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Broken

September 28, 2011

I am a 23-year-old female, sexually active for seven years, and I can’t reach climax. I am extremely frustrated. I have a wonderfully patient and helpful partner. He has tried hard to no avail. I can’t even get myself there. I feel like I am broken. My partner and I talk out anything that is bothering me, we try different things, but no matter what the situation, I can never reach orgasm. When I went off birth control, I brought up to my doctor that I had never had an orgasm, and she told me that female orgasms are largely a mental thing. She suggested I try using fantasy, which was not new to me. Other than this, my partner and I have a healthy sex life. I don’t know what to do from here. I start to wonder if there is something wrong with me.

Frustrated Annoyed Person

“FAP certainly shouldn’t feel bad that she doesn’t have a handle on a phenomenon that even sex researchers don’t properly understand,” said Tracy Clark-Flory, who writes informed, fascinating, and sometimes hilarious pieces about sex, dating, and relationships for Salon.com. “In fact, she might be relieved to learn that scientists of all stripes have been struggling for decades to determine why the female orgasm even exists in the first place.”

You might also be relieved to learn about one theory that’s making the rounds, FAP, or… you might not.

“It’s called the ‘byproduct’ theory,” says Clark-Flory, “and it might help make FAP feel less broken.”

Here comes da science:

“Evolutionary selection has hugely favored the male orgasm, for obvious reasons,” explains Clark-Flory, the most obvious being that males who can’t come aren’t going to have many descendants. “The byproduct theory goes that since females share the same embryological origins of pleasure-friendly nerves and tissues as males, women are physically capable of climaxing as well. In this view, the female orgasm is an evolutionary hand-me-down—or, more cynically, lukewarm leftovers.”

In other words…

Every little zygote, so beloved by the GOP base, has all the basic parts needed to build either a male or a female baby who, once born, the GOP base could not care less about. Blasts of hormones transform those pleasure-friendly nerves and tissues—nerves and tissues beloved by the GOP base so long as they remain in the uterus—into either boy junk or girl junk. Backers of the byproduct theory believe that women are capable of having orgasms not because women need to have orgasms, but because female junk is built from the same component parts as male junk. Women can have orgasms because men must.

“At first, I found this theory terribly off-putting,” says Clark-Flory, “but I would encourage FAP to think about it differently, as I eventually did.”

Viewing the female orgasm as an “evolutionary freebie,” Clark-Flory continues, “can actually validate the vast range of women’s orgasmic experiences, as Elisabeth Lloyd, author of The Case of the Female Orgasm, has argued. This means a multiorgasmic woman is just as ‘normal’ as an orgasmless one, a lady who comes from a single flick of the finger is just as ‘healthy’ as one who requires 45 minutes with her Hitachi Magic Wand set on high.”

So you’re not “broken,” FAP, even if you’re not orgasmic.

Clark-Flory doesn’t think you should give up all hopes of ever experiencing an orgasm—nor do I!—but she thinks you should stop trying so hard and stressing so much.

“When women have a difficult time getting there, it can be helpful to take the finish line away,” says Clark-Flory. “At the risk of sounding woo-woo, I would suggest that she slow down and focus on feeling individual sensations. She’ll be most likely to come when she forgets her worries about all that she isn’t feeling and simply enjoys what she does feel.”


CONFIDENTIAL TO EVERYONE: Jamey Rodemeyer—a 14-year-old kid growing up in Buffalo, New York—loved Lady Gaga, most of his friends were girls, and he had feminine mannerisms. And for that, he was subjected to daily and often brutal bullying since he was in the fifth grade.

Last week, Jamey took his own life.

“All the girls just loved him and they always defended him,” Jamey’s mother told CBS News. “But all the boys would say, ‘Geez, you’re such a girl. Why are you hanging out with all those girls? What are you, a girl? Oh, you must be gay.’”

For those sins—the sin of hanging out with girls, the sin of loving Lady Gaga, the sin of not being exactly like all the other boys—Jamey had to endure taunts like this one: “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!”

“The bullies are still walking around,” Jamey’s grieving mother told CBS. “They get to wake up tomorrow and go to school and see all their friends, but my son will not be given a second chance.”

Then there’s this detail from the Buffalo News:

“Last September, the It Gets Better Project was launched online as a place for adults [to] reassure troubled and potentially suicidal lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth that despite the taunting, bullying, and physical abuse they face as adolescents and teens, life improves after high school. In May of 2011, Jamey posted [a] YouTube video with the description ‘Jamey From Buffalo, New York telling you, IT GETS BETTER!’”

The It Gets Better Project was created to give bullied and despairing LGBT kids hope for their future. But sometimes hope isn’t enough. Sometimes the damage done by hate and haters is simply too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote. And those are the times that we all feel despair.

Watching Jamey’s It Gets Better video in the wake of his suicide is indescribably heartbreaking. We know now that Jamey was in pain when he made his video. But he was reaching out and trying to help other kids who were suffering.

We can best honor his memory by following his example.

As I’ve said since launching the It Gets Better Project in this space a year ago, nothing about participating in the IGBP excuses or precludes us—the adults among us—from doing more. The videos have helped and continue to help; we’ve heard from thousands of kids and their parents over the last 12 months. Countless LGBT kids have told us that the IGBP provided them with the hope, moral support, insight, and practical referrals to services that they needed to persevere. But we can do more. We can press for the passage of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, we can fight to get anti-bullying programs that address anti-LGBT bullying into the schools, we can support GLSEN and its efforts to get GSAs into every public middle and high school, we can support the Trevor Project and the crucial work it does.

And we can—we must—confront the bigots who are making it worse for kids like Jamey. Whether the bigots are stalking the halls of our schools, running their mouths on cable news, or running for president—the bigots must be confronted and held accountable for the lives they’re destroying.

ABC News reported there may be some accountability in Jamey’s case: “The Amherst Police Department’s Special Victims Unit has said it will determine whether to charge some students with harassment, cyber-harassment, or hate crimes. Police said three students in particular might have been involved.”

Harassment and cyber-harassment don’t become crimes only after the target commits suicide. They’re crimes, period, and they should be investigated and prosecuted before a grieving family has to bury a child, not after.

Jamey’s parents have asked that donations be made in his memory to Crisis Services (www.crisisservices.org). Please donate. And then find something else you can do and go do it.

Then do more.


Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

mail@savagelove.net

 

Comments (256) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
More letters, less preaching. I know it's important, Dan, but this isn't the place.
Posted by Poopesh on September 28, 2011 at 8:31 AM · Report this
calalally 2
:(
Posted by calalally http://www.facebook.com/AMHarlow on September 28, 2011 at 8:33 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 3
@ 1 can suck it. Keep it up, Dan.
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 28, 2011 at 8:35 AM · Report this
4
I think it's kind of a wonder the LGBT doesn't counter the Christian-heterosexuality programming standard with its own byproduct theory for homosexuality. It isn't hard to imagine a strong drive to pair up with a gender advancing procreation. What's the big deal about that drive jumping genders in the child for his/her same sex?
Posted by Mike Leung on September 28, 2011 at 8:40 AM · Report this
yookah 5
@1 have you ever read the column before? it's regularly 50% preach
Posted by yookah on September 28, 2011 at 8:42 AM · Report this
6
@1. Last I checked, this was Dan's column. Last I checked, the one who writes the column gets to decide what goes into that column. His place, his rules. Don't like it? Quit reading.
Posted by SeattleKim on September 28, 2011 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Azul 7
For FAP: I've posted about this on SLLOTD, but one thing to think about: working out regularly really helped me to orgasm. I didn't have my first orgasm until I was in my late 20s (I'd been sexually active for probably 10 years at that point), and I think the increased hormones I got from working out made a huge difference. It's not easy for me to orgasm today, but after my first time -- after I knew what it felt like -- I slowly *learned* how to orgasm, and it became easier and easier, so that now it is something I can do regularly (although in my case it is much easier for me to do with a partner than on my own).
Secondly, see if you can get yourself to a point where you're not thinking, but just feeling. It's a happy, relaxed, feel good place...if fantasy doesn't help with that, try smoking pot, or maybe if you're in a half-awake, half-asleep mode, that could help too -- anything that can help to shut down the thinking, analytical part of your brain.
And don't forget, there's nothing wrong with enjoying non-orgasmic sex -- that can be pretty amazing, too!
Posted by Azul on September 28, 2011 at 8:54 AM · Report this
8
FAP, find yourself a copy of the book She Comes First, by Ian Kerner. Some libraries carry it. It gets into the physiology of women's sexual pleasure without being preachy or condescending, and it helped my husband and me immensely.

Letting go of the idea that you _must_ have an orgasm in order to have a fulfilling sex life is good advice, but that doesn't mean you should give up on the possibility entirely, either. Good luck.
Posted by My Name Here on September 28, 2011 at 8:59 AM · Report this
9
What a tragedy! I'm so sorry to hear he took his life. No one should ever feel the asshole knows better. Rest in peace~

The following are my thoughts on improving life for all people.

Homophobia is 100% rooted in mysogyny. What is shameful about hanging out with girls? With women? With liking lady gaga?

Sadly, Dan misses that AGAIN in his first letter & ironically laments homophobia while referring to a theory that suggests women as off shoots of men, again. It's not the theory so much, as the way it's handled. Like yes, men are the standard.
RAWR!

The fact that blatant sexism & prejudice of women is the root of homophobia isn't even addressed. If a white kid were harrassed for dating a black person in the south, you can bet Dan would support black folks.

None of this negates the incredible tragedy of this young man.

I hope the gay community will realize the inherent sexism in all homophobia and start VIGOROUSLY and VOCALLY defending women's equality as well as their.
Posted by Ms.11 on September 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM · Report this
10
as well as their own.
Posted by Ms.11 on September 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM · Report this
11
@ FAP

You should try fisting.
Posted by Doot on September 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM · Report this
12
Using the word preach makes common advice seem dirty, unreliable and avoidable. Dan is NOT preaching, preachers are generally evil little men with small penii or unloved evil little women. He is informing.
Posted by Kylere on September 28, 2011 at 9:03 AM · Report this
Moderate 13
The "Byproduct" hypothesis is just that: a hypothesis. It isn't a theory. To be a theory, a scientific idea must be well understood, well described, describe all the available evidence, and not be contradicted by new findings.

Evolution is a Theory. Gravity is a Theory. Female Orgasm as Evolutionary Byproduct is a hypothesis that is already contradicted by the evidence that female orgasm facilitates sperm-uterine introduction, possibly increasing fertility.

The female orgasm may be an evolutionary byproduct. But we certainly don't know yet. And calling it a theory elevates it to a scientific status to which is has not nearly ascended.
Posted by Moderate on September 28, 2011 at 9:03 AM · Report this
14
@9 I will reserve the right to think less of Gaga fans :-)
Posted by Kylere on September 28, 2011 at 9:04 AM · Report this
15
FAP - I agree with Azul - try weed. It's really awesome at letting you really feel everything going on and it's quite erotic. I hope you get there!
Posted by Crabbey on September 28, 2011 at 9:04 AM · Report this
16
Get yourself a vibrator. Spend 5 minutes a day with it, learning what feels good. I did that when I was 30, after 10 years of non-orgasmic sex. Still can't get off with a partner (not for lack of trying), but hey, I'm not frustrated anymore.
Posted by bernina on September 28, 2011 at 9:07 AM · Report this
17
@ Ms. 11

Dan mentions all the time that the root of homophobia is misogyny
Posted by Doot on September 28, 2011 at 9:09 AM · Report this
18
I second @15, it is fab.
Posted by Ms.11 on September 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM · Report this
devinderry 19
Jamey's story was upsetting enough, but your update yesterday (http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…) is really pushing the limits of my sanity. What is wrong with people?
Posted by devinderry on September 28, 2011 at 9:11 AM · Report this
nocutename 20
Dear FAP,
You Will Get There.
I didn't have an orgasm until I was 38. Yes, 38 (though I hope you don't have to wait that long). Being off hormonal birth control is a good start.

You are lucky in that there is so much awareness out there, and so many options in terms of classes, vibrators, porn, erotica, etc.

If I could offer you advice, I would echo your doctor, but I would also say this: Find out what you like, what appeals to your erotic imagination. "Fantasy" is a broad term, and a lot of us use it differently. I don't mean "think about a specific act or position you want to try with your boyfriend;" I don't even want you to think about your boyfriend at all. In a way he's not part of this. This is your journey, and when you get much further along on your road, you can open the car door and let him in as a passenger, before you both take turns doing the driving. For now, you should be in a one-seater. I don't mean that you should break up with him or stop having the sex that you're having with him. But you've got some extra-relationship solo exploring you should devote real time and energy to.

There are lots of different kinds of vibrators, and they provide different kinds of sensations and stimulation. Don't think that because you've used one or two and they didn't get you anywhere, that that avenue is closed to you. And don't think that because a particular brand is hot and people rave about it, that it is THE best. Different people respond differently to different sensations. Invest some money and try a variety of vibes.

And discover what mental images/thoughts are the most arousing to you. I use written erotica; some people use visual porn; some, just their imaginations. Don't be afraid to keep going with a thought that might offend your feminist politics in what I call your "waking life," that is, your non-sexual life. Some of us are aroused by things that are pretty embarrassing or politically incorrect, unethical, or would be illegal. Sometimes we're aroused by things that aren't even possible! It's okay. As long as it stays in your head, anything goes. But you need to try. Read some stories and see if any of them get you going. No? Then try another genre. No? Then try something else. Think about the movie scene or scene from a book that you went back to again and again as an adolescent, sometimes with a vague feeling of guilt. Keep playing it out to a more sexual, graphic conclusion in your mind.

Keep trying, not in a desperate, frantic way, but because--and you can't even realize this now; now you're just centered on something that everyone else seems to get is being withheld from you--it will be so worth it. You are so young. That whole "women-reaching-their-sexual-peak-at-around-40" thing is often true. Or at least the fact that at 23, you haven't peaked yet. Your hormones will surge, especially if you're not interfering with them for birth control, you'll know what thoughts arouse you, you'll discover the kind of stimulation you need, and . . . bingo!
I can't promise you; but I promise you.
More...
Posted by nocutename on September 28, 2011 at 9:15 AM · Report this
21
I'm so glad to see FAP's letter -- and Clark-Florey's response to it -- because my own seeming inability to orgasm has been a point of frustration for me as well. I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one, and that I'm not somehow just "doing it wrong."

As for the rest of the column, Jamey's story is heartbreaking. There simply are not words for the injustice that is the religious Right continuing to defend bullying, so long as it's directed towards the "acceptable" -- or even "commendable" -- target of GLBTQ youth.
Posted by Degen on September 28, 2011 at 9:15 AM · Report this
nocutename 22
oh yes, use weed.
Forgot to say that. Thanks, Azul.
Posted by nocutename on September 28, 2011 at 9:16 AM · Report this
23
I'm so glad to see FAP's letter -- and Clark-Florey's response to it -- because my own seeming inability to orgasm has been a point of frustration for me as well. I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one, and that I'm not somehow just "doing it wrong."

As for the rest of the column, Jamey's story is heartbreaking. There simply are not words for the injustice that is the religious Right continuing to defend bullying, so long as it's directed towards the "acceptable" -- or even "commendable" -- target of GLBTQ youth.
Posted by Degen on September 28, 2011 at 9:19 AM · Report this
24
I agree with Dan that knowing that telling kids that it gets better is not enough. I was bullied in school by my two best friends who from one day to the next turned on me for no reason I can discern even today. It is utterly soul-destroying. Now I live in a country where in the 21st century there are still authority figures who openly say that kids who are different SHOULD be bullied to teach them what's "right". The fact that there is even a debate about this makes me ashamed to have become a U.S. citizen. In few other Western countries would people even dream of debating this, since the right thing to do is so obvious to anyone.
Posted by cockyballsup on September 28, 2011 at 9:29 AM · Report this
debug 25
> “At first, I found this theory terribly off-putting,” says Clark-Flory

Personal feelings and politics don't really matter in science. Either something has evidence to back it up or it doesn't. This theory is fascinating but I'm sure there is tons more research to do before anybody can rely on it.

Besides, for "lukewarm leftovers" the orgasms women have (when they can have them) seem to trump us guys.

Posted by debug on September 28, 2011 at 9:29 AM · Report this
26
Another thing that needs to be addressed, a separate thing, is that even elementary school kids can be genetically inclined to depression. People, teachers, parents, aunts, uncles, friends need to know this so that kids can be properly medically treated if they need it.

Bullying is reprehensible and should be stopped; but it is not the only thing that needs to be thought of. My eldest is bullied because he has some aspie quirks; but he also inheirits an inclination to depression from both my spouse and me. Treating the depression with an SSRI has been critical; and getting an aspie friend has also helped him.

