Why Are So Many Women Missing Out On Orgasms

Author : foomtmpwtlr
Publish Date : 2021-04-11 17:17:19

Why Are So Many Women Missing Out On Orgasms

Why Are So Many Women Missing Out On Orgasms?
When her manual came out in the Netherlands in 2019, it made the orgasm gap part of the national conversation. Now Laura hopes for a similar response here in the UK, to tackle inequality in its most fundamental form. ‘Orgasmic equality is feminism’s final frontier. Women have been trying to change society’s view about their sexuality and bodies for decades. However, feminism has necessarily been about sexism and sociological differences. Meanwhile, in the bedroom, men and women are not equal. Sex for straight couples has always been so much about what the man wants.’

Historically speaking, the female orgasm has been not so much elusive as ignored, or ‘suppressed for centuries’, as Laura puts it. The clitoris, on which it largely depends, is an organ, the visible portion of which – the glans – sits at the front of the inner lips of the vulva, above the opening of the urethra. Although roughly the size of a pea, it is estimated to have about 8,000 sensory nerves, double that of the penis with which it shares corresponding structures. And unlike the penis, the clitoris’s sole function is pleasure, leading to the traditional misogynist belief that women are insatiable, their sexuality needing to be controlled.

As Dr Karen Gurney, clinical psychologist, psychosexologist and author of Mind the Gap: The Truth About Desire and How to Futureproof Your Sex Life, observes: ‘Many people find it shocking that the clitoris’s full structure was supposedly only discovered in 2005 (when surgeon Helen O’Connell presented an MRI view of it). However, the real disappointment is that it was actually identified in 1844, by the German anatomist Georg Ludwig Kobelt. It’s just that the scientific community decided not to include the discovery in most diagrams, anatomy texts or models for the next century and a half. It’s possible that the clitoris has been repeatedly discovered, then deliberately forgotten. It’s no coincidence that most anatomists were men.’

Needless to say, ignorance was not bliss. Moreover, while some women may be happy to forgo orgasms, the negative consequences of not climaxing can be legion. For a start, women may feel an equivalent of ‘blue balls’, so-called ‘blue vulva’, occurring when blood flow to the genitals increases without being relieved, leading to pain. To quote Laura again: ‘The most obvious downside is lack of pleasure. An orgasm releases feel-good hormones, dopamine and oxytocin, a happiness reward for your brain that brings you closer to your partner. A climax also boosts your immune system, and lowers the risk of cancer and heart disease. It increases blood flow to the brain, so it receives more oxygen and minerals, enhances fertility, and stabilises the menstrual cycle. Orgasm also in creases sex drive, reduces stress, improves sleep and relieves pain.’ Some women swear by orgasms to manage mood, others argue that they improve the condition of their skin.

So why do women keep quiet about – and accept – lack of pleasure in their sexual relationships? ‘There are so many reasons,’ says Laura. ‘They may feel the orgasm gap is just part of sex because so many women experience it. They may feel inferior in bed, as if their orgasm isn’t important. It could be that it seems as if they are insulting their partner, or perhaps they just don’t know what to say. Maybe they don’t know what it takes to orgasm because they haven’t experimented. It could be because of shame, trauma, insecurity, or simply for the sake of a quiet life.’ Dr Gurney states that women are so socially conditioned to put others’ needs first that they can be reluctant to indicate when they want something different, or have just had enough.

While acknowledging that a bit of hamming it up may increase one’s own arousal, Laura is emphatically against faking it. ‘Every time you fake an orgasm, your partner will think he or she did something right, meaning they will repeat this, creating a negative spiral. So it’s vital to talk, and talk honestly.’ This may be all very well for the Dutch, however some of us live with partners who put a bag on their head at the very mention of the act, let alone technicalities. Reticent Brits should read chapter four, which proposes a series of conversational gambits. If all else fails, you can always leave the book lying around.

Either way, Laura and Dr Gurney agree that women must take responsibility for their own orgasms. In terms of devices, Are You Coming? recommends the Lelo Sona, a sonic clitoral stimulator, while British stalwart Ann Summers has expanded its range to include myriad state-of-the-art appliances, having discovered that the average woman misses out on 1,734 orgasms during her lifetime. A friend has finally become what she terms ‘cliterate’ in her late 50s, and declares that it has utterly transformed her life. ‘For the past 20 years, I blamed my partner for not intuiting my needs, when, actually, the ignorant party was me. I feel ashamed that my feminism only extended so far.’

