Sunday, August 31, 2014

There Can Be Pleasure Without Guilt

Chuck Klosterman has taken a hard stance on the phrase “guilty pleasures” calling it counterproductive to feel the need to be embarrassed by something you love. If, in fact, you watch cheesy 80s movies like Sixteen Candles and gorge on candy every time you feel awful like I do, according to his logic, you should never feel guilty about doing so because you did, by all accounts, enjoy yourself.

I have come to the conclusion over the last few years that Klosterman, though entertaining, is pretty fucking pretentious and full of shit.

Is it really so unbelievable that a person can recognize how terrible something is yet love it anyway? Take the Rocky franchise, for example. The acting is terrible. The plots are, well, terrible after the first one and basically just a repeat storyline that just keeps happening over and over again. But, I still watched them all back to back over the last week. Somewhere, some part of me knows how fucking godawful these movies are in terms of their artistic value but I can’t help myself. They HAVE to be watched.

As a feminist, I know with every fiber of my being that music that objectifies women is inherently a bad thing and contributes directly to certain aspects of social inequality between genders (normalizing negative attitudes), but I still know all the lyrics (almost) to Dr. Dre’s The Chronic 2001. Even the song about not making a ho a housewife. That one. yeah. And, yes, it’s a bit fucking embarrassing that at times I still listen to it.

So, by definition, if I feel guilty for something that I simultaneously enjoy, does that not make it a guilty pleasure? I’d have to say so and that maybe, Klosterman, King of the Hipsters, just likes bucking mainstream trends enough to make an asinine comment about something that everyone experiences but that, in his pretentiousness, he thinks he can rise above and apply some sort of new logic-defying spin on.

Chuck, it’s okay, man. Let us have our guilty pleasures. We kind of like that phrase. Deal.

But, that leads me to another question. What happens when our feelings of guilt about something we want or something we want to enjoy gets in the way of pleasure? I think that’s the problem with women and orgasms.

According to meta-analyses of 80 years worth of research on the subject, only about a quarter of women consistently have orgasms during vaginal intercourse. One fourth. That’s all. About half of women have orgasms some of the time. 20 percent or so have orgasms never or rarely during sex. 20 whole fucking percent (no pun intended). And 5% never have orgasms period. 

It doesn’t matter the size of the man’s penis, how attracted the woman is, the relationship the two have, or what feelings she has for him…these stats still apply across the board when these factors are controlled for.

My brain can’t even begin to comprehend what life would be like for the rest of the world if I couldn’t have orgasms. There is no known apocalyptic scenario which could compare to the sheer amount of destruction and rage that would rain down on this place if I didn’t have the ability to achieve that sweet, sweet release in multiples during sex or on my own. That’s just the way it is.

The difference between the small 25% of women who do have regular orgasms is in the brain.

There’s a major nerve running from the brain to the cervix connecting female sexuality directly to brain activity. This “superhighway” of nerves is unique to each woman and changes what each individual is stimulated by…but the thing that remains the same is that the brain is directly related to the way a woman experiences sex. For men, it’s quite a bit more simplistic. There is a similar grid of nerves in the pelvis that creates a web of pleasure that circulates the penis. No brain to dick direct connection.

There have been many theories based on such statistics and the findings about female sexual anatomy. Women need more mental stimulation, she needs more foreplay, she needs to be touched, she needs clitoral stimulation, she needs this, she needs that. We’re not all the fucking same, okay? The science tells you that. It’s right there in black and white—we each have our own maze of nerve connections that is different for every women. We don’t have the same wants and needs and desires. Every female expressive person doesn’t suddenly became one big blog of Stay Puft vaginas called SHE that can all be tickled the same damn way just because some “professional” wants to write a shitty little article for The Huffington Post.

The problem, to me, runs deeper than figuring out what women want, and I suspect it’s inherently cultural.

See, when we live in a society where women’s sexuality is demonized, where women live by this double
standard where they are prudes for not fucking and sluts when they do fuck, where women are called sluts for sleeping with a man while the man is awarded with status and praise, the brain to vagina connection is warped, distorted, severed for some apparently… Social norms dictate that women are not supposed to enjoy sex. It’s a running gag in sitcoms and movies—wives don’t enjoy sex; they don’t have sex. It’s a common joke on the Internet. Our entire belief system has put so much pressure on women to live by this strange, morbid way of thinking that says we’re obligated to have sex but we’re sluts when we do.

Is it no wonder so many of us have issues with having sex? How is a person supposed to get over that mental roadblock that tells them they aren't supposed to enjoy what she's doing because it's "naughty" or "dirty" or "slutty?"

It’s a cultural mindset which is not going to phase itself out anytime soon, but it starts with ourselves. By “ourselves” I mean with women, but in the same grain, it is with all our partners and our friends and everyone reading this blog. The idea that a woman, to put it bluntly, a woman who loves to fuck is simply that—a woman who unabashedly loves sex (or making love if that’s your thing). There’s nothing wrong with that no matter how much society demonizes and victim blames and backs us into a corner where we are “supposed” to and obligated to give ourselves but not supposed to love it, to really feel ourselves let go and let our toes curl, to nurture our fantasies.

There’s nothing wrong with making love to your partner.

There’s nothing wrong with a one night stand as long as you’re safe.

There’s nothing wrong with having a friend with benefits and loving every minute you spend naked and sweaty together.

There is absolutely no guilt at all that should be inherently tied to sex for women. I would hope that every woman has the chance in her lifetime to navigate her own labyrinth of sexuality and discover every little nuance of herself…to find that direct connection to the brain and figure out how to make that superhighway light up over and over and over again (4 or 5 times in 15 minutes is a great goal. trust me).

I love Ash over More Than Cheese and Beer for putting up with the crazy way I interpret these prompts some week. Who knew I'd be talking about the female orgasm this week? I didn't until I sat down and the words came (no pun intended). Thanks for reading and I hope you'll read the rest of the link ups today.


  1. the only thing i can honestly say that i know about women is that every one is unique

  2. I love where the prompts take you.

    Awesome as always.

  3. I'm here!! Always the first to read and the last to comment. Haha. I love where prompts take you too. Part of MY fun with Sunday Confessions. Wonderfully written. I adore you.