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Getting off

June 2, 2009
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Cara at The Curvature has a great post up refuting a claim that women uniquely play dirty with sexual insults, that jokes about penis size demonstrate that women are “meaner” when it comes to sexual shame. She goes on to discuss the conflation of the “small penis” insult with the “he’s bad in bed” insult, which is what I will take up here: the horror not that sometimes men don’t get their female partners off, but that the women have the gall to mention it!.

Insults regarding penis size are inherently mean-spirited and wrong, regardless of the actual size of the penis in question.  Insults regarding a partner’s failure to get you off might be mean-spirited, and sometimes might be a lie just as a means of hurting the other person.  But other times?  Well, I’d bet that a whole lot of the time, it’s probably said because it’s true.  And while you might think that saying a guy sucks in bed is mean, I’d say it’s a hell of a lot meaner to not care about whether or not your partner has an orgasm.

This post made me think of FML, where a fair chunk of the sex-related posts can be condensed into one of two summaries: “I wanted to have sex. My girlfriend didn’t. FML” or “I was having sex with my girlfriend. I wanted her to like it. She didn’t. FML”

On the one hand, it’s nice that it is–to some extent–a reasonable expectation that women should orgasm if they want to. I’m glad for that. I hope (and feel reasonably confident that it is often the case) that straight men feel shameful about failing to get their female partner off because they want her to be happy and sexually fulfilled.

But, on the other hand, the old stereotypes–that women are frigid, less sexual, impossible to get off, don’t communicate–often come to the surface and drown out those better sensibilities. We see those who believe that sex is 100% about them: their pleasure, their penis, their reputation. Men who forget the clit, who are jealous of their partner’s vibrators, whose lives are fucked when their girlfriends “complain.”

Women should be getting off if they want to, and not just by the grace of guys. We should all feel entitled to the universal recognition that the female sexual body deserves pleasure. We should all feel safe to demand it. Sex with women is about women’s bodies too.



(Cara’s post also references Lily Allen’s great new song, which Becky wrote about the other day.)

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