My Orgasm Is Not Your Property (So Stop Saying You Made Me Come)
By Allie Kruk
“Are you there yet?”
“How about now?”
“Are you even close?”
I remember feeling like I was on a really long road trip with a four-year old in the backseat.
Then finally: “You came, right?”
“Um, no,” I replied. “But it’s okay. You tried, I think.”
I could tell by the look on his face that I had hit a nerve. I tried softening the blow to his ego, making excuses about not having breakfast that morning and failing to properly hydrate. It didn’t really help, so I started putting on my skirt and getting up to leave.
“You aren’t going to stay?” he asked.
“No…why would I stay?”
“I don’t know. For cuddling, I guess.”
“But I don’t really like cuddling.”
“Has anyone ever told you you’re kind of…I don’t know? Cold? No, wait…Frigid. That’s the word for it. Sort of like an ice queen.”
“No. They haven’t,” I said as I walked out the door.
I wish I could say that I didn’t take his words to heart. I wish I could say I told him off. I wish I could say his comments didn’t stick with me for the past seven years.
But they did.
Maybe it was because I was relatively young at the time he said those words. Maybe it was because when we slept together, I was having a tough time with my mental health and managing my PTSD symptoms.
Yet, even though I knew his comment was sexist and dismissive, I adjusted my behavior accordingly.
In later sexual encounters, I acted like I was enjoying sex when I wasn’t. I “faked it” and fed men’s egos by affirming their sexual prowess. To this day, I still cuddle even though it makes me feel trapped and kind of anxious.
All because I don’t want to seem “cold” or “frigid.”
(Thankfully, now I do have a partner that respects my need for space after sex and doesn’t judge me for sleeping on the opposite side of the bed).
In heterosexual sex, women are taught that they must come a certain way, at a certain time. Porn, and the media in general, have largely ignored actual female pleasure in favor of a sexual narrative that favors male egomania and comfort.
Consequently, most men think that women “come” from the cis male penis alone — because at the end of the day, that’s the organ our patriarchal society devotes the most time, attention, and resources to.
In reality, 82% of women do not come from vaginal stimulation exclusively. Yet our understanding of heterosexual sex ignores that inconvenient truth, favoring the male phallus over most women’s lived sexual experiences. No wonder there’s an orgasm gap.
And if the cis male penis fails to produce a female orgasm, it’s the woman’s fault — she’s cold. She’s frigid. She’s an ice queen. There must be something wrong with her that she has to excuse or otherwise take blame for.
Because in patriarchal sex, the cis male penis can do no wrong. It’s infallible in its ability to produce utter ecstasy in the vaginas of women lucky enough to be graced with its presence inside them. Obviously.
Moreover, if women do in fact come from the cis male penis (or at least succeed in putting on a good performance), we give the man attached to that penis all the credit. We tell men that they “make” women come and in doing so, reinforce the sexist notion that women’s orgasms are not their own.
In doing so, we erase women from their own pleasure, undermining their agency in sexual intercourse.
When men say they “made” a woman come, it defines the female orgasm solely in terms of its ability to produce male accomplishment and validation. Furthermore (and perhaps more importantly), it frames the female orgasm in coercive terms — as though orgasms are forced encounters (something men make us do) instead of expressions of genuine pleasure and sexuality.
To add insult to injury, there’s the perception that women who actually enjoy sex are “freaks,” “sluts,” or otherwise less than human beings with a full range of sexual wants and needs.
And to this day, we still elevate a (heteronormative) definition of virginity, shaming women who fail such a limiting and sexist “purity test.”
About a month ago, I was speaking to a man I had sex with when he brought up the fact that I didn’t orgasm during our last few sexual encounters.
He said he assumed I had not been enjoying sex because I had not reached that ever-exalted climax.
In the past, I would have made the “it’s not you, it’s me” excuse, blaming my water intake (I really do need to hydrate more, though) or my lack of sleep or my failing to eat enough protein at breakfast.
However, this time, I was honest and assertive — everything women are taught not to be in this heteropatriarchal society. I told him that just because I didn’t orgasm during sex did not mean I didn’t find it pleasurable and who was he to assume what made sex enjoyable for me anyway?
Maybe I said this because I’m older than I was during the whole “ice queen” encounter (and tired of the patriarchal pressure to “fake it” or otherwise define my sexual experience in narrow, male-centric terms).
Maybe I said it because I recently made a promise to myself to give up being “nice” in the face of sexist oppression.
Regardless of the reason, the encounter got me thinking about how dysfunctional our societal understanding of sex really is — for all gender identities. We often discuss sex in transactional terms. You give me an orgasm; I give you an orgasm — like it’s a game of tit-for-tat. We focus exclusively on the end game, instead of on the journey it takes to get there.
We wrap our egos up in our partner’s pleasure, ignoring the fact that they are an active participant in their own sexual experience. We center ourselves, and in doing so, lose sight of the togetherness — the shared humanity — that sex can foster.
In many ways, this warped view of sex is a symptom of the toxic monogamy and toxic masculinity our culture prioritizes, causing us to view our partners more as property than as people. We treat our partners as though they owe us their attention, affection, sex, intimacy, and love — when they don’t — and we fail to recognize our partners’ humanity in romantic encounters, conceptualizing them instead as vessels for our own desires and attributes through which our self-esteem gets validated.
And that kind of dehumanization breeds violence, coercion, and objectification.
This dominant cultural script surrounding sex tells women that they are responsible for refusing intercourse, rather than affirmatively consenting to it. It tells men that they are expected to want sex always, erasing their right to exert autonomy over their own bodies.
It tells LGBTQ+ individuals that any sex deviating from cis/heterocentric penis-in-vagina sex is somehow “less than” or “other.” And it tells polyamorous individuals that their sexual encounters are wanton, whorish exploits rather than genuine expressions of human intimacy.
So, in the face of these narrow sexual constructs, I’ve started to repeat the following mantra — softly, quietly — to whom, I’m not sure, perhaps just to myself. Maybe as a form of resistance. Maybe as an expression of possibility. Maybe as a reclamation of sorts.
My orgasm is not your property.
It’s not your accomplishment and it’s not exclusively your doing. (So, for the love of whatever god you do or do not believe in, stop saying you “made” me come — that’s self-serving and quite frankly, inaccurate)
My orgasm is not your validation. It’s not your confirmation of your worth as a human being or a way for you to reinforce your (toxic) masculinity.
My orgasm doesn’t make you special and it doesn’t mean that the sex was “good.” (On the flip side, my lack of an orgasm doesn’t mean the sex was “bad” — sex isn’t binary like that).
My orgasm is not the power you hold over me.
My orgasm is not your “consent” and it’s not your excuse for ignoring my emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs.
My orgasm is not your leverage. It doesn’t entitle you to receive anything from me.
My orgasm is my choice. Especially since I don’t define my orgasm exclusively in terms of sexual arousal — I define it in terms of human intimacy and whom I choose to let in.
My orgasm is mine to define.
My orgasm is not yours.
And it’s a shame I have to say that.
Originally published at www.funkyfeminist.com.