Monday, July 29, 2013

Pop Culture Wisdom Debunked: Female Orgasms During Sex

Explicit sexual content discussed below. Please do not read if you are concerned about the state of your soul, especially if you are not yet married. 

I remember reading the ever-popular Cosmopolitan as a girl (I'm still atoning). It was within its glossy pages that I was first informed of all the Pop Culture Wisdom (PCW) that I took for facts for most of my adolescent and young adult life (woe is me). So in this series, I am going to explore and dismantle all the PCW I ever absorbed and instead, bring those concepts into the light of Truth. 

The number one rule for Cosmo - to teach women how to have AMAZING SEX because that if you're not, that's REALLY UPSETTING to them. This involves the chase after that illusive unicorn of sex - the female orgasm. Apparently, it is hard to experience - without aid of a vibrator, a map, a magnifying glass, and probably some pornography. 
Sadly for me, I believed that - until I got married.

I did not start out my marriage knowing how to orgasm during sex, but my husband and I figured it out soon enough. Now I have come to believe this is possible for more than a minority of women and is actually how sex is supposed to work, before it was hurt by our fallen human condition. So how do we get back to Eden? 

First couples should work with what they've got. That is, although you can get all the technique advice in the world, if you have troubles in your relationship, they will be reflected in your lovemaking.  You cannot have a poor marital relationship and then expect great sex; great sex should be fruit of a loving marital relationship, not the root.
Before you start bedroom gymnastics, be honest with one another: is there tension? where's it coming from? failed expectations, hurt feelings, unresolved anger, worries about pregnancy or infertility? Maybe there are deeper issues - have either of you ever been the victim of any form of abuse (sexual, verbal, emotional, physical), intimate partner violence, or come from homes where a harmful attitude towards sex was taught?
Take inventory of your relationship in these areas. Allow each other some separate prayer time and then come together to compare notes. Even small disagreements can hurt the martial bond. The question Mr. Chastity and I try ask each other each night at bedtime (when we're not just falling in bed exhausted) is, "how have I failed to love you today? how can I love you better tomorrow?" Answering honestly, and truly listening to those answers, is often hard, but it is worthwhile.
Side note: for those of you struggling to heal after abuse, I highly recommend Dawn Eden's
My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints

Second: couples should work towards being unashamed. It is not a bad thing to love your spouse and to have a fulfilling sexual relationship with one another. But women can struggle expressing what they enjoy - and men hear it as criticism. Try writing a list answering prompts like the following: "I like it when you ___, I've always wanted to try __, I most enjoy sex when __." Have both spouses write them and then switch lists. Try what's on your partners list, so long as it is licit and neither partner feels used. Husbands! Try not to take it personally if something you LOVE doing isn't on there; not everybody likes the same things, but your goal in sex is to please your wife, not yourself.

Third, ladies step up. In my experience, a lot of advice about this topic is aimed towards husbands, as if they are the only ones responsible for their wives' orgasm. But it is a mutual quest. A wife cannot just say "you're doing it wrong, wrong, wrong!" and have no answers or help to give about how to do it right. Both partners must come together in humility and love, to seek to give the gift of themselves to each other. If you're coming to the marriage bed frustrated, annoyed, or contemptuous of the other and the other's efforts, you're going to get nowhere fast.
So much of your orgasm, wives, is mental and the only person who controls your mental state is you. This is not to put pressure on you, but to relieve you from seeing this as your husband's deficiency. Look at this as something you struggle with together, since you are on the same team, and (this goes for both husbands and wives) pray about it! Ask the  Holy Spirit to bless your lovemaking, to give you a greater heart for your husband, to love with abandon. As the Scriptures tell us, Seek and ye shall find...

Lastly, be willing to try. Often, as Catholics, we are unsure what we can do. We think we have to walk into the bedroom just the two of us without any knowledge and figure it out. If that works for you, great! But there's no shame in needing some suggestions, some education on basic human anatomy, or even finding joy in something a more. So long as you are not making 'newness,' or anything else, an idol, go for it. Great lingerie, a sexy game of Twister (always wanted to try that - if any of my readers have, oh please let me know), different positions, types of stimulation, rooms to have sex in, lubrication, 'powerful' words, c-rings. Try something! Be proactive. Pray about your options, be prudent, make sure you are not objectifying each other, and if you do make a mistake (one of you feels hurt, objectified, not respected), apologize and go to confession if you need to; then return to the marital bed with joy. 

If you think you're doing all these things, and you're still struggling, check out the five techniques I listed here. And as always, don't be afraid to consult a good Catholic counselor or your local doctor. If you're still stumped, feel free to submit a question to the right.


  1. "A wife cannot just say "you're doing it wrong, wrong, wrong!""

    I am in agreement with that statement! I have a different experience than you, though, it that 99.9% of the material I've read on female orgasms focuses on the woman's role, not the man's.

    What if the woman doesn't know what it takes to reach orgasm (obviously, if she did, she'd be having them)? I am trying to figure out the cues of my body and convey them to my husband, but it's still not happening. I feel like my body just doesn't know what to do.

    1. If you have never had an orgasm before, you probably don't know what to do! Luckily, if you do not pressure yourself, the trying can be just as lovely as the succeeding in this case.

      The best you can do is to find what feels good and then try to be specific about why. This can be challenging - you're learning new sensations and new words for these sensations - so let your foreplay be extended and not hurried. Let your husband explore you with his hands - when something feels good, encourage it. If it keeps feeling good and that feeling seems to be building - let it build. Then the feeling will overcome you and you will climax. That's somewhat of an oversimplification, but that's the general gist.

      It may be easier to first have an orgasm manually or orally and then move towards having one during intercourse. Use a good deal of lubrication. Do not be afraid to use sex books, explicit ones, to help you figure out what you're doing - but as Dr. Popcak suggests, try using ones that use illustrations rather than actual pictures. Don't worry; your body wants to get there too, but it's learning as well. What a wonderful experience to have with your husband!

      If you have more questions, let me know! I'll be praying for you!

    2. Thanks for the response. We've only been trying manually and orally and have not even attempted during intercourse. Do you have any recommendations for books?

      It's all just very frustrating. I feel like the pleasure builds to a point and then it just...poof, disappears, and starts to feel like an arm rub, or I start getting ticklish and burst into laughter.


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