With all the things that harm a woman’s chances of orgasm, does any one thing stand out?
We’re in the middle of our orgasm series on the blog this month, and for this week’s podcast I wanted to elaborate on something I said in last week’s podcast. Last week I introduced the analogy of the restaurant dinner out, where she gets to eat, and he gets nothing, to show us what sex is like for women who never orgasm.
I brought that up again this week on the blog, and a bunch of interesting comments came in that I thought warranted more discussion.
So here we go!
What happens when our definition of sex has to do with intercourse alone?
THAT’S the big roadblock–that having sex is about intercourse, an act which almost guarantees his orgasm, but which (usually) leaves her wanting. Then she feels selfish for wanting anything else, and guilty if she doesn’t give him one-sided sex.
We looked at three comments in particular:
I need an actual explanation of why sex is intimate. There is nothing “intimate” about my husband using my body for pleasure that I have never experienced. That is literally the opposite of intimacy.
Socially, we condition women to expect all of their gratification from emotional connections, as if we are not also fulfilled by career success, intellectual pursuits, athletics, etc. “But you enjoy the emotional closeness!” is just another way of telling women that we aren’t important enough to ask for the things men consider their birthright.
Thank you for starting this series! I’ve been married a decade and I’m just starting to truly understand how badly my sexual response to my husband has been affected by messages I learned in childhood. Growing up in church, I learned very “clearly” that sex is something women do to keep their husbands’ lust at bay, and it’s something that every wife owes her husband to keep him from being miserable. My husband DOES care about me enjoying sex, but it’s hard for him to wrap his mind around the thinking I grew up with.. and honestly, it does feel like I’m broken and missing out on what everyone else is enjoying. It’s like.. I followed purity culture and did everything “right” and all I got out of it were these stupid issues.
There’s a ridiculous amount of mental barricades to trying to fix this problem. I know I have extra ones, since years of associating sex with pain is really hard to turn off. To be blunt, I very rarely even want to have sex at all just from that alone. When we do, it takes a ridiculous amount of time to even get aroused, like an hour or more, and then no matter what we try, any pleasure just stops abruptly and everything gets irritating with no payoff. Throw in factors like the exhaustion of parenting little kids, trying to keep the house just passably clean (which my husband does split the work well on), homeschooling, all of the extra stress of just living through this year… it honestly seems insurmountable. So if we tried to prioritize me reaching orgasm, we’d probably end up having even less sex than we do now, which already is infrequent. And then there’s a level of guilt about having a sexless marriage. It’s just SO many negative thoughts and feelings to untangle, and I don’t even know where an end of the yarn ball is to start.
Katie joined me to talk about how the effects of negative messages about sex affect her generation vs. older generations.
It was great to have her on the podcast again! And she eluded to this YouTube video she made a few years ago, which is awesome. You are not a half-eaten chocolate bar, non-sticky tape, or dirty water:
Things Mentioned in this Podcast
- Preorder The Great Sex Rescue (our book based on our survey of 20,000 women)
- Our post on what it’s like for women who never reach orgasm
- The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex
- The Honeymoon Course (a course for couples before they wed so that sex starts off well!)
- Sign up to be notified when The Orgasm Course launches
- We need a new definition of sex
I’d love to know–what do you think happens when we think that sex=intercourse? Can we create a definition where intercourse is a PART of it, but women’s experiences are still considered? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of Bare Marriage
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