It strikes me too, that when the school is so poisonous to a child, homeschooling would be a great option, with going to LBGT groups and events, art classes etc. to help with the social needs. We seriously considered it for our son; but it hasn't been as bad for him as for this other boy, and the school has treated it seriously.
Posted by AnotherParentOfABulliedSon on September 28, 2011 at 9:32 AM · Report this
27
@20 & FAP - a major side effect to hormonal birth control is a much lowered libido. It tricks your body into not ovulating, so you're not as interested in sex. I never hit the big o w/ birth control either and it took some time from being off of it to do the trick ~ Give it time and no pressure :)
Posted by Ms.11 on September 28, 2011 at 9:47 AM · Report this
28
A bit sparse today and Dan missed the obvious potential cannabis solution to the anorgasmic dilemma. She might also want to try Ecstasy and experimenting with Viagra probably couldn't hurt. Tantric sex, a waterproof vibrator in the hot-tub, meditation, and hypnosis are also options for this woman.

'I can't even get myself off' does not mean she has tried a good vibrator and a 'caring sensitive partner' does not mean he has tried eating her out- slowly. Try it on a set time-table for at least 1 full hour with no pressure to cum.

Dan seems to dismiss this problem with a keep trying rather than offering practical potential solutions and he also failed to remind everyone that MOST women are anorgasmic with intercourse alone regardless of how sensitive and patient the partner might be.

The femboy suicide is a tragedy. We need to make these bully's understand the simple fact I told my son- if you are man enough to be friends with the gay kids they can be the absolute best wingmen. Girls always hang around them because there is no sexual tension- and there is no competition either. It can be the best of both worlds!
Posted by Professor on September 28, 2011 at 10:03 AM · Report this
29
The first letter and the explanation of the female orgasm? Blah, blah, blah... The ORGASM - male and female exists because... hold onto your hats, folks.. IT FEELS GOOD.
How sad some scientists can't figure that out. Also, people are FEMALE before the womb receives the hormone to turn the fetus MALE so any logic there would be that the MALE orgasm would be the "by product."
What is pitiful is that girls - who then become women - listen to this crap. Why in the world would ANYONE be motivated to have sex at all if it didn't FEEL GOOD. Geesh.
Posted by Frederica Bimble on September 28, 2011 at 10:10 AM · Report this
30
FAP-- Try:

A few glasses of wine.

Vibrators of various sizes. Start small.

Porn or romance stories, possibly ones you can't imagine liking, and possibly story-heavy and not visual.

Also try visual porn.

Concentrating on sensation and overall enjoyment, not the finish.

Avoid a man who puts more emphasis on your coming than on your pleasure. Tell him straight out to leave the whole orgasm subject alone unless you bring it up.

Get in shape. Anything that adds to your overall health, especially cardio-vascular health, is a plus.

Whatever you try, give it a chance to work. Don't try it once and discard-- unless there was something about it that you found distasteful.

I'm not sure that your doctor is correct in saying that female orgasm is a mental thing. Maybe, maybe not. As Dan says, the experts in the field aren't sure. There are many examples of instances where something has been attributed to being entirely psychological until the physiological cause was discovered. There's no saying that will be case with female orgasm, but it could be. Look at the way menstrual cramps were attributed to teenage girls not being satisfied with their female role. They were sent to shrinks. It was implied that impotent middle aged men weren't sufficiently turned on. Then Viagra was discovered when researchers were looking for something to help heart disease. So relax, enjoy, and give it time.
Posted by Crinoline on September 28, 2011 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 31
Dan, I wish you'd had more than one theory described or maybe have another expert weigh in on the female orgasm. A contrasting idea is that female orgasms were necessary for evolution, as the intense contractions that happen in a woman's birth canal speed sperm to their final goal. If you didn't get make your mate come, you were only 2nd place, in terms of babymaking.

The part I do agree with: that orgasm for women is much more in the mind, than for men. If I'm approached sexually by someone who's been making out hot & heavy for 5 - 10 minutes, there's a mindset established, I'm relaxed, go team is in place. If ya just jump on me, I might get into it eventually, but it takes a lot longer to get off.

To FAP - I second the idea that you should relax, & enjoy the touching/sex you're having, & turn it less into a hunt for orgasms. I have a couple of pals who are unable to get off, but they both have plenty of hot sex. If the quest for orgasm is gonna obsess you until it happens, consider seeing a sex therapist. It may be difficult to do, but you've already reached out for some help. There could be a things you haven't tried yet or thought of.

Good luck to you!
Posted by Eva Hopkins http://www.lunamusestudios.com on September 28, 2011 at 10:15 AM · Report this
32
Oh dear. Dan, go talk to your friend Christopher Ryan right NOW. He addresses these ridiculous and outdated ideas about female sexuality in the book you love to plug so much.

The idea that the female orgasm is a mystery only makes sense if you assume that (1) the only "function" of orgasm is ejaculation, and (2) women have not evolved to want to have sex. If you take a longer view of human sexuality, and recognize that we evolved to be sexual above and beyond our need to reproduce, the question is moot. Women have orgasms for the same reason that men have orgasms: because sex is good for us (and evolutionarily advantageous) in all sorts of ways.

As for FAP, you got good advice (it can't happen until you've stopped stressing about it), but let's all take a moment to remember that "abnormal" and "dysfunctional" are not synonyms. Even if you are biologically incapable of having orgasms (which would indeed be
"abnormal"), that does not make you "broken". Other people's experiences are not some sort of magical standard you (or anyone else) need to live up to. Your experience is your own, for better or for worse.
Posted by aka90 on September 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM · Report this
33
FAP - I'm a 47 year old straight woman who didn't have her first orgasm until LAST YEAR - yep, at age 46.
My advice - and I hope Dan passes this on since I don't know where FAP regularly reads this column - is to read Betty Dodson's website. She's a marvelous 82 year old sex educator who has lived through many a sexual revolution.
Not only does she have thorough, EXPLICIT instructions on HOW to orgasm, she'll also answer questions and give encouragement.
Consider yourself lucky in some ways - a) you are most definitely NOT alone and b) you have the internet to help!!! Something I sure didn't have at age 23 - the age I was when you were born...! So no doubt you will NOT have 23 years of unhappiness like me.
Posted by Old Mama on September 28, 2011 at 10:19 AM · Report this
34
FAP - I'm a 47 year old straight woman who had her first orgasm LAST YEAR - yep, at age 46.
My advice - and I hope Dan passes this on to you or next time he gets a similar letter since I don't know where you regularly read this column - go to Betty Dodson's website. She's a sex educator who has a wealth of knowledge and advice.
And, best of all, her website has thorough, EXPLICIT advice on HOW to achieve orgasm through masturbation. And she also will give personal advice and encouragement.
Consider yourself lucky in some ways - a) You are most definitely NOT alone and b) You have the internet! Something I sure as hell didn't have when I was 23 - the age I was when you were born...! So no doubt you will NOT suffer another 23 years of unhappiness like I did.
Posted by Old Mama on September 28, 2011 at 10:26 AM · Report this
35
Dan and FAP,

The Byproduct Theory is not unchallenged. There's also theories positing that the female O helps pair-bonding. I recommend a ca 2005 3-part tv documentary "Anatomy of Sex", very good on this and other topics.
Posted by Hunter78 on September 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM · Report this
36
I agree with #1. This column is starting to suck but I understand that as we get older we tend to become more boring and pompous. I know this stuff is important to some people but Dan, you got to get off the soap box. Your blog is the place for that or at least that's how I see it. I became a fan not because of your politics but because of your column THE WAY IT USED TO BE. Maybe I expect too much but fuck it, I can go to Huff Po for this type of shit.
Posted by Boooooring!! on September 28, 2011 at 10:31 AM · Report this
37
@1 - Well said.
@6 - Oh, do grow up!
Posted by Frederica Bimble on September 28, 2011 at 10:34 AM · Report this
38
For FAP: The American Botanical Pharmacy has astoundingly effective herbal products which address many areas, including female (and male) sexual responses. Unlike herbal medicine in a health store (which is often weak and ineffective), these products are made from organic and wild-harvested sources.

They work. Don't be put off by their rather cheesy advertising.
Posted by gayBoiNYC on September 28, 2011 at 10:41 AM · Report this
39
@ 1 So immature and entitled.
Posted by gayBoiNYC on September 28, 2011 at 10:45 AM · Report this
40
"Every little zygote, so beloved by the GOP base, has all the basic parts needed to build either a male or a female baby who, once born, the GOP base could not care less about." That sentence is genius.
Posted by ShoshiBee on September 28, 2011 at 10:46 AM · Report this
41
FAP didn't mention how she was trying.....if she is expecting it to happen just by penetration, good luck. I'm assuming she's trying everything, but just sayin.
Posted by Texans on September 28, 2011 at 10:46 AM · Report this
42
@6, you know Dan is gay right? No matter how sycophantic you are, you aren't going to be able to actually suck his dick. We get it's his column but we are his fans so we get a say, hence the reason to allow FUCKING COMMENTS. Oh, and quit being a bitch otherwise I'll stop reading your comments!!
Posted by Figurative dick sucking isn't getting you the real dick on September 28, 2011 at 10:48 AM · Report this
43
The hypothesis of female orgasm being a side effect of something that evolved for some other purpose may be right or wrong, but there is no need to get all into a huff about it. We gays (including Dan I suppose) have long been told that our sexuality is probably some "unintended" side effect of some other survival instinct (which is probably correct) and have learned to happily live with it. Are you ladies in a huff saying that you are better than us gays?
Posted by cockyballsup on September 28, 2011 at 10:54 AM · Report this
nocutename 44
@9 (Ms.11):
I agree that a lot of homophobia seems closely related to misogyny, and that the link should be explored, the discussion opened, leading preferably not only to reduced or eradicated homophobia, but also to reduced or eradicated misogyny.
But don't extend your irritation to Dan. His answer to the first letter, while I think it unhelpful, isn't in itself misogynist. Nor is his attitude in general. He may have a little inherent male superiority (I mean, he's male, and gay, to boot, so . . .), but you do him a huge disservice to associate his slight sense of privilege with the hate-filled bigotry that fuels the bullying of someone like Jamey Rodemeyer.
Posted by nocutename on September 28, 2011 at 10:54 AM · Report this
45
I don't think the people speculating the female orgasm is a result of male orgasm are also saying that women are just an offshoot of men(implying that they are somehow a less-perfect version of a male). In the articles where I first read about this theory, the example was that female orgasm was like male nipples: only there because it was needed in the other sex. Even though they may be an erotic zone for some men, male nipples are completely useless. They are only there because it's easier to leave the instructions for making nipples in when making a male than it is to remove those instructions. Males can also get breast cancer(although it is extremely rare). Ever hear the phrase "as useless as tits on a boar?"

The other thing to remember is that even *if* female orgasm only exists as an offshoot of male orgasm(and the jury is still out on that), so what? It can still be an evolutionary advantage in all the other ways that people suggest. My pinkie finger exists because the command "create a finger" is repeated three times. Doesn't mean my pinkie finger is somehow less useful or inferior to my index finger. How something comes to exist has no bearing on its usefulness or inherent value.
Posted by bob_r2 on September 28, 2011 at 10:55 AM · Report this
46
Obviously, just telling kids that things will get better sometimes just isn't enough - sadly not enough for Jamey Rodemeyer. Getting through to older kids/young adults means relating to them in a way that they can click with.

In a recent NYT Op Ed piece, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/opinio…, Dana Boyd and Alice Marwick rightly point out that, "...in the rush to find a solution, adults are failing to recognize how their conversations about bullying are often misaligned with youth narratives. Adults need to start paying attention to the language of youth if they want antibullying interventions to succeed."

Good reading. Check it out.
Posted by Barbara on September 28, 2011 at 11:31 AM · Report this
47
There are also a number of medications that can affect sexuality.

Only anti-depressants have been studied so far for their tendency to scotch female orgasms, but it's suspected that many more medications may also have an inhibiting effect:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/68871…

Although the thrust (ha!) of the below is about male sexuality, there's the distinct possibility they could also effect female orgasm.

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/sexandrelatio…

Posted by judybrowni on September 28, 2011 at 11:33 AM · Report this
48
"There are several reasons for women who come to our clinic with the complaint of lack of orgasm...

3) Antidepressant medication such as SSRI’s
4) Birth control pills: 70 million women worldwide take the oral contraceptive pill (OCP). The OCP stops ovarian testosterone synthesis and increases the level of sex steroid binding globulin which binds to testosterone rendering much of the circulating testosterone inactive. Low bioavailable or free testosterone values may be a cause of diminished sensation in the genitals leading to difficulty with orgasm and a loss of sexual interest. It is curious that sexual side effects of the oral contraceptive pill are not listed in the PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference). Women on the OCP may also have pain because the vestibular glands near the hymen require testosterone to remain healthy.

An evaluation for lack of orgasm includes a psychological evaluation, sexual and medical history, physical exam, quantitative sensory testing, and blood tests in which as many of the 10 steroids as possible are measured. An individual plan for each patient is developed. DHEA and testosterone may be prescribed as double blind placebo-controlled tests for safety and efficacy have been published for both... EROS therapy (a device applying vacuum intermittently to the clitoris) helps makes the sensory nerves to the clitoris more sensitive."
http://www.bumc.bu.edu/sexualmedicine/in…

Although only oral contraceptives, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics have been studied for their inhibiting effects on female orgasm, there's a distinct possibility that the medications that can cause sexual dysfunction in men, may also affect women.

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/sexandrelatio…

More...
Posted by judybrowni on September 28, 2011 at 11:48 AM · Report this
49
ARGH. Can't we just please stop this explaining femaleness in terms of how it is or isn't like maleness? This assumes that "male" is "normal" or neutral or the middle or whatever. Which it isn't. It's just one of two things. You could just as easily define male sexuality only in terms of how it's different from female--that makes about as much sense.

The existence of female orgasms to me shows that sex is about a lot more than reproduction.

I mean, how does being GAY fit into this theory? Why should gay men have orgasms when their sex is clearly not related to reproduction? In fact, if you count gay men and lesbians, bisexuals, women (who themselves make up more than 50% of the population), and couples past the age of about 45, you'd find that MOST of the sex humans have is not about reproduction.

(Read Sandra Loh's hilarious piece about menopause in the recent Atlantic -- her theory is that the childbearing years are actually the anomaly in a woman's life, not her "normal" state.)

It's just a het-male-centered p.o.v. that makes this seem to be the case, het men being historically extremely overconcerned about which children are "theirs."

Dan, beware, beware of evolutionary psychology. No other "science" reflects cultural values so much. (And anyone who equates "science" with "truth" is taking a misguided religious approach. Most scientists will be the first to tell you that what's considered correct now will be proven otherwise in the future.)
Posted by toadmommy on September 28, 2011 at 11:50 AM · Report this
50
I could also have said "most of the ORGASMS people have" are not related to reproduction. Add masturbation to that list.

Sex is about pleasure, connection to others, intimacy, communication without words. Orgasm releases the hormone oxytocin which promotes bonding and closeness. All of these things might be said to benefit society as much as, or more, than reproduction. And these are all things individual humans need to be healthy and happy -- that is, they are all good for maintaining the species.

A society could spew out 10,000 babies/year but without a supportive community and the emotional, physical, and economic help of others, not to mention the love of others, those babies are not going to do very well -- and neither would the society. No other mammal has babies who are so helpless at birth as human beings, and who need parenting for so long. Life is about a lot more than just squirting your spunk.
Posted by toadmommy on September 28, 2011 at 11:58 AM · Report this
51
@Toadmommy - I don't think you have a good handle on evolutionary theory. Successful reproduction doesn't just mean conceiving a child- if that child dies, you have not successfully passed on your genes. So all of the closeness, bonding, relationships, parenting, etc. that you refer to is just as relevant to evolution as making babies.

Also, by definition, science is the search for truth. And scientific theories - which are our best estimate at how things work based on the evidence we've collectively gathered - may not represent a complete understanding of the truth, but they're the closest things we have. So, equating "science" and "truth" is not the worst thing you can do.
Posted by colorful727 on September 28, 2011 at 12:29 PM · Report this
52
@Toadmommy - I don't think you have a good handle on evolutionary theory. Successful reproduction doesn't just mean conceiving a child- if that child dies, you have not successfully passed on your genes. So all of the closeness, bonding, relationships, parenting, etc. that you refer to is just as relevant to evolution as making babies.

Also, by definition, science is the search for truth. And scientific theories - which are our best estimate at how things work based on the evidence we've collectively gathered - may not represent a complete understanding of the truth, but they're the closest things we have. So, equating "science" and "truth" is not the worst thing you can do.
Posted by colorful727 on September 28, 2011 at 12:31 PM · Report this
53
@50, While what you say has some merit, I think one should be careful about ascribing value and purpose to behaviors based on whether they benefit society or maintain the species, or to consider something like female orgasm superior to, say, gay orgasm because the former maintains the species and helps pair-bonding for the benefit of children (which may be implicit in your argument). That line of thinking leads to the kind of bigotry we hear all the time from gay marriage opponents, or the equally spurious arguments from gay marriage proponents who argue that their marriage should be recognized based on the fact that they have children, as opposed to just because it is the right thing to do. The fact that a behavior may be an evolutionary accident does not mean it is "less than".
Posted by cockyballsup on September 28, 2011 at 12:35 PM · Report this
54
Hey Dan, have you offered to give a talk at that high school? I think you should, and report their reply to the media. "Administration of Jamey Rodemeyer's High School Refuses Offer by IGBP Founder." Wouldn't that make a great headline?

