25 Jun Orgasm Equality for women
FEMALE ORGASMS: RELEVANCE, DISCUSSION, AND YOU
On May 28, Durex India dropped a bomb that has taken over Twitter by storm. They did the impossible. Durex India started the buzz on female orgasms.
It all started with Durex sharing a video on its Twitter handle. In the video, they state that 70% of Indian women are reluctant to speak on the female orgasms. The campaign goes on to include statements from celebrities urging people to stop “faking” it. It gave rise to hashtags like #OrgasmInequality, #IFakedItToo, and #Fakeorgasms.
The campaign has not been without critics. However, somewhat expectedly, most of it comes from men and religious bigots. The posts are now full of comments from pseudo-intellectuals. After all, only Tessi Thomas, the Missile woman of India, is the accepted definition of empowerment and all other issues are either fake or Nazi-fied version of feminism. Right?
Ask a woman herself, and you’ll know, any empowerment is incomplete without the freedom to make sexual choices. One will find acceptance and education for female orgasms only in the hands of an empowered woman.
The fact that science and research still tend to be a male-dominated field, perhaps need no telling. Yet, I found it surprising that most of the research done on female orgasms talks on its mechanism and not on its relevance. Research was done in the past century rarely acknowledges that orgasms exist in other primate societies too.
The few surveys that actually talk to women do so in countries like the USA or Great Britain. Whatever data that exists from other countries, come from hospitals. A paper from the 1990s cited 80% reluctance among females while talking about female orgasms. As long as the taboo exists, the reality may never see the light.
What’s more surprising, researchers confirmed only in 2011 that ladies might experience more than one type of orgasm. There is the ‘good-sex orgasm,’ ‘not-as-good-sex orgasm’ and the ‘localized orgasm.’ Female orgasms induced by sex are rarer than those caused by masturbation but tend to be more satisfying. In general, Lesbians report a much higher frequency of orgasms than a heterosexual woman does (If only switching were natural!).
Talking of a male perspective, the easiest one to start with is the one already there on the internet. Going by the online evidence, men are either in denial that female orgasms are an issue grave enough to be talked about, or are grossly misinformed. I was, however, happier after talking to the boys in my peer circle, most of whom belong to the center of the middle-class spectrum. They were not only willing to speak of it as an issue but also looked at female pleasure with appropriate validation.
At the same time, I understand that neither they nor I represent the average citizens of India. We belong to a small group of elites. Take, for example, the experience of a young Indian woman, privileged enough to be sexually liberated.
“My boyfriend and I are dating for two years now. Every time we get into doing something, he tries and tries, but nothing happens. I have to fake it, just so that he doesn’t feel sad. I once told him it’s not working. He got angry and shouted at me, “hamesha to hota tha aaj kya ho gaya.” (It occurs all the time, what happened now?) I told him that I used to fake it just to get done with it. Instead of understanding and comprehending it, he shrugged it off by saying, “Tujhe kya ho gaya hai aaj ekdum se” (What happened to you today?) and till now I’ve never literally “had” my best time.”
Durex India shares numerous stories like this. Furthermore, men hardly deserve flak for not being educated on the subject. Sex education is non-existent in India. Girls are taught to keep other’s happiness over there from a young age. Children, especially girls, rarely get “the talk” from anyone. What we do rely on for sex education, namely the popular media, is another field dominated by men. Their depictions of sensual love are mostly for the male gaze. Female orgasm, if ever portrayed, are done unrealistically and are way off the mark. Additionally, the same discrepancy is present in the porn industry too.
One would imagine the younger generations to be bolder, more accepting of sexual quirks. Interestingly, I could hardly find evidence for it. In the small survey that I conducted among my peer group, few girls under age twenty feel comfortable speaking about female orgasms. Fewer had actually masturbated or had a sexual relationship. Keep in mind; we are discussing the relatively empowered females who are unmarried in late teens and have had a good education.
A survey of older, married women, done in the early 2000s showed that women over age forty were reluctant to even engage in an “outercourse.” Non-penetrative sexual activity finds a greater acceptance among younger women. The statistics indicate a sad narrative of women finding sexual pleasure to be a relatively recent phenomenon. Even today, the imagery of masturbation by a married woman being grounds for divorce found more acceptance than a masturbating woman herself.
In reality, the freedom to ask sexual gratification from your partner, or even seeking it by oneself, remains a privilege. Durex did its part by kindling a discussion. It is now upon the women to take the word forward. Durex knows that it is brutal to ask women to stop ‘Faking Orgasms.’ Yet, it was something that needed to be said.
One of my friends answered my survey with just one phrase- be truthful. It sums it up. Be honest with your partner. They might be upset for one day, but ultimately, will understand if they care about your happiness. If they don’t, they’re waving a red flag. You know what to do with it.