Laura is optimistic that Generation Z won’t tolerate any such behaviour. ‘Young women are more feminist, more into body positivity and sex-toy normalisation. Hopefully, this is the generation that will close the orgasm gap.’

The increasing fluidity in both gender and sexuality must also surely be a help, leading to a diminished expectation that sex equals penetration, so-called ‘foreplay’ merely a preamble. Equal rights have a place in the bedroom as in the workplace; only when we have parity of pleasure will true equality be ours. 

"whoever Looks At A Woman With Lust": Misinterpreted Bible Passages #1
*If new to this series, please see the introduction.*

> You heard it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman/wife in order to covet her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27–28)

Standard Interpretation(s)

The ordinary interpretation of this passage is that lust is equivalent to adultery; that is, if a man sexually desires a woman, he has already committed adultery with her in God’s eyes. This interpretation is reflected in the following translations:

> “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (NIV)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (NASB)

“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (NLT)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (NRSV)

Many churches (especially within Evangelical circles), emphasize this verse to men and (especially) adolescent boys, warning that if they so much as think of a woman in a sexual manner, they’ve already sinned, that they’ve already effectively done the deed with her. Such an interpretation often works hand-in-glove with the common idea that Jesus “intensified” the Law in the Sermon on the Mount, setting a higher standard in order to show that no person could actually live up to God’s standards, showing that a person could only be saved by recognizing the impossibility of righteousness and then receiving forgiveness (a complete misinterpretation of the Sermon on the Mount I will address at another time). So the common teaching is:lust (that is, sexual lust) is absolutely evil—equivalent, even, to the physical act of sexual sin.

Another key aspect of nearly all the common misinterpretations of this verse is a specific (mistaken) definition of the word “lust.” Specifically, many readers understand “lust” as specifically denoting misplaced or overly robust libido. For example, as one recent conversation partner explained to me, “I take lust to mean wanting something more than you should in an unhealthy way.”

Despite its popularity, this interpretation is imprecise, even flat wrong, and leads to surprisingly harmful consequences, making this verse a great candidate to start this series.

Lust or Covet?
The first thing to understand in this passage (and in the Sermon on the Mount in general) is that Jesus is in no way intensifying the Law here, nor is he really saying anything new. What’s that, you say? The Law doesn’t forbid lusting after a woman, so Jesus has obviously turned things up to eleven by doing so?

Well, as it turns out, the Greek word usually translated “lust” in this passage (ἐπιθυμέω; epithumeô) is precisely the word for “covet” (Hebrew חמד) in the Tenth Command in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament), which says:

> You will not covet your neighbor’s wife. You will not covet your neighbors house or his field or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or any animal which is your neighbor’s. (Ex 20:17 LXX)

Looks pretty familiar, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s essentially identical; since there’s no distinction between the words “wife” and “woman” in Greek, the word translated “wife” here is the same that is translated “woman” in Matthew (both English words translate the same Greek word γύνη; gynē).

It turns out that Jesus isn’t saying anything new at all in Matthew 5:27–28. Instead, he directly cites one of the Ten Commands to remind his audience that the Law not only prohibits adultery, it prohibits coveting with the same severity. This is not an intensification of the Law; it’s a reminder of what the Law already says. In addition, Jesus gives no indication that he regards the Law as too difficult to keep—he not only assumes that his followerscan follow his interpretation of the Torah but commands them to do so.

Now that it’s clear that Jesus isn’t saying something specifically new here but is instead calling attention to the Tenth Command, the next order of business is to understand the tenth command and the concept of “coveting.” The first thing to understand is that when the Hebrew חמד or Greek ἐπιθυμέω are used as verbs in the OT, it denotes desire directed at obtaining the specific object in question and not merely the existence of the desire itself.

Strikingly, the nominal (noun-form) concept of “lust” or “desire” (even the sexual variety) is nowhere forbidden in Scripture, nor is it equated with sin—only thepotential to sin: “Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then, when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And when sin is completed, it brings forth death” (James 1:14–15). Note that James clearly distinguishes between “lust” (that is, desire) at the stage of temptation and “sin,” which is the actual commission of an act.

In keeping with this distinction, Tenth Command specifically forbids the action of coveting (hence the verbal form), perhapsbest understood as forbidding fixing one’s desire upon obtaining something that is not rightfully one’s own. (A fuller way to understand “coveting” is analogous to the modern legal concept of “attempted” lawbreaking, but that’s a subject for for another post.)

To understand these distinctions more fully, it is helpful

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