Home The politics of sex Misconceptions Why do so few women comment on sexual pleasure?

Why do so few women comment on sexual pleasure?

I am not so crazy as to approach just any random woman on the subject of sex. I know that most women will be irreversibly offended even at the mention of sex. So I choose women who appear to be fairly liberated and then I approach the subject tangentially.

Of the women I have been brave enough to approach, the vast majority have shunned me. It is this almost fearful reaction that so many women have to any mention of sex that causes me to question the assertion that women are just as enthusiastic about sex as men are.

To date, not one woman has said “Wow, aren’t you brave! I would love to compare notes. Please feel free to ask me any questions you want to.” Let’s face it, openness about sex is much more difficult for women because of misunderstanding about female sexuality.

Of the few women who have been willing to discuss their sexual experiences, only a couple have talked about easy orgasm. See Some women never tune into eroticism and Bluffers, fakers and sex surveys. Both women talked about sex in terms of their relationship. One was openly disgusted by any form of eroticism and the other was dismissive of female masturbation even though these are both fundamental to men’s sexuality.

The modern liberated view is that women reach orgasm during sex almost as easily as men do. The more conservative view is that a woman only finds sex rewarding as part of a loving relationship. Ironically both of these approaches imply that women enjoy sexual arousal ‘naturally’ during sex and make it difficult for women to compare notes on how to orgasm with a partner.

The popular belief is that women need do nothing other than be on the receiving end of male thrusting to enjoy sex fully. So although the average woman is shocked by the idea of sexual fantasies and never masturbates, we still assume that she experiences sexual arousal and orgasm during sex. How on earth can this logically be?

Although everyone assumes that women enjoy sex as much as men, the fact is that relatively few women ever comment on sex. I am challenging women who say that orgasm with a partner is easy, not only because their experience does not tally with the known facts but also because they are contributing towards the continuing misunderstanding of female sexuality.

The fact is that women do not experience spontaneous sexual arousal as men do. This explains why most women do not masturbate and why women often interpret their sexual experiences in terms of their relationship. The sensations arising from a woman’s loving emotions may be very pleasant but it is not likely that they equate to the phenomenon that men call orgasm.

The idea that female orgasm is achieved through emotional feelings is misleading because:

  • When these women claim to orgasm easily during sex, women who are asking about lack of orgasm with a partner assume that we are all talking about the same experience; and
  • Unfortunately emotional passion tends to wane over the longer-term and men, hoping for an active sex life, have difficulty understanding why women are no longer interested in sex.

There seems to be a surprising amount of resistance to asking women to account for their sexual experiences. I simply want to get a more open discussion of the facts so that we can be sure that we are all talking about the same kind of experiences.

I am taking all the risk and yet other people are so easily defensive. Surely it is in all our interests to improve our understanding of the facts? I have legitimate questions and I am looking for answers in a society that claims to support rational explanations.

Excerpt from Jane’s book Ways Women Orgasm (2011)