sexual shame, part two

I received a reply from Yvette, the writer of the sexual shame article: “I found your answers to be so moving, interesting — and relatable. I know a lot of people have similar stuff going on! I wanted to know if I could interview you more formally for the piece on the phone.”

 

Glad that my answers resonated with her, I scheduled a phone interview. Two weeks later at 1pm, I was on the phone with a stranger in California, discussing the details of that which leads up to my failed orgasm attempts. It was 10am her time.

 

She acted sympathetic, as if I had presented myself as a combination of self-deprecating and modest. She told me not to be so hard on myself: I’m not a failure; many people have expressed similar problems. She was sweet if not ingratiating. I thought she genuinely related to and understood my story, although she seemed to dwell on what exactly happened during the moments pre-failed orgasm, a time period which I was not able to account for in as much detail as I think she expected. Not for lack of willingness to be forthcoming.

 

In case her editor requested follow-up questions to make the article more cohesive, she asked if it was okay to contact me again. I happily obliged. Months later she followed up: “Would you be comfortable with a fact checker emailing you just to verify some information for the story on sex and shame?” Of course I would be comfortable, but I was a little confused about what she meant by “fact checking,” as I didn’t remember providing many veritable facts.

 

I was shocked by the gross inaccuracies in the “facts” that the fact-checker sent me. Were I not to complain, not only would I be egregiously misquoted—the sentiment would be butchered. I would become an inadvertent addition to the canon of literature about women who are left unsatisfied because they are unable or unwilling to express or assert themselves sexually. A classic misinterpretation of a woman’s story that does not lend itself to my sympathy.

 

Refusing to validate the vernacular of women who are sexually stifled and deservedly so, I sent the fact-checker my corrections along with regrets about the writer’s glaring misinterpretations. My shame had a different genesis from that which Yvette claimed, and was more based on my own expectations than those of others—more self-perpetuating than self-conscious. 

 

We’ll see what happens with the actual article; it will be published in the October issue of a major magazine. I’m not sure how substantial my contribution is, but since I refer to myself by my real nickname on my blog, I expectantly accept the pseudonym of “Karla Page.” It sounds like the name of a reporter, perhaps a relative of April from TMNT. 

 

My exchange with the fact-checker follows: 

 

HER MESSAGE TO ME:

 

We are planning to anonymously quote you (we’re using a pseudonym) in an upcoming magazine article about women who experience sex-related shame. I’m fact-checking the article and need to make sure that the information we’re attributing to you (actually, your pseudonym) accurately reflects your thoughts and opinions. I know this is a bit odd, since we’re not using your real name, but we only publish real stories from real women in our articles, so I need to verify these details with you. The subject matter is sensitive in nature, but hopefully you’ll recall the sex-related details that you provided to magazine writer Yvette for this article. Please review the following information for accuracy:

 

* We refer to you as Karla Page — we do not use your real name.

* We say that you are 24. (Will you still be 24 in October, the month when the article is scheduled to be published?)

* We say that you are a graduate student.

* You said that you consider yourself to be extremely sexual.

* You said that you are embarrassed that you have trouble having an orgasm with your current partner, but you’re too ashamed to ask him to do what you think you’d need to reach that climax.

* You said that when you feel very close to having an orgasm, you feel like you could do it if you had one more thing, such as sex toys, touching yourself, etc., but you feel too embarrassed to actually do it.

* You said that you think that if you had an orgasm, your current partner would take that as a sign that he’s good, sexually, so you feel extra pressure from him to have an orgasm.

* You said that it can be more difficult for you to have an orgasm when you’re feeling a lot of pressure about it.

* You said that after sex, you feel inadequate sexually and also feel like you may have made your partner feel inadequate.

* You said that each additional time that you have sex without having an orgasm, your self-esteem drops.

 

Please let me know if this information is accurate as written or if changes should be incorporated. 

