By Savannah Howard
Blog Content Contributor
The concept that a women’s sexual pleasure is less important than men’s is too normalized. In porn the female orgasm is rarely portrayed accurately. The actresses are always climaxing multiple times from penetration alone and/or way too quickly. In movies and TV, there’s that scene where the woman is tired, but her partner wants to fool around so she’ll suppress an eye roll and turn his way. She’ll eventually fake an orgasm, so he can finish up and she can go to sleep. Or there will be a scene where the guy starts getting horny in an elevator and the woman just goes along with it.
Of course, that’s not realistic. It’s just what men like and expect of us. Women are always expected to be ready and willing at any time for their partners and always react positively. When seeing this in media, people roll their eyes or laugh because they see the absurdity of these situations. Women don’t act like that in day to day life, right?
Those were my thoughts before I came across a trending Twitter moment. It was a thread of tweets from Ashley C. Ford (@iSmashFizzle) about something a past roommate shared with her. Her roommate mentioned that sometimes she’d just lay there during sex until her boyfriend was done because she was tired or not interested. Her reasoning was that she was compromising.
Her admission shocked me and many other users that had replied. She thought that this was okay. That it was normal. No one had ever told her that she should expect— demand, even— mutual satisfaction. She didn’t know that if he’s feeling good, she should be too. And a lot of women exploring their sexuality don’t know this either.
My first thought after reading the story was, “[My boyfriend] needs to wake up already because we need to discuss this.” I sent him the link and started getting ready for my first class of the day. When he finally woke up we texted back and forth, and 15 minutes into the conversation, I realized something. To a certain extent and without much thought, I sometimes do the same thing as Ford’s roommate.
That lead to a deeper discussion but after a few minutes we had moved onto trying to decide what to eat for breakfast.
That’s how it should be. Talking about sex should be easy, common even. It was easy for us to spot something that was not right in our sex life and fix it. However, for a lot of women that’s not the case. Although we are bombarded with sexual imagery in movies, TV shows and advertisements, sex is still a taboo subject to discuss. When sex is discussed, it is mostly talked about in a masculine way. Heterosexual sex is mostly depicted as something done to women, not with women.
So, women might share a little with their friends and that’s great because that is how situations like those tweets are brought up and talked about. However, with partners, women are advised to choose their words carefully and tip-toe around men’s egos when expressing a dislike for something, especially if it’s sexual. A popular sex magazine suggested that women only voice their dislike for something ‘in the moment’ because it may be taken the wrong way when mentioned outside of the bedroom. I agree that if someone is uncomfortable, it’s best to speak up while it’s happening but that shouldn’t be the only time to do it.
If a realization hits randomly that they don’t like something, women should feel comfortable talking to male partners about it at any time. And sitting them down and having a long, serious discussion is not always necessary. We should be able to say, “Hey, I don’t like when you (insert act). Let’s try something else,” while getting ready in the morning or in the middle of Target. Another customer that’s standing too close might give you a weird look, but who cares. Unless there are some heavy emotional things that need to be mentioned, the conversation should move right along, quick and painless, as if we were just talking about the weather.
Society learns and improves by sharing and understanding experiences, and sex is something that most people will experience in their life. We should get to the point where all of us, especially women, are sex-positive and properly informed. Women should let go of the shame that keeps them from speaking their minds or sharing some things with their friends. We, as a society, should do away with this idealized perception of sex and the woman’s role in bed that we currently condone.
Featured image by Savannah Howard.