9 Feb 2009

Last night...

...I was unfortunate enough to be flicking TV channels and came across one of those depressingly prescriptive docu-lite pieces of television on - sigh - how to be good at SEX. The title was 'Sex - How To Do Everything' and it had that air of irritating presumption about it; the implication being that we all still need our sexual behaviour dictating because we're too dumb/unattractive to manage a successful sex life without help. What depressed me most though, and ultimately led to my swiftly changing the channel, was when they started asking women if they had ever faked orgasms, and all six questioned responded 'Yes'. Some replied in a tone of such comical surprise ('Of COURSE I have!') that it was clear they thought it was SO obvious any woman with a pulse would reply in the same way, that the question was practically redundant.

Now, I'm not naive. I realise the makers of the programme wouldn't have shown all responses, and would edit the interviews to fit their agenda. It's entirely probable that there were also women who answered 'No, I've never faked an orgasm in my life' (or at least, I really, really hope so). Still, the fact that anyone said yes at all demonstrates to me just how badly the concept of sexual liberation for women has stalled. It also makes it pretty clear that women only have themselves to blame.

I'm 25, have had 4 sexual partners (2 long term, one 'friend with benefits', one one-nighter), and can honestly say I've never faked anything in my sex life. If something isn't working, I'm not going to hide it. How else will my partner learn? What grounds would I have to criticise my partner's bedroom skills (or lack thereof) if I was the one feeding their ignorance by pretending to enjoy/orgasm from something that just doesn't do it for me? To me, faking an orgasm is as bad as deliberately lying to your partner's face. Even if the person you're with is just a casual lover or a one-nighter, why let them think they're 'da bomb' between the sheets just so they can go and get it equally wrong with the next poor girl they seduce? Who are you helping by faking it? It baffles me that women will complain of men's lack of sexual prowess/lack of expertise on the female body in one breath, and then admit to faking orgasms in the next. Can they honestly not see the connection between the two situations?

If women are still so afraid of bruising the supposedly fragile male ego that they'll forego the right to have their bodies properly understood and pleasured thus, we've gone seriously wrong somewhere. Unless you're actually afraid of your partner - in which case you've got much bigger problems than this, and should be looking to leave your relationship altogether - why would you hesitate to let them see that they can't necessarily make you come? One woman said that her reason for faking was - 'When it's going on a bit long'. Did it never occur to her to simply ask her partner to stop as she wasn't enjoying herself? Your partner may be frustrated or disappointed that you don't want to carry on, but these are grown men - they can live with it. And any man who would refuse to stop sex when you asked is quite frankly a monster who you should get as far away from as possible (not to mention alerting the local police to his presence) - not someone you should be sharing your bed and body with.

Some of you might be thinking that I'm one of those irritating mythical Samantha-from-SATC women who can orgasm left, right and centre from the slighest touch, and that's why I can't understand the frustrations that might drive women to fake it. I can resoundingly state, this is not so. I've never orgasmed from oral sex, and believe me partners have given it their best shot. I've never had an orgasm solely from digital stimulation by someone else (although when I 'help' them with my own hands, it's a different matter). Orgasms from penetrative sex only occur with clitoral stimulation accompanying it, whch either comes from me or my partner's body rubbing against me. Even then, it won't necessary occur each time. More like 1 out of 5, or even 1 time out of 10.

You might all be choking on your Yakult and going 'Christ, Chas, we didn't need to know all that', but I think it's important to state that my refusal to fake it is not the product of a perfect, constantly orgasmic sex life. Nor is it an act of bitterness against a bad sex life! I'm completely happy with my lot, and I'm convinced that part of the reason I have such a good time with my partner is because I refuse to deceive him, especially in such an intimate way. I don't see how it would help either of us to pretend I enjoy something more than I really do, and I refuse to insult him through the implication that his feelings are so delicate that some tactful honesty in the bedroom will shred them and destroy his masculinity. When did men suddenly become the vulnerable, sensitive sex? Why are women falling over themselves to fake pleasure 'because I don't want to hurt his feelings?'. Trust me, the gender that can get through Forrest Gump without crying can also survive a little constructive criticism. You don't have to be mean. Just be honest. If that sensation isn't likely to induce a voluble moan, then don't make one. If you're pretty sure you're not going to come, and the poor fellow is wearing out his fingers/tongue/penis trying to get you there, just tell the guy you'd like to stop, and save yourself both chapped genitalia.

Besides, it's a two way street. I'd be mortified if I thought that my partner was exaggerating his pleasure just to bolster my ego. I'd wonder whether my partner was such a coward, or if I was so aggressive and paranoid, if I thought we'd descended into such ridiculous game-playing. I would also hate the thought that he ever just 'endured' sex for my sole benefit when he wasn't enjoying it. I truly believe the majority of men would feel the same way about their female partners. As it is, I've had several xperiences where I've stopped sex or changed activity because one of us wasn't into it, and I've never been anything but glad that either party was honest. It really isn't that big a deal.

We all know the way lies work - the longer they go on, the bigger they get and the harder they are to go back on. That's why, ideally, we would never have started such a lie as the practice of faking orgasms in the first place, but even if we can't erase that part of women's collective sexual history, why on earth would we want to bring it into the present with us? It's time for women to wake the fuck up and realise this is one area in which we can't blame men or even patriarchy for what we're lacking in our lives. In an act of consensual sex, no one makes a woman fake an orgasm except herself. It's time to start living up to our status as truly liberated and equal - taking back honesty in the bedroom isn't just fulfilling, but necessary to be real men and women instead of childish dissemblers.

As the wonderful Pearl Cleage put it in one of my favourite books : DON'T FAKE - DEMONSTRATE.

1 comment:

Guignne J. Humberbucle said...

I also agree with this post. You know, more and more men are apparently faking their orgasms these days (I mean that I've spoken to a couple who have). Seems like a harder thing to do though, what with all the gunk.