 

MY INITIAL MESSAGE TO HER:

 

I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you right away; I’ve had a very busy week. The following facts are grossly inaccurate:

 

* You said that you are embarrassed that you have trouble having an orgasm with your current partner, but you’re too ashamed to ask him to do what you think you’d need to reach that climax.

* You said that when you feel very close to having an orgasm, you feel like you could do it if you had one more thing, such as sex toys, touching yourself, etc., but you feel too embarrassed to actually do it.

* You said that you think that if you had an orgasm, your current partner would take that as a sign that he’s good, sexually, so you feel extra pressure from him to have an orgasm.

 

I think I need to re-explain my story, because the way you articulated it has almost nothing to do with me and I’m somewhat shocked that this is what was written down. I promise I will send you a detailed explanation later today.

 

MY EXHAUSTIVE CLARIFICATION/ELABORATION:

 

Here is an elaboration of my story and my interview:

 

I do, indeed consider myself to be a very sexual person both insofar as my self-identity and what I express to guys. However, I do have trouble orgasming with guys and I even sometimes have difficulty getting myself off, despite a high level of comfort and familiarity with my own body. Sometimes sex is sexually frustrating, sometimes I get bored or worn out, and sometimes I feel comfortable enough getting off in front of a guy. I am extremely upfront about giving instructions and I have had many guys tell me that they like the direction. However, I know some guys feel like it is nearly impossible to please me because I really know what I want.

 

Usually I end up touching myself and even use toys to help out, and although some guys are turned on by this and others are indifferent or treat it like a practical matter, others feel inadequate. I try to emphasize that I am really difficult to get off and I tell them they’ve done a good job if they have. I also try to incorporate them in helping me to make them feel appreciated, useful, and wanted. I try to convince them that I put little investment in how it happened and I am just glad that it happened and that they could be part of it. Honestly, I don’t care who has their hands on me when I orgasm and clearly I do enjoy being with men, otherwise I would skip men and just sit around and masturbate. It is hard to convince them of this, though. I get disgusted if I know a guy wants to get me off to inflate his ego and he doesn’t really care about my pleasure. I hate when guys selfishly put pressure on me to orgasm and, ironically, the added pressure makes it more difficult for me because I feel like I am accountable to another person in addition to myself. Some guys legitimately want to help me orgasm and genuinely enjoy my pleasure. It is in these instances that I feel the most sexual shame and guilt when I am unable to orgasm, because in addition to wanting to orgasm for myself, I sincerely want to please those who deserve it.

 

Yvette asked me about the specifics of my orgasm troubles and what happens when I get close but can’t. Basically, I get myself really close, but I can’t quite get over the hurdle. It seems like if one more thing was a little more intense, I would be about to come, but I can never figure out what that thing is. I think, maybe if I just squeezed my legs together a little tighter, maybe if I just arranged the guy differently for maximal visuals and contact. Sometimes I change my position so I can finger myself at a better angle, sometimes I think of what visually I would like to see if I were watching porn and I try to stage things as such, sometimes I try to get the guy to play with my breasts a little. Whatever the specifics, often I come up short and it is extremely frustrating both emotionally and physically. Here is where my shame lies: I try so hard and unselfconsciously play with myself in front of guys, I am so comfortable with my body and so open about what I want, I am considered by most who know me to be a very sexual and sexually knowledgeable person, yet I often still come up short. It makes me feel inadequate because people have high expectations of me sexually and I have high aspirations for myself, yet I often cannot achieve them and disappoint well-intentioned and dedicated guys in the process.

