With DJ Khaled's statement on giving his wife oral sex, we thought we'd chime in on why (some) men are continually so dismissive of female pleasure. For reference, when asked does he go down on his wife, he replied: “Nahhh. Never! I don't do that." Before we dive in, it's worth noting that the following piece acknowledges that not all men are selfish and not all women have a vagina or have sex with people with penises.
I'll bet if most of your sex includes a penis and a vagina, you pictured kissing and rubbing to start, maybe some oral in the middle, followed by penetrative thrusting, and the finale was male ejaculation. We've been trained by the media and our culture to see sex as an act that is male-pleasure focused and bracketed by male arousal and ejaculation. It is no surprise, then, to realize that when we think of cis heterosexual women's orgasms, we apply similar principles of success, timing and importance.
Decades of sex education taught women to be gatekeepers to activity. Our role was to “say no," leading to very confused teen couples who oftentimes wanted the exact same thing but had to engage in a ridiculous dance of passive aggressive coercion and acquiescence. I don't remember the clitoris being part of my high school anatomy lesson, and I know for a fact it isn't part of the current curriculum where I live now. Religion taught us sex is for solely procreation. Parents taught us the dangers of unplanned pregnancy. Locker rooms taught us – well, we know what those taught us.
Few of us learned, at least through traditional sex ed in the U.S., that the clitoris actually has twice the number of nerve endings as the head of the penis. No one taught us that the clitoris as we know it is really just like the glans of the penis, and that the internal structure extends 4-5 inches into the body. Unless you took a human sexuality class in college, you likely didn't learn about the sexual arousal cycle or how that cycle is so very different across genders.
I don't remember the clitoris being part of my high school anatomy lesson, and I know for a fact it isn't part of the current curriculum where I live now.
Our country's puritan roots and patriarchal society have combined to form the perfect storm of sexual disappointment. Women are expected to become aroused and climax against a backdrop of how men do the same. Think about movie sex scenes. There's some groping, hair pulling (non-consensually it appears), kissing and then the scene cuts to a close up of intense faces, nose-to-nose, grimacing or moaning, with hands propping up a male body more often than not. Who is stimulating her clitoris? No one, quite likely. And there's the rub. Statistically, less than 20 percent of women can climax through penetration alone. Most women orgasm when the clitoris is either directly or indirectly stimulated with a toy or a hand.
In my practice, time and time again, women seek answers to the age-old question, “What's wrong with me? Why does it take me so long to come?" Well, really, who decided how long it's supposed to take you to get there? Men did. Our culture did. And they didn't bother to check the directions to see how long this cookie recipe takes to get gooey and done. Has anyone ever stopped to consider asking men why they “finish" so fast as compared to women? No. We just expect women to adjust their bodies and expectations to the needs of a male partner. Research has found that men can reach orgasm after only three minutes of sexual activity, while most women need at least 20 minutes. The result is a massive orgasm gap.
Studies show that people with penises reported that 91 percent of sexual encounters end in orgasm for them while just 39 percent of people with vulvas report having an orgasm during a sexual encounter. Furthermore, at least 15- 20 percent of American women have never had an orgasm and according to Planned Parenthood, and at least one in three women struggle to orgasm during sex.
Now that we've given considerable light to the problem, let's talk about a solution. It's time for you to view having an orgasm through the same male lens. Does a guy worry about how he looks? Does he worry whether or not he is pleasing you during most of the act? Does he give up on his orgasm after you've come and he doesn't want to pester you? The answer to all of these are likely no. So ladies, here is your guide to having an orgasm like a man.
Say Exactly What You Want - No need to be shy here. If you know what he needs to do to make you feel good, tell him exactly what that is and then tell him how good it feels. If you don't want to be jackhammered, tell him to slow down. If you're nervous he might come, tell him to hold off. Demand more in the bedroom but provide encouragement to help him get there.
Own Your Sexuality - Yes, your hair may look great, your legs are silky smooth, and this week you may be five pounds lighter, but this is not why you are sexy. You are sexy because you are a sexual being who embodies pleasure, femininity and sexual prowess. Own every inch of your skin and be proud of who you are inside and out. Confidence in yourself will also help to get those orgasms out of hiding.
Explore Your Body - If you've masturbated many times and know exactly what turns you on, hats off to you! If you have successfully masturbated but don't know how to translate those steamy vibrator sessions into the real-life thing, then it's time to explore something different. Imagine Ryan Gosling on top of you. See if you can stimulate your g-spot. Watch a little adult film to get some ideas, but look for porn directed by women that isn't so male-focused. If masturbation is new or not a regular thing for you, resolve to start a masturbation practice. Start with choosing a toy unlike one you've used before, and dedicate at least 30-60 minutes a week to playing with it and seeing how it makes you feel. It's important to find new ways that get you to that special place, then share them with your partner.