On another note, I really hope somebody got the names of the kids who were taunting the sister after Jamey's death. That would knock a hole in any defense about remorse and "we didn't mean it."
Posted by Margaret L. on September 28, 2011 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Neur0mancer 55
Another very speculative hypothesis about female orgasm, from back in the early days of sociobiology (The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris).

We walk upright. If a woman stood up and walked away right after sex, the sperm would dribble out and there would be a decreased likelihood that they'd reach the egg.

The more she is into it (and him), the more likely she is to come, and then she is more likely to stay lying down for a while afterward.
Posted by Neur0mancer on September 28, 2011 at 1:12 PM · Report this
Antoinette 56
FAP, how long have you been off of birth control? Try to make sure you're giving yourself enough time to fully recover (hormonally) from that shit. I took myself off of it this past spring after being on it for 13 years. That's way, way too long. I think I'm not right from it still.
I'm assuming you already own a vibrator and it's not doing it for you. (?) Get a different one. Good luck
Posted by Antoinette on September 28, 2011 at 1:15 PM · Report this
57
Hitachi wand, also. If you haven't tried it.
Posted by judybrowni on September 28, 2011 at 1:22 PM · Report this
58
I have to believe that either this bullying that is happening now is a far, far different beast than I ever encountered in High School, or that there is something fundamentally lacking in all these kids lives. Or both. I'm baffled. Bullying was HARSH in my school, but no one killed themselves over it. Why is this happening now?
Posted by MameSnidely on September 28, 2011 at 1:41 PM · Report this
59
You realize cyber-harassment law is so vague that a court could easily find you guilty of violating it about Santorum?

Assuming of course that like the legislators that pass such laws it has never read the first amendment.
Posted by Law on September 28, 2011 at 1:51 PM · Report this
60
OK, I was really disappointed by the first answer. LONG on (questionable) theory, SHORT on practical advice. Some great comments here. I have never had this problem despite taking birth control pills for a long time.
However, two suggestions. One is called Orgasmic Meditation (OM). You do it with a partner and no penetration is involved. It may help you get to that feeling-instead-of-thinking place. The second suggestion is to try some type of anal play or a combo of oral and anal and maybe try to graduate to anal sex. Don't know if this has been tried. Also, I wouldn't overdo it on the alcohol. Even as sensitive as I am, if I have had too many, there is a numbing effect.
Posted by whiteorchid1 on September 28, 2011 at 2:00 PM · Report this
John Horstman 61
Hey, Tracy Clark-Flory, the person who wrote this atrocity, for which a full third of the answers are wrong in one form or another (and a few more of the questions have framing issues)! Apparently she's also a subscriber to the bad-science version of Evolutionary Psychology. That's not science at all, it's an unsupported (like the information in her articles, for which she lists no sources!) assertion that's counter-intuitive: female orgasm exists for the same reason as male orgasm - sex being pleasurable (see, we could have male ejaculation w/o orgasm, because they're not the same thing, as Clark-Flory incorrectly states) is advantageous because it encourages fucking, which makes babies, and also because humans are a social species that can only survive in groups, with offspring that require a long post-gestational development period, so sex as a means of bonding is important. She's stuck on the (sexist) assumption that the female orgasm needs explanation while the male orgasm is self-evident, casting 'male' as the norm to which 'female' is compared.

Also (we JUST covered fetal sexual differentiation in one of my classes this last week), male and female sex organs only develop from SOME of "same component parts", mostly the external genitalia. Also also, orgasm is only weakly linked to the genitals in the first place; it can actually occur without any external stimuli whatsoever, and can be precipitated by all sorts of stimuli - the only requirement is that the subject find the stimuli sexually arousing.

Her last paragraph is the only useful and ultimately accurate thing she says. Ditch the stupid, sexist asshole, Dan - I'm pretty sure you could have (and have previously, actually) come up with the same advice without all of the bullshit.
More...
Posted by John Horstman on September 28, 2011 at 2:10 PM · Report this
62
I was “broken” at 23 too. And I am going to echo #20 with my story. At 23, I started my own “must orgasm” campaign because, in spite of a fair amount of sex, I absolutely couldn’t orgasm. I got a vibrator. I knew I was supposed to fantasize. I thought about my lovely, attentive boyfriend and all our lovely, attentive sex. And I “practiced” every day for a month. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

So there was no orgasm, but it still felt nice, so I gave up on the whole orgasm thing and started using the vibrator at night to help me sleep. One day, while drifting off, my lovely attentive sex fantasy morphed into something where I was being gangbanged by my boyfriend’s fraternity while he watched and provided instructions. I came like lightening in five minutes.

I wasn’t broken; I was just dirty. Good luck!
Posted by Prof L on September 28, 2011 at 2:19 PM · Report this
Neptune 63
I hadn't heard of the "byproduct theory" before, but that logic is honestly what I've always assumed about female orgasms.

Because, since the clitoris would've been a penis in the presence of testosterone, and the g-spot would've likewise been a prostate, it stands to reason that the nerves are "wired" in the same way for either setup.

@61 Yes, orgasm and ejaculation are technically separate in men. But, would men still be as driven to have sex if ejaculation rarely lead to an orgasm, or if they regularly occurred in different intervals? I'm not sure she was saying that male ejaculation = orgasm, just that men who orgasm every time they ejaculate are much more likely to be driven to reproduce than those who don't, whereas female orgasms aren't associated with fertilization/ovulation. (You are much more familiar with her work, though.)
Posted by Neptune on September 28, 2011 at 2:25 PM · Report this
64
Bullying is a normal and natural part of human childhood. (Note: Neither "natural" nor "normal" means "good.") Getting rid of it would be a very, very big deal. Social dynamics and aggression are a huge part of what makes us human, and this isn't a matter of passing a law or reorganizing the school system. Ending bullying would require a fundamental change in the way we raise our children--and it might not even be possible.

Sure, we should try. Sure, we should invest in research into child psychology. Sure, we should be willing to put children into programs that try new things. We should definitely teach anti-racism and anti-homophobia in schools. But we should also expect children to react and respond on levels commensurate with their age.

My credentials: ten+ years on the receiving end.
Posted by DRF on September 28, 2011 at 2:25 PM · Report this
65
I'm a man, & I have shown Tracy Clark-Flory's spiel to several women today, and every one of them says she's a misguided idiot who doesn't know WTF she's talking about.

Yet another reason to remember to take Dan's advice (and taste) with a huge grain of salt, despite his frequently being on the mark.
Posted by wayne on September 28, 2011 at 2:30 PM · Report this
66
I'm a man, & I have shown Tracy Likely-Story's spiel to several women today, and every one of them says she's a misguided idiot who doesn't know WTF she's talking about.

Yet another reason to remember to take Dan's advice (and taste) with a huge grain of salt, despite his frequently being on the mark.
Posted by wayne on September 28, 2011 at 2:32 PM · Report this
67
FAP: I couldn't orgasm with a partner until I learned how to orgasm by myself. In your question, you say that you try often with your partner, and you may have tried masturbation just as often, but I thought I would sing its praises anyway.
Posted by peglegthebrave on September 28, 2011 at 2:41 PM · Report this
68
@20 and @62 ... when it comes to fantasizing during masturbation, the dirtier the better. And find a doctor who will thoroughly check your hormones. I can't orgasm when my testosterone is low, but it's easy to correct.
Posted by peace 2 you on September 28, 2011 at 2:43 PM · Report this
69
Read The Orgasm Diet by Marrena Lindberg.

Start taking high doses per her recommendation of FISH OIL, more than the bottle says - a tablespoon of the Carlson's Fish Oil for example.

Seriously . . . this is the most practical immediate thing you can do. And if it doesnt work check your hormone levels with a doc and make sure Testosterone isnt too low.

Worked for me
Posted by alwayswearingstripes on September 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM · Report this
BEG 70
I don't know if I'm going to go along with the evolutionary notion -- because most of the evo-psycho stuff is just woo woo bullshit -- way too influenced by our own cultural perceptions.

I *do* want to say that a 23 year old female who has trouble reaching orgasm isn't at all unusual. It's also not at all unusual to be unable to focus on something/acheive something when one is stressing out completely about acheiving/doing this -- that's a condition that *all* of us, male/female, gay/straight, old/young, tall/short, whatever, can relate to.

As long as you physically check out -- hormone levels, that kind of thing, and you aren't actually experiencing pain while trying to reach orgasm, I'd try to back off from concentrating on the orgasm to concentrating on enjoying each sexual/sensual encounter itself -- may surprise you.

Which is, I guess, pretty much the last bit of advice Dan ran thru, above.
Posted by BEG http://twitter.com/#!/browneyedgirl65 on September 28, 2011 at 3:29 PM · Report this
BritishRichard 71
I'd always sort of assumed that a female orgasm (or rather the muscular contractions associated with it) acted to draw (and hold) ejaculate further into the uterus thus making conception more likely thus adding an advantage to breeding (in a Darwinian sense).

What do I know though, I've never had one, only observed (and been a little jealous)
Posted by BritishRichard on September 28, 2011 at 3:32 PM · Report this
72
As others said, you should learn to give yourself an orgasm first.

I'm probably going to get virtually punched, but I really DON'T understand how women, who have been sexually active for years, have never had an orgasm! Especially those who masturbate. I try to understand it, but I can't.

This is coming from someone who has been masturbating/orgasming since she was five, so that's probably why I'm an inconsiderate douche.

But here's my compassion: coming has become much harder as I've gotten older, with all the hormones, distractions, and stress of adult life. I can imagine that learning to cum as an adult is much more tricky than learning as a kid/teen, where your mind can so easily tune to channel ORGASM.

So yes, orgasms are largely mental. Get yourself REALLY rev'd up before you start mentally working toward orgasm. Like, to the point where you feel like your vagina and uterus are going to explode, and you'll go on a killing spree if you don't satiate that urge.

Also, a lot of women (myself included) are a huuuuge fan of the Hitachi. Try it out.
Posted by hai on September 28, 2011 at 3:42 PM · Report this
73
MameSnidely: There are so many factors as to why one person is more likely to commit suicide, while another person isn't. Besides, it's not just high school. He could have been dealing with prejudice all his life. To add to the problem, bullies have more ways to harass you now (cyber bullying). The bullying doesn't just happen in school anymore. Sometimes, it's like there's no escape.

"I'm baffled. Bullying was HARSH in my school, but no one killed themselves over it. Why is this happening now?"

I hope you're not implying what I think you're implying.

Suicide isn't a new thing. Not at all. People are just more aware of it now.
Posted by Lemon Tree on September 28, 2011 at 3:49 PM · Report this
74
As others said, you should learn to give yourself an orgasm first.

I'm probably going to get virtually punched, but I really DON'T understand how women, who have been sexually active for years, have never had an orgasm! Especially those who masturbate. I try to understand it, but I can't.

This is coming from someone who has been masturbating/orgasming since she was five, so that's probably why I'm an inconsiderate douche.

But here's my compassion: coming has become much harder as I've gotten older, with all the hormones, distractions, and stress of adult life. I can imagine that learning to cum as an adult is much more tricky than learning as a kid/teen, where your mind can so easily tune to channel ORGASM.

So yes, orgasms are largely mental. Get yourself REALLY rev'd up before you start mentally working toward orgasm. Like, to the point where you feel like your vagina and uterus are going to explode, and you'll go on a killing spree if you don't satiate that urge.

Also, a lot of women (myself included) are a huuuuge fan of the Hitachi. Try it out.
Posted by hazmatte on September 28, 2011 at 3:49 PM · Report this
75
As others said, you should learn to give yourself an orgasm first.

I'm probably going to get virtually punched, but I really DON'T understand how women, who have been sexually active for years, have never had an orgasm! Especially those who masturbate. I try to understand it, but I can't.

This is coming from someone who has been masturbating/orgasming since she was five, so that's probably why I'm an inconsiderate douche.

But here's my compassion: coming has become much harder as I've gotten older, with all the hormones, distractions, and stress of adult life. I can imagine that learning to cum as an adult is much more tricky than learning as a kid/teen, where your mind can so easily tune to channel ORGASM.

So yes, orgasms are largely mental. Get yourself REALLY rev'd up before you start mentally working toward orgasm. Like, to the point where you feel like your vagina and uterus are going to explode, and you'll go on a killing spree if you don't satiate that urge.

Also, a lot of women (myself included) are a huuuuge fan of the Hitachi. Try it out.
Posted by hazmatte on September 28, 2011 at 3:52 PM · Report this
nocutename 76
Yes, try the Hitachi, but it isn't the be-all and end-all of vibrators for everyone.
It doesn't provide penetrative, internal stimulation, which for some of us is essential.
That's what I meant about giving more than one kind of vibrator a try. I bought the Hitachi in my 20s, assured that it guaranteed orgasm. When I still couldn't come, I assumed that there was something wrong with me. There isn't. I just needed something different.
Try the Hitatchi, but also try a rabbit-type, a bullet-type, and something else.
And let your mind go where you've been told that it shouldn't.
Posted by nocutename on September 28, 2011 at 3:52 PM · Report this
77
While in college many moons ago, I read a book by Dr. Alfred Ellis who explained quite well how a female responds to stimulation. One point that he made was that too much stimulation, too long will result in the area becoming numb - which inhibits the orgasm. He recommended that you give the area being stimulated a "break" from time to time to allow it to recover. After the break, don't apply too much pressure too soon - simply allow nature to take its course, the Big O!!!
Posted by Juan Mas on September 28, 2011 at 3:57 PM · Report this
78
I concur that you should learn to orgasm yourself before learning with someone else.

I'm probably going to be virtually kicked, but I just DON'T understand how so many women have not had an orgasm, especially if they have been masturbating and/or sexually active for years. I just...don't. With all the resources out there...

But this is coming from someone who's been masturbating/orgasm-ing since she was five, so I'm probably the worst person to judge.

However, I've noticed that coming in my mid-twenties requires much more mental effort, due to the insanity of adulthood. So much more to distract you and stress you out when you're an adult. So, I can imagine that learning to come as an adult is much harder, since your brain may be less likely to get on and stay on CHANNEL SEX.

a lot of women rave about the Hitachi wand, myself included. Try it out. After two years, it has yet to fail me. Someday you will be getting off in 10 seconds from that thing.
Posted by hazmatte on September 28, 2011 at 4:02 PM · Report this
79
sorry about the (triple?) posts. I agree that the Hitachi isn't the magic answer for everyone. And even the people who love the Hitachi may get sick of it occasionally, and sometimes it may not even get them off.
...because sometimes, it's more of a rabbit-kind-of-evening than a bullet-kind-of-evening. Or a rabbit-plus-bullet-kind-of-evening?

Posted by hazmatte on September 28, 2011 at 4:09 PM · Report this
80
@#73: It was pretty inescapable where I grew up as well. And no, I'm not implying that there's something wrong with the kids.... I'm saying that in my larger region, during high school, I knew of NO bullying related suicides. NONE. In fact, I know of only two suicides total. One was due to untreated clinical depression. The other seemed to be related to a divorce, IIRC. This makes me think that what they are calling bullying, people my age and older might not recognize as bullying as WE KNEW IT. It's like the difference between the potency of 1970's pot and the pot of today -- some of the varieties are much, much more potent. But it's still called pot. I wonder if the bullying should really now be classified as stalking or severe harassment, verbal assault. And if it should be, why has it gotten so much worse? I really do mean I have questions. I'm not just using that as a turn of phrase.

I was harshly bullied, I was badly ostracized. I had few friends. My car got egged, my bike got messed up... that sort of thing. Oh, and I had an arc welder shoved in my face and sparked off. Looking back, I'd say I was pretty soundly bullied. So were a couple of other kids. Most of us seem ok these days, and we aren't dead.

So if this kid is experiencing what I experienced, what did I have that he doesn't have? He seems pretty together, and pretty average in a lot of ways in his video.

So let's say it's not that.... then we go back to the question as to whether the bullying is bullying, or if it is something more sinister?

If it is... what is it really?
Posted by MameSnidely on September 28, 2011 at 4:12 PM · Report this
81
To add to that, if we call it bullying, and it's REALLY sexual harassment or it's REALLY assault then we can take action. There's an old proverb -- saying something's proper name gives you power over it.
Posted by MameSnidely on September 28, 2011 at 4:15 PM · Report this
82
LW 1 should lose that doctor who said it was all in her head and find a better one. Have the new one test her blood testosterone levels.

