Most girls probably read romantic stories but not everyone is comfortable with the more explicitly sexual nature of erotic stories, which help a woman develop the sexual fantasies that lead to orgasm. Our sexual fantasies represent the aspects of sex that we find most arousing and hence most taboo.
“Although every child learns that pretending is an important type of play, sexual fantasies after childhood are usually not thought of as playful. This attitude may exist because sex is usually regarded as a serious matter, even in the imagination.
Furthermore, some religious traditions regard a thought as equivalent to an act; thus, a person who has ‘immoral’ sexual daydreams or desires is as sinful as a person who acts on those impulses.” (p413 Human Sexuality (fifth edition) 1995)
Even men learn to orgasm through masturbation and women have to learn how to orgasm much the same way. Women’s sexual arousal and orgasm are not automatic as a man’s tends to be and so female masturbation is relatively uncommon.
Very few of the women I spoke to said that they enjoy their own sexual arousal through masturbation. If you doubt this, just try asking the women you know, not whether they have EVER masturbated but, whether they masturbate REGULARLY as an adult.
Since many women never discover orgasm through genital stimulation they never know what they are missing. They assume that enjoying sexual pleasure relates only to the sensual pleasures of sex. Having enjoyed orgasm throughout my adult life, it is definitely an experience I would not want to have missed but I can quite see why many women are happy to do without.
Women have more conscious choice over their sexual arousal
A good-looking and successful guy in his mid-forties was very popular with the ladies. Despite hoping for a long-term partner, so far he had only managed serial relationships (some lasting months and some years). He told me that not one of the women he had been with over the years was amenable to enjoying eroticism by watching porn movies together.
Since many women do not enjoy eroticism of any kind, even if they knew that sexual arousal depended on erotic thoughts they would not necessarily be tempted. Women’s lower sex drive means they have much more conscious choice over their arousal.
“ … fantasy and sexual desire often merge together. People with low levels of sexual desire typically have few sexual fantasies…” (p415 Human Sexuality (fifth edition) 1995)
Censorship of genitalia means that films for general release limit sex scenes to intercourse. Other activities, such as oral sex or masturbation, involve the explicit genital stimulation that tends to offend women. So that even in a film as sexually daring as ‘Basic Instinct’ (1992) Sharon Stone appears to orgasm without the kind of continuous genital stimulation that men need.
The only media that show heterosexuals enjoying more explicitly sexual activity is pornography. One has to wonder (since the sex industry is paid for by men) whether such activities are, in fact, reflecting sex play and fantasies that men enjoy.
How many women enjoy oral sex, masturbation and other genitally based sex play? If most do, why is hetero sex still defined by intercourse? In the film ‘Philadelphia’ (1993) Denzel Washington portrays the self-righteousness heterosexual who feels that ‘love-making’ is more morally justifiable than the explicit sexual pleasuring enjoyed by gays and men who pay for sex.
Excerpt from Jane’s book Ways Women Orgasm (2011)