*Warning: naughty language ahead!
O(h) is for orgasm.
I started writing about normality a month or so ago. It’s still pieces of words on a page, a draft still drafting itself into shape.
It’s a discussion about this “new normal,” but what the fuck is normal anyway? As my mind swayed into musings about normal, it swung, ahem, into the realms of sex.
My partner and I have been getting juicy about the question of what is normal in the bedroom. (Not a new topic by any means.) I’m sure there are plenty of experts and sexperts and opinions—much more radical and brave offerings than this piece.
Curiosity led to a conversation about satisfaction, our own personal plight of pleasure, and all that is cocreated in the bodily, fleshy, sweaty, eros-flowing dance within the energy field between us—the space of relationship:
>> Do we stop and reassess as we age, as we change, as we morph the transitions of our lives, day by day, year by year, stage by stage?
>> What turns us on now that did not yesterday?
>> What touch do we desire at this moment, not the one that we desired last week?
>> What is our relationship to and with pleasure?
>> How does this shift and transform—ebb and flow?
>> Do we always expect to ride the wildest foam-spurting waves, or can we lie still and placid for some time, tranquil to our humming core?
>> And what about the seemingly holy-moly-grail: orgasm?
Do you orgasm? And more specifically, if I may, do you orgasm through penetrative sex alone? Without the added beauty-full addition of manual or tongue licking stimulation?
Though the last question is mainly aimed at women and those who identify as women, its spotlight illuminates the sensitive and oft-ignored inquiry of how it is for a male partner (or those who identify as men) when everything “normal” points to the woman orgasming via penetration. And that by doing so, they are a real man! (No pressure then, hey?)
Oh, dear. Oh. Oh. Oh, dear indeed!
I blame the celluloid world, to be honest. Hollywood. And Disney. And “romantic” books like Mills and Boon. And every other flickering-screened offering of fantastical and untrue portrayals of “how it should be.” How normal sex should be. You know, the one where you come easily and quickly by penetration alone.
Our culture has normalized and earmarked sex into a pretty Hallmark-series-shaped box. Occasionally, sex is refreshingly shown in a more honest light via shows such as “Girls.” I loved how much the characters were shown having shitty sex. I mean, I wish that they weren’t, but as 20-somethings, it seemed quite a real reflection of our sex lives.
“Sex Education” (a friend of mine offered to watch this show with her teenage daughter), and “I May Destroy You” did it well, too. There’s a scene with a period clot and the man’s fascination with it; it was a rare and honest display of what it’s like in the bedroom when someone is bleeding! (Which, to be fair, is the most normal of them all.)
It’s not like in the movies.
I don’t come via penetration alone.
There. I’ve said it! Actually, I said it a few weeks ago to a group of 12 others. As I spoke those words, I felt a huge release of energy—a coursing wildfire flowed through me, igniting my aliveness—telling my truth.
They say that the truth shall set you free. For when we speak the truth—when the words shared are of places never given voice before—then something magical occurs. We release the energy, and thus power, of what has never been offered before. Along the voice is carried our potency, our life force.
We free ourselves the more we free the tangle of tales we tell about ourselves that keep parts of us stuck and unable to flow. This flow is our life energy. It is also our creativity. And it’s absolutely, our sexual force, our virility, offered like an arrow of clear and profound intention into the world. Liberation follows as we unshackle ourselves from shame’s bindings. (Ooh, kinky!)
Now, since speaking this truth, I have been delicately and inquisitively speaking with my girlfriends—asking them if they orgasm through penetration alone. So far, the number of them who do is ridiculously lower than the number who do not. The norm around orgasms is not reflecting real women’s experiences.
Listen, I’m no expert, never mind sexpert! I have only my personal experience to speak from. In the last decade, I have healed so much around my sexuality and around my pussy’s ability to own and claim her pleasure. I’m still learning. I think we always are. Hopefully so. And yet, we are told that normal sex is like this. And that is, if we don’t get to the end game (and no, I’m not talking about “Avengers,” though if they help you to get off, then go for it), then there must be something wrong with us.
It’s not like in the movies.
And there’s nothing wrong with us.
Some women’s bodies will never be able to have a vaginal orgasm simply because of how they are made. It reminds me of yoga teaching and understanding that each part of our body is formed in its own unique way. Because of this, the one-size-fits-all perfect image of a yoga pose is highly likely unobtainable for most.
And yet, if each person’s body is honored, then instead, you would have a room full of students all in their version of that particular pose. No one is right or wrong. No one is better than anyone else. No one is winning the best yogi prize. Your shape is your shape. And it’s the same with our pussies too!
It’s not like in the movies.
My partner and I chuckle about this a lot!
We’ve got orgasm all wrong. Just like we’ve got the erotic all wrong. We’ve limited it down all telescopic-like to one point, one place, one note. We fret over why that doesn’t work for us. We try and squish the square peg into the round hole (metaphorically, and, well, literally if that’s your bag). And by doing so, we do not notice the vast feast that awaits us if only we drew back a moment, lingered awhile in the liminal lands, the unexpected, and the surprising.
Did you know that you can orgasm from any part of your body? I once orgasmed while painting many years ago! And I recall one time I made myself come using only my imagination while sitting in the bath!
There are energy orgasms that don’t involve any touch to the body. And getting jiggy with breathwork can take us to heights of ecstasy unknown. So many possibilities. So little time!
Everything is erotic. If we only notice it, that is. If we only give to it our attention and turn in devotion toward it. Everything is erotic, and as we open to this possibility, our platform for pleasure grows like the throbbing arousal in our pants and of our breath. This is tantra. Not the ability to swing from the chandeliers or have endless sex. Nope. Tantra means to expand. To expand our capacity, as a human being, for pleasure. To bear life’s pleasure. (Not as easy as we think.)
Sometimes our pleasure can seem too much, too big, too overwhelming, too, well, anything. It is what we have been taught from such a young age because our sexual pleasure, our capacity to bear life, is dangerous. It’s powerful.
I was deeply moved opening up this conversation with my partner. We are new, and so we have a chance not to get stuck in either of our old and well-trodden (or should that be ridden) views and moves around sex. As I opened up to him about my inability to orgasm through penetration alone (despite his fabulously beautiful cock), he breathed a sigh of relief.
He told me that most of the women he had ever slept with were the same and that only two of his past lovers had ever been able to do so. Even then, I questioned this, taking “When Harry met Sally” as my reference point (when Sally famously faked an orgasm over cake in that diner and Harry proclaimed that no woman had ever faked an orgasm with him). How can you tell?
You see, the “orgasm through penetration alone” narrative is deeply damaging our darling men, too. This is a discussion we both agree needs to be opened up more between us all.
Sex is not like in the movies. And, as we own and voice that, we can write a new script. One that embraces it all, the thousand-mirrored disco ball of our incredible sexuality.
Your pleasure is yours.
You deserve it.
You can have it.
*Note from the author: thank you for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s break the shame and rip the normal story pants to shreds! Part 2 coming soon!