I speak from experience. I am a woman who never had any problem with the big O, until suddenly I couldn't get there any more. Nothing had changed "in my head."

What had changed was my testosterone levels, which had gotten too low. There can be many causes for this; in mine it was a side effect to a medication I was taking for a chronic skin problem.

The good doc prescribed bio-identical testosterone supplements. They work like a charm for me. I was back to my toe-curling self as soon as I started on them.
Posted by bitchincook on September 28, 2011 at 4:34 PM · Report this
83
This not a blog, Dan, Jesus Christ. Keep it out of the column.

You know I support your endeavors to make this world hate free, but I come to your site to escape the news and shit I read on Huffington Post everyday. So PLEASE...leave the activism to the blog and post advice to the column. Thank you
Posted by Somerset on September 28, 2011 at 4:38 PM · Report this
84
FAP should try mindfulness meditation! after trying (might have been the problem!) for 5 years without any luck, i did a mindfulness course for other reasons- the extensive mental skills i learnt + a fabulous partner + a more calm, slow attitude to most things, including sex = extensive, fabulous, calm and slow orgasms. ;)
Posted by rhubarbandrose on September 28, 2011 at 4:43 PM · Report this
85
I was harshly bullied, I was badly ostracized. I had few friends. My car got egged, my bike got messed up... that sort of thing. Oh, and I had an arc welder shoved in my face and sparked off. Looking back, I'd say I was pretty soundly bullied. So were a couple of other kids. Most of us seem ok these days, and we aren't dead.

So if this kid is experiencing what I experienced, what did I have that he doesn't have?


Perhaps the love and support of your parents.

I don't know about Jamey in particular, but it seems like a lot of the suicides are kids who are a) gay and b) living in an area where everyone thinks homosexuality is sick wrong - including their parents.

I've experienced bullying really similar to what you describe, MameSnidely - and, frustratingly, my parents made no move to stop any of it (either because they were too self-involved to notice it was happening, or because they didn't want to cause a fuss with my school principal. I suspect a bit of both). But regardless, my parents loved me and thought I was a good person - and would have even if I happened to be a lesbian.

If I'd had the same horrible, bullied childhood and knew that my parents thought I deserved to be treated that way, or that I was a sick and horrible human being, I might have killed myself, too.

Not to mention, when I was young my parents always told me that childhood sucks and being an adult is better. Other kids' parents apparently like to tell them "these are the best years of your life!" which...man, if I'd been told that back in the day, I would have offed myself!
Posted by perversecowgirl on September 28, 2011 at 4:44 PM · Report this
86
@25 about emotion and Science,

Of course scientists are emotional in their approaches to their work. We're human after all. In fact, an "I hate this lab's work, I want to kill it" approach is pretty common. It is precisely the process of being UNable to kill a hated concept that can firmly cement it into accepted FACT (cases in point: (what became retroviral) RNA viruses causing tumors and prions). I had to give a talk about Howard Temin, and back in the days when he was helping to establish consistent techniques to allow eukaryotic cell culture (and the best technology they had was incorporation of tritiated DNA into post RNA virus infected eukaryotic cells) and he was promoting, as an extension of lysogenic infection to eukaryotic cells, the idea of viruses causing tumors. The problem was they found the phenomenon associated with RNA viruses. I read the responses to one of his talks, and the silence was deafening (to be fair, the results were a whopping, maybe, 5% above background. Again, using tritium). Keeping in mind this directly challenged the central dogma of biology, it should have garnered some kind of response (like rabid attacks). I invite you to investigate the Temin story on your own, as he was an amazing person. Also, during the early 1980s when I was going through college, everyone thought Prusiner was a fruitcase.

Both Temin and Prusiner had a hell of a time dealing with the emotional aspects of challenging dogma. In counterpoint, look at the rabid (nationalistic) support for Hwang Woo-suk during the Korean cloning scandal. Emotions play a large role in science, it is only when hypothesis becomes (universally reproducible) proof that they become buried.

Again scientists aren't Science. We are fallible and sentimental.

Peace.
More...
Posted by Married in MA on September 28, 2011 at 4:48 PM · Report this
echizen_kurage 87
I don't know enough about this Tracy Clark-Flory person to pass any sort of judgment on her credentials, but Elisabeth Lloyd, the researcher mentioned in the column, is pretty darn amazing. Anyone with an interest in the evolution of the female orgasm should check out The Case of the Female Orgasm.

As previous commenters have pointed out, the hypothesis that female orgasm is an evolutionary byproduct does have its detractors. However, those scientists (and pop-scientists) who argue that female orgasm is adaptive are burdened by a dearth of concrete evidence. Adaptationists have proposed various mechanisms by which female orgasm might increase the rate of conception -- most notably "uterine upsuck" -- but none of these seem to hold up under laboratory testing. And, counterintuitive though it may seem, statistics show that female orgasmic capacity does not correlate with frequency of sexual activity. In other words, an anorgasmic woman is just as likely to have intercourse as a multiorgasmic one.
Posted by echizen_kurage on September 28, 2011 at 4:49 PM · Report this
88
New(ish) research does not support the "byproduct" hypothesis of female orgasm:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/0…
Posted by Sovht on September 28, 2011 at 4:53 PM · Report this
89
FAP should see a second doctor who will run medically relevant tests to determine if there's an underlying medical cause for her lack of orgasms. Seeking a psychologist's opinion would also be a good step. Many men and women have psychological issues surrounding orgasm.

Speaking as a scientist, subscribing to this "byproduct" hypothesis is misleading and dangerous. Just because scientists cannot clearly measure the outcome of the female orgasm in terms of enhancing reproduction, does not mean that the female orgasm has no purpose and is a byproduct. History is full of examples of scientists being ignorant of biological processes and, instead, being swayed by popular beliefs of the time.
Posted by LadyPhD on September 28, 2011 at 4:56 PM · Report this
90
Hetero/F: I've been successfully masturbating since I was three and it's a problem.
History: My first "real" BF was at 27, and I was a "technical" virgin at 30, when I met my (eventual) husband.
Problem: BF could get me to O in moments (and over, and over) orally. Husband expects me to be satisfied with the (much less successful) spaghetti-o's during penetrative sex. Few and far between. I've really had to work at learning to come at all with penetrative sex because all I've ever done the rest of my life has been clitoral stimulation.
Point: The LW should definitely get in her own space to practice & learn (and for heaven's sake, it's supposed to be fun - burn a candle, substitute a blue light bulb in your desk lamp, play a steamy CD, burn incense, sock a pillow until you're covered in feathers - enjoy it!) but use the stuff that feels good (including the visual, auditory, scent you've taught yourself to associate with coming) to translate into better times with your guy. Otherwise you might find that you teach yourself how to O without getting any traction on how to do so with him - which is pretty critical, IMHO.

Re Bullying: Badly bullied as a kid, right through middle school. GUYS beating me up on the bus. In my heart of hearts I know if I'd had the chance, I'd have gossiped about others behind their backs, too - I'm no angel. Being bullied doesn't make you a saint. All I'm saying is - the little shit who seems so prima donna that you run into socially (your friends' kid, your niece, in the grocery store, the speech & debate queen) might be using a candy-coated shell to cover up a big hurt. Give kids the benefit of the doubt and use Dan's campfire analogy: leave 'em better than you found 'em. They're stuck in a state-regulated gulag all their formative years - give 'em a break.
More...
Posted by Itsmyparty on September 28, 2011 at 5:14 PM · Report this
91
@80 "I knew of NO bullying related suicides. NONE."

Suicide used to be more hushed up. Also, now we get news of tragedies from all over the country.

Lots of good advice here about orgasms. Though you have to just try lots of different things and see what works for you. For me, I have to get my conscious brain out of the way. Stories, vibrators, a hot shower, and a drink are all helpful for me. But see what gets you close, and have fun with that.
Posted by EricaP on September 28, 2011 at 5:15 PM · Report this
92
MamaSnidely: I think I misinterpreted what you meant. I thought it was going to be a "blame the victim" deal. I hear so many people say that kids today should just "toughen up" and "deal with it". I apologize for assuming that.

To be perfectly honest, I don't have anything of value to say about what this could be considered. I've never thought about the differences between bullying and something even more severe.

As for the suicide, as I've said, there's many factors. Maybe he had depression, maybe he didn't have enough support....people have different tolerence for pain and different ways to cope.

I don't know what exactly happened, so I don't know what's different.
Posted by Lemon Tree on September 28, 2011 at 5:26 PM · Report this
93
I'm on my third girlfriend in a row who can't orgasm. The first was due to a side effect of anti-psychotics. No clue about the second, but I suspect something either mental (she thought her vagina was disgusting), or possibly physical (she loved sex, loved masturbating, she just never got there). The third could be anything - she's a bit of a prude so my best guess is psychological hangups, but she isn't comfortable discussing it, so who knows.

So I haven't given an orgasm to a partner in almost a decade and it's really damaged my own sex drive. Society teaches us that we are somehow to blame if we cannot bring our partners to fruition, and while the last two girlfriends have claimed to really enjoy the sex we have, I still somehow feel as if I am simply masturbating using another person rather than providing pleasure. Even if it might be normal for many women to have difficult or even no orgasms, societal pressure will continue to damage not only the women themselves but their partners as well.

It's such a sad thing.
Posted by FalconSwan on September 28, 2011 at 5:31 PM · Report this
echizen_kurage 94
Also, to FAP, if she's reading this:

You're not broken (but your gynecologist is an idiot). Going off birth control may well improve your sexual functioning; if you're on an antidepressant, that may be impairing your ability to orgasm as well. A full hormonal work-up by an endocrinologist might also be worth looking into. As @82 pointed out, low testosterone can cause anorgasmia (although mucking around with one's natural testosterone levels carries its own set of risks).

Of course, it's entirely possible that your testosterone levels are just fine, you're not on an antidepressant (or not able to go off the one you're on), and your orgasmic difficulties will continue even after you've gone off birth control. In which case, don't despair. Some women are simply less orgasmic than others. Speaking as one of the less orgasmic women, I can tell you that yeah, it's not great -- but it's also not your fault. Your difficulty achieving orgasm has nothing to do with you being neurotic, or inhibited, or traumatized, or sexually unskilled, or any of the other pop-psych "explanations" you might encounter. It's simply the way your body is wired.

Here's the good news: given enough time and experimentation, you probably can learn to orgasm -- and once you learn, it will get easier. Will you ever be one of those women who goes into convulsions of ecstasy from a mere touch to the clitoris? Probably not, but outside of porn, those women are only slightly more common than unicorns.

When you're trying for that elusive first orgasm, you'll probably do best with four things: vibrators, porn (textual or visual, whichever gets your motor running), patience, and solitude. Once you figure out what works for you, you can bring your boyfriend in on the fun; in the beginning, his presence would probably be a distraction and an added source of pressure. Speaking of pressure: don't pressure yourself. If you don't achieve orgasm the first, the second, or the tenth time, keep trying. And keep experimenting! Find the porn that gets you hottest and most bothered, not the porn that you think you "should" like. And try different sex toys. Lots of women swear by the Hitachi Magic Wand, but it's never done much for me; the Conair Touch & Tone massager is my go-to sex toy. If clitoral stimulation alone isn't working, try adding a dildo (or a buttplug, or nipple clamps, or whatever else strikes your fancy).
More...
Posted by echizen_kurage on September 28, 2011 at 5:31 PM · Report this
95
1) Homphobia is totally rooted in gender-nonconformity;and it appears to some minds to be acceptable to treat perceived "excessive" femininity with violence- Effeminacy being equated with triviality and weakness. This is the seed of a license to violence, "take this because you deserve it" mentality which is a crock of BS. In college I was friends with a guy who was gender dysphoric as a child and he was an absolute education for me. Effeminacy is generation of trust, connection, power, kindness, articulacy and insight. It doesn't deserve to be equated with weakness anymore than maleness deserves to be equated with violence.
Posted by samshortis on September 28, 2011 at 6:01 PM · Report this
96
@80, 85 - I know for a fact I would have killed myself in HS if I didn't have a supportive, loving family. Some days, even that was hardly enough. I shudder to think of what would have happened if we had Facebook back in the day. And I'm not even gay (though I did have other reasons to be bullied). Just wanted to throw that out there.
Posted by Geekgirl88 on September 28, 2011 at 6:03 PM · Report this
97
@73, @78, @80,

I was bullied as a nerd, until I became a large and athletic nerd. That I could deal with, because it never came home with me. (My parental support would've been something like "beat them up if they challenge you".) (As it happened when I finally did get into a fight, with a kid my mom couldn't stand, her only response was a (good Christian) "Huh, I heard you gave him mercy".)

Later, while I was away from home, is when I got into emotional trouble. I had enough trouble dealing with wild mood swings, I can't imagine dealing with bullying as well.

Peace.
Posted by Married in MA on September 28, 2011 at 6:23 PM · Report this
98
For FAP: I didn't have an orgasm 'til I was 30, and now I have them every day. For me it wasn't about fantasy or anything mental, it was just about finding the right vibrator. Hitachi magic wand FTW. Try a bunch of different ones and try them alone while you can concentrate.
Posted by AugustaJr on September 28, 2011 at 6:23 PM · Report this
99
Something about FAP's letter is starting to remind me of No Clue What To Do's of 2 weeks ago. We hear about the problem which makes sense since this is an advice column where people write in with their problems, but we can't assess the situation without knowing what's right. We know that FAP's partner is wonderfully patient and helpful, but is he hot? Do you desire him? We know that she and the partner have a healthy sex life, but what does healthy in this instance consist of? I was impressed with the Scarleteen article that EricaP recommended, the one by Heather Corinna, "An Immodest Proposal," in which she brings up desire as the often missing element in "healthy relationships."

I'm zeroing in on this part about the guy being patient and helpful. The more I think about it, the more it's sounding like he's impatient and disappointed-- which is quickly translated into applying subtle but insistent pressure. That becomes anxiety on your part which is the wrong direction. What's he doing for you? Is it possible that he's going slow and worshipping your every sigh when you need him to go fast and turn you on? Granted learning on your own is the way to go. Ultimately you'll have to be responsible for your own orgasm, but the way to get there is with desire, enjoyment, finding out what turns you on and gets you hot.

You don't say what you've tried, what has gotten you closer and what hasn't. Checking for testerone levels was new to me and makes sense. I'd like to hear which of the suggestions in this thread you've tried, and what sounds like it might work-- and what eventually works.
Posted by Crinoline on September 28, 2011 at 7:25 PM · Report this
100
@99,

Your point of the partner not necessarily doing the best thing for an O is right on. BUT, what might help in that department may also be missing: verbal feedback. It can be very frustrating when your requests for feedback are lost to inhibitions and/or lack of experience. I guess that solo sex would be the best place to start, if for no other reason than to cut out the difficulties in communicating what works (verbally or otherwise). Even then, you can lie to yourself that it really is desirable to let go and have fireworks go off in your brain.

I have been lucky that all of my partners were orgasmic (though it is a small sample size). I am fortunate because they all also responded well to oral sex. I am still frustrated that almost all my requests for verbal feedback never worked. Thankfully, I was well instructed by their nonverbal responses.

So I end with a plea: Folks, it is a good thing to tell your partner what you want. Keeping it a state secret helps no one!

Peace.
Posted by Married in MA on September 28, 2011 at 7:56 PM · Report this
101
@100 My mind goes blank when asked "what should I do now? what do you like?" For me, it works better to make it a choice, rather than a fill-in-the-blank quiz -- "here, or here?" "harder, softer, or just right?" "just tongue, or finger too?" Where each choice is something he enjoys, so I don't worry about shutting down the fun.
Posted by EricaP on September 28, 2011 at 8:22 PM · Report this
102
I always assumed the evolutionary point of the female orgasm was to protect children. We (women) hit puberty and our hormones give us orders to fuck. Who would we rather fuck, the guy who takes the time to get us off or the one who's done and gone before we start? So, by way of the elusive female orgasm, we hook up with the guy who cares a little about us (and by extension, about the babies we may make together) rather than just being a selfish douche. The selfish douches get less sex in the end, at least less reccuring sex.
Posted by charlie on September 28, 2011 at 8:57 PM · Report this
103
@80: At risk of repeating what someone else has already said, the five or six suicides that made the news this last year or so are drawn from news sources encompassing the entire nation, a population of three hundred million or so. Your personal experience growing up doesn't have enough breadth to be comparable.
Posted by avast2006 on September 28, 2011 at 10:08 PM · Report this
104
Try Vipassana, Goenkaji Style. I was non orgasmic (also on the pill--which by the way KILLS THE LIBIDO in some women so don't beat yourself up tooo much)for my first 10 years of sexual activity. I went off the pill, then a year or two later when the body had cleaned itself out, things started to change. Did a bunch of Vipassana, wherein you sweep your awareness up and down and through your body, observing blocks and flowing areas. A) you become very very body aware (which equates to greater sensitivity, control, etc) and B) you get rid of a lot of congestion in your meridians or energy body or whatever you want to call your mind/body continuum (remember, we now know that the body contains the subconcious mind; read the Molecules of Emotion, etc for the science if you're not into metaphysics). BTW, This is all a lovely side effect of the primary purpose of Vipassana: peace. They have a saying: meditation good for sex, sex not good for meditation. Anyway...one step at a time.
Awhile after that, I started experiencing all kinda goooooood stuff I never knew existed. So I advise you to just keep on keeping on, happily. Get a few books too, like Tantric orgasm for women, Cultivating female sexuality, and secrets of the White Tigress if you want to really get into it. It's all there in you honey, just enjoy the journey and forget about the orgasm. it will sneak up and WHOP ya when it wants to, and you will probably hear yourself singing opera before you even realize your body is a waving sea of bliss. Enjoy! PS Vibrators are all verrrry wellll, but full body awakening starts in the heart--so what's closer to the heart? Discover the joy of breast-urbation! (that's my contribution to the sexicon) Once that area is gently, truly aroused, the rest comes naturally ;)
Posted by Fellini's Widow on September 28, 2011 at 10:25 PM · Report this
105
1) The theory that the female orgasm works to get the jizz closer to the egg through muscle contraction is silly. This would only make sense if women frequently came a)through intercourse; and b) within seconds after the guy banging them came. Neither a) nor b) are true.

