I’m Talking About the Unspeakable Kind
Female Orgasms. Not a subject women talk about much, not even among themselves. After all, what do we have to compare our climaxes to? In the movies the man pumps away on top, maintaining eye contact throughout, and the woman thrashes about for a bit and times her orgasm perfectly with his. All without taking off her bra or venturing out from beneath the crisp white sheets. It’s perfectly formulaic, quick, tidy and a load of bullshit.
A female orgasm is, simply put, a series of collective contractions, brought about through sexual stimulation, that can last anything between two and ninety seconds (on average around seven seconds). But, like us, the way we climax is beautiful, unique and really quite complicated. It is also a topic that many of us are worried about but can’t talk about. How many times have you said to your friend, ‘hey, when you cum is it like this? Does that happen?’ Exactly. Which is where I, and the rest of the Glass House Girls come in (excuse the pun). There’s a reason why our motto is #YouThinkItWeSayIt…
Before I continue please take note that this is not a Cosmo article about how to achieve the exhausting Holy Grail of multiple orgasms every time (if you find out, do get in touch); neither is this article giving you permission (as if you need it) to polish your bean or outline the health benefits of cuming regularly (for your info, it’s a good thing, a really good). This is simply me speaking to a group of women who want to share their stories with you about orgasms that aren’t ‘normal’, yet may still be the kind that are also worrying you.
The solo kind
Most women masturbate. They don’t talk about it, it’s not the topic of smutty scenes in Rom Coms, and they don’t make a big song and dance about it. But it’s safe to say we are all at it nearly as often as the guys. Rachel, a 32 year old mother, explains why sometimes it’s easier to DIY (even though she has a perfectly good husband lying beside her each night).
‘Sometimes I just need to climax. Maybe I’m having trouble getting to sleep, or I’m feeling a bit horny after reading a sexy scene in a book… it’s just a release.’ So why doesn’t she have sex with her husband? ‘Because I just want to cum. It’s as simple as that. I can’t be bothered with the kissing, the mutual gratification, the full on sex, waiting for him to do to me what I can do to myself in under a minute, then having to have a shower after. I can just close my eyes, use my imagination and have an orgasm in record time. He doesn’t know, but I’ve even been known to do it beside him at night while he’s fast asleep… at least us women don’t have anything to clear up afterwards. I can be very quiet when I need to be.’
The kind that don’t happen
Anorgasmia is an inability to reach orgasm. There are a plethora of reasons as to why women, up to as many as 10%, struggle to reach climax – be it because of a physical inability (such as the size of a woman’s clitoris having an impact on the quality of her orgasms), a mental obstruction or anxiety resulting from previous sexually-related traumas. The condition is described as Primary (unable to reach an orgasm whichever way she tries) or Secondary (she’s climaxed in the past). It is also referred to as Global (orgasm can’t be achieved no matter what is tried) or Situational (a woman can only cum one way, be it manually, through penetration, via oral sex… or in a particular position).
A lot of stigma is attached to this condition and many women find it hard to discuss this with their partner, feeling like they are either setting their other half a challenge to be the exception, or as if they are somehow frigid and it’s all their fault.
‘Boyfriends in the past haven’t believed me,’ says Tracey, 47. ‘they said I wasn’t trying hard enough, or that I was lying. So many times I faked it so that they wouldn’t feel like they were doing something wrong. It was soul destroying as instead I felt like a failure, like I had let them down, like I was somehow less of a sexual woman for not managing to do what every other woman can do so easily’.
For Tracey there is no physical or traumatic reason why she has always struggled to reach climax. ‘It’s like I get to the edge and can’t let go,’ she told me. ‘It’s so frustrating as at that point I clam up and can’t go any further. I’ve suffered from anxiety for a long time and I know if I learnt to relax, I could maybe learn to achieve an orgasm, but it’s been so long now that just the thought of it causes a mental block of fear to the point where no man I have been with knows about it. I’ve just got so good at faking it that they haven’t noticed. I guess I will just have to live with it.’
Hypnosis, therapy and even smoking marijuana has been proven to help women relax and clear their mind enough to let go and give in, but like any orgasm, the lack of one is just as complex and unique an issue. Each woman needs to be open with an expert about her struggles and feel confident about exploring her own sexual needs (alone or with a partner) and maybe, just maybe, she will get there. And if not, it’s not the sign of bad sex… you can still have an amazing sex life without climaxing.
The kind that aren’t real
It’s all Meg Ryan’s fault in ‘When Harry Met Sally’. Up until then, no man on the planet had any idea that we women had the ability to fake it. They thought they had the hand (or fingers) of God, that we were bucking and fucking to their magical touch and our cries of pleasure were all down to the man’s unbeatable prowess. They weren’t. The sad truth is that there are at least 5 reasons why (at one time or other) every single woman has faked it… even though it’s so much more fun to have a real one:
1. We are bored
Yes, sometimes sex can get a bit boring, our mind starts to wander to other things that we need to get done and we just want to wrap it up already – but Mr Manners is insistent that we go first. And there’s nothing like the sight of a woman in the throes of passion to get closure from a guy, so we fake it. We give him the green light to go, get it over with and can then get back to the washing up that has been bugging us all evening.
2. We are trying to be polite
Because we are good like that. Because our man is trying ever so hard but we know it’s not going to happen, not tonight, because we’ve lost our mojo. So we pretend it was the best one ever and he doesn’t feel like he’s failed.
