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And by “in bed” I mean “sex” and by “what happens” I am referring to the infamous “orgasm gap”.
You know, that gray area that exists between how often a man thinks his woman cums and often how she actually does.
Apparently, because life in the United States isn’t sufficiently bleak and terrifying enough yet, someone had the time and the cash to conduct an extensive survey of the sexual landscape of Americans. What emerged was that the time-worn notion that women fake it more than men realize still holds up quite well since the days of Harry and Sally.
The reason behind this is lack of communication. Couples simply can’t discuss sex as easily as they can engage in it.
Reasons vary, naturally, but one researcher suspects that it starts back in kindergarten when the genders typically segregate themselves during play and this natural preference for same gender friendships is reinforced by formal sexual education that takes place in all girl or all boy settings.
I don’t argue with the first premise. We do clan up as small children. The second theory though doesn’t hold a lot of water for me as a former educator because sex ed was taught through Home Ec or Family Consumer Sciences and classes were co-ed as far back as when I started teaching in 1987. That’s a lot of generations of kids who learned about vaginas, wet dreams, venereal disease and where babies come from in each other’s presence to make me scoff a bit.
However, I won’t dispute at all the idea that couples don’t talk. But I think that most couples don’t talk about anything of importance – sex, money, life’s goals, grievances – so the problem is more than just “he pokes; she fakes”.
I’m a bit perplexed by the faking aspect. I don’t recall it coming up in formal sex discussions in school (though with my teachers being nuns about the only thing that was discussed were “monthlies” and why good girls used pads instead of tampons). But I can’t remember ever having a girl-fest gab where faking was on the topic agenda either. Though, truthfully, I haven’t had a frank sex discussion among female friends since my college days. We partner up, have babies and somehow fall into euphemisms. The last really in-depth convo was with my BFF as we shared notes on dealing with men of substantial size.
But returning to the art of “faking it”. Okay, Meg Ryan did it, but she’s a real actress and doesn’t just play one between the sheets. Is the average woman capable of such a feat?
Granted, men reach a point of total … um … focus?… at some point and the building could easily collapse about them and they wouldn’t be aware, but even the thickest (skulled that is) fellow has to realize when he’s being given the signal to “hurry up already because I am no longer feeling it”.
I have never faked it. Seriously. Never. If it’s just not going to happen, I say so. There’s no shame or fault. Sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. For me, it tends to coincide with certain times of the month. Hormone levels rise and fall depending on where women are at in their cycles. Exhaustion. Illness. Stress. All factors. For men too. What’s the big deal with being honest?
My favorite quote from the article on the survey, however, has to be this one:
For example, Reinisch explained, the reasons men might ask for oral sex aren’t just about the physical feeling.
“The penis has incredible meaning, way beyond that it feels good, in terms of the sense of self, goodness, lovability and being loved,” she said. But women can’t be blamed for not fully appreciating this. “If you talk to men as I have in my career, they don’t think about how much it means, they just know they like it a lot and protect it with their lives. But when it is honored by their partner it makes them feel better about their whole selves…It’s quite amazing. I don’t think women understand the power of honoring that little part.”
(Note to women: calling it “little” probably isn’t a good way to honor it.)
I am sure many women will feel differently about oral worship after reading this, don’t you think?
Joking aside though, it makes sense. Men are very invested in their organs and if a woman’s sense of worth stems from the physical (weight, perceived attractiveness, etc) then wouldn’t men’s? Because it’s not like they worry about weight or perceived attractiveness – unless it has something to do with their hair.
Actually, I think that everything that makes women insecure pales in comparison to the worry and fears men have about their penises.
But everything leads back to the all important “communication”, does it not?
It’s not about sex ed classes being single-sex or co-ed. What we don’t teach our children to do is to speak up, ask questions, listen to answers without hysteria or judgement and participate in real give/take in terms of relationships.
Is it poor modeling? Lack of instruction? Or both.
Instruction on an age appropriate level is the current running theme for us with Dee now that her oldest sister has moved in with her beau.
We visited Edie and Silver recently for a tour of the happy new home. While Silver took Rob on the man’s tour – which means they talk renovation rather than storage, lighting, space and color schemes – Edie, Dee and I eventually found the kitchen and snacks. As we munched and chatted, Dee turned to her sister and asked,
“So where does Silver sleep?”
Blushing, giggling and stammering ensued while I munched raw veggies in interest.
Dee had already sprung this question on Rob and I, and I knew she knew perfectly well where her sister’s beau slept. Rascally thing has been angling for more information regarding the goings on between men and women for a while now and thought she saw an opportunity to pry withheld facts from Edie.
Knowing that Edie didn’t know how to proceed, I reminded Dee that we had already discussed this and that Silver slept with Edie, just like Mommy and Daddy slept together.
Which isn’t at all what she wanted to know but she’s just eight and has only an inkling of what it is she is seeking.
Edie looked grateful and the conversation moved on, but the topic is merely delayed until the whole pg/baby thing pops up. And though Rob prefers not to think about it, that’s not as far away as it used to be.
Cluelessness is learned, a bit, but it’s probably a form of shielding – from embarrassment or shining light on festering issues. It’s a way to control. There’s control in ignorance so long as you aren’t the one without the needed information.
Here’s what’s at issue with “faking it” as far as I am concerned: transparency. Hiding anything in relationships just cannot lead to good things.