On relating our experience to others, we all tend to gloss over details or not own up to difficulties that were perhaps transient.
I told Linda, a mother of three in her late forties, that I had never had an orgasm during intercourse. Linda looked at me incredulously and laughed as if I must be ignorant of the most basic sexual facts. Naturally, I died with mortification at the implied sexual inadequacy.
“In fact, since only about 30 percent of women achieve orgasm with intercourse but over 80 percent experience a climax with masturbation, orgasm by means of masturbation rather than by sexual intercourse, should be regarded as the normal experience.” (p53 Healthy Sex 1998)
Later when Linda joked that she would rather do her gardening on weekends than have sex, I was confused. Although I would not go to the ends of the world to enjoy my own sexual arousal and orgasm by masturbating, it is definitely worth investing a few minutes of effort from time to time. Women who have never masturbated presumably assume that reaching orgasm must always be a drawn out affair.
If I am already turned on and have an effective fantasy to hand, it is no trouble reaching orgasm from female masturbation within a couple of minutes. Masturbation is very enjoyable but I have no sense of needing to interrupt other activities to engage in it. I usually consider masturbation when I am already lying in bed either on waking or on going to sleep.
“In fact, women do not take longer to orgasm than men. The majority of women in Kinsey’s study masturbated to orgasm within four minutes, similar to the women in this study. It is, obviously, only during inadequate or secondary, insufficient stimulation like intercourse that we take ’longer’ and need prolonged ’foreplay’.” (p46 The Hite Reports 1993)
The only women I have found to be confident about orgasm are those who masturbate. This is because in order to aim for orgasm a person needs to know how to become sexually aroused. I believe that many women never learn now to do this. Those who claim to orgasm the first time and every time from intercourse are simply blissfully ignorant of the facts.
The fact is that women have to learn how to orgasm. One woman told me that it had taken around ten years for her and her partner to achieve a ‘good’ sex life. Surely this fact is worth passing on to younger generations?
Imagine telling a man he has to wait ten years to learn how to orgasm from sex! Young women often don’t know how to orgasm and older women are not always that open about their own sexual experiences. The huge gap between how women’s sexual arousal is portrayed in the media compared with reality means that sex advice for women is often misleading.
Months later, when we had talked around the subject a few times Linda told me that she did not always experience orgasm, that orgasm was not that important to her and that her partner was the prime initiator in their sex life. So, her experience of sex with a partner was little different to my own. Linda explained that she had never approached sex expecting to experience orgasm.
Linda liked to dress provocatively and was evidently one of those women who enjoy attracting a man’s attention. For her, sex was about sharing an intimate physical act with her partner and so masturbation was meaningless. They watched porn movies together and Linda confirmed that she preferred some story content rather than the endless banging sessions.
“For some women lovemaking without orgasm is unsatisfying and they feel they have missed out on something precious. For others the journey holds more richness and delight than the getting there.” (p80 Woman’s Experience of Sex 1983)
Excerpt from Jane’s book Ways Women Orgasm (2011)