In season 2, episode 4 of Sex and the City, viewers were inundated with multiple scenes of Miranda having mediocre sex with her ophthalmologist, thus resorting to faking an orgasm. She explains, “The first time I faked it because it was never going to happen and the second time I had to fake it because I faked it the first time…”
“Funny” scenes of women engaging in dull, mediocre sex seem to be the norm in our modern-day media. Even in a movie as sweet and warm-hearted as Amélie, the main character is shown practically laughing while having sex with a boyfriend.
Faking an orgasm is bad because when a woman fakes an orgasm she is giving positive feedback to please the male ego rather than advocating for her own pleasure and ruining it for his future partners. Yet there seems to be another— perhaps even more irksome—behavior in heterosexual partnerships, which is driven by the underlying assumption that sexual intercourse should stop when the man orgasms.
Whether it’s a simple case of gender roles or a consequence of societal resistance toward female sexual liberation, it appears we have resigned ourselves to the accepted norm that heterosexual women will orgasm less often than men, but that men should still orgasm before sex is over.
The bottom line is that when two people agree to have sexual intercourse with each other, the assumption should be that neither participant is entitled to his or her partner’s body. Neither participant is entitled to an orgasm.
If vaginal intercourse no longer feels good, if sex is painful or if an orgasm is nowhere in sight, you have every right to tell your partner to stop. Just because you consented to sexual intercourse doesn’t mean you are obligated to continue sexual intercourse if it is no longer serving you.
In fact, your male partner is not entitled to an orgasm at all, through any means, if you’re not emotionally or physically up to the task. Next time you feel guilty for not being up to getting your partner off, think about the last time you went to sleep dissatisfied while the man you had sex with slept soundly in his refractory period and post-orgasmic bliss. Then tell him to take his blue balls to the bathroom and jerk it (or let him do it in front of you – totally your choice!)
Either way, heterosexual couples need to broaden their horizons with regard to sexual intimacy. Intercourse isn’t the end-all-be-all of sex. Mutual masturbation and oral sex are also options that provide immense pleasure and allow partners to understand each other’s bodies and pleasure at a deeper level. The avenue you choose toward sexual intimacy should be the avenue that best meets each partner’s needs at any particular moment.
Understandably, there will always be some inequities in any intimate partnership. So long as sexual satisfaction is reciprocal most of the time, it is okay if both partners don’t orgasm each time. I am certainly not advocating for unrealistic expectations of sex – there will always be occasions when both men and women simply aren’t able to climax, and the emphasis will be placed more on one partner than the other.
What I advocate for is constant communication, empathy and respect for yourself and your partner. I am asking women to make their sexual pleasure just as high of a priority as their partner’s and to insist that when pleasure stops, sex stops.
Sex is supposed to be fun, pleasurable and mutually beneficial. Sex should never feel like a chore or an obligation. I urge all women to set boundaries and expectations with their bodies that demand pleasure and understanding.
What do you normally do when sex is no longer pleasurable?