The Queer Reader

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We’re Sick and Tired of Not Getting What We Need From Sex

We’re Sick and Tired of Not Getting What We Need From Sex

“Men fear that they will become expendable if the clitoris is substituted for the vagina as the
center of pleasure for women.”
- Anne Koedt “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm”

A woman’s pleasure has never been as valued as a man’s pleasure in heterosexual relationships. Not only is sex primarily for men’s enjoyment, but it turns straight women into objects to be used— like living glory holes. In our society’s mainstream (hetero)sexual scripts, sex is seen as the main event of any sexual experience, and if the female vaginal orgasm is not debunked as a myth, then the male orgasm will always be seen as the goal of sex. This causes the female orgasm to be overlooked, and conversations about how to make a woman orgasm practically disappear. And women wonder why sex ends only when their male partner orgasms…

Through society’s continuous pressure upon the achievement of the male orgasm, many women will put themselves through pain, discomfort, and/or dissatisfaction at the expense of their own pleasure in order to please their male partner. If women take female pleasure into their own hands by voicing concerns during sex, they will also be denying their partner’s satisfaction— making many of these women suffer with self-blame. Women do not want to feel like they are refusing a man their enjoyment, especially in the middle of an act that society claims they should enjoy themselves. I have personally attempted to suppress physical pain so that my sexual partner could climax, fearing that I would ruin the moment if I was too outspoken about how uncomfortable I felt. It’s unfair. But, fairness has never stopped oppressors from continuing to oppress a group.

Like many of my female friends, I spent the first three years of my sexual life under the
impression that I couldn’t orgasm with a man because something was wrong with me. I had been told that if I had sex, I should orgasm. But, in the “rare” chance that I couldn’t orgasm from vaginal stimulation, clitoral stimulation from oral sex should do the trick. Little did I know that no one really teaches men how to prioritize female orgasms—which only occurs through clitoral stimulation—because doing so would take away from the much needed attention men desire. Though I did masturbate, I was ashamed of it and kept it a secret even to myself. I made sure it wasn’t something I allowed myself to think about unless it was happening. I thought that if people knew, I would be seen as dirty.

As Anne Koedt, American radical feminist and author of “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm,”
says, this grief stems from “a [woman’s] desire to fit her experience to the male-identified idea
of sexual normalcy.” It only reinforces the male-identified sexual standard that women are not
allowed to have a high sex drive, and if they do, they are not only dirty, but dirty sluts. But at the same time, women should enjoy sex, and expect to orgasm from vaginal penetration. What they don’t tell you in sex ed is that men only tell you this so that you can come to terms with the fact that your only sexual role in society is to get fucked. And if you don’t orgasm from vaginal stimulation, it is not the fault of the man, but of your body. This forces women to silence their concerns during sex out of fear that they have done something wrong, that they are not good enough, or that they are physically, mentally or emotionally dysfunctional.

The suppression and ignorance of female orgasm has a direct effect on a woman’s societal
oppression, and overall second-place position when compared to a man. For men, the recognition of the female orgasm will require them to recognize women as human beings worthy of self- fulfillment in sex and in life. Women’s satisfaction during sex is incredibly important and should be actively discussed and put into practice in order to progress toward a society that is not controlled by gender norms— and a society where a woman can finally get a good fuck.

Sophia Crum is a journalism major at Northwestern.

(Illustration by Henry Chen)

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