 

Yvette also asked me about why I don’t fake orgasms. I explained that I think sex should be about pleasure, not performance. If a guy does a bad job, he doesn’t deserve to be commended and I wouldn’t want to reward him because then he would continue to do the same wrong thing over and over. If a guy does a good job and still can’t get me off, I hope that he can understand that I appreciate his effort and skill, whether or not I orgasm has little relationship to how good the sex was, and being with him is satisfying even if he does not have a direct hand in the orgasm sequence. Another reason I wouldn’t fake orgasms is that then the bar would be raised higher for me and other girls and there would be additional pressure that goes along with unrealistic expectations. I wish guys would trust me and trust that I like being with them regardless of my orgasm outcome. Then I would feel less inadequate, because I would know that I was pleasing them by making them feel appreciated. There is one time I faked an orgasm, but it was for me not the guy. I had amazing sex with a casual partner whom I had slept with before, I tried vigorously to get myself off in front of him, but I couldn’t quite get there. I had put so much effort in, was so responsive, and was so close for so long that it almost would have seemed like everything leading up to it was a performance if I suddenly stopped without orgasming. I was embarrassed because who is too stupid to be able to get themselves off despite an extended effort with no self-consciousness.

 

Since my interview, I have had a little more success. I’ve found that it helps if I focus on the spreading and swelling sensation rather than a list of ways in which to manipulate my body to attain the desired result. In other words, I have to consider it a holistic process instead of compartmentalizing body parts with individual functions. I have to let the sensation take over rather than consciously controlling the functionality.

 

Here are the specific facts you listed that are incorrect with a brief explanation of what is incorrect:

 

* We say that you are 24. (Will you still be 24 in October, the month when the article is scheduled to be published?)

 

I am currently 25 and will still be 25 in October (although I was 24 at time of interview).

 

* You said that you are embarrassed that you have trouble having an orgasm with your current partner, but you’re too ashamed to ask him to do what you think you’d need to reach that climax.

 

I do not have a current partner, nor did I at the time of interview. I have numerous casual partners, some repeats but no one whom I could call a regular partner. I am definitely never too ashamed to ask guys what I think I need to orgasm and guys are always relieved when I give them directions because it is easier for them if they aren’t kept in the dark. Sometimes I just can’t figure out how to make myself orgasm. If I knew, it would certainly be no secret. The reason I am ashamed is that I ask for everything I know to ask for and I have a very good sense of my body, but often I still come up short and my body doesn’t cooperate as I want it to.

 

* You said that when you feel very close to having an orgasm, you feel like you could do it if you had one more thing, such as sex toys, touching yourself, etc., but you feel too embarrassed to actually do it.

 

Once again, not embarrassed to touch myself or use toys. I am willing to do whatever it takes, but sometimes I still fail and that is what is the hardest.

 

* You said that you think that if you had an orgasm, your current partner would take that as a sign that he’s good, sexually, so you feel extra pressure from him to have an orgasm.

 

I do not like rewarding guys who only want to make me orgasm to boost their egos. If guys legitimately care about having me experience pleasure, I feel extra internal pressure to orgasm because I want to please them and I feel guilty if I am unable to. If a guy puts pressure on me, however, I am less inclined to care about pleasing him because that is selfish and my pleasure should be about what I want, not what a guy projects onto or expects of me.

 

* You said that after sex, you feel inadequate sexually and also feel like you may have made your partner feel inadequate.

 

Only if a guy makes me feel like I’ve disappointed him or hurt his feelings by making him feel useless.

 

Tristan Taormino provides articulate and relevant commentary on the subject of masturbating with partners: “I know that people have a lot of expectations when it comes to sex. But there is nothing wrong with you touching yourself during partner sex or helping things come to a conclusion. If you both ultimately had a good time together and you both came, I encourage you to try to be less invested in how each event happened and more in that it *did* happen. Then, collapse in a pile of sweat and enjoy yourselves!”

 

Agreed. Logistical details aside, I really like getting off and I really like being post-orgasmic with attentive partners. 

 

You can find the rest of her post here: http://www.puckerup.com/EN/363

Advertisements
This entry was posted in sexual shame: part 2. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to sexual shame, part two

  1. The EBF says:

    I was disappointed when I realized this is the story you told me in person the other day, only because I was so excited to see a new post!

    Your original response to the survey/interview was really informative; I think that just the idea that removing the pressure to orgasm from women will make sex more enjoyable is really important and I’m going to make an effort to do that from now on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s