2) It's funny how the most of the same people getting up in arms about describing the female orgasm as "by-product" are criticizing those who suggest this theory as having their thinking "influenced by culture/norms/society, etc." Have any of you ever considered that giving a shit whether your orgasms are an evolutionary advantage or an evolutionary accident is also an example of having your reasoning abilities clouded by "culture/norms/society, etc."? As if women are somehow lesser than men if their orgasms are less linked to reproduction. Now that's buying into the dominant paradigm.


3) @102 has a great point. Female mate selection is often couched in terms of all women wanting the biggest, strongest, guy (and many do), but the guy who pays the most attention is bringing a lot to the table vis-a-vis survival of one's offspring, and most women require attention to come. (*Charlie, you are still wrong about selfish douches not getting laid. Alas.)
Posted by kungfujew on September 28, 2011 at 11:08 PM · Report this
106
Dan: "Harassment and cyber-harassment don’t become crimes only after the target commits suicide. They’re crimes, period, and they should be investigated and prosecuted."

No, not all harassment qualifies as "crime", and the cops do not have the resources to "investigate" every time a kid harasses another kid, nor do district attorneys have the resources to prosecute every time-even assuming that the particular harassment is criminal. For a guy whose greatest weapon is reason, you are engaging in hysteria.

(No, I do not think it is hysteria to care about kids who kill themselves, I just don't think the cops and DAs should be playing an active role in trying to preempt this. And, for the record, I think you are an American hero.)
Posted by kungfujew on September 28, 2011 at 11:15 PM · Report this
107
Hey, I couldn't come until I was seventeen and I'd been masturbating for years. Don't know if you've already tried this, FAP, but what helped me was kegels. They're an exercise to strengthen your pelvic muscles.

Sort of 'tighten' your vagina, like you're trying not to pee. Now do that a hundred times in a row. It takes about a minute. Now do that three times a day. There are other techniques out there, but that's what worked for me.
Posted by Mister Kitty on September 29, 2011 at 12:03 AM · Report this
108
Hey FAP! I also hadn't had an orgasm til age 26. I was convinced I'd never have one. I realize my method won't work for everyone...

I had also had lots of patient, attentive male partners who tried really hard, and I always felt like I was disappointing them despite all that when I didn't come. It gave me such great pleasure to bring them to climax, and I thought it wasn't fair that I couldn't provide them with the same experience.

Then I got together with a girl for the first time, and within weeks had my first orgasm. Part of it was simply getting to feel what her orgasms felt like - no amount of description can really explain what a woman's orgasm is like, and they're nothing like men's. I think another part of it (and this may not at all be your experience) is that somewhere, I couldn't really accept that my "parts" were truly attractive, and that someone could genuinely find them sexy. But when I was in a situation where I found another woman's vagina incredibly sexy, it became a lot easier to accept that mine, too, is a sexual object, and sexy, etc etc.

It'll happen for you, one way or another - the worst thing was focusing on it and not being able to really chase away the idea that there was this *thing* that was supposed to be happening, but wasn't. So try to let that go if you can - you're a stronger person than me if you succeed!!
Posted by Yurp on September 29, 2011 at 2:11 AM · Report this
109
It took me five years to have an orgasm after I first started to become sexually active. Partly it was getting to know my body and being more relaxed, though that doesn't sound like the OP's issue. Just because it isn't happening now doesn't mean it never will.
Posted by krissf on September 29, 2011 at 2:36 AM · Report this
110
It shouldn't be called the 'byproduct' theory. It should be called the 'origin' theory or 'base' theory. All fetuses are female until they are bathed with hormones at a certain stage that interact with genes and produce a male or female. If it's a boy, externally, the clit grows into a penis and the labia become balls. Same same... but different.
Posted by Ahem on September 29, 2011 at 5:03 AM · Report this
111
I haven't had time yet to read through all the other comments because I feel compelled to say that I wish Dan would be a little more critical of his use of evo psych. Calling it "science" is an insult to science, as it emerges from and holds to a very small set of male-centric viewpoints, collapsing hundreds of thousands of years of variations across human cultures into really simple explanations.

Scientifically, all human beings start out as female, not male. So if orgasm is "meant" for men but a mere "byproduct" for women, it would develop after the introduction of testosterone just like penises and testes do.

And once again, because this "scientific field" is dominated by men, it sees male orgasm as the be all end all of reproductive "fitness."

Well, I was under the understanding that female orgasm leads to the cervix opening and dipping down, making it more likely for sperm to get access to the goods. It also is perfectly reasonable to argue that women who experience orgasm will seek out more sex, making them more "reproductively fit" than women who don't, not to mention they would be more selective in their choice of mates, disregarding those who see their sexual pleasure as a reproductive "byproduct."

In my experience as both a science major in college and a humanities Ph.D., evo psych-ers will cram any set of data through a very narrow lens, willfully ignoring conflicting evidence and a more nuanced understanding of human anatomy and behavior.
Posted by maddy811 on September 29, 2011 at 5:09 AM · Report this
echizen_kurage 112
@111:

As I understand it, the byproduct hypothesis doesn't really fall under the rubric of evo-psych. After all, it's the evo-psychers who come up with a just-so story to explain the adaptive value of every behavioral trait they happen to observe -- up to and including female orgasm. Anybody who says "hey, maybe this behavior isn't the product of direct selection" is already operating outside the dominant evo-psych paradigm.

To be fair, the man who first proposed the byproduct hypothesis, Donald Symons, has drunk deep of the evo-psych Kool Aid. But I don't think that's an accurate criticism of Elisabeth Lloyd -- who, in addition to being one the most prominent proponents of the byproduct hypothesis, also happens to be a woman and a feminist.

Finally, because I'm feeling lazy, I'm going to copy and paste from one of my previous comments: counterintuitive though it may seem, statistics show that female orgasmic capacity does not correlate with frequency of sexual activity. In other words, an anorgasmic woman is just as likely to have intercourse as a multiorgasmic one.
Posted by echizen_kurage on September 29, 2011 at 5:26 AM · Report this
113
Although I generally agree with the vast majority of the points made, the insistence that homophobia is merely and entirely a subset of misogyny just feels like being erased and told to sit down and shut up. I don't think anyone intended it that way.
Posted by vennominon on September 29, 2011 at 5:33 AM · Report this
echizen_kurage 114
@111:

Also, while the claim that "all humans start out as female" surfaces regularly in high school biology classes and pop-science publications, it really isn't true. All humans start out with the same gonadal precursor cells, which the undergo sexual differentiation as the embryo develops. And while it was long believed (and is still widely repeated) that the default developmental pathway was female, it turns out that's not really true either.
Posted by echizen_kurage on September 29, 2011 at 6:11 AM · Report this
echizen_kurage 115
*then undergo sexual differentiation

(Damn, I wish we could edit comments.)
Posted by echizen_kurage on September 29, 2011 at 6:17 AM · Report this
116
That theory about female orgasms being a hand-me-down sounds like complete and utter bullshit. We don't start off as genetically sexless blobs. We are female in the womb until the genes that make us otherwise are turned on. If anything, the male orgasm is a byproduct of females being able to have orgasms. ANYTHING on the male anatomy is a byproduct of having been female at one point. Evolution can favor the male orgasm all it wants, the fact of the matter is, males wouldn't be able to have them if women couldn't.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on September 29, 2011 at 6:44 AM · Report this
117
@111: Your understanding about the cervix "dipping down" is incorrect. It turns out it doesn't actually do that. I think Echizen already pointed that out, as well as her mentioning that Lloyd's research shows women who orgasm more don't actually have more sex or enjoy sex more.

@111, 112: And unless you're a creationist, you believe that the human mind evolved. Hence, it is legitimate to study the evolution of human psychology. It's usually the media who oversimplifies legitimate complex research and makes it male-centric, not the actual research itself.

While people who research ev psych do try to guess and theorize why a trait may have been adaptive, the "default" explanation is that it isn't. It's just there. That's the null hypothesis. Anything else requires evidence.

What ev psych researchers actually do is try to find evidence that some traits evolved for some adaptive purpose, and then test their theory with experiments, not just make up a "just-so story" for every observed trait.
Posted by BlackRose on September 29, 2011 at 7:04 AM · Report this
118
#9, beautifully said! Sexism is a rampant problem--perhaps even greater than racism. Yet people get away w/ misogynistic remarks in the media, socially, in education--everywhere! I'm constantly surprised that the women's and LGBT movements haven't joined forces more effectively.
Posted by Sea on September 29, 2011 at 7:44 AM · Report this
119
Don't have time to read all these comments, but ditto on the "it's largely mental" comment your doctor made, FAP. If I don't think I'm going to get off, I don't. It took me a long time to learn to do it with a partner, because once the pattern of not getting off established itself, I found it hard to expect it to continue. First step for you is learning to do it yourself. Get a vibrator or 5 and give yourself all the time in the world to pay attention to whatever your body likes. Then talk to your partner and try to replicate that with him around. Once it happens once, you'll be well on your way.

I am not a spiritual or religious person, but I have FAITH in my ability to have orgasms with a partner. I'm sure the process varies for everyone. Some require a new partner or new toy or a better body image or something else altogether. For me, focusing on just how good everything feels really helps push me over the edge. Instead of thinking "what will get me off" during sex, let your brain be overcome by any nice sensation you're getting and bask in them. Banish all thoughts of doubt and focus only on how good you feel. Communicating with your partner and having him keep you focused on what's hot may help you out. You'll get there. Just keep your head in the sexy and away from the "will I get there?" worries.
Posted by oohlookasquirrel on September 29, 2011 at 8:23 AM · Report this
120
Long long ago in a galaxy far far away, no one officially knew that women orgasmed at all, and men didn't pay attention to anything in bed but their own pleasure.*

Then came the Sexual Revolution, and women discovered their sexuality, and when the dust settled everyone knew that women orgasmed and a man was supposed to pay attention to that if he was any good in bed at all.

The only problem is that this lead to patient and attentive men whose self-respect depended on getting women to come. "I just want to make you feel good," they murmured to their lovers. And then women started to feel like their orgasms or lack thereof were letting their partners down.

The truth is, lots and lots of women - women who love sex, women who love their bodies, women who love vaginas, women who love penises, women who write and draw erotic art and think about sex all the time and have ridiculous dirty libidos - don't orgasm. And a lot of the time, they don't care, because what they're thinking when they have sex is how awesome the sex is, not "will I come this time?"

You may or may not get there, FAP, though you probably will someday - our orgasmic response changes a LOT as we get older - but the first thing to do is to quit making it a questing object. It's hard to put aside once you've been angsting about - like not thinking of the word elephant - but you might want to try tying your bf up and doing whatever you want with him, just to turn the tables a little. You might also want to play games with him where the goal is for you NOT to come. A little reverse psychology can go a long way.

*This is a sweeping gross overgeneralization.
Posted by SI on September 29, 2011 at 9:28 AM · Report this
121
@120: The problem is that there seem to be some people (both men and women) who feel very frustrated or unsatisfied without orgasm, and other people who are perfectly capable of thinking about how awesome the sex is without orgasm. I don't know if it's possible to change this or not.
Posted by BlackRose on September 29, 2011 at 10:01 AM · Report this
122 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
123
For me, "Banish all thoughts of doubt" (@119) is like "not thinking of the word elephant" (@120). That's where stories come in. When I'm reading, if it's a good story, I'm in the story, not in my head trying to avoid thinking of elephants. The problem with that is that one doesn't always want to be reading or imagining a story.

I have also found it helpful to pick an image that represents my own arousal, and think of it every time I'm getting close to orgasm. It's not second-nature yet, but the image definitely feels less artificial and more arousing than it did when I started a few months ago. (This idea is borrowed from Susan Crain Bakos' The Orgasm Loop.)
Posted by EricaP on September 29, 2011 at 10:03 AM · Report this
124
My wife is an orgasm machine. She told me she's been orgasmic since she can remember (around 6 or 7). She used to hump the couch pillow while watching TV until her mom tactfully told her that was something she should do in private. She usually comes before me which is great because sometimes I can get her off again. Guess I should count myself fortunate.
Posted by Lucky dog! on September 29, 2011 at 10:06 AM · Report this
125
Ok, apparently the "scientists" are overthinking the female orgasm.

It exists for the same purpose as the male orgasm - sex (and thus reproduction) is likely to come up more often if it's more fun for all parties involved.
Posted by Daemon on September 29, 2011 at 10:24 AM · Report this
126
@125: Yeah, except that the evidence shows that's not true. Women who don't have orgasms have the same amount of sex as women who have a lot.
Posted by BlackRose on September 29, 2011 at 10:34 AM · Report this
127
Dan, I love the work you do (both the column and otherwise) but - can you find another outlet for the 'it get's better' project? You're certainly famous/ popular enough to get another column!

I come here to read your answers to letter - but latley, it's a lot like this, 65% of the column is 'it gets better'
Posted by frustrated savage fan on September 29, 2011 at 10:59 AM · Report this
128
@117 I work in a department that has an evo psych professor, and I have personally seen his course materials. His arguments are as simplistic as i've mentioned, so much so that his younger colleagues are trying to have his course phased out. Anecdotes abound of students getting poor grades in his classes if they question the line.

I once attended a talk by one of his other evo pscyh colleagues and watched the guy dismiss the entire fields of psychology, anthropology, sociology and cultural history because they don't, as he very simplistically and childishly argued, take into consideration the absolute primacy of male competition for access to females as the driver of human behavior and societal development. (As I would warn my own students in my own history course, be wary of any person who can so easily dismiss entire lines of knowledge in but a breath--they are usually not credible sources.)

So, no, I wasn't referring to pop psychology or media coverage of evo psych--I was referring the evo psych professor I personally know, having read his course materials and talked with his other colleagues (both in his field and in opposition to it).

@114: I'll admit that I was a biology major a long long time ago, but I learned that across the animal kindgom that the default is female (that males evolved as species grew more complex), and, in humans, that all babies develop as female unless testosterone redirects development... that's why a human that is genetically XY (i.e. genetically male) who either doesn't produce testosterone or doesn't respond to testosterone will develop, by and large, as a female.

My point wasn't to say in response to "men come first, women is byproduct," that "no, women come first, male is byproduct" (although i think evolutionary the latter is closer to the truth), but to point out that there is a serious bias inherent in some evo psych work that sets maleness as the standard and posits that all human behavior and cultures derive simply and solely from mate access, mate competition, and biologically-determinist understandings of reproduction.

As for those who claim that inorgasmic women have sex as frequently as orgasmic women, that says nothing to pregnancy rates, variations across cultures (e.g. a culture that puts a primacy on virginity and female chastity vs., say, older cultures where the science of paternity wasn't known), and the simple fact of whether said women know their own bodies or have loving sex partners. I'm sorry, but I have a hard time reading a gay man use "science" to say to an adult woman who's never had an orgasm, "Well, sweetie, female orgasm is just a byproduct anyway so you might not be able to." FUCK. THAT.

I think Dan should look up the history of hysteria dating back to ancient Greece, where for milennia sexually frustrated women would seek medical doctors to masturbate them to orgasm to "cure" their "pathological" uteri. In fact, the original vibrators were made only for this "medical" purpose, and initially only sold to medical doctors as a "medical" procedure. Said doctors, all men, insisted that this "treatment" wasn't sexual because it didn't involve vaginal penetration. Talk about bias passed off as science!

So, seriously, take pause when you have male experts waxing wise on the biological "worth" of the female orgasm, especially within a culture notoriously afraid of female sexuality. Just sayin'.
More...
Posted by maddy811 on September 29, 2011 at 11:04 AM · Report this
129
@128: You seem very confused. Whether something is adaptive or just a byproduct has nothing whatsoever to do with its "worth" in any sense. No one is saying that female orgasms are worth less because they're byproducts.

