The Female Orgasm: no longer a fairy tale

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Ana Erickson, Features Editor and Rosa Zapata, Staff Writer

 

The mythical occurrence known as the female orgasm was, once and for all, debunked at last Wednesday’s I Love Female Orgasm presentation.

The event was hosted by F:EM (Feminism: Equality Matters), an RSO at Illinois Wesleyan University, and presented by sex educators Kate Weinberg and Marshall Miller. To kick off the event, Weinberg and Miller showed an infamous scene from When Harry Met Sally.

In the scene, one of the main characters, Sally, fakes an orgasm in the middle of a restaurant to prove her point that during the majority of sexual encounters women have, they usually always fake orgasms. This set the stage for the informative humor that they would use throughout the presentation.

Weinberg bravely told the story of her first experimentations with masturbation as a preschooler. She opened the door to a world of pleasure, but she had yet to learn that masturbation was everything but socially acceptable—especially in a public setting.

Her doctor assured her parents that she would stop eventually but failed to say that the exploration was normal or healthy. This sort of miscommunication sets many people up for shameful views of self-pleasure.

Weinberg acknowledged this and went on to say that she didn’t feel normal about masturbation until she was 10, when a friend admitted to her that she did it too.

Communication turned out to be a major theme of the presentation. Whether it be with parents, doctors, friends or partners, Weinberg and Miller made it clear that conversation can only aid female pleasure.

Weinberg and Miller created a dialogue with the audience, stopping throughout to ask them about their experiences. Their responses, although funny at times, proved the misfortunate mixed messages many people have received on masturbation and the female orgasm.

Weinberg asked the women in the audience the things they had been told about masturbation growing up. The responses all revolved around the idea that masturbation was wrong.

One woman in the audience was told “babies die when you masturbate,” while another was told it was “unladylike.” The question was repeated to men in the audience, who were told that they would “go blind” or “grow hair on their palms” if they touched themselves.

When the presenters asked the audience what they had heard about the female orgasm, one woman immediately blurted that they “didn’t exist.” Weinberg and Miller stated that it is no surprise that the female orgasm is defined by misconceptions being that the first academic setting in which sexuality is discussed is in high school sex education classes.

Miller addressed a huge problem with these sex education courses in a hilarious, yet undeniably truthful analogy: “Imagine if we taught driver’s education like we teach sex education in most schools. You need to know driving is very dangerous—you could die. And don’t do it until you’re married. Now let’s practice putting a seatbelt on a banana!” It was clear that these types of miscommunications do nothing to prepare the students to explore their individual sexualities in a constructive way.

The individual sexual journey was an important theme as well. Weinberg remarked that she and many other women took a long time to find enjoyment in sex and that was healthy and normal.

She made it clear that no two women would experience the same orgasm by the same means, either. A lot of trial-and-error may be required, but Weinberg assured the audience that each of them could achieve sexual pleasure alone as well as with a partner.

The presentation delved into the nitty-gritty topic of the female anatomy. They presented diagrams of everything from fallopian tubes to the almighty clitoris. Weinberg made a point to mention that the vaginas displayed were normal, even though they didn’t conform to the unrealistic standards of the porn industry.

The entire presentation emphasized the importance of exploration: of one’s self, of one’s ideas and of one’s connections with others. The vagina need not be a Rubik’s Cube. The female orgasm is real, it isn’t going anywhere and it can be achieved by anyone with the right attitude.