It’s been 11 months since I’ve had sex. At least, according to the definition of sex we very typically use: that is, partnered penetrative sex. This time last year, I would’ve disdained to think I could last this long without having penetrative sex with another person, or specifically a man – and yet, one year and 60% closer to arthritis, I realise I’m not missing out anything.
Only around 18% of women orgasm from penetration, according to the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy – the largest study into orgasm. That means more than 80% of us require clitoral stimulation. And yet, most of us would not define sex as clitoral stimulation alone. More often than not, we consider sex and penetrative sex to be synonymous.
When recalling our body counts or 'magic number' (aka the number of people we've slept with) we include only those that have literally entered us, whether that penetration led to orgasm or not - despite the fact that those who stayed outside of our vaginas and just stimulated our clitoris were more likely to have achieved the goal of sex in the first place: to orgasm (or have a baby, of course, but let’s put that aside for one second).
With all of the men I’ve slept with, penetration has been a vital part of the equation. Clitoral stimulation is a starter, a side dish and on occasion, a dessert after he filled up on the main. Never, and I mean never, is it the only course on the menu. Because, naturally, every man I’ve had sex with has expected to orgasm as a given.
Women aren’t that lucky, or that entitled it seems. Because, while most of us want and rightfully expect someone to try and make us orgasm, we know that more often than not – especially if it’s a casual hook-up – our orgasm will be considered a bonus.
Men applaud themselves for making us orgasm, expect gratitude even. They advise their friends ‘oh you should always sort her out first’ as if we’re meant to clap and gush that OMG they don’t see sex as ONLY for their pleasure! What a gentleman!
It’s laughable really, but we too have ourselves to blame for this attitude continuing. Because, so many of us do not demand that penetration be taken off the menu altogether. It never even really enters our mind to say ‘actually, no penetration tonight, hun’. Think about it, when you’re having sex with someone and you don’t orgasm from penetration, why do you actually do it?
Yes, some people enjoy the physical intimacy of being close to another human, but if that’s what you want, you could literally cuddle.
Perhaps you enjoy the fullness of something being physically inside of you, regardless of whether it actually stimulates your nerve-endings or not. And of course, that’s fine, but is that worth the 20-minute sweat sesh of having penetrative sex when the alternative is so much less work? Never mind, less risky.
After all, without penetrative sex it's unlikely - bordering on impossible - to end up with an unwanted pregnancy and your chances of catching an STI are significantly reduced.
The alternative I’m proposing is penetrative-less sex. A man literally makes you orgasm from clitoral stimulation, and if he orgasms in the process fine – if he doesn’t, he doesn’t. Essentially, you think about sex like a man does.
Now, I know the old thinking like a man to solve gender inequality -in this case the orgasm gap - isn’t necessarily the best course of action. But for this, it would allow for a shift in the hugely disproportionate number of us having penetrative sex for no apparent reason.
Of course, if you want to get pregnant, it’s a different story. If you’re in a relationship even, I can understand – after all, you want a mutually satisfactory sexual relationship and physical intimacy is likely more important in relationships than with a casual hook-up. But, even in the case of a monogamous relationship, does penetrative sex have to be the default?
That’s literally all I’m proposing: that penetrative sex stops being the default when we hook up with people. Because, we’re quite literally all being scammed into a much more laborious, much less pleasurable sex life when we could be guaranteed an orgasm if we just said ‘actually, tonight, you’re not putting it in.’
Let’s be honest, the man will orgasm regardless, you need only get your vagina out for him to be on the edge. So really, what do we have to lose?