Cum On, Ladies!

Having an orgasm can be one of the most pleasurable sensations a woman can experience. Unfortunately, not all women have had the pleasure of reaching this great climax, due to a variety of reasons. Sexual scripts developed by society can create mental blocks that prevent an orgasm from happening. Some women have difficulty reaching orgasm because of certain medications. Other women have never achieved an orgasm because they simply do not know how. Luckily, it is possible to coach a woman how to have an orgasm with patience, practice, and knowledge, and by first debunking those sexual scripts.

In the United States, society has developed many sexual scripts and stigmas that can prevent a female’s ability to orgasm. These scripts outline a guideline that informs her how, when, and by whom she should orgasm (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). Many of these are heteronormative, but some still apply to those in same sex relationships. Let’s take a look at some of the more common scripts.

myths facts

She needs to orgasm before her male partner (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). According to sexologist Debby Herbenick (2009), most women have faked their orgasm. Some women fake because they do not want to upset their partner, or make him wait longer than necessary for his turn (Herbenick, 2009). This not only keeps her from experiencing a real orgasm, but also teaches her partner that whatever technique he was performing is what helps her get off, which is counterproductive for learning what she likes (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010).

Once the male ejaculates, sex is over (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). This script goes hand-in-hand with the one previously mentioned. If sex is dubbed finished when the male ejaculates, but the woman wants to orgasm, she would have to have her “big O” before he does. This puts a lot of pressure on a woman, which makes it even more difficult to achieve an orgasm (Salisbury & Fisher 2014). Moreover, just because his penis is no longer erect does not mean that his fingers, tongue, or toys cannot continue to give her pleasure. Once a couple understands that, it could alleviate the pressure the woman feels to orgasm in a timely manner before he does.

Her male partner needs to be the one to give her an orgasm (Salisbury & Fisher 2014). Clearly, this is not the case for a woman’s ability to orgasm, as she could masturbate, or another woman could help her achieve an orgasm. A 2014 study found that lesbian women are over 10% more likely than heterosexual women to reach an orgasm during partnered sex (Garcia, Lloyd, Wallen, & Fisher). Higher reports of orgasms in lesbian women dismisses this common script.

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She should be able to orgasm via penetrative vaginal intercourse (Muehlenhard & Shippee, 2010). Informing women about the different types of orgasms, as well as the different ways to achieve an orgasm, can help debunk this script. A 2011 study (King, Belsky, Mah, & Binik) found that there are many different types of orgasms, ranging in amplitude and duration, and that orgasms may vary depending on the means by which the orgasm was achieved (i.e. masturbation, partner sex, clitoral, or penetrative). The orgasm she feels during masturbation might be a little different than an orgasm from a partner providing oral stimulation (King, Belsky, Mah, & Binik, 2011).

Not only do orgasms range in amplitude and duration, but they also range in the technique used to climax. There are many different ways to achieve orgasm aside from vaginal penetration, such as clitoral stimulation, the G-spot, and the less famous, but still advantageous U-spot (Herbenick, 2009). In addition to these “spots” pertaining to the vulva and vagina are the erogenous zones throughout the body, including the neck, earlobes, behind the knees, and the back of the arms (Herbenick, 2009). These sensitive areas are often overlooked, but can be stimulated to immensely aid in erotic sensations, which may help a woman reach her climax (Herbenick, 2009).

When coaching women how to orgasm, the educator must remember adult learning theory. Adults need to know why they are learning the information, and specifically why it pertains to them personally (Bruess & Schroeder, 2014). Educators should remember to explain their rationale for everything they teach, including why it is so important to debunk these sexual scripts and clear the negative stigmas surrounding a woman’s orgasm (Bruess & Schroeder, 2014).

Breaking down these sexual scripts and negative stigmas would help alleviate the pressure a woman feels when she is with her partner, or when practicing alone with masturbation. Sexuality educators should address each of the common scripts about the female orgasm, and redirect the statements to be more sex positive and encouraging, providing a boost of self-confidence in a woman’s ability to orgasm (Salisbury & Fisher 2014).

 

References

Bruess, C., & Schroeder, E. (2014). Sexuality education: Theory and practices. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Garcia, J., Lloyd, E., Wallen, K., & Fisher, H. (2014). Variation in orgasm occurrence by sexual orientation in a sample of U.S. singles. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 11(11), 2645-2652. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12669

King, R., Belskey, J., Mah, K., & Binik, Y. (2011). Are there different types of female orgasm? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 865-875. doi: 10.1007/s10508-010-9639-7

Muehlenard, C., & Shippee, S. (2010). Men’s and women’s reports of pretending to orgasm. Journal of Sex Research, 47(6), 552-567. doi: 10.1080/0022449090317179

Salisbury, C., & Fisher, W. (2014). “Did you come?” A qualitative exploration of gender differences in beliefs, experiences, and concerns regarding female orgasm occurrence during heterosexual sexual interactions. Journal of Sex Research, 51(6), 616-631. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2013.838934

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8 responses to “Cum On, Ladies!

