With various corners of the internet talking about a book that just came out “What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire”, and the accompanying media articles, I suppose it’s topical to discuss my own relationship with the subject.
Thanks to Puritanical morals, human sex research has been greatly hampered. From the only recently formally discovered “internal clitoris” (circa 2009!) to decades upon decades of fucked up animal sex research because we assumed that certain human social models apply to the animal kingdom as the biological gold standard. As well as it not being polite to talk about all the gay animals until very recently, one of the things that’s getting talked about is female desire.
So… what do I think about my own sexual desire, as a woman?
I’ll preface this by saying I get aroused a lot, am capable of orgasm, cannot cum from vaginal penetration alone, and seem to enjoy anal and oral stimulation, but have never successfully been anally penetrated by more than a small, non-penis object. But, from throbbing feelings in my cunt, to getting wet to the point of dripping down my leg, my sexuality is very much a part of me and I’d be alarmed at the idea that I do not have an active libido. I generally masturbate once a day, and have one or two orgasms, although some days I might want more. I enjoy vaginal penetration with toys as part of this masturbation, sometimes, and in rare but relevant moods I will want anal stimulation.
Not everything that arouses me has anything to do with my dominance. For example watching a man use masturbatory aids is not inherently dominant. Being hurt by my partner during sex is also not inherently dominant, and means that if I don’t feel the label “switch” suits me, I keep a vacation home there. Which has its own issues, namely that I feel like I have to pretty grimly defend “Not a Sub (TM)”. But that’s neither here not there for the topic at hand.
What is normal, for my gender, is women who don’t orgasm until mid-life and the counterpoint of things like the Vagina Monologues and the like, trying to pry open the gate a little bit on what is a shadow country. So you have the forces that don’t consider orgasm necessary and the forces that want every cunt a happy cunt. There’s also a huge problem with these endeavours, that periodically someone will announce they have it All Figured Out. For example, claiming that squirting orgasms are the be all and end all. Sex pioneers trip over themselves to topple a taboo (it’s not pee! it’s magical!), such that sexuality and gross generalizations are basically synonymous concepts.
Sexual education matters for how your are going to develop sexually. And, sex ed is, despite even the best efforts of many, going to be a cultural project, not a single source teaching thing. I actually had pretty good sex ed, for a North American. Despite spending time in a school that didn’t even dare tell us to abstain, because sex was so not talked about (one small look at plant reproduction was it), I got an understanding of things like contraceptives from other sources. And there was a lot of information about sex and some of it was terrible. And not just porn.
Humans really care about sex and stuff that surrounds it. Most of the Disney films have a heterosexual romance develop as part of their plot. Even stories about children will have cutesy tales about courting your crush. And all this is as relevant to sex education as banging itself. Seriously, stuff like Twilight is one long tease act, even if the sex itself is coyly referenced in the aftermath. A lot of repulsive ideas get perpetuated- domestic violence and abuse if someone commits adultery, punishing or stalking someone who is not into you, the need to bully, cajole or drug people into sex, etc…
Thanks to porn, a lot of inaccurate information also bunny hops from erotic content into people’s perceptions of normal, but also stuff that is not necessarily bad wanders over too. Like a focus on “money shots” of cum on people’s bodies, or the necessity of changing positions a lot. Older women who boink younger men have noted that they can tell when their gentleman has been exposed to a lot of porn, just because of the mannerisms they pick up and because they tend to be very visually oriented about the activities.
And obviously this media and these ideas sometimes even helps define your ideas of attractive, or even your kinks! But what does this mean as a woman? You’d have to be a blithering imbecile not to notice that the female form is slapped onto everything, and female desirability is applied liberally to push everything from lipstick to literacy. This is not feminism 101, so to stop an educational digression and get back on point: sex research with probes stuck on people showed that, among their test subjects, the average man got turned on my guy on girl and girl on girl… and the average woman experienced symptoms the sex researchers defined as arousal to everything, even the footage of non-human primates fucking.
This generally gets pointed to as the idea of female sexual fluidity. Unfortunately this tends to shade into “all women are as conveniently bisexual as titillates me”. Of course the women being probed reported arousal only to some of the things the probes said they did. They didn’t seem consciously aware what their bits were doing. I’m not sure they learned to associate downstairs feelings with being turned on.
For me, I got given a lot of information about sexual conduct that was useless. For example there was a big fixation on why having a guy go down on you was a fundamentally good thing, and that vibrators were a liberating gift from the gods. Part of the internalized message was good, that I should have an orgasm by self stimulation. Some of it was unhelpfully literal- I get nothing from oral, but a lot can be said about someone who likes your vagina. I was told if you liked someone, magic would happen.
As I later discovered, liking someone is not enough to enjoy sex over, because of my kinks and because the other person needs to do it for me on a little bit more than being okay with them.
If I never had BDSM explained to me, or it was explained poorly, I’d be another sexually unsatisfied woman who liked certain themes in movies. If I was discouraged from masturbating, I simply would have been anorgasmic. The heterosexuality seems to have worked itself out by instinct, but not so much anything else. When I discovered sex with boys, it sucked. There was nothing particularly pleasant about it- I tried kissing and thought it was okay, and lost my virginity at around 16 very single mindedly. It was incredibly painful- I was gifted in the vaginal corona department and it really was Victorian style blood and a snapping sensation.
Actually having a penis inside me was kinda nice. But… it was inept sex between two virgins. Getting stimulation for myself seemed, to be honest, to be way too distractingly dependent on doing 300 or so mini squats on an object that isn’t necessarily going to stay hard that long. In practice, it’s not so easy to stay aroused through awkward fumbling. That highschool boyfriend and I tried a lot of fantasy talk which was a lot more fun, but he was lamentably a dominant fixed with a desire for sexually innocent cat girls. I kept trying to try switching with him but he would consent and then stubbornly resist, even in fantasy.
There was a bit of dabbling, but my last ex was really only my major sexual partner. By the time we became a couple I knew about my masochism. He, in turn, liked certain aspects of kink. He liked anal sex with him receptive, and smothering and a bit of face slapping. But by any large was was more into topping than bottoming, so again it was a lot easier to explore my masochism. A lot of my sexual self discovery took place with him.
One many measures, we were compatible, but we inevitably fractured and fell apart on a number of other things. But interestingly, even though a lot of the sex wasn’t working for me, the momentum of the relationship carried us forward for quite some time. It wasn’t all bad, obviously but it put a cap on my sexual exploration based on his comfort zone. So it was a time where I developed a lot of the technical side of things, and for example learned that I love to cum with a cock down my throat, or that piston-ing penetration, for me, was complimentary to orgasms, or how much I enjoyed pain.
Strong has meant opening up a whole bunch of stuff, and really being able to push the envelope. There was also little explorations in my friend group- masochistic and poly-ish friends are to say the least, pretty awesome to have a connection with. But the take away I have to say here is that it’s actually pretty hard to sort out what you like because while there’s a cornucopia of pornography and sexy woman variants for men, especially if you’re sexually non-typical and you don’t have the vocabulary for that, good luck.
Other stuff to wander off and look at – Masocast Morgana Maye talking about her self discovery and the role of the internet, though lamentably more pros-as-educators.