Comment of the Week: Orgasms Are Like Dessert

photo via Flickr

In response to last week’s Confession from the woman whose boyfriend occasionally doesn’t orgasm during intercourse, Figleaf complemented the post with some very thoughtful insights…again. Maybe we should just rename the “Comment of the Week” feature to “Deep Thoughts by Figleaf“:

Oh wow is this a hugely important topic! There’s so much to unpack from this it would make a good book. But at least three things are really, really important about the fact that men don’t always come from sex:

1) As with the original poster women can end up thinking they’re doing something wrong.

2) As with, well, almost everybody it’s never happened with, the idea of a man not coming violates pretty much everything we “know” about men’s sexuality.

3) Because both men and women are likely to believe parts 1 and 2 above, men can feel under a heck of a lot of pressure to “produce.” Or at least pretend to.

Oh heck, there’s more

4) Getting back to #1, sometimes women really can do something “wrong” in bed. Which might sound horrible, and might sound like it’s just confirming every Cosmo reader’s worst nightmare, but really, it’s a heck of a lot better than the “common wisdom” of the 1970s and before that a woman can just lie there or (yikes!) be unconscious or even (yikes again!) dead and men will still get off.

5) See also how the belief contributes to the idea that male ejaculation more or less defines the stopping point of sex. Which, in turn, contributes to the idea that it’s harder for women to have orgasms “during sex.”

There’s also a really, really important clue in the line “Maybe I didn’t finish because I was worn out from the previous ten times we’ve done it this weekend.” We’re all very used to the idea that men initiate sex. And sort of by definition sex is initiated by horniness. And horniness also sort of implies ability or at least interest in having an orgasm. And so finally, again sort of by definition, we’re not really used to the idea that men might be called upon or feel obliged to have sex when they weren’t up to it but their partner was.

Which leads to another missing notion that’s actually kind of cool

6) It’s usually invisible to us since men usually wait till we’re already horny do the initiating but men need foreplay too.

And finally, as the writer noted, another casualty of the idea that men are always going to have an orgasm during sex is…

7) It’s not orgasms that make sex incredibly pleasurable, desirable, fulfilling, and hot.

I like to think of orgasms the way I think about dessert after a delicious meal. You don’t really see people over age six saying “there was no dessert so the whole meal sucked.” Same with orgasms.

One other way the orgasm/dessert analogy works, by the way: it’s fine and not even remarkable for someone to pass on dessert when offered; it would be rude beyond belief for someone else do decide “oh, she/he doesn’t need dessert so I’m not going to bother offering it.” Well. Not everybody has an orgasm during sex either, but unbelievably rude to assume one’s partner doesn’t want one.

Extending the orgasm/dessert analogy one last time, it might be just as rude, for both men and women, to insist that, no, no partner of mine leaves the table without eating dessert so I’m not going to stop pushing till they have one. That attitude just increases the pressure to please the partner by faking it.

Anyway, cool, cool post! As always men and women aren’t completely interchangeable. But once again we’re waaaay more alike than the stupid Mars/Venus viewpoint would have us believe.



  1. Exactly why I make sure my wife has at least one orgasm before she turns her attention to me. I get more pleasure from giving then receiving and love it when she soaks the sheets.

  2. remember kids: orgasms are a sometimes food.

    in seriousness, though:
    The OP’s letter shines light on a really insidious assumption that most people have about sex, specifically that it starts when a male partner gets hard and ends when he comes. People would rarely say that sex ‘isn’t over’ if a woman doesn’t come, but if a man doesn’t that somehow invalidates the sex

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