Nor is anyone saying that the reason some women might not be able to have an orgasm is that female orgasm is a byproduct. It's true that some women seem to be wired to not be orgasmic, but this issue has nothing to do with whether or not female orgasm is a byproduct. For instance, heterosexuality is adaptive, but obviously not everyone is wired to be heterosexual, just because of variation in humans.

The idea of a trait being a "byproduct" is that it didn't directly evolve to help people survive and reproduce. There's a great deal of natural variation in humans, both in adaptive and in "byproduct" traits.

There are bad professors in every field, and I'm sorry to hear about your experiences with that one. As his younger colleagues demonstrate by trying to get him phased out, not everyone is like that and there's a lot more to ev psych than the oversimplistic crap he's saying. In fact, a lot of ev psych has nothing to do with sex whatsoever.
Posted by BlackRose on September 29, 2011 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Bonefish 130
The “byproduct” theory doesn’t make much sense from a biological standpoint. Granted, it's feasible that selection for females with “easy orgasm” genes could be due only to their male offspring being likelier to reproduce (with easier, more impregnating orgasms), and not due to any direct effect of easier orgasms on the females that have these genes.

However, that explanation is only “feasible.” I don’t think it’s the most likely one, or even a very likely one. For one thing, to believe that approach, you have to believe that how much sex a woman seeks is completely irrelevant to reproduction. The orgasm, from a reproductive standpoint, is an incentive to have sex. Just as “easier orgasms” make males more likely to inseminate (and reproduce), they ALSO make females more likely to seek sex (and reproduce).

The only way that the female orgasm would be irrelevant is if females were completely passive (or even resistant) to sex, and it therefore made no difference whether they desired sex or not. Some animals do reproduce this way, but since humans aren’t one of these species, our female orgasms are as relevant as our male orgasms.

Which is actually a good strategy, evolution-wise: the “male-on-female quasi-rape” reproduction strategy allows males to be discerning and seek out females with desirable traits, indicating that they are healthy and would create healthy offspring. However, females under this reproductive strategy are unable to be discerning, so for males, it only selects for enough aggression and physical strength to temporarily overpower a female.

In species where the female also discerningly selects mates, males are also selected according to their attractiveness (which indicates health and fitness). This allows for selection of a broader variety of favorable genetic traits. The resulting offspring will (presumably) have all the best genes from both its parents, as opposed to just one parent.

This type of selection is present when both sexes have an incentive to select some individuals over others as sex partners. This type of “preference” requires some sort of sex drive. For humans, a big part of our sex drive is our “drive” to have an orgasm. So for humans, male and female orgasms are both incentives to select some mates over others: a more attractive mate is more likely to give you that orgasm that is motivating you to have sex in the first place.

I don’t dispute that men, on average, orgasm more easily than women (individual results may vary. A lot). I also won’t dispute that this is probably due to the fact that men’s orgasms are the ones that actually mix the gametes. But in order for those gametes to mix, a female has to be PRESENT, doesn’t she? And her ability and motivation to orgasm makes that likelier.

So the take-home message:

1) Males who orgasm more easily are likelier to seek sex with a healthy female, likelier to successfully fertilize each time, and (therefore) likelier to have healthy offspring.

2) Females who orgasm more easily are likelier to seek sex with a healthy male and (therefore) likelier to have healthy offspring.

The number of direct evolutionary benefits may be greater (by one) for males than for females. But since they’re not completely absent from females, the “byproduct” theory is weak.
More...
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on September 29, 2011 at 11:50 AM · Report this
131
To FAP:
I didn't have an orgasm until I was around 25 or 26. A huge part of it was because of my religious upbringing. It was really hard to get warmed up and feel the subtleties of genital sensation, and once there it was really easy to shut down and feel nothing at all, no matter how well it had been going. There was no downward slide, it just went from ON to OFF at any negative thought (such as "This is taking so long, what's wrong with me?" etc). I've seen the advice not to focus on the finish line and I would definitely agree with that, because if you focus on it, it just keeps the fact that you're NOT orgasming present in your mind and makes it harder to do so.

What ultimately worked for me was to decide it was fine if I didn't come, I was just going to feel good. Without stressing out about orgasms it was just fun for however long it lasted, and slowly my mental habits turned around and I was able to orgasm. Everyone has a different technique or toy that does or does not work for them, so I don't think there's a magic formula there, it's just keeping the blood flow going and the pleasure building and not turning the Eye of Sauron on them. I found pot to also be helpful. It takes the over-thinking out of it and heightens your physical perceptiveness.

Good luck!
-Rain
Posted by RainMonster on September 29, 2011 at 11:54 AM · Report this
132
Sex is kinda like food. You don't know if you'll like it till you try it. So many suggestions and ideas. Here are a few more. First of all, congratulations to the boyfriend for thinking of your needs too. My wife has told me that none of the men she has been with really cared whether she had an orgasm or not, until she met me. I have found that since she really never took the time to find out about her own solo experience, that the idea of "maybe she should think about her own solo experience" is so new to her, that she still does not know exactly what to do to get her self off and to her, it is not that important. Than she has an orgasm and she enjoys it very much.
My feeling is, it should be that important to her. Not the pressure of but the enjoyment of self. Clitoral orgasms are not something she has, and who knows why. But there is one spot deep inside her vagina, that does drive her crazy if she is relaxed enough to enjoy it. Hot tubs work great to bring blood and engorgement to the area for her. Finding the right lube is another plus. Attitude and the quieting of the mind is essential for her, so I see why the pot may be a good idea too.
Don't forget the whole body is a sexual organ. Breasts, nipples, finger tips, anal area, feet kissing, kissing, I think you get the idea. If you haven't hit all the areas, you are doing yourself a diservice.
Treat yourself special, get a massage, read a sexy book, just enjoy getting your boyfriend off, try a girl friend........ lots of thoughts and ideas. Your special believe it, know it, enjoy it all, and if it happens great, if not, the journey is still exciting.
Posted by Bondsman51 on September 29, 2011 at 11:58 AM · Report this
133
@128. I'm not confused one bit. The premise that goes into this passage...

“Evolutionary selection has hugely favored the male orgasm, for obvious reasons,” explains Clark-Flory, the most obvious being that males who can’t come aren’t going to have many descendants. “The byproduct theory goes that since females share the same embryological origins of pleasure-friendly nerves and tissues as males, women are physically capable of climaxing as well. In this view, the female orgasm is an evolutionary hand-me-down—or, more cynically, lukewarm leftovers.”

... is that orgasm has evolved solely for male ejaculation and that male ejaculation is solely for biological reproduction. Well, call me "confused," but I think orgasm makes both men and women seek out sex, I think orgasms relieve stress, I think orgasms bring intimacy, solace and joy to people's lives and relationships irrespective of whether or not they lead to babies.

The operating premise of this, "Wow, female orgasm is kind of biologically unnecessary, and therefore must just be a byproduct of male development" is implicitly biased in the exact biologically-deterministic thinking I was describing above. The preoccupation with biological reproduction as the only logical explanation for something's evolutionary endurance is a narrow analysis, that's all i'm saying.

And, lukewarm? The clitoris has how many fold more nerve endings than the penis? Woman, not men, are capable of orgasms that last minutes at a time, that roll one after the other, that wrack the entire body... to say that these are "lukewarm leftovers" is evidence of bias going into these "studies," not my "confusion."
Posted by maddy811 on September 29, 2011 at 12:34 PM · Report this
134
@9 & @118: Spot on, both of you. I agree!

Come on, Dan. No misogynist undertones, please.
Posted by auntie grizelda on September 29, 2011 at 1:09 PM · Report this
135
I can't decide if a little science help sex or ruins it completely. Still working to figure it out...

also, something gasoline-powered might work for FAP, preferrably something with a lawn-mower-type pull starter.

jill
http://inbedwithmarriedwomen.blogspot.co…
Posted by inbed http://inbedwithmarriedwomen.blogspot.com on September 29, 2011 at 1:14 PM · Report this
136
of course there's a reason wh the female orgasm exists...I didn't bother to read every single one of these posts but biology classes have repeatedly informed me that women orgasm so the muscular spasm will carry the man's ejaculate upwards so pegnancy will occur. Also to release oxytocin making a woman feel more attached towards her partner to sustain the relationship into parenthood.

Everything is about evolution.
Posted by ahaar on September 29, 2011 at 3:15 PM · Report this
137
of course there's a reason wh the female orgasm exists...I didn't bother to read every single one of these posts but biology classes have repeatedly informed me that women orgasm so the muscular spasm will carry the man's ejaculate upwards so pegnancy will occur. Also to release oxytocin making a woman feel more attached towards her partner to sustain the relationship into parenthood.

Everything is about evolution.
Posted by ahaar on September 29, 2011 at 3:17 PM · Report this
138
Holy misconceptions about evolution, Batman!

I think BlackRose is holding down the science fort admirably, though I'm not sure how many more times it has to be said that 'having an orgasm' does not seem to be correlated to 'seeking sexual behavior' in women...

Whoever said selection has to operate on females because we're all female in the womb (not so true), etc? Just, no. Sexual selection in particular operates on MEN, because in many, many (many) species, lots of whom are our ancestors and contributed many genes to our genomes, females are in charge of mate choice, so selection for sex-related stuff is operating PRIMARILY in males and SECONDARILY in females. Y'all don't even need to bring natural selection into this argument.

Also, citations to PubMed or it didn't happen. Pop sci articles are not really useful to evaluate a research study's worth.
Posted by doublehelix20 on September 29, 2011 at 3:29 PM · Report this
139
@ahaar

Everything may be about evolution, but that doesn't mean that every trait/behavior/minute detail of physiology has a reason and is acutely adaptive.

Genomes are a messy, messy place, folks.
Posted by doublehelix20 on September 29, 2011 at 3:31 PM · Report this
140
I took a while - 13 years! - to work out how to come and, funnily enough, I too wondered if I was broken. I had been trying lots of penetration and very carefully avoiding the oversensitive little bump at the top of my slit.

Touching my clit made me almost feel ill with the intensity of sensation. My first climax happened when I just persisted past the point of discomfort.

For me, vibrators have never really worked. They are too samey and too buzzy. Filthy fantasy+fingers are the most reliable method but women are all very different so experiment.
Posted by fragrant pervert on September 29, 2011 at 3:36 PM · Report this
141
I find the second part of this week's column very saddening, but...

I'm also bothered by the answer given to that poor non-orgasmic woman. Dan's response was disheartening, and to a degree, dismissive. Try telling my clitoris that it's a lukewarm leftover, lol... Is it possible that we've become too conditioned to dismiss the female orgasm as something bordering on myth??? The female reproductive system is such a complex thing.

I'm not a scientist (far from it), but I always thought evolutionary biology was about genetic propagation, a genes desire to be expressed I guess.... so why wouldn't females evolve to desire to propagate just like men supposedly do?
Posted by meghanomics on September 29, 2011 at 4:05 PM · Report this
142
@FAP

http://dodsonandross.com/ is a sex information website that covers a range of topics, including female orgasm. It's run by Betty Dodson (sex-positive feminist icon and inventor of the vibrator) and provides specific (and encouraging!) tutorials.

Betty Dodson has been helping women figure out how to orgasm for over 40 years. I promise, if you visit this site, you'll find the information and encouragement that you need to achieve orgasm.

Good luck in your quest, and have fun practicing!
Posted by sex-positive feminist on September 29, 2011 at 4:10 PM · Report this
143
@FAP

http://dodsonandross.com/ is a sex information website that covers a range of topics, including female orgasm. It's run by Betty Dodson (sex-positive feminist icon and inventor of the vibrator) and provides specific (and encouraging!) tutorials.

Betty Dodson has been helping women figure out how to orgasm for over 40 years. I promise, if you visit this site, you'll find the information and encouragement that you need to achieve orgasm.

Good luck in your quest, and have fun practicing!
Posted by sex-positive feminist on September 29, 2011 at 4:13 PM · Report this
144
Did you seriously just suggest we follow the example of a kid who gained national attention for committing suicide?
Posted by Really Dan? on September 29, 2011 at 4:51 PM · Report this
rex everything 145
My 2 cents: Male and Female orgasm is exactly the same, and as difficult for a man to achieve as a woman.

Ejaculation isn't orgasm.

I only have orgasms with partners I've been with for a while, and there is a good amount of trust.

I love having sex, it feels damn good when I cum, but orgasms are WAY more intense, it's like I lose control of my body and basically have a convulsion, and kind of, laugh. . .
Posted by rex everything http://https://www.facebook.com/pages/RexEverything/188124174552093 on September 29, 2011 at 4:55 PM · Report this
rex everything 146
And just so I make sure I'm popular here. . .I believe it's MORE difficult for men to have orgasms because we think ejaculation is the end-product, and because socially we are taught to be stoic, rigid and powerful, to maintain control etc. All leading to sense-repression and less orgasms.
Posted by rex everything http://https://www.facebook.com/pages/RexEverything/188124174552093 on September 29, 2011 at 5:01 PM · Report this
147
In June, my husband and I were thrown out of a rural B & B because, over dinner with the owner, I called him out regarding some really rants about gays he was making. He turned red with rage and ordered us out into the night, immediately (we hadn't paid yet). So we packed up our things and drove out into the night, terrified we would hit a deer and die, or be pulled over by the police (I'm sure we were legally drunk). 90 minutes later, as we lay in our tent at a state park, I thought about what had transpired. I cried - a lot. I was really shaken up, with a million "What ifs..." running through my mind and his hateful words still ringing in my ears. But I don't regret what I said. I didn't change any minds that night, but I said no to hate speech, and maybe, just *maybe*, he'll think twice before being a dick. It's not easy standing up to hate speech, and there are consequences, but I'm going to keep doing it. I just have to always remember to pack my tent...
Posted by Not today on September 29, 2011 at 5:07 PM · Report this
148
WOW, Dan. Because of your Lovecast I am a (surprising) admirer of the work of Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha and I find it awwwwfully surprising that you would concur the female orgasm is a "byproduct" of male anatomy. The Y chromosome is an evolutionary afterthought meant to diversify a gene pool; furthermore, if we are going into the "byproducts" of anatomy it is outright absurd to suggest that female anatomy and orgasmic capacity is simply a byproduct of male anatomy and capacity; male anatomy exists to diversify, and though it is evolutionary it is not ... well, necessary. The fact that women have (amazing) orgasmic capacity and that (in our culture) women are puzzles wrapped in enigmas lends itself directly to what Sex at Dawn was trying to get across: gender, propriety, and personal and social expectations have wayyyy too much interference in the pleasure of sex. When a woman can't come, it's probably because she Is Not Turned On. Broken byproduct? Hardly. She needs to figure out what is BORING her, scaring her, or causing her to feel disinterested - I have a feeling it's her relationship or the stress she encounters on a daily basis or the repression of desires - probably all of the above. Byproduct... jeeeeeeeez. Maybe dicks (especially one at a time from a domestic partner) aren't as interesting as our culture cracks them up to be.
Posted by RadFem on September 29, 2011 at 5:54 PM · Report this
149
First: For everyone telling the ladies to "not get in a huff about it", check yourself. Check your own biases at the door, and educate yourselves about a little something called feminine deferentiality. Ah-thank you.

WOW, Dan. Because of your Lovecast I am a (surprising) admirer of the work of Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha and I find it awwwwfully surprising that you would concur the female orgasm is a "byproduct" of male anatomy. The Y chromosome is an evolutionary afterthought meant to diversify a gene pool; furthermore, if we are going into the "byproducts" of anatomy it is outright absurd to suggest that female anatomy and orgasmic capacity is simply a byproduct of male anatomy and capacity. Male anatomy exists to diversify, and though it is evolutionary it is not ... well, necessary. Penises are shaped the way they are shaped BECAUSE vaginas are shaped the way they are shaped. The fact that women have (amazing) orgasmic capacity and that (in our culture) women are puzzles wrapped in enigmas lends itself directly to what Sex at Dawn was trying to get across: gender, propriety, and personal and social expectations have wayyyy too much interference in the pleasure of sex. When a woman can't come, it's probably because she Is Not Turned On. Broken byproduct? Hardly. She needs to figure out what is BORING her, scaring her, or causing her to feel disinterested - I have a feeling it's her relationship or the stress she encounters on a daily basis or the repression of desires - probably all of the above. Byproduct... jeeeeeeeez. Maybe dicks (especially one at a time from a domestic partner) aren't as interesting as our culture cracks them up to be.
Posted by RadFem on September 29, 2011 at 5:59 PM · Report this
150
FAP, try "For Yourself" by Lonnie Barbach. 100% success for 3 girls I knew in a similar situation.
Posted by bh190834 on September 29, 2011 at 6:08 PM · Report this
151
FAP-- you're ahead of me. I was *in my 40s* before I had an orgasm. I have childhood sexual abuse in my background, was exhausted from kids, etc etc. I highly recommend a vibrator, which was how I finally had my first one. Getting there felt entirely different than what I was expecting, so without the vibrator I might never have made it. Now that I know how it feels, I've been able to figure out how to do it without aid, but I'm not sure I ever would have gotten there the first time without it. Good luck. It is definitely worth the effort. ;-)
Posted by bettyanon on September 29, 2011 at 6:12 PM · Report this
152
Try "For Yourself" by Lonnie Barbach. Follow the instructions, 100% success rate for several girls I know.
Posted by bh190834 on September 29, 2011 at 6:18 PM · Report this
echizen_kurage 153
@BlackRose:

No, I'm not one of those dreaded "blank slaters." I don't believe that we only evolved from the neck down. I cheerfully accept the fundamental premise of evolutionary psychology -- that our cognition and behavior has been shaped by our evolutionary history.

