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The pressure on women to ‘respond’ to intercourse

Only women have ever been described as ‘frigid’ (meaning cold). An unenthusiastic lover is a turn-off and causes a man to feel unappreciated.[i]

Men approach relationships with unrealistic expectations set by fictional media such as pornography, which depicts a fantasy world where women take the sexual initiative. If a woman is honest, many men go on a quest to prove how they can ‘give her an orgasm’. Alternatively a man looks for another woman who is happy to reassure him that she has an orgasm.

Even today so-called ‘female sexual dysfunction’ continues to be defined in terms of a woman’s ability, or her willingness, to cooperate with intercourse rather than in terms of her ability to achieve her own orgasm.

Women who question the non-orgasmic nature of intercourse are considered abnormal only because others describe intercourse as orgasmic. So ‘pre-orgasmic’ women are treated for a condition that is unusual only because so few women have the responsiveness needed to masturbate.

Women who masturbate regularly clearly know how to achieve orgasm and no one who indulges in sexual fantasies can be sexually ‘inhibited’.

When women masturbate they can stimulate themselves to orgasm almost as quickly as men do. Women are only slow to arouse with a lover. The suggestion that ‘women should orgasm from intercourse’ indicates the inherent bias. Sexual response is innate. There is no ‘should’ about it.

No one can seriously believe that painful intercourse is orgasmic. Yet it is implied that vaginismus is a dysfunction because a woman cannot ‘enjoy’ intercourse. Vaginismus is a reproductive issue because intercourse leads to pregnancy. The sexual issue arises because of a man’s desire for penetrative sex. Male sex drive is so strong that a man feels rejected when a woman cannot provide intercourse even if she has good reason. A woman’s dilemma is her instinct to care about her partner.

Women cannot fairly be blamed for a lack of sexual responsiveness but they could be blamed for not responding affectionately and erotically to intercourse with a loving partner (in moderation). In other words, if a woman is offering sex she should be willing to make a good job of it.

We feel loved when a partner respects our needs by taking an interest in concerns that are important to us. A woman’s generosity depends on a man’s sensitivity to her needs and on the quality of the relationship.

[i] The failure of the female to reach orgasm may also be a source of considerable disappointment to the male… Such failures lead not only to disappointment, frustration, and a sense of defeat, but sometimes to contrary emotional responses which become anger and rage. (p372 Kinsey 1953)

Excerpt from Jane’s book Women’s Sexual Behaviours & Responses (2013)

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