COLUMN: The Naked Truth: Managing your sex-pectations

Julie Mana-Ay

News Editor

Orgasms are mysterious, subject to disbelief and known only to some. This is because many women have not experienced them, like me.

In my past sexual relationships, I’ve never had the opportunity to experience an orgasm.

For a while, I had the idea that it wasn’t because of me or the lack of me trying, but due to my partners’ performances.

I wanted to feel that explosive and toe-curling feeling that all of my friends felt.

I always envied the women who did.

Some time ago, I heard that an orgasm meant that your sexual encounter was successful.

I thought that if my partner wasn’t able to help me achieve this, then they must’ve been unsuitable for me.

Achieving this isn’t the easiest thing to do, yet the adult film industry portrays women as eternally sensual, effortlessly orgasmic and forever lubricated.

Pornography reinforces the pressure to perform orgasmically for women.

Some people watch too much porn, and men want to feel like their penis is some sex hot-rod.

Pornography use can have an emotional effect on sexual performances within relationships. An excessive use of pornography can especially change the way a man defines beauty.

It is statistically impossible that every woman will experience multiple orgasms, ejaculate and climax during sex.

But orgasms are complicated.

From a published study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, a team of researchers in the U.S. collected data through an online survey on the NBC News website. The survey had responses with over 52,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 65 who were in a relationship with one person.

The study reported that college men felt it was their responsibility to bring their female partner to orgasm, that this is very satisfying for men and that the absence of female orgasms is distressing.

Philosophy professor and Interim Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities Debra Jackson, who is writing a book on sexual ethics, said heterosexual women fake orgasms much more often than straight men, gay men, or lesbians.  

“She might fake it because she believes she’s supposed to have an orgasm, and that if she doesn’t, something’s wrong with her. And she doesn’t want to confront that with her partner; she doesn’t want to face the possible embarrassment,” Jackson said.

Not only do a majority of women fake orgasms, some men fake orgasms too, for the same reasons women do.

“As a man, I’ve only faked an orgasm once, and that was because I hated the sex and I just wanted her to get off without hurting her feelings. Other than that, I either finish, or I don’t,” said CSUB student Jeremy (names have been changed to protect identities).

Jackson said many women internalize the pressure to orgasm rather than facing the uncomfortable conversation with their partner.

Communication is a definite key in any relationship.

People need to be able to tell their partners what they like and what they don’t like, but often, some people struggle with that communication.

“I didn’t want him [my partner] to feel like he wasn’t doing a good job, because he was. It felt amazing, but I didn’t orgasm until after I started exploring,” said Susie.

Some women say they fake orgasms because they try to enhance the experience, so they make the vocalization to excite their partners, and some talk about faking orgasms to end the sexual encounter.

“For many people, the goal of sex is to have an orgasm, and once you have an orgasm, you know you’re done,” said Jackson.

Yes, orgasms must feel sensational, but how important is having an orgasm?

I once believed that the goal of sexual intimacy is to have an orgasm.

And to other women, the goal of sexual intimacy is something else.

“I don’t think sex should solely be judged on whether an orgasm did or didn’t occur. Sometimes the best sexual encounters don’t result in orgasms, on both ends, male or female. And that’s okay,” said Jeremy.  

Some of those women want sexual intimacy to express their love and bond with their partners.

Some women and men need to be careful not to create this expectation that sex is only good if a woman orgasms.  

CSUB student Jeremy said the majority of people don’t have sex to reproduce, and that people care about women reaching orgasms instead.

Women are capable of deeper vaginal orgasms, but not every woman is able to reach that point.

Nearly one-third of men incorrectly assume that most women will orgasm from penile-vaginal intercourse alone.

It turns out most heterosexual women cannot have an orgasm through vaginal penetration.

“The part of the body for women that is the pleasure center is the clitoris. Well, that’s not inside the vagina. It’s around it,” said Jackson. “So if you don’t have contact where the pleasure center is, how could you possibly reach an orgasm?”

So we have to ask ourselves, “what will get us there?”

The constant idea of expecting an orgasm every time a woman has a sexual encounter is unhealthy and unrealistic, because not every woman is able to orgasm.

Because of this, both men and women evaluate their sexual encounters as poor if no orgasms are received.

Without question, orgasms are less a natural experience than a social behavior between women and men. With both behaviors come ultimate expectations determining what’s right and what’s wrong.

As much as experiencing an orgasm may seem like the ultimate source of sexual pleasure, sex doesn’t have to revolve around it.

Being able to explore intimacy and sexual enjoyment should be satisfying for both men and women, so why are people letting one minor detail ruin their sex moments?

Just because you didn’t come doesn’t mean you didn’t have fun.