Seeing that this article, Mediocre Sex – The Price Women Pay For Freedom? by Jennifer Kabbany, was published at right-wing college site The Collage Fix, I should have resisted and not given it a click — but, as a wise woman once taught me, you do have to listen to differing opinions. And, hey, maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought.
But I was wrong.
It was bad from the start:
The infamous college campus hook-up culture celebrated by feminists suggests female students love casual, no-strings-attached sex, and enjoy one-night stands without guilt, shame or regret.
Oh yeah – then why aren’t they having orgasms when they do?
Feminism as a movement doesn’t celebrate hook-up culture; it just says that if it is allowed for men, if it is considered a right of passage or otherwise bears no lack of respect for men who do it, then it ought to be the same for women.
The article refers to studies and stories included in an article at the Times, which state that women are twice as likely to reach orgasm in serious relationships as they are in hookups and that casual sex does not bring the physical pleasure for women that men experience. Kabbany wrote:
The Times’ report interviewed several people who had all sorts of ideas as to what’s going wrong in the bedroom, such as that young men don’t care about pleasing a women they see casually, and the twosome doesn’t know each other well enough to know how to get each other off. Predictably, it goes on to quote sources who say sex without orgasms is fine for women seeking to scratch that carnal itch – that “mediocre sex” is the price women pay for freedom.
But the truth is women engaged in casual sex don’t reach orgasm because – on some level – they know they’re selling themselves short. They’re giving away their ace in the hole, pardon the pun, to some guy who barely knows their name and is likely too drunk to remember it in the morning. They’re offering themselves to a man who has committed nothing to them, cares nothing for them.
This isn’t about “inequality” in the bedroom, as the Times suggests. It’s about women with low self-esteem, who set the bar low for themselves, who search for affection and affirmation in the wrong way.
These studies prove that even if campus feminists are fooling themselves, their not really fooling themselves. Their subconscious knows the truth. Sex Ed 101 tells us that females climax on emotional/mental levels while men climax to physical/visual ones.
I obviously don’t agree with Kabbany. But she also missed some of the key points in that Time‘s article by Natalie Kitroeff:
By contrast, roughly three quarters of women in the survey said they had an orgasm the last time they had sex in a committed relationship.
“We attribute that to practice with a partner, which yields better success at orgasm, and we also think the guys care more in a relationship,” Dr. England said.
Indeed, young men surveyed in Dr. England’s study often admitted that they are less focused on sexually pleasing a woman they are seeing casually than one they are dating.
Duvan Giraldo, 26, a software technician in Elmhurst, Queens, said that satisfying a partner “is always my mission,” but added, “I’m not going to try as hard as when I’m with someone I really care about.” And with women he’s just met, he said, it can be awkward to talk about specific needs in the bedroom.
“You’re practically just strangers at that point,” he said.
The lack of guidance is common, Dr. England said. “Women are not feeling very free in these casual contexts to say what they want and need,” she said. Part of the problem, she added, is that women still may be stigmatized for having casual sex.
Dr. Garcia said, “We’ve been sold this bill of goods that we’re in an era where people can be sexually free and participate equally in the hookup culture. The fact is that not everyone’s having a good time.”
What women need to achieve orgasm can be very different from what they find in casual sex. Roughly one-quarter of women reliably experience orgasm through intercourse alone, according to a review of 32 studies conducted by Elisabeth Lloyd, a professor of the history and philosophy of science at Indiana University, in her 2005 book “The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution.” Another third of women rarely or never have orgasms from intercourse.
This highlights several key points. One, it’s pretty clear that people like Kabbany are illustrating Dr. England’s point about stigmatizing women, and, two, men who don’t care are often men who don’t care. But almost everyone is forgetting that women’s orgasms are more complicated to learn to achieve period.
Unlike the simple male organ (upright & locked in position in front, rendering it uber visible, its secrets easy to decode), female genitalia is more elusive (not only virtually hidden but offering more options). It takes more time for females to learn how to manipulate, arouse, and reach orgasm. (Note: It takes about the same amount of time for men and women to reach orgasm; it just takes more time for women to learn how to do this. Which is why I am so in sync with what U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders was addressing.) Given the physical and cultural complexities, how many college-age women know both how to please themselves and how to communicate that to another? Shit, how many women even know how to do this in their 30s.
Feminism is all about a woman’s right to embrace her sexuality. That includes masturbation, hook-up sex, sex in relationships — any safe, sane, and consensual sexual act a woman wants. And without shame or regret. But feminism does not “celebrate” hook-ups, as if they were mandatory. Not for anyone, man or woman. And feminism certainly doesn’t expect women to suffer mediocre sex because that’s what men want.
As Shanté Cosme writes in Why Sorority Girl Rebecca Martinson Writing About Double Blowjobs is Terrible for Ladies and Completely Our Fault, one should not confuse embracing one’s own sexuality with trying to please others — and in this case, we are talking about women trying to increase their value by trying to please men. Trying to please men in any capacity is not feminism.