A Woman’s Orgasm Shouldn’t Be The Goal Of Sex

By Jessica Schreindl

Instead of focusing on female liberation and pleasure, narratives around achieving orgasm have made it all about male validation.

A new study published in the Journal of Sex Research has found that men derive a sense of “achievement” by bringing women to orgasm. But not just any achievement — not the sense of satisfaction that comes from giving someone else pleasure — but the kind that comes from self-validation:

“The participants said that making a female partner orgasm enhanced their feeling of masculinity,” said the study’s authors, Sara B. Chadwick and Sari van Anders.

That’s right — a woman’s orgasm and pleasure have become about reassuring insecure dudes that they’re real men — a fist bump of sorts, acknowledging one’s manliness. And it’s no surprise.

A woman’s orgasm and pleasure have become about reassuring insecure dudes that they’re real men — a fist bump of sorts, acknowledging one’s manliness.

In today’s pop culture, female sexual pleasure (read: orgasm and orgasm alone) has become the pinnacle of healthy heterosexual sex. Gone are the days where Missy Elliot sang about the “one-minute-man.” Today’s guys are on a mission to make us come and won’t rest until the mission’s completed.

So why are I and other feminists complaining? After all, isn’t attention to female pleasure what we’ve been griping about all along?

Conservative author Robert Tracinski roles out this lazy thinking in his piece for The Federalist, “Cosmopolitan Hates For Women To Orgasm If Men Enjoy It Too.” In it, he concludes that, “Men tend to be goal-directed and task-oriented,” (see ladies, it’s just natural for guys to treat your orgasm like a trophy).

He goes on:

“For decades, we have been specifically warned that it’s unfair for men to have orgasms while their partners remain unfulfilled, and some of us have taken that to heart and decided that if this is the metric we’re supposed to meet, by God we’re gonna meet it. Heck, we’re gonna exceed it. And we’re going to take pride in that achievement.”

This guy sounds like Trump: “You’re going to orgasm so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of orgasming!”

Being treated like a project is exhausting. But it’s no wonder guys think this way: Have you watched porn lately? The women seem to be constantly coming. It’s like the guy’s dick is the best, most magical thing ever. Men’s magazines are brimming with ways to “get in her pants” and “make her come.” Advice on how to give her “multiples” or make her “squirt.” It’s like giving a woman an orgasm is one of those sledgehammer games positioned to test one’s strength and manliness — when the bell dings and the light turns red, you know you’re the manliest.

Men want to feel validated in their manhood — whether that looks like one-and-done or an insistence on multiples. While they’re performing for the societal expectations put on them, we’re, in turn, performing for theirs.

Because of this, reaching orgasm can feel like work and often is. It’s tiresome enough, the constant self-objectification and pressure to perform like a pornstar, without the added pressure to “come” to validate the man.

In this way, women’s pleasure becomes, once again, wrapped in patriarchal heteronormative ideas. As the study’s authors pointed out:

Current narratives about women’s orgasm may actually reflect a repackaging of women’s sexuality in service in men, similar to how women’s sexuality has been historically situated.

So instead of becoming about female liberation, achieving orgasm becomes about male validation and the ways in which both women and men feel pressured to perform gender. In truth, we haven’t come far from Freud’s demand that the vaginal orgasm exists and his insistence on its superiority to clitoral (cuz, you know, penetrative sex is the only sex).

When fragile masculinity becomes the woman’s burden (and it always does), women find ourselves in the position of constantly propping up the men in our lives.

When fragile masculinity becomes the woman’s burden (and it always does), women find ourselves in the position of constantly propping up the men in our lives — from faking orgasms with our boyfriends to constantly telling our husbands how proud we are of them to making sure our male coworkers don’t feel bossed around (please and smiley face).

Such expectations and restrictions also, as feminists have been tirelessly pointing out, hurt men. And they only reinforce a masculinity built on a house of cards, as the report points out:

“Our results showed that men who are more stressed about their masculinity in general experience a woman’s orgasm as more of an achievement, and the absence of a woman’s orgasm as more of a failure.”

Here’s to smashing burdensome gender roles and better sex.

This originally appeared on Role Reboot. Republished here with permission.

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