Faking It: Part Two

Cum on, guys — let’s talk about orgasms.

When it comes to pornographies, the man almost always comes. This signals the end of sex. However, the woman doesn’t always achieve an orgasm… but she pretends to.

YourTango, a website that posts articles pertaining to women’s sex life, published an article entitled “10 Reasons Why Women Fake Orgasms.” The first reason states that women fake orgasms because they want to please their partner. Although sex is (sometimes) about intimacy, women should not feel compelled to fake an orgasm for their partner’s satisfaction, especially if their partner is a man.

Faking an orgasm is a sign that heterosexual sex revolves around men and their desires; women are encouraged to engage in acts that please men and bring them to an orgasm, but due to the nature of the female body, this feeling isn’t always reciprocated. This is never a problem to men, though. If a man “can’t get it up” or cannot achieve an orgasm, the woman is usually blamed for the “bad sex.” However, if the woman does not achieve an orgasm, it’s never the guy’s fault.

In “Sex and Power,” Kristen Barber discusses Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon’s views on sex. Both women assert that sex is about “male dominance and female subordination” (NSS 45). Because of this corrupt dynamic that has been established, many women feel the need to do as they’re told and comply, rather than taking sex into their own hands (no pun intended) and doing what makes them feel good. As women learn to succumb to this dynamic, they also learn how to manipulate men by offering sex as a trade for something else or withholding sex from men. Deborah Anapol, a writer for Psychology Today, wrote a similar article to the one from YourTango, albeit with a psychological perspective. In the article, Anapol states:

“A lot of women have used sexuality as a bargaining chip with men. They know they have something that men want and they use it to get their needs met. This leads women to the conclusion that sex is really for men. Even after all these years of raising women’s consciousness and feminism, the deeply held belief that women’s sexuality exists mainly for the benefit of men has remained. While engaged in sex, women have been preoccupied with the pleasure enjoyed by the man. Her orgasms are for his pleasure!”

Most men care if a woman achieves an orgasm to fulfill his ego — not so both parties can be on the same level of satisfaction. The idea of faking orgasms to please men ties into Dworkin’s theory that “women are expected to say ‘yes’ to sex because they are expected to be compliant and to fulfill the man’s ‘implicit right’ to get laid regardless of the woman’s desires” (45). If play into this theory, they learn that sex reflects men’s desires and wishes and that they are just there for their genitals. This can inhibit sexual subjectivity: if (straight) women are not encouraged to have sex because of their past experiences have not being good, how can they learn how to express themselves? Of course, women can easily masturbate, but sex with a partner sometimes holds more weight on this theory — both mentally and physically.

Rather than being discouraged by bad sex, some women take matters into their own hands. In her article, Anapol writes:

More recently, when women began putting the focus on their own pleasure and their own deeper desires and needs, they sometimes were told, “’Your orgasm is your responsibility. I’m here for me and you’re here for you.’” The message was “’be self centered like me.’” But if women actually do this, or put sexual demands on a partner, or try to use him as a masturbation machine, the man often fails to cooperate. In general, men haven’t been conditioned to play this role in the way that women have. The exception is that men who’ve been sexually abused as children often have the same challenges as women in claiming their sexual sovereignty.

The idea that the male orgasm is superior to the female orgasm has been burned into the back of male brain over time. Because of this, even when women try to make sex about them, it backfires and makes them look selfish. These gender, masculine/feminine, and dominant/submissive roles that are prominent during sex have inhibited any type of progress.

Women go to such extreme lengths to fake an orgasm just to please men. In When Harry Met Sally, Sally Albright, played by Meg Ryan, fakes an orgasm in the middle of a diner to show Harry Burns, played by Billy Crystal, how often women fake orgasms.

Her fake orgasm is so elaborate. Women go to great lengths to make men feel good when, in reality, we really shouldn’t do this as often as we do. By faking orgasms, we enforce these problems that we should be solving. Sex is not for men. Sex is not for women. Sex should be about the two people coming together and making each other feel good both physically and emotionally.

Readers, I want you to think about these gender norms and asses how they have impacted you personally. Similarly, do you think women should continue to fake orgasms? If you are a female and you were put in this position, would you – or have you ever – fake(d) and orgasm?

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