The Sexual Charade
I had a brain-bending, mind-expanding, ‘penny drop’ moment when I realised that sex for many of us women – especially women who have penetrative sex – can be kind of a sham.
Research shows that many women – especially young women – are more inclined to pretend that they’re having a good time during sex in order to pamper a partner’s ego than they are to ‘make a fuss’.
If we acknowledge that almost 70% of women fake, or have faked, orgasms then that means that thousands, in fact millions, of men have unknowingly partaken in a sort of ‘sex pantomime’, a theatrical event of ‘oooohs’ and ‘aaaaahs’, hoodwinked into thinking they are rockstars in bed and know how to please a woman. These millions of men, none the wiser, may go and have other sexual encounters – tomorrow, the next month, the next year, the next decade – taking with them their enthusiastically endorsed set of ‘skills’… Statistically, it’s very probable that they will receive another fake expression of pleasure from their new female partner. And so the domino effect continues.
What a crazy reality to acknowledge – this sexual charade happening all around us.
The thing is:
Women aren’t pathological liars who intentionally want to subvert the potential of a truly connecting, sexual moment that supplies them with pleasure.
And men aren’t selfish buffoons who don’t want to bestow pleasure upon their partners. Quite the opposite in fact, in my experience.
So what’s going on? What’s happening under the surface that has made Sarah McCwellen – a psychologist from the University of Michigan – find that young women are more likely to use their partner’s pleasure as a measure of their own satisfaction. A ‘if he is sexually satisfied then I am sexually satisfied’ mentality.
To be blunt, the vast majority of women don’t know shit about their bodies and their sexuality.
One huge reason is because woman’s bodies have been pathologised, and their capacity to experience pleasure have been feared since time immemorial.
Did you know that the clitoris was only ‘discovered’ (by scientists) 20 years ago?
Crazy! We live in the hangover of a long and rowdy piss-up where women’s bodies were shamed, controlled, stigmatised and misunderstood. The word hysteria? It comes from the Greek word meaning ‘uterus’ and in the Victorian times it was used to diagnose and incarcerate women who were ‘troubled’ with energetic sex drives and desires. These stigmas still linger today. Look at our prevalent slut-shaming culture and the way in which the ‘Madonna/whore’ dichotomy still burdens women’s sexual expression. Sexual pleasure, as well as a pleasure in sex, comes with a set of anxieties and prejudices that women often feel pressure to navigate.
Sex remains a taboo topic today. Why? Well one reason may be because it involves our ‘nether regions’. Embarrassing ‘private’ parts of which gross fluids come out. We are taught from a young age not to talk about, or fiddle with them too much, in public. It’s no wonder that we still haven’t conjured up the proper tools and a comfortable language to discuss sex openly and honestly, and to understand it absolutely … with our partners and, I think, with ourselves.
G’s Spot is dedicated to confident communication about sex and female pleasure. The minute we start speaking about something confidently and without shame – like sex and our bodies – it gives permission to others to do the same. I hope that the G’s Spot platform provides a space to reflect, learn and build tools to start talking about how we do, and how we want to, experience sex.
Illustration by Bronwen Bender
www.bronwenbender.com / @brownen.bender