Roe Mc­Der­mott

The Irish Times Magazine - - CONTENTS - ROE Mc­DER­MOTT

Dear Roe

I am a straight woman in a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship of six months. It is a re­ally lov­ing, hon­est re­la­tion­ship and I am very happy with my boyfriend. Our love life is bril­liant apart from one thing – early on in the re­la­tion­ship, be­cause of my own hang- ups, I faked some or­gasms. Now I find my­self con­tin­u­ing so he doesn’t think any­thing is wrong. He is very lov­ing and con­sid­er­ate, and I do gen­uinely or­gasm with him – not ev­ery time – but for some stupid rea­son I can’t work out how to stop this with­out it seem­ing to him that some­thing is amiss. I can’t con­fess now, as he’ll know I’ve been ly­ing all this time. Ex­cuse me one mo­ment while I ad­dress the straight men read­ing. Dear Straight Men,

Seventy- five per­cent of women will never or­gasm through pen­e­tra­tive sex alone. Never. Ever. So you’d bet­ter be in­clud­ing other stuff in your sex­ual ac­tiv­i­ties with women. Dear Reader,

Back to you. I un­der­stand why you faked your or­gasm, and I’m glad you do want to stop.

Far too many women fake or­gasms dur­ing sex and it re­in­forces the all- too- com­mon be­lief that most women are sat­is­fied very eas­ily, with very lit­tle ef­fort from their part­ner, or from pen­e­tra­tive sex alone – which then causes this hor­ri­ble cy­cle of men be­liev­ing that they don’t need to do any­thing else, and that women who are hon­est about not be­ing able to or­gasm through sex alone are some­how weird or dam­aged.

How­ever, I do also em­pathise. Due to these mis­un­der­stand­ings of what ac­tiv­i­ties are likely to bring a woman to or­gasm, it can be dif­fi­cult to ex­plain to a new part­ner what ac­tu­ally feels good – and to have the con­fi­dence and pa­tience to wait while your part­ner learns the specifics of how to plea­sure you. So many women fake the first few or­gasms, be­liev­ing that if the re­la­tion­ship pro­gresses and be­comes more in­ti­mate, they’ll feel more com­fort­able shar­ing their de­sires and turn- ons with their part­ner.

But as you have learned, as time passes it can be more dif­fi­cult to not only tell them that you want some­thing dif­fer­ent – but in so do­ing, break the news that they have in fact not been mak­ing you or­gasm for quite some time.

What lies at the heart of this is­sue is our pri­ori­tis­ing of male plea­sure and the male ego over women’s sex­ual ful­fil­ment. Men hav­ing an or­gasm dur­ing sex is ex­pected to the point where women are made to feel like fail­ures if their male part­ner doesn’t or­gasm even once. But when a woman can’t reach or­gasm, she also blames her­self and feels un­com­fort­able ask­ing for what would ac­tu­ally give her plea­sure. Women are los­ing either way.

Ladies, like many sit­u­a­tions in life, we need to carry our­selves with the con­fi­dence and en­ti­tle­ment of a medi­ocre white man – and see our lives im­prove im­mea­sur­ably.

Women need to be al­lowed to ask for what brings them to or­gasm, be hon­est about what does not work for them, and have their sex­ual plea­sure pri­ori­tised on an equal level with their part­ner. And any­one who has sex with women should be only de­lighted to hear what would make their part­ner or­gasm, and ex­cited to help make it hap­pen.

As for your predica­ment, I think this is a re­ally great op­por­tu­nity for you to not only be hon­est with your part­ner about what makes you or­gasm, but to give him a real in­sight into the pres­sures you face as a woman. Ex­plain­ing to him why you ini­tially chose to fake your or­gasms will al­low him to un­der­stand both your in­di­vid­ual in­se­cu­ri­ties and the way cul­tural ideas about gen­der and sex­u­al­ity im­pact you both in very real ways.

Stress to him the rea­son you want to tell him what brings you plea­sure is in no way a crit­i­cism of his per­for­mance, nor is it in­dica­tive of prob­lems in your re­la­tion­ship. On the con­trary, af­ter these months to­gether you now feel com­fort­able open­ing up to him and hav­ing an hon­est, in­ti­mate con­ver­sa­tion that you hope will not only im­prove your sex life, but will open up more open, hon­est con­ver­sa­tion and un­der­stand­ing in your re­la­tion­ship gen­er­ally. Want­ing to open up to him like this is an in­vest­ment in your re­la­tion­ship; it’s telling him you are look­ing for­ward to your fu­ture to­gether, a fu­ture which will in­clude and in­deed pri­ori­tise mu­tu­ally plea­sur­able sex and hon­est com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Or you could just tell him you want to try some­thing new and ac­tu­ally in­struct him on how to gen­uinely give you an or­gasm. Then just tell him how mind- blow­ing it was and ask can you do that more often, and slowly phase out the fake or­gasms un­til your sex life has re­fo­cused on the real- or­gasm- only ac­tiv­i­ties.

But re­mem­ber that this whole ques­tion springs from you learn­ing to ask for what you want. If the choice is hav­ing an or­gasm or hav­ing an or­gasm and hon­est com­mu­ni­ca­tion, don’t be scared to ask for both. Roe Mc­Der­mott is a writer and Ful­bright scholar with an MA in sex­u­al­ity stud­ies from San Fran­cisco State Univer­sity. She’s cur­rently un­der­tak­ing a PhD in gen­dered and sex­ual cit­i­zen­ship at the Open Univer­sity and Ox­ford

Due to these mis­un­der­stand­ings of what ac­tiv­i­ties are likely to bring a woman to or­gasm, it can be dif­fi­cult to ex­plain to a new part­ner what ac­tu­ally feels good

If you have a prob­lem or query you would like her to an­swer, you can sub­mit it anony­mously at irish­times. com/ dear­roe

Women need to be al­lowed to ask for what brings them to or­gasm, be hon­est about what does not work for them, and have their sex­ual plea­sure pri­ori­tised on an equal level with their part­ner. PHO­TO­GRAPH: ISTOCK

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.