Let's Talk About Female Pleasure

Why is it that when we think of sex between heterosexual couples we prioritize male pleasure? Female pleasure is far too often overlooked in our sex education and our conversations around sex and the effects of this can be detrimental. For far too long, women have sacrificed not only their pleasure but their baseline comfort levels in order to please their partners. In fact, a study found that 30% of woman experience pain during vaginal intercourse and 70% experience pain during anal penetration. But what is the real extent of this issue? And why does it matter?


The fact that women are taught to grit their teeth during painful sexual intercourse really shouldn’t seem too surprising. Take a minute to think about your sex education history. Did you learn about the importance of female masturbation? Did you hear your teacher talk about a female orgasm? I can say that in my experience I certainly did not. We hear about male ejaculation and masturbation all the time but when it comes to females we tend to only hear about the horrors of STI’s or unwanted teen pregnancy. It has been pushed on us since a young age that sex can be great if you’re a guy but put a uterus and some ovaries into the mix and the concept of pleasure is gone from the conversation and replaced with horror stories of young girls being ostracized because of their sexual faux-pas. This is a dangerous image our society puts in the minds of young adults. It’s lead to people being on totally different levels when it comes to what “bad sex” means to them. Research found that while men generally rate the low end of sex to mean less satisfying sexual experiences, women find bad sex to mean coming out of a sexual experience with extremely negative feelings and the possibility of physical pain.

This completely disproportionate rating scale may be a reason why movements such as the #MeToo movement are so misunderstood. Because we, as a culture, have become accustomed to women being used to physical and emotional discomfort during sexual experiences, it can be shocking to realize that, wow, women shouldn’t have to endure this unjust level of discomfort in order to please men! And, yes, this does need to change! Women have put up with this unequal rating scale for far too long and it shouldn’t be mansplained to us that we’re acting overly emotional or weak when we come out of an uncomfortable sexual experience and want to talk about it, something that in the past we just viewed as “bad sex”. The #MeToo movement is a clear example of women no longer putting up with this detrimental socially constructed double standard. The excuse men use to explain their actions, that men have higher testosterone levels and therefore have greater sexual urges, is overused and outdated. It’s time for people to realize that male pleasure does not trump female pain.

​It's also time to not only acknowledge but embrace the fact that women have libidos and should be proud of their sexuality. Sex is a powerful act and can be used in many different ways from showing someone you trust and love them to being a source of healing after a traumatic incident. We, as females, need to realize the strength that comes with embracing our ability to have sexual pleasure and that it’s not healthy for us to assume gritting our teeth during a time when you are giving someone access to you at your most vulnerable is necessary as long we’re pleasing our partners. If you’re both not enjoying it, it shouldn’t be seen as normal. There must be communication between sexual partners to create a sense of trust and set boundaries to allow for such an intimate experience to be as great as it can and should be.

Sex can be an incredibly powerful and pleasurable experience. But this only happens when everyone involved is fully consenting and enjoying it. Women have dealt with the disproportionate “bad sex” scale for too long and it’s taking its toll. It’s time for women to reclaim the fact that we do in fact have sex drives and we can (and should) enjoy sex! And when that doesn’t happen, women must be taken seriously. But in order to do that, we need to change the way we talk about sex and realize that women have the right to feel pleasure just as much as men do.


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