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Clarisse Thorn is a Chicago-based, feminist, sex-positive activist and educator. Personal blog at clarissethorn.com; follow her on Twitter @clarissethorn; you can also buy her awesome book about pickup artists or her awesome best-of collection, The S&M Feminist.
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9 Responses

  1. Andie
    Andie December 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm |

    Thank you for this.. I had an ex that would get very insecure if I didn’t orgasm. I had to assure him that it didn’t mean I wasn’t thoroughly enjoying myself (I was!). There’s so much more to enjoy, and while orgasms are nice, I myself enjoy closeness etc as well.

  2. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar December 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm |

    You talk about BDSM and teasing in the piece and about orgasms to please a partner. Tease and denial is a major part of my BDSM play, and I’ve told my wife that when I’m bottoming I’d be happiest with coming about half the time; she ends up getting me off most of the time because that’s her preference. She tells me she gets a sense of accomplishment and finality when I come.

    Orgasm control specifically aside, the scenes that have been the deepest and most intimate for me have often been those where my orgasm is either omitted or secondary.

  3. Li
    Li December 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |

    I already found orgasms secondary to the sex I was having, then started taking anti-depressants. Now I definitely don’t prioritise them during sex because if they aren’t gonna happen they just aren’t gonna happen. I actually get annoyed with partners who insist on trying to get me off when it’s obviously something my body isn’t going to do at that time, especially since for me the mechanics of my orgasm can be tied heavily into (dis)ability.

  4. anna
    anna December 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm |

    I’m happy you’re having the sex life you want and enjoying it.

    However – speaking only for myself here – I can’t enjoy sex if I don’t have an orgasm. I just get horribly frustrated and wish I never started. And I’m sure there is pressure from some men to have an orgasm, which I agree is wrong, but I think there’s also pressure from some to act like it doesn’t matter. To just smile and say “That’s ok honey, I understand. I’m just happy being close to you.” Outside of BDSM men are never expected to say that, to give her an orgasm and then go to sleep with no pleasure for them because she’s just too darn tired, to have sex that involves her clitoris always being touched and his penis hardly ever noticed, etc. There aren’t even words for the female equivalent of “cocktease” or “blue balls” – women aren’t supposed to complain.

  5. Issa
    Issa December 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm |

    When I first became sexually active, orgasms were completely elusive, much to the frustration of my first lover, who turned my lack of orgasm into such an issue that it pretty much guaranteed that I would never have one anywhere near him. It wasn’t until many lovers and years later that I finally had that first one. And they’re a regular thing now, perhaps they even come “easily”, but I’m just not all that attached to orgasm. I spent so much time having good sex without orgasms that now even with them, my good sex is rooted in so many other details instead. Sometimes I don’t really notice or remember whether I orgasmed or not. I feel kind of lucky to have had that early experience.

  6. m
    m December 22, 2011 at 3:16 am |

    anna:
    I’mhappyyou’rehavingthesexlifeyouwantandenjoyingit.

    However–speakingonlyformyselfhere–Ican’tenjoysexifIdon’thaveanorgasm.IjustgethorriblyfrustratedandwishIneverstarted.AndI’msurethereispressurefromsomementohaveanorgasm,whichIagreeiswrong,butIthinkthere’salsopressurefromsometoactlikeitdoesn’tmatter.Tojustsmileandsay“That’sokhoney,Iunderstand.I’mjusthappybeingclosetoyou.”OutsideofBDSMmenareneverexpectedtosaythat,togiveheranorgasmandthengotosleepwithnopleasureforthembecauseshe’sjusttoodarntired,tohavesexthatinvolvesherclitorisalwaysbeingtouchedandhispenishardlyevernoticed,etc.Therearen’tevenwordsforthefemaleequivalentof“cocktease”or“blueballs”–womenaren’tsupposedtocomplain.

    Oh yes, so much this. Each to their own, of course, but I get frustrated if I don’t get an orgasm, and I feel it’s totally unfair that mens’ orgasms are usually taken for granted, but mine’s just a bonus that doesn’t have to happen every time.

  7. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated December 22, 2011 at 9:49 am |

    Endorphins. I wanted my orgasm and if he didn’t produce it, I would. Menopause has been a complete blessing: I can now live without the Big O and my quality of life has improved without the social pressures.

  8. B
    B December 22, 2011 at 10:18 am |

    I was having orgasms, by myself, long before I even knew what they were. I’m talking elementary school. I started masturbating at a very young age just as a result of curiousity and I remember feeling very relieved when I finally found out that it was something other people, even other girls, also did. I still remember very vividly when I found out what that awesome feeling I loved so much was; it was in the sex q&a section of some teen magazine and there was an explanation of orgasms.

    By the time I started having sexual interactions with a partner, I was already so familiar with my body and my orgasms that it was just beyond a non-issue. They are definitely my favorite part of sex. Everything that comes before is fun, but nothing feels as good as that for me.

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