Radhika Sanghani | Contributing Writer | Monday, 28 September 2015

Why Does Popular Culture Still Pretend All Women Orgasm At The Drop Of A Hat?

Why Does Popular Culture Still Pretend All Women Orgasm At The Drop Of A Hat?

The Debrief: Only 57& of women regularly orgasm when they have sex with a partner - compared with 97% of men

He grabs her face and kisses her. In seconds their clothes are on the floor. She starts moaning with pleasure. He thrusts around a bit, she starts flicking her hair back and then... YES YES YES.


Just like a Herbal Essences advert, she emits an Oscar-worthy orgasm.


This is the reality of female climaxing according to Hollywood. Every rom com out there suggests that as soon as a woman finds the right man, the orgasms will start pouring out. Rarely do they even discuss oral sex – according to the movies, as long as a man is attractive and treats a girl right, she’ll climax on cue.


Even more realistic movies and TV shows like Amy Schumer's Trainwreck and HBO's Girls follow the same formula. Though they at least reference the existence of the clitoris, their female protagonists still manage to get pleasure on a regular, effortless basis. If they don't, it's because the man they're shagging is useless in bed. Solution: find a better man.


But the reality of women's sexual pleasure is far less simplistic. Recent data shows only 57 per cent of women usually have orgasms when they have sex with a partner – compared to 95 per cent of men. Hundreds of women in their twenties have never orgasmed at all, and the most common way they orgasmed was from masturbation rather than intercourse. 

A new blog ‘How To Make Me Come’ tells a similar story. It collates brutally honest stories from women who struggle to orgasm alone or with partners, and has already gone viral – something that suggests how rare it is to actually read about women’s problems with sex, and how much women want to read about it. 

Typically movies and TV shows gloss over the uncomfortable truths about orgasms, and bar Nancy Friday's My Secret Garden - the infamous 70s book on sex - you'd be hard-pressed to find a book with an honest depiction of female orgasms.


It's why I've just written my own. Not That Easy is the sequel to my debut novel Virgin, and tells the story of Ellie Kolstakis, a 22 year old graduate who is no longer a virgin but isn't exactly a sexpert either. As the title suggests, she finds that her goal to orgasm all over London is harder than it seems. 


The book goes into the difficulties some women face with orgasms - from being too anxious to ‘let go’ and enjoy the moment, to blaming themselves for their apparent failure in not responding 'correctly' to sex.


This is the problem with the one-sided narrative we’re fed about sex. All the books, TV shows and magazines out there make orgasms seem so easy that any woman who struggles to come is bound to feel like there's something wrong with her and her sex life.


Even the most sexual of books ignore these issues. 50 Shades of Grey's Anastasia has problems with Christian Grey but his ability to make her orgasm is not one of them ('I climax and splinter into a million pieces underneath him' she says), and as wonderful as Jackie Collins' bonkbusters are, they fall into the same pattern.


The argument is that novels and films aren't meant to be totally faithful to real life - they're ‘art’ and don’t have to represent the reality out there. 


But try telling that to young women absorbing all this content with nothing to counter it. My 24-year-old friend admits to me: 'I have only ever come alone when I'm masturbating and never with a guy I'm seeing. I'm so embarrassed about it that I've never told anyone - I feel like a freak. When I told my ex he thought I was weird too. He'd never heard of someone having that problem so now I just fake it with guys or don't bring it up.'


The danger with just hearing about effortless female orgasms doesn’t just directly affect women – it has an impact on men. Just like the damaging effects of porn, where young men start to believe every woman must be a pube-less, willing object of fantasy, the 21st century’s narrative on orgasms leads young men and boys to think that all women will happily orgasm with a gentle moan.

This is why we need to start seeing more books, movies and TV shows addressing the real sexual taboo: women who desperately want to orgasm but can’t.

Not That Easy is available to buy on Amazon

Like this? You might also be interested in...

What It's Like To Be A Woman Who Can't Orgasm. Ever. 

What I Learnt About Faking Orgasms When Anti-Depressants Stole My Sex Drive

What Makes You Come?

Follow Radhika on Twitter @radhikasanghani

Tags: Sex, NSFW, Sex O\'Clock