost as though a bird has snatched me up to drag me to her nest. [yes, I understand that statement is problematic. but my experiences were problematic, to put it lightly] So at the end of the date, I got shy and only hugged him. He said he would call me this next week if he has time (we are both so very busy). If he calls me or not, I’m fine, because I’m just happy to have met him.
So I went out tonight and had that odd experience of male aggression mingled with hotness. When he pulled my hair, I honestly gasped in pleasure, but when I said, “Take me home,” and he just grabbed me again under my shirt, I got a bit turned off. Why can’t men just be a little aggressive? Why don’t they know where to draw the line? I told him, “You’re not coming home with me,” and still he persisted. What part of that was not clear? Though I admit that when he grabbed me, I kissed him back. And he smelled and tasted wonderful.
His parting words, “Am I ever going to see you again?” went up like a giant red flag. Is this what he does with girls? Just grabs as much as he can in one session because he thinks there won’t be a second one? I mean, I’m so confused. He was hot as hell. If he would tone down the aggression, girls would want to be with him again.
He also said, “If I were a girl, you’d let me come upstairs with you.” Well, so what? Maybe I would and maybe I wouldn’t. That’s my choice, right? Don’t try to shame me into doing something for you by using my sexuality as a lever.