Why Men Are Obsessed With Making Sure The Women They Have Sex With Actually Achieve Orgasm

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Why Men Feel Pressure To Make Women Orgasm During Sex
Sex

Is it a bad thing that a man wants to give a woman an orgasm?

For nearly all of western history, men have enjoyed uncontested social and sexual dominance. Yet, as modern men work to evolve from this place, they continue to struggle against being labeled with a bad rep, especially during sex.

This narrative is perhaps best exemplified in sitcoms. The heteronormative male and female lead characters exchange knowing glances and make some thinly veiled double entendre before they rush upstairs. When the camera returns, we see them laying in bed in a state of post-orgasm dishevelment. The husband beams and lets out a gratified sigh, oblivious to the pun his obviously not-yet-satisfied wife makes on the word “finished.” Everyone in the studio audience laughs at the familiarity of the scenario. End scene.


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Amidst complaints about their incessant neglect of foreplay and a rumored inability to locate the clitoris, the pitiful stereotype of the oblivious straight man in bed is deeply ingrained in our society. As a child, I made “men can’t find the clit” jokes well before I had even determined its exact coordinates on my own body. According to these stereotypes, all straight men fall into one of two categories in regard to sex: deliberately selfish or just plain clueless.

And the overall take on a recent study across popular media served, once again, to largely point the finger at the more menacing assumption of deliberate selfishness.

A recent article in Cosmopolitan titled, “Why Guys Get Turned on When You Orgasm — and Why That’s a Bad Thing”, announced that while yes, it appears that men can find the clitoris, they only want to do so in order to harness its powers for their own nefarious gain.

“Of course guys manage to make YOUR orgasm about themselves,” is the subtitle of choice here. Assuming that straight men are inherently all about themselves, the article continues to say that men “derive a specific sort of masculine pleasure from making female partners orgasm.”

We are apparently supposed to believe that somehow, and for some reason, this is a bad thing.


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A study published in The Journal of Sex Research, which reports that men feel “more masculine” and experience “high self-esteem” when a woman experiences orgasm during sex, is the driving force behind this conversation. High self-esteem sounds great to me, right? Wrong, apparently. Researchers Sara Chadwick and Sari van Anders conclude that “Despite increasing focus on women's orgasms, research indicated that the increased attention to women's orgasms may also serve men's sexuality, complicating conceptualizations of women's orgasms as women-centric,” somehow conflating individual men’s sense of self-esteem with the larger construct of patriarchal oppression.

Chadwick and van Anders go on to examine the problematic implications of men “giving” women orgasms, “as if orgasm is something men pulled out of a hat and presented to women.”

In a tenuous squabble of semantics, the study insists this such phrasing “ties into cultural ideas of women as passive recipients of whatever men give them.” To summarize, the female orgasm happening to come from a man’s sexual involvement or interest is, again, just another manifestation of patriarchal oppression.

Damned if you do, selfish if you don’t.

Essentially, the researchers and the majority of articles published about this study condemn straight men for their seemingly inevitable egotism in the bedroom. Either a man fails to make a woman orgasm, in which case he is a selfish lover, or he succeeds in bringing her to orgasm, in which case he is still a selfish lover.

This isn’t the first time magazines like Cosmo have condemned men for experiencing any type of personal gratification during sex. Earlier this year, one article outlined “15 Sex Things Guys Are Way Too Proud Of.” which self-righteously puts forth this statement :

“Because the bar has been set so extraordinarily low, men expect to be rewarded for every teeny tiny gesture during sex that isn’t 100 percent selfish. Every man who isn’t solely focused on his own orgasm thinks he’s a feminist gift to all women, and low-key believes he deserves a pat on the back for every good sex deed he performs.”

Some of these heinous crimes from which men allegedly get personal gratification include:

  • “Realizing your clit exists.”
  • “Making you orgasm one single time.”
  • “Telling you they want to wait."
  • “Offering to get a condom.”

God forbid, right? Ladies, you’ve been warned! Behind every Tinder match who seems to care about your pleasure is a monstrous sociopath trying to protect the two of you from STIs and unwanted pregnancy, and he even *GASP* wants you to have at least one orgasm!

Welcome to the sex-positive movement: No Boys Allowed.

This kind of rhetoric is an unfortunate example of overreaching radical feminist values that all too often clash with liberal feminism and the values espoused by the sex-positivity movement. A situation in which someone has an orgasm and everyone feels good about it is the sex-positive ideal. However, the more radical, separatist approach to feminism insists a straight male sex partner take only the most self-flagellating and abstinent approach to the female orgasm. Apparently, a woman's pleasure only counts if the man she is having sex with derives no personal pleasure from it whatsoever.

This accusatory approach to men’s enthusiastic participation in closing the orgasm gap isn't even the most problematic example of such conflicting values. In other cases, The kind of thinking in play here simply reverses and weaponizes the double standard, rather than eliminating it.

Consider, for example, the criticism of men for “telling you they want to wait” as another male sexual gratification tactic.

According to the article:

“My personal philosophy is that guys think women will throw themselves at them if they say some sh*t like, 'I care about you too much to have sex with you on the first date.' What they don't realize is this is just another way of saying 'I can't respect any woman who would slut it up with me on date one, and I respect you, therefore we can't f*ck.' OK, pal. That's just fancy slut-shaming and I can see straight through it."

So, women can say no to sex on the first date, but men can’t because if they want to wait they’re slut shaming?

This approach is highly disturbing, as it frames a man’s refusal to have sex in the archaic “no means yes” mentality, just in reverse, as it is based on the assumption that men always want to have sex, so if they say no, it MUST be a part of some underhanded, patriarchal scheme to get a woman into bed. This kind of drastic overreach weakens feminist arguments and introduces some very dangerous and largely overlooked assumptions about male sexuality.

Here's the truth. Everyone is selfish in bed.

It's important to note that the study by Chadwick and van Anders only examined the male response to female orgasms. It presents no data about women's psychological response to a male partner’s orgasm. And it only looked at this response in the context of hetero relationships. Which leaves us with several questions.

  • Would it be considered selfish and man-hating if research finds that women experience feelings of pleasure and accomplishment when her male partner orgasms?
  • Would it be considered selfish and self-loathing if bisexual or lesbian women experience feelings of pleasure and accomplishment when their female partner orgasms?
  • Would it be the same if the couple in question is two males? If one or both partner is transgender? In a group sex environment?

The study’s reported implication that the ego boost men receive from their partner's orgasm is unique to the male experience and, therefore, sexist is a subjective interpretation with no basis. If anything, the reaction to this study shows that interpretations of gendered behaviors and mentalities are often skewed.

Most people feel good about their partner's orgasm, whether they are male, female, queer, straight, or anything and everything in between.

You can enjoy giving your partner an orgasm for your own benefit, as well as theirs. That’s all part of the give and take of a healthy, happy sex life. To some extent, everyone gets off from getting other people off. Call it selfish, but at the end of the day, someone still orgasms, and everyone feels good about it.

So live and let orgasm.


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This article was originally published at Slutty Girl Problems. Reprinted with permission from the author.