But as I see it, while the field of evolutionary psychology may produce some sound science, it also churns out a whole lot of teleologically driven, methodologically sloppy, unfalsifiable bullshit -- and a lot of that bullshit just so happens to be massively sexist. And yes, this is true at the Serious Academic™ as well as the pop science level. I mean, Roy Baumeister's 2007 address to the APA? Palmer and Thornhill's "A Natural History of Rape" (published by MIT Press)? As the cool kids used to say, gag me with a fucking spoon.

Posted by echizen_kurage on September 29, 2011 at 6:23 PM · Report this
154
FAP: Get really, really stoned. Then have sex. I can come when I'm not stoned, too, but if I'm stoned I can come more than once. Weed helps push me past the place where I'm engaged with my conscious mind, wondering if I'm going to get lucky with a second orgasm, and into a place where I'm just enjoying it.

And female orgasm is not a byproduct of male orgasm. Sorry. That would be like saying female sex drive is just a byproduct of male sex drive, which doesn't make any sense, because people can't have sex alone--it takes, if we're talking hetero, here--a chico and a chica. People are pair bonded, so male AND female enjoyment makes sense.

I'm sick of hearing all the shit I hear about women not enjoying sex. I fucking love sex. I've always loved sex. I love sex more than all but one of the guys I've dated. And as to the commenter who claims that women NEVER come right after/simultaneously, um, sorry bout ya, buddy. Sounds like your sex life sucks.
Posted by Jessie Christ on September 29, 2011 at 6:46 PM · Report this
155
When googling to find the inventor of the vibrator (various sorts attributed to George Taylor, Joseph Mortimer Granville and Jon H. Tavel in the 1880s, not Betty Dodson as 143 asserts), I found a good list of the sorts of vibrators on the wikipedia page. I stand by my earlier advice to try whatever it takes but to start small.
Posted by Crinoline on September 29, 2011 at 7:13 PM · Report this
echizen_kurage 156
@Maddy811:

I'm sorry, but I have a hard time reading a gay man use "science" to say to an adult woman who's never had an orgasm, "Well, sweetie, female orgasm is just a byproduct anyway so you might not be able to." FUCK. THAT.

That's not at all the way I read it (and I'm speaking as a not-very-orgasmic woman myself). FAP said she feels "broken," and unfortunately, and I know exactly where she's coming from. I'm not totally anorgasmic, but I can only orgasm with the aid of a vibrator, and over the years I've gotten a fair amount of flak from various friends, sex partners, and other armchair sex therapists who claimed that I "should" be able to orgasm "naturally" (i.e., without a vibrator).

I've heard about a thousand and one variations on one underlying theme: UR DOIN IT WRONG. I'm inhibited; I'm neurotic; I have some sort of unresolved sexual trauma; I need to wean myself off my "vibrator addiction"; I need to experiment more; I need to communicate more; I need to eat more Omega-3 fatty acids; I need to breathe more; and so on ad nauseam. None of this advice was maliciously intended, but taken together, it adds up to one very damaging message: you're broken.

And yeah, if all women are naturally equipped with the capacity for easy multiorgasmic bliss, then maybe I am broken. But if -- as per the byproduct hypothesis -- female orgasm is an "evolutionary freebie" that may or may not be in the genetic makeup of any given healthy, normal woman, then I'm not broken; I'm just me.

What if it turns out FAP is never able to orgasm? Or she's only able to orgasm in a narrow set of circumstances, with a lot of effort? These are real possibilities, and Dan was right to acknowledge them. Sure, he could have issued some grand politico-sexual manifesto about women's universal entitlement to sexual pleasure, and assured FAP that she absolutely can orgasm, it's her natural female birthright and she just needs to figure out what she's doing wrong . . . but no matter how much he dressed it up in sex-positive feminist rhetoric, he'd still be confirming her original fear that she's "broken." Somehow, I doubt that sort of "advice" would have helped FAP; it certainly never helped me.
More...
Posted by echizen_kurage on September 29, 2011 at 7:21 PM · Report this
157
not even accurate anymore on the byproduct theory, dan. that's old non-science, the product of a bunch of men sitting around discussing why it didn't matter if they couldn't get their wives off and just dissing women in general. new, actual science, actually shows that female orgasm DOES have a role in reproduction, largely shunting the sperm into the correct location faster. so check the dates on your studies and try harder next time.
Posted by me2 on September 29, 2011 at 8:02 PM · Report this
158
I cannot tell you how much this column means to me. I was actually in the shower today thinking of writing the EXACT same letter to Dan (28 year old straight woman, in an amazing relationship, have never come with a partner and rarely on my own, really sad and frustrated) only to find someone had just written it. Please continue to post ideas in the comments, it means a lot. I will be buying and using a vibrator soon.
Posted by the_spiral on September 29, 2011 at 8:13 PM · Report this
159
Women's orgasms ARE a product of evolution...but no one here mentioned the most obvious reason:

Women NEED to orgasm in order to balance their hormone levels. It's an evolutionary by-product, but it has nothing to do with making babies. (Although a woman is more likely to conceive if she's healthy; so in that sense, it does).
See valid research here:

http://www.waiworld.com/waisays/other/cl…

I agree that evo-psych is male-centric and insulting...but only because our patriarchal culture makes it so. (Which is a shame, because it IS totally valid.)
Posted by Katekatykate on September 29, 2011 at 8:20 PM · Report this
160
@158 - buy three different kinds, please! Make one a Hitachi Magic Wand, one a Rabbit, and one whatever looks appealing to you!
Posted by EricaP on September 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM · Report this
161
Women's orgasms ARE a product of evolution...but no one here mentioned the most obvious reason:

Women NEED to orgasm in order to balance their hormone levels. It's an evolutionary by-product, but it has nothing to do with making babies. (Although a woman is more likely to conceive if she's healthy; so in that sense, it does).
See valid research here:

http://www.waiworld.com/waisays/other/cl…

I agree that evo-psych is male-centric and insulting...but only because our patriarchal culture makes it so. (Which is a shame, because it IS totally valid.)
Posted by katekatykate on September 29, 2011 at 8:22 PM · Report this
Allyson 162
scientists of all stripes have been struggling for decades to determine why the female orgasm even exists in the first place
-------
Um, what? This is one female who can tell those scientists that, after some awkward attempts and embarrassing moments, the female orgasm is alive and well, thank you! Don't give up, FAP, and don't pressure yourself (that would be the *worst* thing you can do.) Keep experimenting, have fun, enjoy the moment, and you will find pleasure...
Posted by Allyson on September 29, 2011 at 8:25 PM · Report this
163
To complete that web address...
waiworld.com/waisays/other/clitoral.html
Posted by katekatykate on September 29, 2011 at 8:25 PM · Report this
164
I have cried for Jamey Rodemeyer, although I never met him, and for his parents' heartbreak. They obviously did as much as they thought they could for their child, who was in therapy. Too often, we hear that a person who has taken his own life "seemed better in the last few days." That is a potential warning sign.

Kids can be cruel, teachers and school administration are often complicit in the bullying because they are too busy to deal with the bullying or because they are themselves bigoted.

While I do hope for significant societal change and I believe in working toward that goal, I also believe that some children cannot stay at school where the bullying takes place as part of the day. Home schooling is a valid option and there are so many ways to home school now. Many states offer tuition free virtual schools and there are many other fine home schooling programs at a range of price tags. Being bullied isn't "character building;" it's demoralizing. Telling your child to "Stick it out and put up with it" is telling your child "the bullies are the normal ones, you are getting what you deserve."

My 16-year-old home schools. His social group is diverse in every sense of the word. I have never met nicer, more supportive or well-grounded teens as the kids in this close-knit group of 15 - 19 year olds who have so much fun learning from and with one another as well as engaging in the usual teen activities.

If the neighborhood kids are bullies, then monitor like crazy or move. If school is a toxic environment, change educational plans. If it's online bullying, insist for your child's protection that you have access to his / her account and monitor it.

It Gets Better. And there's no shame in making it better by removing the kid from a bad situation.
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Posted by lchernow on September 29, 2011 at 10:10 PM · Report this
165
For FAP,
I received some bodywork to my pelvic and sacral regions that subsequently helped me reach my first orgasms. (I'm not referring to sensual massage, though that might be helpful as well.) My practitioner was working on general alignment issues, and by releasing areas of restriction, it benefited my sex life.
Posted by drg on September 29, 2011 at 10:30 PM · Report this
166
@164: Right on!!! I could not have said it any better!

Bullying really sucks shit. I went to a "Calvin-and-Hobbes"-like rural school district K through 12 that was SO insular that if your grandmother didn't go to the same school as theirs, you were believed to be from Mars.

If I didn't finally have three great close friends, and be blessed with a really cool, supportive teacher by high school, I would have dropped out years ago, and maybe run away from home.
Rest in peace, Jamey Rodemeyer, and condolences to all who knew you.
Posted by auntie grizelda on September 29, 2011 at 10:40 PM · Report this
167
Hmm...seems like my comment didn't post as I'm new at this...forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'll try again.
For FAP to consider....
I received some bodywork to the sacral and pelvic region that subsequently helped me have my first orgasms. I'm not referring to sensual massage, though that could be probably be helpful too. Rather, my practitioner was working on some general alignment issues using the Rolf Method, and she released some restrictions in the pelvic musculature that I think were impairing optimal nerve and blood flow in subtle ways.
Posted by drg on September 29, 2011 at 10:53 PM · Report this
168
I saw that video, he seemed like such a sweet kid. I'm so sorry that he was treated this way.
Posted by Catspupil on September 30, 2011 at 12:35 AM · Report this
169
Francis Phillips's piece in the Catholic Herald now has comments closed but quite a lot of people have come down on Dan's side. Also Dan made the justifiable mistake in assuming Francis is - or was - a man. Actually she is a woman. Her name is the only thing transgendered it seems.
Posted by chrlamb on September 30, 2011 at 6:30 AM · Report this
@FutureKitty 170
C'mon, leave the GOP out of it. Your schtick's getting old, Dan.
Posted by @FutureKitty on September 30, 2011 at 7:06 AM · Report this
171
@156. I want to say I'm sorry to you, but fear that you may file that under comments about you being presumed broken. However, I am sorry that the people you've confided in have made you feel broken. The would-be diagnoses and presumption of pathology are infuriating and I can imagine how exhausting the various suggestions would be in that context even if they were offered with sincerity.

If you look at my posts, however, notice that I didn't really preoccupy myself with the personal struggle of the woman in question. My concerns were with extrapolating from the woman's very personal struggle to claiming a scientific basis for a claim that ALL woman's orgasms are "lukewarm leftovers" to male development. Not only does that not align even a little with my undergraduate courses in evolution and human development (I majored in developmental biology), but it strikes me as a sexist bias that I've seen all too often in a subset of academic work within "evo psych." An analagous kind of bad reasoning would be to point to an example of a single asexual woman (i.e. one with no desire for sex with other people) and from there say that even sexual desire is not really an evolutionary "necessity" for women as it is men.

This byproduct theory also, as I mentioned, ignores that women have an orgasmic sexual capacity that exceeds men once women are fully aroused, something that I all too often have to argue with women who claim that because it hasn't happened to them personally that I must be exaggerating or lying. So my frustration comes from the much opposite ends of yours--being told that women don't have g-spots, cannot ejaculate, cannot have multiple orgasms, cannot have full-body orgasms, etc. And, again, as I mentioned earlier, hundreds of generations of sexually frustrated women were diagnosed "hysterics" and manually masturbated by doctors to "cure" them, but the fear of female sexuality and male-bias in the "sciences" allowed that to be framed as a disease with a cure that "didn't count" as sex. So we have a long long history of ALL women's sex being DEFINED, against the male standard, as "broken."

Maybe this byproduct theory provides you personal comfort. If it does, bravo to you. But I find it evidence of the tautology and sexist presumptions that in some cases linger and in others pervade "studies" that reduce the complexity of human behavior and sex practices in collectively harmful ways little different than the sexist blindsides around the "hysteria" diagnosis. Dan could have said, "Well, maybe you should just accept your body for your body and let it go," without having to advance some unscientific nonsense about how female orgasm is a byproduct of male development.
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Posted by maddy811 on September 30, 2011 at 7:58 AM · Report this
echizen_kurage 172
@Maddy811:

I really, really think you should read Elisabeth Lloyd's book, because as it stands now, your critique of the byproduct hypothesis strikes me as being extremely off-base. Also, because I'm tired and feeling cranky, I'm going to come right out and say it: if you majored in developmental biology and you still think "all human beings start out as female," you should return your diploma and ask for your money back.

I mean, the bottom line here is this: from an evolutionary standpoint, do you seriously think that female orgasm would be anywhere near as strongly selected for as male orgasm? I just don't see how any thinking person can make that argument. Female orgasm could conceivably assist in reproduction (although the evidence for this is extremely flimsy), but it sure as hell ain't necessary for reproduction. Male orgasm is. An anorgasmic male is a genetic dead end; an anorgasmic female isn't. I'm sorry if you think that's somehow denigrating to female sexuality, but them's the facts.
Posted by echizen_kurage on September 30, 2011 at 8:36 AM · Report this
173
Naturally, anything that might be construed as saying women aren't superior to men is instantly politicized, deconstructed in the most unflattering way through a hyperfeminist prism. You can almost count on that reaction. I too have seen some evolutionary psychology that seems to be little more than [unfalisifiable] speculation. But I do find it ironic that many arguments against it seem to come from one of the most prolific bullshit factories of all: Women's Studies.
Posted by repete on September 30, 2011 at 8:43 AM · Report this
174
I'm impressed with all the varied (and good) advice for FAP. I didn't have my first orgasm with a partner until I was 23, though I had been having them on my own for years.

Someone earlier (no idea how far back at this point) mentioned Betty Dodson. One of the things that I realized looking at her site was just how often women tend to expect an orgasm to be a mind blowing thing. We read in books and see on tv and in movies these super amazing climaxes, and we tend to think that anything less is not an orgasm. Now, this may not be your problem, but you may want to reconsider what an orgasm is. There are people who have been having them for a long time, and didn't realize it because they didn't fly off the bed when it happened.

Of course, there are other mental and physical barriers as well. And sometimes the combination can be brutal. Part of the reason that I was unable to orgasm with a partner was trust. Until my first love, I wasn't able to fully let go during sex. Even with him it took quite some time, and was hit or miss. The mental block I had was difficult to overcome.

I was also very overweight at the time. While I'm still overweight, more than 150 lbs lost also made a huge difference in how sex felt. This made orgasms much easier. The combination of being with someone I care about and having less physical issues means that neither my boyfriend nor myself can count the number of orgasms I have in any particular session.

I didn't worry about it when I didn't have them, simply enjoyed sex for what it was: something that felt pretty amazing. Now that I have them, it's like icing on the cake. So my suggestion is this: Yes, have yourself checked out physically to make sure you don't have any of the issues people have mentioned previously. But also, don't put yourself under pressure. I once had a friend ask how I could enjoy sex as much as I did when I couldn't have orgasms. I told him, "Sex is like ice cream. Yeah, a sundae with hot fudge and sprinkles and whipped cream is amazing, but are you going to refuse to eat ice cream if you don't have those things at home? No. Cuz ice cream is awesome."
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Posted by KateRose on September 30, 2011 at 8:56 AM · Report this
175
I cum spontaneously and hands-free, but the experience is so different than what I have ever heard orgasms described as that I, too, mistakenly thought I was orgasmless until I was 20 (when I finally got a hitachi magic wand and what I was experiencing became a little more obvious).

When I got the vibrator, I found that I might start having those pee-muscle contractions as soon as 30 seconds into using it, but not in the cluster or with the same level of release that other people report during their orgasms.

So, say I use the vibrator for 20 minutes. I might very well have my first pee-muscle contractions (or the exterior ones, though I usually get more of those once the vibrator is off) pretty soon after starting and then have them pleasantly randomly fire throughout the 20 minute time frame without ever having a climaxing experience.

