Authentic pleasure for women

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Whilst everyone else is arguing over the colour pink, Page 3 or Beyonce, I think one of the most imperative discussions we need to have is that of sex, more specifically, the heteronormativity of sex. Why are we classing sex, or ‘real sex’ as a vagina being penetrated by a penis?

This The F Word blog entry popped up on my screen: http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2008/11/virginity_is_an and reminded me of the reason I call myself a feminist.

Kate Smith commenting on The F Word blog says:
“So many will admit in private, to their friends, that they prefer the fingering, fondling, caressing, stroking and cunnilingus that they are supposed to see as ‘foreplay’ to the ‘main event’.Yet still penetrative sex is viewed as ‘full’ sex, ‘real’ sex, ‘proper’ sex. I’m not saying that this can’t be an enjoyable and fulfilling part of sex, but it’s high time that more women become open about the fact that a penis thrusting inside a vagina is an act that is often more culturally symbolic than it is physically pleasurable”.

Why is it medicalized as a problem if a woman does not, or cannot (and does not wish to), engage in this act? Why are oral or manual sex (or a range of other practices) seen as a poor second? Why aren’t doctors interested in the clitoris? I have never been asked by a medical practitioner about my clitoris ever. Though don’t worry, I have volunteered the information.

A GP can prescribe anti depressants or anxiety medication so a woman can partake in penetrative sex. A common side effect of these strong and highly-addictive drugs? An inability to orgasm. It would make you laugh if it wasn’t so horrific. For women suffering from various vaginal or vulval pains, online medical sites helpfully recommend they apply anaesthetic gel so that they can “tolerate” intercourse.

On forums and blogs that discuss conditions such Endometriosis, Vulvodynia, Vestibulodynia, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome and Dysesthesia, the same heartbreaking replies come up. That the woman won’t ever “find a man” or be able to “keep a man” because she isn’t “normal”. That she can’t have “real sex” . There is little dialogue around her pleasure, whether she can orgasm: her sexual worth and sexual success is defined by that one act.

Naomi Wolf’s Vagina made me the angriest and saddest a book has ever left me. Kind of awkward when she sat next to me at the Talking Bodies conference at the University of Chester. And I know many other women who felt the same.

When the Sqweel was released (http://www.sqweel.com/) I told nearly every woman I know. The Sqweel is a sex toy that imitates oral sex on a woman. It really does. I enquired in Ann Summers why they aren’t selling them, and was told there wouldn’t be the demand. Seriously? I have just checked on Lovehoney, an online sex toy retailer, and they have discontinued it.

Not long ago it was annual ‘Steak and blowjob’ day (yes really) and when I suggested we start a ‘Cupcakes and Cunnilingus’ day I was told I was gross, disgusting. Apparently ‘New Shoes and Chocolate day’ would be better. Because this is it, we can joke about blowjobs, and talk about them openly, but not oral sex for women.

Cosmo online gives some helpful (as ever) hints:

“Oral sex is a pretty intimate act—his face is all up in your vag, after all. So, maybe hold off until you’re completely comfortable with him. Feeling super at ease with your guy will go a long way to alleviate any worries and anxieties that get in the way”.

Yeah, because having a penis in your vagina isn’t personal at all. Call me old-fashioned, but if you’re not comfortable, should you be engaging in any sort of sex at all?

“You’re your own worst enemy when it comes to oral. Obviously, he wants to go down on you, otherwise he wouldn’t be doing it. But…we get it. Ditch those negative thoughts—how you might smell or taste, whether your wax job held up, etc—and focus on something that relaxes you, like a favorite vacay spot, or turns you on, like a sexy scene from a movie you just saw. Taking your mind off what’s actually happening will let you chill out and enjoy the sensations”.

Yes, to enjoy oral sex, don’t think about having *gasp* oral sex. What the actual f… It is easier for women to talk about anal sex, than it is about receiving oral sex. Why are women so frightened or anxious about how they look or smell?

And this to me is the problem. We live in an age where we are told what women want sexually. To deviate from that, you are damaged, infantile, or otherwise needing therapy.

This isn’t just harming women, it’s harming men, many of whom have no idea how to satisfy their lover/s. And for men who themselves cannot have sexual intercourse (or do not wish to) they are deemed freaks.

I recently got told by a woman, that women don’t need to orgasm, it’s pleasurable just to “take part”. I was gobsmacked. Maybe this is true for some women (?) but do you mastubate to orgasm? Is it really the taking part that counts? It seems women’s sexuality is based on the ability to bring a man to orgasm through penetrative sex. So excuse me if I roll my eyes when you’re having another “pink is the patriarchy” conversation, because there’s something a little more pressing which affects every woman I know.

oral sex versus penetration

Comments/ feedback always gratefully received, either comment on here or @PrincessJack on twitter.

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/advice/enjoy-oral-sex#slide-1