Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Genderizing the O-word

A new research study shows that men are having orgasms two and a half times the rate of women, thereby broadening the gender-gap debate to a new level: the bedroom.

First, one has to consider the ways in which patriarchy has seeped in to this phenomenon. Orgasms may not be be purely physical -- and if a woman is not comfortable in her body, in her intellect or feel second class because this is what mainstream society still perpetuates, her emotional confidence may not allow for an orgasm either. Think about it, a woman is told to look sexy, feel sexy and to, often, please their men (we are talking about heterosexual statistics here) in all areas of life, including during intercourse. Men have the luxury of not having to examine who they are at every second of an interaction. I can think of numerous times I have stood in line in a grocery store and noticed Cosmopolitan Magazine covers that give a step-by-step guide on how to look hot while having an orgasm. We wouldn't the woman to be concerned with her own happiness here, would we? Instead, we shove the idea of perfection down their throats -- that even in a time of pure, blissful self-love, women still need to look good for their man. No wonder the stats are low.

Another note of interest from the Stanford article compares heterosexual orgasm rates to that of same-sex rates.

"The women in England's study who reported on a same-sex hookup that included oral sex had an orgasm 62 percent of the time, while women reporting on an opposite sex hookup of the same variety had an orgasm just 39 percent of the time."

One has to wonder how much of this is related to the overarching patriarchal themes as well. Particularly because the article points out that: "men often didn't’t know if their female partner had had an orgasm. England compared men and women’s reports of the woman’s orgasm in heterosexual hookups. The women themselves reported an orgasm 25 percent of the time, while the men thought their partners orgasmed 60 percent of the time."

Hmm. I would say that if one is in a relationship where their partner is clueless about who got their rocks off, and who didn't, that will definitely play a role the next time around (if there is one), when intercourse takes place.

The article's author has a couple of awful indications such as women should BECOME lesbians -- as if it is a choice -- and also that instead of "take back the night," which is an anti-violence event, women should be demanding "take back the orgasm" rallies; however, the author does make a good point about the need to shift societal dynamics:

"To close the gap, societal attitudes need to shift toward valuing female pleasure in hookups and enabling women to understand their own sexual response."