  1. Orgasm is such a huge topic! There are so many myths and barriers to experiencing that pleasure. Your post left me wanting to more more about specific strategies to teaching orgasm. Other than the very important task of debunking myths and spreading awareness, how do we sex educators support preorgasmic women? I recently read an article about the relationship between mindfulness and sexual desire and arousal (Brotto, Basson,& Luria, 2008). I wonder if there is similar research about mindfulness and orgasm? Additionally, I think that beyond informing people about the myths, it is vital that we teach communication skills around orgasm. Perhaps role-play activities would be an effective way to practice this skill with adults.

    Brotto, L., Basson, R., & Luria, M. (2008). A Mindfulness-Based Group Psychoeducational Intervention Targeting Sexual Arousal Disorder In Women. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5(7), 1646-1659.

  2. I LOVE this article! The sexual script of our society encourages women to orient their sex lives almost exclusively around men, which limits our ability to be autonomous sexual beings in obvious ways. But then the pressures surrounding climax (which were so well documented in your article) even further oppress sexual expression and pleasure. I read a few articles about this topic and I was really shocked! 1/10 women feel depressed after sex! 1/3 of women under 35 experience feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety after sex (Pitterson, 2011)! I also read that some women have trouble reaching orgasm because we are too busy critiquing our bodies to enjoy sex, and because we’re scared to be vulnerable (Firestone 2014). I personally believe that women are so urged to be sexy and sexual for others that we never really learn how to be sexual for our own pleasure. We should spend more time getting to know ourselves, and being comfortable with allowing ourselves to enjoy pleasure.

    Pitterson, L. (2011). One out of town women get depressed after sex. Retrieved from http://broadblogs.com/2011/04/15/one-out-of-ten-women-get-depressed-after-sex/

    Firestone, R. (2014). 7 factors affecting orgasms in women. Retrived from http://www.psychalive.org/7-factors-affecting-orgasm-in-women/

  3. I never thought about the fact that sex culminates with the male ejaculation. At some level I knew that but I had not put it into words. Wow, thank you for saying that. You are so right, that puts a lot of pressure on women to orgasm first in male/female partnerships. I started to think a lot about the stigma of using sex toys when I was reading your post. I think your coaching could also involve de-stigmatizing the use of sex toys to help women achieve orgasm using sex toys during sexual encounters. I know it may seem like common sense to people who study sexuality (like us) but I think many many women feel shame and embarrassment around using sex toys to aid orgasm while having penis/vagina penetrative sex. In my own experience, I have had partners say something to the effect of “Isn’t my penis enough for you?” Which brings up a good point, perhaps men need education on the female orgasm too. I appreciate that you are empowering women to feel agency over their own orgasm.

  4. I definitely think that as sex education begins to become more pleasure based this topic will become more and more important in the classroom. I feel like often, even in pleasure focused education, orgasm is mentioned but not really discussed; you provide some very clear reasons as to why this should not be the case.
    I think if women were better informed about orgasm statistics (like how proportionately few women can achieve orgasm through penetration, or the relatively high number of women who have never experienced orgasm) it can decrease the shame associated with not experiencing orgasm during sex. Through the media (especially porn) women are shown images of women easily and quickly experiencing sexual pleasure, and these often unrealistic images can lead to the idea that something is broken in them if they are not able to achieve multiple orgasms in a matter of minutes. I think it’s important to encourage women to explore their own sexual anatomy and also help them get comfortable discussing their findings with partners. Wouldn’t it be much easier if a frank discussion of likes and dislikes were just a part of the sexual script? I think as pleasure based sex education continues to pick up momentum it just might be.

  5. Hi, Liz – I agree that this is a very well-written and interesting article, great job! I also think it is a script of our society that everyone can, and should want to, have frequent sexual interactions and aspire to orgasms. It is curious to me that so much importance is placed on this behavior, and so much less importance attached to other activities that are also [mentally and/or physically] pleasurable and possibly (probably) beneficial to others/society/environment.
    Keep up the good work!

  6. Nicely done. Most men are truly unaware of a woman’s need to achieve orgasm.Nore do they know how to help them relax .When I was young I read a book called everything you wanted to know ad out sex good book.

  7. Echoing what a few others have already touched on, the bombardment of images that people receive about sexuality in modern media makes it very difficult to realize that other realities exist. The attempt to create a media-defined sex-appeal might negate what a partner might find truly attractive, but because these scripts are ingrained and communication is lacking in so many relationships, true satisfaction cannot be achieved. The extreme emphasis on orgasm in a sexual experience can make it hard to realize that pleasure still happens even if orgasm is not achieved. I imagine this turns into the faking of climaxes, because otherwise how else do sexual partners know that sexual activity is over? Certainly not by talking to each other! Great topic that we will hopefully continue to dissect and discuss as a culture.

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