Talking about Women’s Orgasms Is Still Taboo

By Regla Ismaray Cabrera Piedra  (El Toque)

Ilustración: María Esther Lemus.

HAVANA TIMES – I was recently talking to my friends about women’s orgasms, but I soon realized that I felt embarrassed. I have noticed that this subject doesn’t come up very often in our conversations, or we just leave it as nothing more than a joke.

I dared to start the conversation by talking about masturbation and how good a time you can have by yourself with your body. Suddenly, they all looked at me astonished, as if I had committed one of the seven deadly sins. My friends’ reaction of surprise was so hilarious that I only managed to laugh and then be quiet.

It’s easy for us to talk about sex and, yet, when the conversation turns to masturbation or orgasm, it normally gets weird and the conversation ends. This made me remember that neither of them had never admitted to masturbating.

When we talk about sex, we can go for hours, telling each other about new positions we’ve discovered or just making fun of ourselves when we remember our first sexual adventures.

Sex, love and politics are conversation topics we always fall back on. However, it is nearly never the right time to talk about orgasms. My own experience has shown me that the idea of pleasure linked to self-indulgence, is a still a prohibited matter, even among my friends.

However, if we look back in history, we discover that sexual matters relating to women have always been social taboo since the earliest of times. Throughout history, sex has essentially been associated with the possibility of becoming a mother and satisfying your partner. Very little is said about that moment of extasis that lasts between 13-25 seconds on average and what happens beforehand.

Historic studies talk about masturbation as a medical treatment for hysteria. Massaging a woman until she has an orgasm was a very common medical practise for some Western doctors, groups of men who had exclusive control over their lives and benefitted from the financial rewards of the job.

Back then, female masturbation was considered immoral. There were three key moments of sex: preparation for penetration (erotic stimulation), penetration and the man’s orgasm. It was expected that a woman would reach orgasm during coitus but if it didn’t happen, this didn’t make the act any less legitimate and was still considered “real sex”[1].

Many people still believe and follow this paradigm. Others believe that penetration is one way of reaching orgasm, but it isn’t the only one.

I remember my first intimate encounters with my first partner and sexual partner. I was very young and didn’t enjoy it very much, nor did any of this business of “sex being one of the best things in life” make much sense to me.

The road to discovery was slow. However, even when my satisfaction was minimal, I didn’t think about talking about my lack of sexual satisfaction or the ability to masturbate and reach orgasm or get to know my body better. In my head, it was something only men did.

Over time, I learned to show my partner what I liked more or what turned me on more, and I also learned what he liked.

I came to understand that sex is a lot more enjoyable when we know our own body and the body of the person. Knowing which erogenous zones are the ones that make us climax depends a lot on every individual person, a lot of the time. And every person knows better than anyone else how to reach them, masturbation is one of the ways that people have to find them.

Humans can experience pleasure in different ways and it shouldn’t be hard to talk about this with a partner, or even with your friends. From the time it took me to understand, I guess many women find it hard to talk about the subject because we feel guilty about looking for pleasure outside of “sex”.

Maybe we haven’t totally understood the fact that reaching an orgasm can be both a team effort as well as an individual one.

[1] Maines, R. (2010): The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction

One thought on “Talking about Women’s Orgasms Is Still Taboo

  • Obviously the title is correct – a week has passed without comment!

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