6 Nov 2010

Lionel Shriver on the frustratingly unpredictable nature

...of female sexuality. And, by implication, why men shouldn't feel so bad if they can't make a woman come (without the lady involved participating in the task, at least).

"His manipulations were never quite right...but to be fair, there was something inscrutable about that recessive twist of flesh, if only because the clitoris was built on an exasperatingly miniature scale. For a man to get a woman to come with the tip of his finger required the same specialised skill of those astonishing vendors in downtown Las Vegas who could write your name on a grain of rice."

I've always thought this. Yet, thanks to porn, Sex And The City, and Cosmo/Company/Glamour et al, the female orgasm has been portrayed as something you can achieve with the simplest and most repetitive of actions, as long as you can find the clitoris. Not so....

"Because a millimetre to the left or right equated geographically to the distance from Zimbabwe to the North Pole. Little wonder that many a lover of her youth who had imagined himself nearing the gush of Victoria Falls had, through no fault of his own, been paddling instead the chill Arctic of her glacial indifference. To make matters worth, the dastardly little scrap was capable of inducing not only bliss but blinding pain - and how could anyone negotiate such a perilous node with any confidence if he didn't have one? She sometimes thanked her lucky stars that she was not faced with this bafflingly twitchy organ whose important bit measured not a quarter of an inch across, when chances were that the woman herself couldn't tell you how it worked."

Yup. I sure wouldn't want to be a man trying to please this most temperamental of areas. The likelihood of pleasing it rather than angering or simply chafing it, seems as great as someone with no bomb disposal qualifications whatsoever, being able to cut the right wire on a terrorist's home made explosive device. The only reason I know how to please mine is because I've lived with it for 26 years, and have been pleasing it for most of that time. How someone not actually wired up to my brain could figure it out, I don't know. So far, no one has, and I refuse to treat those who have tried as Bad Men or Bad Lovers because this mercurial millimetre of flesh wouldn't play ball with them.

You may never manage it guys - don't treat it as a holy grail, and don't treat a lady as abnormal just because you achieved it with a different girl but this one isn't lighting up like a fruit machine. By all means keep trying, but be aware of your limitations. The penis has been analysed and worshipped for centuries, whereas the pussy is only just coming into its own, so both men and women are still playing much catch-up when it comes to understanding this sometimes vexing collection of nerve-endings.

And ladies? Be proud of your complicated, demanding organ. Never apologise for it by faking more pleasure than you really feel. Teach him all you can, and if that's still not enough? Well, that's what God gave us our own hands for.

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