The Gaps to Your Orgasms: Where They Are & How to Find Them
A couple of weeks ago, on the eve of the new month, September, a podcast episode for Kings of the Heart was released, with yours truly as a guest! We were talking about The Orgasm Gap. Or in other words what is/where does the barrier lie that many women are not able to experience the orgasms they so desperately want. Let’s talk about that!
The Elusive Orgasm
I can give all kinds of answers as to why some folk are not able to personally meet their goal for orgasm satisfaction and what barriers they have been experiencing that makes the orgasm feel so elusive. But what I have found in working with clients and others who talk about their issues of achieving orgasm, usually with a male partner, is that White Supremacist, Capitalist, Cisgender, Heteronormative Patriarchy is at play.
White Supremacist Heteronormative Patriarchy
Yup. I said what I said. White supremacist heteronormative patriarchy has mind fucked us all into some level of submission, at some point in our lives, and while we may fight against it out in these streets, we don’t even always consider the ways in which it may have impacted us on a sexual level. The point is that sexuality has been completely hijacked to the point where the only sexuality that is considered “healthy” or “normal” is the sex between a dominate white man and his submissive, not really interested in sex except to please her husband, white woman. All other sex and sexuality is deemed as “other” and thus varying levels of deviant. And the thing is, you already know that. Look at how we treat various folks in the good ol’ U. S. of A. Women aren't supposed to want sex, because it's for me. Sex between same sex couples isn't "real" sex unless a penis is involved. If you want more than one person in your bed, then something is supposed to be amiss with you. There are so many rules and regulations on what you can do and most of those rules serve only to shame you. Let's think about it like this: White women are seen as being pure and chaste. They are considered to be the height of beauty and cannot be sullied. They are the Madonna. But they get confused, too, like most of us do, because they are supposed to look like sex and be pleasing to a white man, but they are not supposed to WANT sex. Madonna/Whore dichotomy. They are supposed to give sex, as though a gift, grudgingly to their husbands who have sexual needs that they are obliged to meet. They are only allowed to marginally enjoy the sexual activities but never to pursue it.
What About Colored Folks?
If the White folk relationship is the outline of the ultimate in sexual relationships and all others are then deemed deviant, people of color can get pretty far from that ideal very quickly (if only by virtue of not being white). The second you have stepped outside of the preferred race box, you are now thought of as a sexualized deviant "other." Asian men are often asexualized in media. They are thought of as having small penisis and are undesirable for a sexual or romantic relationships. Asian women, conversely, are exotified and deemed geisha’s who are sexually submissive and highly erotic. Latinx men are sexualized and seen as macho men who are womanizers with great sexy dance moves. Latinx women are the spicy, hot tamales who are exotic and sexy. Black men are sex horses with large dicks but are violent womanizers. Black women are overly sexed to the point of masculinity (Jezebel), or asexualized because of dark skin, fat bodies, and nappy hair (Mammy).
There is power in these tropes that are always at play. They play out in the relationships we have, and of course, the seep into our sexuality. For a white person, having a relationship with a person of color automatically raises eyebrows on why someone is there and what they might be getting, and it is usually assumed to be some level of sexual gratification. Many Black women in interracial relationships have spoken about how people assume they are only there to sexually please the white man they are with. Especially since the idea purported is that Black women are not desirable partners. It is an automatic judgement based in what the white supremacist heteronormative patriarchal standards because being a black woman automatically places you in direct opposition to white women, who are the height of being desirable.
Sex, Power, Orgasm
I am not saying people are thinking about white supremacist heteronormative patriarchy explicitly when they are having sex. It's more implicit, more insidious. More built in the traditions of what you are SUPPOSED to do and how you are SUPPOSED to behave. It's about societal levels of propriety in what is considered acceptable and what isn't. I am thinking more about the occurrences that takes a woman out of her body to consider all the things except the pleasure she is supposed to be experiencing. Ideas that women are not supposed to really enjoy sex. Or give it up too quickly, or have a large body count because these things make her a whore who is less than desirable and unworthy of the ultimate goal, marriage. This is a form of White Supremacist Heteronormative Patriarchy (WSHP). Or when black women, especially those with natural hair, are concerned that their hair doesn’t blow in the wind, isn’t hair that fingers can run through, and are concerned about how that hair looks when they are involved in coitus. Because Black women are taught that their hair is not acceptable in various spaces and that though an afro can look good, it isn't sexy. Feeling of shame about not being the right type of sexy is also based in WSHP. Or, for my final example, when women with fat bodies or women who think they could have fat bodies are concerned about what they look like and if they are attractive to their partner. When they are told and feel like they have to "take what they can get because no one else will want them," when they start to position their bodies differently or suck it in or turn off the lights or otherwise do what they can to detract from a partner looking at their bodies, this spectatoring based on the internal dialogue is, you guessed it, based in WSHP.
The focus and emphasis we place on the penis and the penis’s guaranteed ability to have an orgasm is based in patriarchy. Shoot, for many sex isn't even considered finished until the penis bearer has ejaculated! We think that the only REAL sex is sex where a penis is involved, this is also based in WSHP. The various ways we are shamed about our body and the act of sex are based in who is SUPPOSED to like it (men) and how someone else is SUPPOSED to react to the desire of their sex by others (be appalled and secretly happy) is based in the same stuff. There is a game being played that is absolutely exhausting and not benefitting to people of color and especially not for women of color. For WoC and especially Black women, there is a constant and consistent invalidation of our right to healthy sexuality based in pleasure and free from shame. How pretty or ugly we are based on white supremacist standards is at play. Whether or not we are the good or bad girl, and what that means. Whether or not we are “being played” or have somehow been tricked into “giving up the cookie” and what that says about our character and worth as women. We are constantly seeing images that say sex is not for us, but rather for male bodies who would have us. There are constantly messages that demean us for having sex and otherwise make us less worthy human beings. BUT, taking hold of and experiencing ALL of your sexual pleasure despite the rhetoric is one of the most beautiful and pleasurable acts of defiance. We have been told that orgasms are mostly for male bodies and that if a female body doesn’t experience one it's either not a big deal or something is wrong with her. We lie for someone’s penis ALL THE TIME saying they are hitting something they are not, or otherwise give Oscar worthy performances about the orgasms we have never experienced. That has to stop. Holding ourselves and our partners accountable for mutual pleasure is a must!
Tips for Reaching "O-town"
Practice clear consistent communication. We are no longer lying when we aren't experiencing pleasure. Telling the truth and communicating about what works and doesn't work for us.
Masturbate to know your own body and find what turns you on and gets you there. This helps with communicating with partners about what we want and don't want.
Practice mindfulness so that you can clear your mind and be present in the moment, not thinking about the dishes or that asshole at work when you’re having sex. When you're thinking about how your hair looks, you're probably not in the moment.
Have a ritual that says you are getting relaxed and are ready for sex. This can help you take off the layers of stress you have. Light candles, take a shower, put on that piece of clothing that makes you feel sexy and desirable.
Examine your scripts around how shame/blackness/femaleness etc. impact your sexuality. You can do this with the books in Dr. O's toolbox and/or in THERAPY! (yeah, I said it, the "T" word)
Practica, Practica, Practica! That’s what my spanish teacher always used to say to me. You need to practice all of the above, discuss, rinse, and repeat.