In the film ‘Shirley Valentine’ (1989), Pauline Collins plays Shirley, a middle-aged housewife. Shirley comments: “I’m not particularly fond of it – sex.
I think sex is like supermarkets, you know, overrated.
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.
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.