Get Out of Your Head - Telling your body to get there, get there quick, he's coming soon isn't going to make your orgasm happen any faster (and it won't be as good if you rush it!) We have also all been there - you're in the mood and feeling great, then you remember that you forgot to put the laundry in the dryer this morning. When that happens, just tell yourself, I deserve this next 15 minutes to be free from all of my duties and problems. Let it go and bring yourself back into the moment.
Cultivate your Spank Bank - Take note of sexy things you hear and see. Pull out that mental Rolodex of clips, passages, memories that are your “go to" climax scenes. I encourage clients to share fantasies and cultivate them. It's really ok to go way into your head if it's to immerse yourself in a hot fantasy. Dreaming about taking on five guys at once? Does that golden shower sound amazing (even if you'd never do it in real life)? How about that cute girl in yoga class? What would your tongue feel like rolling around on her breast? It's perfectly acceptable and even encouraged to fantasize about other people and experiences. It's healthy and imaginative. Go there, feel it, use it.
"There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before." -Willa Cather
A logical fallacy called bifurcation (yes, it sounds like a disease) is used to make people believe that they can only choose between two extreme choices: love me or leave me, put up or shut up, etc. In relation to my career and my love life, I was once stricken by this crazy malady.
I spent over a decade in and out of love relationships that undermined my career and drained my creative energy along with my finances. The key problem was that I was convinced that I had two options: be a kickass, and powerful professional who scares off any prospective mate or surrender to that deep and profound love such that my ambitions blow away in the wind. For years, my psyche ping-ponged between these two choices like that was the only game in town. But why?
Turns out we women are often programmed into thinking that we can't have love (at least that good, juicy heated kind) and any sort of real career. This is not actually that surprising given the troubled history that America has with women in the workplace. Post WWII, women were supposed to quit their jobs and scurry back home and leave the careers for the returning men. And if you think we've come a long way from making women feel they don't belong in the workplace, consider Alisha Coleman. In 2016, she was fired because her period leaked onto a chair!
But try to keep a good woman down, and well, you can't (Alisha sued her former employer). Given enough information we will always find a way to overcome our situation. As we teach in my practice, Lotus Lantern Healing Arts, we are all our own gurus. The light in the lotus just offers a way to illuminate your path.
So what was I missing so many years ago when I kept struggling between two suboptimal choices? The answer is the understanding that if I wanted to have it all, I had to start living right now as if I could. For me to be with someone who supported me having a fantastic career, I had to believe that that was actually one of my choices and start living that way.
Of course that is easier said than done (like most life lessons). So once I made that realization, here are the three key changes I made (and no they didn't happen all at once):
First, I stopped apologizing. Why the hell do women always feel the need to apologize for everything! (Sorry for swearing! Jk.) In particular, why do we have to feel bad about time away from the homefront? Remember Don Draper stopping off at the bar before heading home? I took a Madman lesson from him and stopped apologizing for my free time and let go of my usual rush to get back. Instead I focused on enjoying the transition, which was often needed to release the stress of work. Whether I was slow-driving listening to my jams and singing at the top of my lungs or stopping off for a pedicure, a little ritual went a long way to making me feel like a real human when I walked through the door.
Second, I let go of perfection in order to be present. I stopped stressing over a work deadline and instead rescheduled it to tend to my love life or postponed a romantic dinner because a juicy work opportunity appeared. In this way, I did not force an unnatural choice or one I did not want but really paid attention to what felt right. Instead of feeling subpar in each realm, I end up getting the most out of my time in both places.
Third (and perhaps most significantly) I began to welcome and expect encouragement from the most significant person in my life. I made it clear to my partner that I wanted insight and not criticism. And since I knew I needed understanding and not saving, I said, "Please help me look at my career woes from a different angle instead of offering me advice." Ultimately, I only accepted partners that truly supported my dreams and didn't let me play small.
Today, some of the most exquisite pleasure I feel comes simply from my partner witnessing me. Having a cohort who really appreciates my struggles, helps me integrate work and life, and enjoys the wins together can be mind-blowing. Likewise, when the shit hits the fan (again, not sorry!), it's really important to have a partner that can hold space for you and help you remember those wins.
It's a constant battle. Our culture still perpetuates the myth by pitting love and career against each other (ever see Fatal Attraction?). Men don't always get this message, but then we don't need to wait for them to get it. All we have to do it start living right now in the way we truly deserve and bring others along with us. When my friends see me and my partner together separately killing it in the career department and fiercely loving each other they say, "Your relationship gives me hope."