Warning: this post uses cis-biased language.*
In the circles I move in (20 somethings, quite a few queer folks) it is considered correct, necessary and even polite to realise that sex is not simply the act of penis-in-vagina-until-male-ejaculation-and-sleep. This is all to the good. However I was in conversation with someone at BiCon about how, in one male and one female sexual encounters, it now feels like it has gone too much in the other direction. In the loose narrative framework of how one can expect sex to go down these days, there seems to be too much emphasis on the female orgasm. Suddenly sex is all about foreplay and massage and dextrous fingers for as long as it takes (hours… days?) until the female orgasm is achieved. Maybe more than once.
[At this point I can feel some kind of disembodied rational voice over my shoulder shouting sarcastically “first world problems!” but since we have started, let us, with due knowledge of our privilege, continue]
This expectation that sex is largely about taking the time to stimulate a female orgasm leads, somewhat ironically, to a strong feeling of pressure to perform. Performance anxiety is not something I would have expected to feel in 21st century sex.
I understand that the intentions are positive, but I find it disempowering that someone might think that, with enough foreplay and given a long enough amount of time, an orgasm will occur. The assumption that orgasms are achievable or even desirable, is also somehow offensive to me.
I find it somewhat rude to be rubbed, rolled and “stimuated” and if I do manage to come have my partner declare “I gave her an orgasm”. You did nothing of the sort. I did my orgasm. My orgasm is inside me, in my mind, my brain, my spine, my nipples, my guts and most especially in my secret imagination. It is a process like dreaming, felt through a shifting combination of emotion, imagery and mental synaesthesia, all supported by a narrative mesh. Physical stimulation is useful but potentially (and actually) optional. For the most part I am attempting to ignore the outside world as much as possible when trying to orgasm and having someone fucking around with me (even if it is in awed, reverent, interested or even joyful enthusiasm) is at best distracting and at worst infuriating. The process of my orgasm is hard work that takes effort and concentration. It has taken me many years of practice to switch into a mind/body state whereby I can orgasm at all, let alone to run through my ‘process’ with any speed or finesse. My orgasms are mine, they are private and part of their charm is that they are in some way unknowable.
This post made me think a lot about how I “do” my orgasms, (at the moment I have one technique with myself and another technique for orgasm with penis inside me – I have very rarely had an orgasm from non=penis-but-someone-is-there scenarios). I’ve decided I would like to develop non-penis-but-someone -is-there scenarios, not least because I now have fairly regular sex with women (and all people have hands, figners, tongues etc.) Perhaps I shall get back to you.
* I’m assuming a binarised gender because I’m describing interactions between cis males and cis females. Other types of gender, sex and sexuality exist, but this orgasm-prejudice is for me situated within the aforementioned framework. Throughout this post I refer to female orgasm to mean not-male or not-penis orgasm. I would have used ‘vaginal’ orgasm but this implies a type of orgasm, ie not-clitoral rather than vagina-haver orgasm.