Am I “Doing It” Right?
HBO’s “Girls” is an exploration of young women’s sexuality today, so I was struck by a scene that the New York Times’ Frank Bruni described as being all about what “he” wants “her” to do:
(“Hannah’s”) back is to her boyfriend, who seems to regard her as an inconveniently loquacious halfway point between partner and prop, and her concern is whether she’s correctly following instructions.
‘So I can just stay like this for a little while?’ she asks. ‘Do you need me to move more?’
I can only guess that writer, producer, star, and feminist, Ms. Dunham set up this scene to examine the habit of prioritizing men’s pleasure, while women forget about their own.
Along these lines, a number of my women students and blog readers have said that they watch porn to figure out what guys like — not because they enjoy it, themselves — either the sex on film or the sex moves they learn.
Also, 83% of my straight women students said they sometimes worried about whether they were “doing it right.” That can be a distraction, as expressed by this student who sometimes feared her face wouldn’t look right when climaxing:
I just hope it doesn’t look like I’m trying to catch flies.
Maybe that’s because women in porn and mainstream media all seem to orgasm in the same way. Their backs arch “just so,” mouths miming the perfect O. It’s called “the orgasm face.” That face is probably also moaning or screaming in sensual delight. And all of that pleasure emanates sans foreplay and within moments of penetration.
The images don’t accurately reflect the variety of real life experience. Or much of real life at all because: 1) not all women naturally make that “orgasm face,” 2) most take more than a few minutes to cum, and 3) outercourse is more likely to bring climax than intercourse.
These worries extend more broadly, say my students, like these two:
Sometimes I worry about whether I’m doing it right… Sex scenes make it seem like the woman always orgasms, and does it fast. For a long time I couldn’t orgasm during sex. And then later I could but it would take all night.
I’m often worried that I’ll do something wrong or make it uncomfortable. And I sometimes worry that I don’t seem enthusiastic enough. In porn, girls’ orgasms seem so exaggerated.
A lot of women worry so much about what their parters want that they ignore their own pleasure.
Yet most men enjoy themselves more when their partners are enjoying sex, too. More on that later.
Posted on November 2, 2015, in feminism, objectification, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged feminism, HBO's Girls, Lena Dunham, psychology, relationships, sex, sexism, sexual objectification, sexuality, women. Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.