Monday, November 25, 2013

Orgasm for Men and Women

Before I continue further, I need to provide a disclaimer. The intent of this post is not for me to take on a braggadocious pose, nor is it to thump my chest about how versed and gifted I am as a sexual being. Men before me have indicated this kind of ego gratification directly and by implication. The identities I take on might seem contradictory at first glance. If you know anything about who I am, you might find it surprising that a strongly religious person like me has had such a complicated sexual life. I’ve never stayed long in a faith tradition that tried to regulate what I did in the bedroom.

Though we never discuss it, I know many people with whom I attend Worship engage and have engaged in sex before marriage. Sexuality is more permissive in liberal religious groups than the conservative groups who act like they're the only people of faith currently walking the earth. Where I attend Worship, no one would ever bring up anyone’s bedroom behavior for the sake of argument or to encourage innate spiritual purity. They are more inclined to opt instead for privacy and a sometimes isolating, standoffish respect for someone’s private life. However, as is true for almost all of us, religious or non-religious, I do have a sexual side.

I don’t feel ashamed of it and never will. In all honesty, I’ve never let anyone’s dogma dictate how I live my life in this regard. After a lonely childhood, I used my new found courage in high school to find sexual partners. I was not unusual in that regard. What was somewhat unusual was the voracious, exhaustively detailed effort I devoted to learning the game. Because I placed such an emphasis upon understanding sex, I was persistent enough to learn the unwritten rules. Though my first few encounters with the opposite sex were awkward affairs, with time I began to catch my stride, much as everyone does.

Periodically, it is deemed necessary by a feminist publication to demystify the female orgasm. The column I've linked here inevitably deconstructs orgasm and sexuality layer by layer. I’m not criticizing the decision one bit. Women have often been taught to be afraid or ashamed of their sexual lives and their sexual selves. This topic needs to be reinforced with regularity, but I rarely see a man add his own thoughts to the other side of the dimension.

Lesson number one. What I have learned from my own sexual experiences with women is that no two women are the same, especially when it comes to sex. As the Jezebel article noted above discussed, it is often difficult for many women to achieve orgasm with a partner. My own life experiences speak to this fact. In times past, I have literally exhausted myself while performing cunnilingus, then collapsed, sweaty, tired, and disappointed. Sometimes my effort eventually provided the desired response, but sometimes it didn’t. I was usually successful, but not always.

For a perfectionist like me, the defeats were demoralizing. And as for the frustrating times, where I may have gotten my partner at least close to climax, I always felt that I’d failed somehow if I didn't get there. Few women I have ever been sexually involved with have ever been critical of me for trying. As I said, it is extraordinarily difficult for some women to orgasm, but that doesn’t mean that the whole experience was somehow wasted effort or not pleasurable for both of us. Sometimes my partner and I never even had formal intercourse.

What causes a disconnect between the sexes is that men and women process and experience orgasm very differently. For a man, orgasm is the end all, be all. This is because it happens with such frequency and regularity. It’s almost a given, almost an understood that will happen eventually, often sooner than one might like. The beginning of a sexual experience builds slowly but surely towards the sexual release of orgasm. When complete, a kind of sated satisfaction sticks around for a while, then departs.

Antidepressants, for example, make climaxing more difficult, but even with medication most men get there, eventually. As I noted, the entire intent of sexual contact for men is the orgasm, which arrives quickly, lingers for a few fleeting and euphoric seconds, then dissipates into thin air. Perhaps this is why men have been known to feel exceptionally un-virile and therefore far less masculine should they be unable to achieve climax. Men rarely go through multiple experiences of simply not attaining orgasm. It’s almost a birthright assumption and a given.

But again, I know better than to speak in absolutes. There have been women in my life who had an orgasm sooner than I did. This was true both for oral sex and for intercourse. Some women can only climax during intercourse, rendering, for them, oral sex absolutely unnecessary and unhelpful. Again, this disappointed me more than it should have done. Regardless, I never had to worry (even though I did) that I’d done an insufficient job in these circumstances. For me, success in bed was always a huge relief and also a rush of very powerful emotions. In addition to the pleasure of having accomplished an intended goal, I also got the satisfaction of seeing my partner climax. That was always the intended target for me, and maybe there was a little bit of self-satisfied confidence present as well when I was successful.

I’ve never understood men who are selfish in bed. Pleasing my partner is too much of a worthy challenge. I enjoy being creative and persistent, both of which could easily serve as maxims for all of life when the two are conjoined together. One act follows the other. Anything I’ve ever accomplished in life, from music, to writing, and even to my own sexuality has been a product of practice and more practice. When I lost my virginity at 16, I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, nor did my first girlfriend. While my lack of technique didn’t matter then because we were both relative innocents, if I had to evaluate my performance now, I would not rate it as technically proficient or especially pleasurable.

I could share many more stories, but I doubt they would advance my narrative any further than what I’ve done already. They are there for me anytime I want them, which is another pleasing outcome of a sexual experience with another person. My mind often returns to fond memories. They involve the unselfish exchange of energies involving two people. In all of them, two people mutually respect each other while at the same time enjoying the process of causing their partner to experience intense pleasure.

Done unselfishly, it's a positive situation for both parties. As for me, I learned something from everyone I took to bed, the good and even the bad. While I felt at times I had to scale mountains to please my partner, I realized eventually that I only had to be myself to succeed. Wisdom comes with time for each of us. 

No comments: