Wildflowers

Perfect Buds

The If-Busters

Late Bloomers

Early Bloomers

Living-Togethers

Sexual Explorers

Sexually Dissatisfied Wives

Overcoming Rejection

Why Sacrifice Pleasure?

A Way of Classifying Sexual Identity

How Pleasure-Claimers Get Better Orgasms

Some Observations from the Survey

The Woman Who Doesn't "Need" an Orgasm

"I know how to have an orgasm, but orgasms aren't that important  to me.  Sex isn't as  important  in a relationship as a lot of other things.  I want more than sex."

-a thirty-one-year-old New Yorker

            When I interviewed men for my previous book, What men Really want, they repeatedly told me that one aspect of female  sexual behavior bothered them more than any other. Women, they said, want more from sex than sex. Women, they said, use sex to get what they want from men.

            One man said:  "Sex isn't an item  on her personal agenda. It's the credit card she uses to get a guy to turn her agenda into his shopping list."

            Harsh words, but they were echoed by many men who spoke them as much from hurt as anger. The sexual  revolution and the feminist movement might as well never have happened because, according to them, women still want to get most of their emotional and financial security needs met through sex. What they said is often true: Some women do use sex to get what they want from men. Their attitude-that men are responsible for women-reflects a lack of faith in their own ability to take care of themselves. Many women, particularly the daughters of middle and upper-middle class mothers  who don't work outside the home, have never seen any other kind of relationship between men and women.

            That the traditional sexual bargain seldom works today doesn't stop them from believing it should and blaming themselves, and men, when it doesn't.

            "If she says she really wants you, she doesn't necessarily mean she can't wait to get in your pants, which is what you mean about her," another man wrote. "What she probably means is she wants your income added to hers your sperm donated to her egg."

            That's certainly not true of all women. Though cruelly stated, however, it could be applied to some  members of this group of women, the pleasure deniers.

What is a Pleasure Denier? 

  • They are probably orgasmic, at least some, and perhaps most, of the time, but orgasm is not their main  sexual goal.
  • Nor do they crave sexual variety, either in numbers of partners or types of experiences with the same partner. Often when they experiment with sexual variations, they do so to please their partner.
  • They are not free to pursue sexual pleasure for its sake alone, because they have too much "invested" in sex.

What Makes Them Deny Their Own Pleasure? 

NEGATIVE SEX ATTITUDES

Some of them become pleasure deniers partly out of guilt. May be they don't believe women should enjoy sex. Maybe they were promiscuous in the past and believe salvation, of the social as well as religious kind, is dependent upon a period of denial. The impact of religion on sexuality in our culture, even for the relatively nonreligious, is tremendous. Our negative sex attitudes have their roots in Puritanism, even if they are expressed in other sexual terms .

INVOLVEMENT IN RELATIONSHIPS BASED ON FINANCIAL AND OR EMOTIONAL DEPENDECNE

Maybe they are inhibited within a living-together relationship  much as their mothers and grandmothers were in marriages. For the same of the  relationship, they put his needs first  and deny themselves little pleasures, behaving  like "good wives" forgoing  the last slice of chocolate  cake, the  best cut of meat, and the joy  of regular orgasms.

            "I enjoy sex," they say, "but ."

THE BELIEF THAT  SEXUAL PLEASURE IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS OTHER GOALS

The "but" precedes a denial clause explaining why other goals are more important to them than sexual pleasure. Both the wording  of their  denials and the social climate in which they are spoken  give  these dependent clauses the weight of the unassailable. Women who would never admit to having repressive sexual attitudes based in religious  guilt have a new language in which to express their negativity, the language  of intimacy, which has become almost as overworked and insipid as the word  "relationship."

            Intimacy is chic. Intimacy is warm, proper, and correct, like Hope Stedman, the good wife and mother on "Thirty something."Not to have intimacy is to flounder emotionally in a neurotic stew of our own making, as Ellyn, Hope's best friend, did before she met and married Billy, ending her neurotic singlehood, and as Melissa, Michael's single cousin, did. Yes, all three women might have had good sex on any given Tuesday night, but what Hope has-a marriage, home, and children-is much more important.

            And, who can refute the argument that some things are more important than sex- especially now when STDs flourish and biological clocks women tick wickedly away? 

            Because no one can argue against that premise without sounding like a holdout from the do-it-if-feels-good generation, women, especially the new conservative twenty something's and the bay boom women in their thirties anxious to become  mothers, are able to justify  an old-fashioned idea, getting  their needs met through   sexual relationships , in a  thoroughly modern  way.

    Next >>

Sexual Victims

Discarded Women

The Clock Women

Independent Women

Revirginized Women

Monogamous Women

Second-Chance Women

Surviving the Droughts

Wives Who Have Affairs

The Saboteurs of Pleasure

Conclusion: Your Sexual Turning Point?

The Women Who Doesn't "Need" an Orgasm

What Does She Know About Sex that You Don't?