3. It’s getting sore
Men love a challenge and they will do all they can to reach their goal. But it’s getting a bit raw down there and we just fancy a shower and a break. So we pretend he’s mastered the art and he feels chuffed.
4. We are happier to finish it off ourselves
Let’s face it, for some men trying to hit the spot is like asking a drunk man to pin the tail on the donkey. It starts off being a bit of fun, but quickly becomes tedious, frustrating and potentially uncomfortable. So we pretend he managed it first time and finish it off ourselves once he’s asleep, while fantasising we are Johnny Depp’s guitar in Chocolat.
5. We just can’t
See above. Some women just can’t, and they don’t want sex to go on forever, hurt his feelings or get sore by letting him keep going trying to prove that he will be the man to perform her sexual miracle. So they fake it.
Yes, the real thing is better… but sometimes us busy women don’t have the time or patience to hang about all evening waiting for the big release.
The kind that won’t stop
What do you do when, instead of struggling to reach climax, you have a condition where you can’t stop? Persistent Genital Arousal is unusual but not unheard of. Take the case of Cara Anaya who in two hours can climax up to 180 times.
‘It’s exhausting and I’m never satisfied,’ says the 30 year old mother who has become agoraphobic following the development of her condition three years ago. ‘Doing the school run is awful, I’m surrounded by children while having an orgasm. No one knows that’s what’s happening but it makes me feel like a pervert or abuser.’
Cara’s case is extreme and debilitating, but many other women are too embarrassed to admit that they too are aroused a lot easier than others, and that even running up the stairs can stimulate them sufficiently to orgasm. At the moment there is very little that can be done to help such a condition, but at least by discussing it openly less women will feel alone.
The kind you get when pregnant
With so many parenting forums, magazines, websites and Facebook support groups it’s rare to find a topic concerning pregnancy that hasn’t been discussed. Women are getting more and more open about every pregnancy-associated condition, from Baby Loss and weight gain, to the debilitating illness of Hyperemis Gravidarum and the issue of bump-touching consent – we are all pretty clued up as to what to expect when expecting.
But one topic that doesn’t come up very often, and is rarely talked or written about (and I know because I have had to do a hell of a lot of research for this article) is the issue of orgasms during pregnancy. And the fact that some women get them all the time. Like all the time.
Lottie, a 34 year old mother of one, couldn’t understand what was happening to her. ‘I’ve never had any problems reaching climax, but I wouldn’t say I am a particularly frisky woman either. Yet that all changed when I got pregnant. My hormones were going crazy and I was horny the whole time.’
Sexual Hyper Sensitivity in pregnancy is common and due to a number of factors, from extra blood being directed to between your legs (causing the clitoris and surrounding areas to swell), to the internal pressure of the baby inside and the toxic mix of hormones playing havoc with your body and mind.
‘It was fine at the beginning’, Lottie explains. ‘But during the last few months I was so huge and pregnant, with my son flipping about in my stomach, that the last thing I felt like doing was having full on penetrative sex. But my clitoris was constantly throbbing, I only had to clench or cross my legs and I could easily orgasm. One night I woke up having the longest, most intense climax. I was really worried, but my husband just laughed and said he envied me!’
Lottie looked it up online and couldn’t find anything written about it. It wasn’t until she mentioned it to her best friend who laughed and said, ‘oh yeah, it’s lovely isn’t it!’ that she realised it was yet another one of those unspoken things. Which stopped as soon as her son was born, a somewhat mixed blessing… because she was beginning to enjoy her early morning wake up call!
The messy kind
Women pride themselves on being pretty clean and tidy when it comes to orgasms, unlike our male counterparts who have to use an old sock a la American Pie, or get the tissues out. Yet perhaps those wet patches that we are occasionally forced to sleep on may be ours after all. Statistically 10-40% of women excrete a thin milky white fluid during climax.
For an official definition of female ejaculation, look no further than Wikipedia: ‘Female ejaculation is the expulsion of fluid by the paraurethral ducts through and around the human female urethra during or before an orgasm. It is also known colloquially as squirting or gushing, although these are considered to be different phenomena in some research publications. The exact source and nature of the fluid continue to be a topic of debate among medical professionals, which is also related to doubts over the existence of the G-spot.’
Currently ‘squirting’ during sex is the third most popular on-line search term in Australia and is (for some strange reason) a practice banned from UK pornography – although I presume the male ‘money shot’ still remains one of the popular parts of a porno. And the difference is…?
At the end of the day though, this (like anything else associated with orgasms) is normal, even though scientists are unsure why it happens or where the liquid is coming from. Some studies have shown it’s simply excess lubricant after a particularly powerful climax, some tests have shown that in a percentage of women it’s escaped urine and other experts have linked it to the mysterious G Spot (that part of the body male scientists have been decades researching but every woman knows is there – why don’t they just ask us?).
If I haven’t yet given you reason enough to understand why women and their orgasms are so much more intense and complicated than that of men, here’s some light relief from a fellow Latino.
Attention: Strong language and from a pretty harsh male point of view, but… yep… he kinda has a point 🙂
So, whatever you choose to do or however you choose to reach that precipice of anticipatory release… do it. Some women cum best via manual or oral clitoral stimulation, some prefer a penetrative poke and some are lucky enough to simply clench a few muscles and rub their legs together. It has even been known, when women reach an extreme sexual overload of excitement, to have an orgasm without even being touched. Try it, it’s a fun game. But whatever works for you, do it and do it often. Apparently it’s good for you…