From the Department of Blindingly Obvious Scientific Findings:
A hundred-plus page report, The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, came out recently, documenting self-reported information about the sexual activity and behaviors of thousands of adults and teenagers. Among a myriad of results (some others are detailed here, there was this shocker:
About 85 percent of men report that their partner had an orgasm at the most recent sexual event; this compares to the 64 percent of women who report having had an orgasm at their most recent sexual event. (A difference that is too large to be accounted for by some of the men having had male partners at their most recent event.)
Sigh. Let me count the ways that this frustrates me. Or rather, on whose behalf I am frustrated:
1) The fakers. It’s no fun to feign enjoyment. Faking orgasm is like the adult version of pretending to be Thrilled With The Terrible Present your well-meaning relative gave you for your birthday. Only worse. It’s like you and your significant other exchanged gifts, and you spent a lot of time and effort finding the perfect thing, and he loves it, but he got you a half-dozen half-dead flowers and a sad looking stuffed animal, and you have to pretend to be happy so as not to hurt his feelings.
2) The male partners. This might seem counterintuitive, since presumably they’re the reason the fakers are faking. But there are some problems with this premise. First, there’s the chance they’ll catch on, which will probably be embarrassing for both people. But worse than this is the fact that by pretending these guys are good at sex, the women are letting the guys keep thinking they’re great in bed and inflicting their unjust egoism on other ladies.
3) Which brings us to probably the most pitiable party, since they’re not at all a part of the fakery: the future partners of the guys. It’s such a disappointment to encounter a man who is supremely, loudly, totally wrongly assured of his sexual prowess. Really, it’s quite the letdown. Usually, these sorts of egotisms I tend to blame (fairly or not) on the guy’s mother. I’m sure this is sometimes inaccurate, but I’ve encountered several stereotypical Jewish American Prince types, guys who are almost *too* close to their mothers, who bask in parental adulation and seem inclined to agree with their moms’ assessment that they are really just the Nicest Cleverest Smartest Boys in the Whole World. Ugh. But the misplaced sexual egoism can’t be blamed on moms (hopefully)– part of it lies with the girls who fake their pleasure, leading the guys to believe that whatever half-hearted moves they made really got the girls going. So seriously, ladies: you’re betraying the sisterhood when you moan your way to a fake orgasm instead of telling the guys the truth– that they aren’t doing it for you.
There are broader cultural issues at play, too. I’ve long had a bone to pick with Cosmo, not just for their breathtakingly repetitive breathless headlines, but also for the content of those headlines, which always seem to revolve around the timeless theme of How to Please Your Man. Excuse me, what? You’re a magazine about sex FOR WOMEN whose content focuses almost solely on making sure guys are having a good time. Isn’t that a little off?
Plus, gender equality notwithstanding, I do think women have an easier time deducing how to make sure men are having a good time. It’s just more intuitive. So why isn’t there a popular magazine for men devoted to the fine art of pleasing your woman? Why is it that women are taught to be receptive to men’s pleasure to such an outrageous extent that they fake orgasms for the sake of not hurting a guy’s feelings? Why can’t we acknowledge that maybe our feelings are hurt that after all the time we spent comparing notes with our friends and reading Cosmo in line at the grocery store, our partners don’t seem to have put half the time into figuring out what we like?