Every day is a thrill to be alive, to be human–even when it’s not. Nothing pleases me more than settling into my writing routine each day with nothing on my mind. Reading around the Internet, then, is an adventure: wide open.
My day’s journey may start with poking around Facebook or Twitter to see what’s shaking in the world, immediate and distant, and then end with a question sparked by something I read, which then drives me to Google or some other engine, and so on until a shaped idea forms.
Today’s Facebook scan brought me to elephantjournal.com’s The Top 3 Secrets Women Tell Their Sex Coach. The word “sex” in the title did not pique my interest as I have read enough intolerably reductive “3 ways” articles about sex to last a lifetime. No, I was drawn to the idea of a sex coach. My first thought: “How much do they get paid and for doing what?” All I could think of was my daughter’s soccer coaches yelling on the sidelines, “Move forward!!! Now move back!!! Cross it, cross it!!” I recall paying them more than I could afford to yell at my kids. So is that what a sex coach does and what type of degree or schooling does that require? Are the final exams practicals? The possibilities are endless.
Goofball wise cracks aside, I read with an open curious mind and found the article while yes, reductive, not simplified. The three observations gathered from listening to hundreds of clients (wow, and I never even heard of a sex coach before this except for Masters & Johnson) were, in paraphrase, that women have difficulty having orgasm, they don’t like their partners’ touch but don’t know what to ask for and want to want sex more than they do. These three observations alone are not earth shattering news but the expansion upon each is worth the five minutes’ read.
Summer Engman cites the porn industry, cultural dictates, women and men, the usual suspects, for women’s lack of orgasm and realistic expectations. Again, none of this is revelatory to me so much as confirmation that my own intuition and vague recall of books I have read and lectures I have attended have not steered me wrong.
But the nagging thought persisted after reading this article: It’s Freud’s fault. And I Googled just that. Aside from some hits I knew would appear, scrolling past Wikipedia and other usual fare with phrases “the immature orgasm”, I landed on Meghan Murphy’s It Happened To Me: I Don’t Masturbate (But That Doesn’t Make Me a Bad Feminist) on xojane.com. While the title is intriguing enough, her insight and wit make this a worthy read and a nice counterpoint, sort of, to the tonal apogee, elephant journal’s serious arrival at sexual advice.
Murphy’s take is she does not masturbate, does not feel the need, not wired that way, and to each her own. She is not offering advice so much as perspective. And not just that women are all different–duh–with different needs–duh–and different bodies and upbringing and anatomy, yadda, yadda…duh. She includes nod-your-head-in-an-amen tidbits like we know so much more about female anatomy now, i.e., the clitoris is not where and what you think it is because it’s way longer and probably parked in the vagina too, so Freud was operating in a clear deficit of information. He was mistaken. Women can and do have vaginal orgasms.
I blame Freud for ruining everything for feminists who have vaginal orgasms (they’re the “mature, feminine” orgasms, he said, causing us all to rebel by only having “immature” clitoral orgasms).
Murphy’s saying so–vaginal dick-initiated orgasm is her thing–is neither proof nor an epiphany. But it is refreshing to read. Women (Hey, what do you know?) are diverse beings with a variety of pathways to orgasm. (Hey, what else do you know?) We don’t hear enough about that diversity.
I am not disagreeing with Engman’s canvas of women’s sexual experience. I believe women of my era, specifically, have inherited a defensive posture toward sex from un or ill informed mothers and surrogate foremothers of second wave feminism, who were just trying to change the course of history, a tidal wave of oppression and missing or mis-information, kind of like steering a cruise liner’s direction with a wooden rowboat oar.
So, I am content with my morning adventure into the too-often disappointing and disgruntling cyber world (maybe it’s just the ebb and flow of my moods) for today’s sea treasures I uncovered for my readers. I hope there is a tasty morsel there to savor (apologies to the non-pescatarian vegans) or something shiny to admire, at least.