Our ability to become sexually aroused through an appreciation of eroticism is a normal as well as a necessary part of human sexuality. Sex (male arousal and orgasm in particular) leads to family and yet hypocritically, while family is encouraged, sex remains taboo.
Young boys learn about orgasm through masturbation because an erect penis is difficult to ignore.
Some women happily accept the modern media’s portrayal of women as complete sexual beings, for whom spontaneously orgasmic sex is as much of a given as it is for a man.
Other women find that orgasms do not ‘just happen’.
Becky explained via e-mail: “I had my first orgasm at 26 during masturbation – pretty late I know & since then no stopping me with the sex toys : ) . Plenty of my girlfriends have not though – and like you say, don’t seem too bothered about it which I can’t understand.”
Despite this evidence Becky was convinced that every woman must be interested in orgasm.
Judy married in the late 1950s; well before the average woman was informed about what a sexual relationship might involve. Judy’s aspirations were to provide a comfortable home for her family and to enjoy being a wife and a mother.
When I talked to her, Judy was in her mid-sixties with grown up children and a relationship of over 40 years.
Carolyn, a relationship counsellor in her fifties, told me she thought it unwise to positively encourage female masturbation. She did not give her reasons.
“Many women think of masturbation as unnatural and disgusting and a complete waste of time, and don’t understand why anybody does it and are unsympathetic to the view that people might continue to do it even though they have sexual partners.
Sex is associated with pleasure (through sexual arousal and orgasm) as well as with reproduction (through family and relationships). However male and female sexuality are, often implicitly, defined differently in terms of the importance of the relationship aspects of sex.
For example, men are motivated to enjoy their own sexual arousal and orgasm regardless of a relationship.
Women use clitoral stimulation during female masturbation but that’s just dessert. Main course is achieving sexual arousal though sexual fantasies. Many women never learn how to enjoy these.
The first step in developing sexual fantasies is for a woman to read erotic stories without any goal except relaxation and enjoyment.
I started reading erotica around the age of 14.