Further more, I have these things just when I'm laying around watching tv, or walking around at the grocery store. This has nothing to do with being turned on, at all, but while they do feel nice since there is no climax involved it's not disruptive.

Additionally, once I started experiencing this phenonmenon, I looked back and realized that I had been having hands-free orgasms since I was a young teenager. I'd fantasize myself to the point where I'd have these contractions, but since there was no big release or ecstacy I didn't realize that that was what they were.

So, I went from thinking I was 20 and orgasmless (despite a hell of a lot of trying for many years) to realizing I was having hands free orgasms and spontaneous orgasms, but that because they were so different from what I see depicted and hear described that I never recognized them.

As I've gotten older (I'm 36, now), sometimes there is a little more of a built charge that is released with the individual contractions, but they're still fairly spaced out.

I'm pretty happy with the situation. I certainly experience a great deal of sexual bliss. Because of the way I experience them, orgasms aren't really the focus for me but just something I enjoy along the way, but I can certainly stay sexually aroused for an extended period of time and really enjoy it. I mean, I really love sex. The orgasms feel good, but aren't the point and seem more incidental.

The only downside I have is when a partner gets really hung up on wanting me to cum in the traditional manner, but I really can't possibly be more explicit in describing the matter in advance. I'm not sure why this information is hard for some people to wrap their heads around, (I mean, I can accept things I've never heard of before and take them in stride) but it's the only draw back and it's minor.

So, in a nutshell, the writer might want to consider the possibility that she might already be cumming, but in a non-traditional way that maybe she doesn't recognize.

BTW, I have absolutely never heard anyone in my life describe what I have, here, so if anyone actually reads this long comment burried all the way down in the 170's and knows anything about it, I would very much appreciate a response. Please just address it to my comment # and I'll catch it.
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Posted by sweet g on September 30, 2011 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Helenka (also a Canuck) 176
FAP
I don't know whether you exercise (or what kind of exercise you do), but you may want to try the kind that uses your legs. What is ideal is deliberate strides that get the blood flowing through your groin area. I found out accidentally how much of a WOW difference exercise made. Since arousal carries fresh oxygen-rich blood to the genitals, what a wonderful way to get the process underway with exercise beforehand.

As for the byproduct argument, I find it rather ironic that women whose clits have (IIRC) on average 8,000 nerve endings are considered as genital byproducts of men whose penises have 2,000 nerve endings. 8K vs 2K? No contest!

Finally, why do orgasms exist? Because they don't merely make one feel good, they're GOOD for the entire body. So they promote good health through improvements to a wide variety of systems.

I wish-I wish-I wish in my heart of hearts that our sex-negative culture could be blasted out of existence and that self-pleasure would take its place. Imagine a society of mellow, sexually satisfied people. Well ... I'm trying, but....
Posted by Helenka (also a Canuck) on September 30, 2011 at 9:38 AM · Report this
177
Well, I got straight As at a leading private liberal art college. I freely admitted, however, that that was some time ago so please point me to the updated scientific data documenting the evolution of the animal kindgom--in which I learned that males arrived for additional genetic variation. Have evolutionary biologists since discovered that that is not the case, that females are not evolutionarily older? Evidence please.

Please also provide the updated scientific data about human embryo development because I learned that human develop alters course in the presence of testosterone. In its absence, the child is female. Hence, the phenomenon of genetically male but phenotypically female humans who do not make or respond to testosterone--those humans have orgasms too, do they not? Maybe I missed this day despite being at the top of my college class, but I never learned that clitoral development was an "off path" of male genital development. Again, if there's been an update here, provide it.

I have never in any of these posts disputed the obvious biological reality that a man must orgasm (save technological assists) to reproduce and that that isn't biologically true of women. I never argued that.

Nor did I make any claims about women's studies being more credible by default than evo psych. I didn't say shit about women's studies or feminism, in fact.

Again, paint me how ever you wish, say I'm not a good student, not at a good college, denying biological reality or am just a feminazi woman's studies ideologue (I'm anything but)-- to do so simplifies what i'm saying... considerably. There is a big difference between acknowledging the reality of evolution and the biological differences between sexes and extrapolating from that to deny all complexity in human behavior and culture. Again, to say that women's orgasm is "an unnecessary evolutionary byproduct, the lukewarm leftovers of male development" is quite an extrapolation, and it is IMPLICITLY political as a result, especially when offered as "science" in response to a women frustrated by her struggle to orgasm.
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Posted by maddy811 on September 30, 2011 at 9:47 AM · Report this
178

I can get very angry when I awake to see another child has committed suicide because they were gay and bullied. As a 52 year old straight man, with 4 children of my own who have given me 6 grand kids, these stories sadden me. I am a vocal proponent of equal rights for all and make many posts on Facebook on the subject. Just this morning I posted about military Chaplins being given the OK to preform same sex marriages. This decision coming on the heels of DADT being tossed out the door means to me no one really gives a shit if their comrade in arms is gay. They care if someone has their back. I am quite sure people think that I am at least bisexual because of my views. But to me there is no issue. What is right is right.

OK, upon further review Wifey and I may be passive. We have had both a man and a woman, once at the same time, go down on her as we fucked. And tongues do travel. An experience we both highly recommend! And the two of us agree if John Barrowman joined us in a threesome, who knows what would happen, LOL. The same with Demi Moore.

My Wife and I look at life like this. If you are lucky enough to fall in love and that person is in love with you, that is a good thing. It matters not if it is two men, two women or a man & a woman. Love is love and if you do not grab it when it comes around, you may not find it again.

In my opinion, and I am sure you have noticed the same, those that scream the loudest against same sex marriage are the ones that have inner turmoil over the subject. Either they want to fool around with someone of the same sex and fight the natural urge or they had an experience or two, or three that eventually freaked them out. They were taught it was wrong and fight those feelings to the degree of becoming homophobic. What a shitty way to go through life.

D in KY.
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Posted by Darin on September 30, 2011 at 10:43 AM · Report this
179
One sex can't possibly be evolutionarily older. If you don't have two sexes, you're not 'female' by default, you're 'asexual'. You have no sex. We call parthenotes 'female' now because it makes more sense in our binary system, but again: they're ASEXUAL. Males never 'arrived', sexual differentiation EVOLVED, and differently in different lineages. And sexual reproduction is NOT just for "genetic diversity". Asexuals have numerous methods for maintaining diversity despite lacking recombination. Sexual reproduction is still one of the great unanswered questions in evo bio, so anybody that tells you "sex evolved for X" is simply wrong. There are likely many factors, and each has different levels of importance based on the lineage.

The reason it's not strictly true that "default" is female in humans is because individuals that are XO are not stereotypically female (they are sterile, they don't menstruate, there is little to no breast development). In addition, de la Chapelle syndrome is the results of the SRY gene recombining into an XX chromosome (or both), leading to XX males.

It's. Not. Simple.

Also, maddy811, cracks about how smart you are and how awesome you did in your liberal arts college are not particularly helpful for any of your arguments.
Posted by doublehelix20 on September 30, 2011 at 10:55 AM · Report this
180
I can get very angry when I awake to see another child has committed suicide because they were gay and bullied. As a 52 year old straight man, with 4 children of my own who have given me 6 grand kids, these stories sadden me. I am a vocal proponent of equal rights for all and make many posts on Facebook on the subject. Just this morning I posted about military Chaplins being given the OK to preform same sex marriages. This decision coming on the heels of DADT being tossed out the door means to me no one really gives a shit if their comrade in arms is gay. They care if someone has their back. I am quite sure people think that I am at least bisexual because of my views. But to me there is no issue. What is right is right.

OK, upon further review Wifey and I may be passive. We have had both a man and a woman, once at the same time, go down on her as we fucked. And tongues do travel. An experience we both highly recommend! And the two of us agree if John Barrowman joined us in a threesome, who knows what would happen, LOL. The same with Demi Moore.

My Wife and I look at life like this. If you are lucky enough to fall in love and that person is in love with you, that is a good thing. It matters not if it is two men, two women or a man & a woman. Love is love and if you do not grab it when it comes around, you may not find it again.

In my opinion, and I am sure you have noticed the same, those that scream the loudest against same sex marriage are the ones that have inner turmoil over the subject. Either they want to fool around with someone of the same sex and fight the natural urge or they had an experience or two, or three that eventually freaked them out. They were taught it was wrong and fight those feelings to the degree of becoming homophobic. What a shitty way to go through life.

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Posted by Darin on September 30, 2011 at 10:56 AM · Report this
181
sex-positive feminist (#143): Vibrators have been around since the Victorian era. Doctors used them on women to cure their "hysteria" (a mysterious womanly ailment that was probably just sexual frustration). Maybe Betty Dodson was the Bill Gates of the vibrator, making it smaller and user-friendly (instead of huge and steam-powered like those first ones), but she didn't invent it.

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/02/the-st…

rex_everything (#145): Ejaculation isn't orgasm...I believe it's MORE difficult for men to have orgasms because we think ejaculation is the end-product

That makes SO MUCH SENSE. It explains why so many of my partners have described their orgasms (or just ejaculations, as the case may be) as a feeling of release, without mentioning anything about pleasure. When I come, yeah, it releases sexual tension and makes me feel relaxed afterward, but there's also this whole wave-after-wave-of-pleasure thing. Occasionally I'll have an orgasm that falls flat (this especially happened when I was on antidepressants) and I get the feeling of release without any of the other sensations - maybe that's what most guys experience all the time. It'd explain why so many guys can be almost silent when they come whereas I couldn't totally suppress my moans even if I wanted to...

Besides which, all male animals ejaculate when they mate, and yet I've read that only pigs and dolphins actually have orgasms. So maybe the real question is: if ejaculation and orgasm are two different things (and they are; ask anyone who practices tantric csex) why does anyone feel orgasmic pleasure during sex?

Oh, and to whoever wrote upthread that FAP's problem might be a lack of desire for her boyfriend: fucking right! People (and I would venture to say especially female people) are constantly bombarded with the message that looks aren't supposed to matter and we're supposed to love people for what's on the inside. This often results in us pairing up with an absolutely wonderful person who is not at all our physical type. Been there, done that, can tell you firsthand that sex with someone you actually desire is a completely different thing from sex with someone who just has a really great personality.

The saddest part is that people are attracted to all kinds of different things, so if we'd drop the bullshit and tell people to follow their crotch as well as their heart, most people would still find partners - and those partners would love how we look instead of trying to see past it. I was married for a decade to a big bearlike guy when what I really craved was a feminine girlyboy. My current boyfriend - a feminine girlyboy - had previous girlfriends who wanted manly-men but stayed with him because looks aren't supposed to matter. So much lackluster sex, all because we dreaded seeming shallow. :P
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Posted by perversecowgirl on September 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM · Report this
182
FAP, try pot- Get high, not only does it help you to stop thinking and feel more, but it feels really good, (with the right pot) to be touched when you are high.
Posted by Mary Jane on September 30, 2011 at 11:33 AM · Report this
183
@179. I don't disagree with anything you said, and i think your opening paragraph describes the evolution of binary sexes beautifully, much better than my admittedly brief "genetic diverstity."

Thanks as well for the much more precise information about XO--Yes, I did know that androgen insensitivity leads to sterility, and, yes, I wholly agree with you that sexual development is not simple and that cases like that don't neatly fit into either male or female. But I'm not wrong about the fact that it's the addition of testosterone that alters development, and, again, i say that to point out that I need real developmental evidence to convince me that the clitoris is merely a "biproduct" of male development, because that doesn't make sense to me.

Nothing you said, however, addresses the larger political questions I was raising about the implications and presumptions of this byproduct theory and Dan's use of it for a women who doesn't orgasm.

As for me touting my smarts, I only did it because of the number of posts who resorted to ad hominem attacks instead of actually debating the points. Thank you for at least doing that.
Posted by maddy811 on September 30, 2011 at 11:40 AM · Report this
184
#174: We read in books and see on tv and in movies these super amazing climaxes, and we tend to think that anything less is not an orgasm. Now, this may not be your problem, but you may want to reconsider what an orgasm is. There are people who have been having them for a long time, and didn't realize it because they didn't fly off the bed when it happened.

#175: I looked back and realized that I had been having hands-free orgasms since I was a young teenager. I'd fantasize myself to the point where I'd have these contractions, but since there was no big release or ecstacy I didn't realize that that was what they were.

So, I went from thinking I was 20 and orgasmless (despite a hell of a lot of trying for many years) to realizing I was having hands free orgasms and spontaneous orgasms, but that because they were so different from what I see depicted and hear described that I never recognized them.


This probably won't make me too popular with you guys, but I tend to believe in the old saying that if you don't know whether you've had an orgasm, it means that you haven't.

175: Orgasm is pretty much defined in terms of feelings of release and ecstasy. If you're happy with the vaginal contractions you've been having, that's awesome (not sarcasm; why try to conform to someone else's standard of pleasure if you're enjoying what you have just fine?) but if there's no pleasure and no release, there's no way I would classify them as orgasms. I get random vaginal contractions when I'm turned on, and sometimes (oddly) every now and then when I'm pissed off; sometimes the contractions come with a little twinge of pleasure, but they're still nothing like my orgasms.

I do agree that tv and movies can portray women's orgasms in an exaggerated way, and that it's good to kind of lower your standards and not expect coming to be the be-all and end-all. My first orgasms required a fair bit of work and didn't have too huge of a payoff (I didn't thrash and howl like a banshee from the extreme sensations or anything), but - and this is the important part - there was still no mistaking them.

It's not unlike a sneeze: y'know how sometimes you can feel a sneeze approaching? Would you ever mistake the "I'm about to sneeze" tickle in your sinuses for an actual sneeze? No. A sneeze is a very distinct phenomenon with a definite beginning and end. Sometimes you're "done" after one sneeze, and other times your sinuses still have that tickle and you know that more sneezes are imminent - or at least that you could make it happen again if you focused on it and made a conscious effort to bring it on. But I don't think anyone has ever said "Oh! I think I just sneezed but I'm not sure."

My first orgasms, back when I was ten or so, were short but intense little ripples of pleasure, accompanied by a feeling of release and followed by a feeling of relaxation. My current ones are far more intense, last longer, and if I keep on getting stimulation I'll have up to eight in a row (but usually more like two or three, after which I get too sensitive to continue). Then I get very, very giggly and very, very sleepy. But although the duration and intensity have changed over the years from *blipblipbloop!* "Yay, I'm not horny anymore!" to full-out porn-level convulsions, the basic sensations are exactly the same.

An orgasm is a distinct jolt of pleasure and/or feeling of release, originating from the genitals. If a person isn't experiencing this, but they still find sex fun and satisfying, then there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - why obsess on experiencing some particular sensation you don't even care about? But if we start applying the word "orgasm" to every little vaginal twitch or every time someone enjoys how penetration feels, the word loses all meaning. Just sayin'.
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Posted by perversecowgirl on September 30, 2011 at 11:47 AM · Report this
Bonefish 185
172: None of that is evidence for the byproduct theory. A trait doesn’t have to be a “necessity” for reproduction in order to be directly (not just vestigially) selected for. It only has to improve the success of reproduction. Keen hearing, for example, isn’t a necessity for reproduction, but it makes reproduction more likely to occur by making the individual more likely to survive long enough to reproduce. It’s meaningless to point out that selection for the male orgasm is “stronger.” That probably is the case. But it’s a logical leap to say that there is therefore no independent selection for the female orgasm; that this is entirely due to selection for the male orgasm. If males are more likely to reproduce with orgasms, orgasms will be selected for in males (and their offspring). However, the same is true of females. It all comes down to whether or not males are the only sex that is more likely to reproduce with orgasms vs. without orgasms. The mechanisms by which an orgasm can increase either sex’s reproduction might differ. Orgasms physically increase the likelihood of reproduction for men, and they may behaviorally increase the likelihood for reproduction in women. Behavior may not be as cut-and-dry a mechanism as physical mechanisms, but it’s still relevant.

Women are likely to initiate more sex if they find it more pleasurable. They are likely to have more sex if they initiate more sex. They are likely to reproduce more if they have more sex. This alone is a (potential) mechanism by which “orgasmability” can be directly selected for in females alongside males. It doesn’t become less significant if this selection is simultaneously occurring in males (even if it’s stronger for males).

I’m not saying that the male orgasm is NOT selected for, or that there is no such thing as a vestigial trait. I’m not even saying that the female orgasm is DEFINITELY not one of those vestigial traits: the prevalence of active sex-seeking in women is not direct evidence that female orgasms are directly selected for, but that’s not what I’m arguing.

I’m arguing that evidence for the byproduct theory is lacking, and that the sexual behavior of women is a part of the evidence against it. To believe the byproduct theory, it’s not enough to point out that female orgasms don’t cause more sperm to mix during an individual sex session. One would also have to propose a mechanism by which “orgasmability” became extremely common in females, in a context where women actively seek sex, without having any direct differential effects on how much sex they seek and have. The activeness of female sexuality makes it more difficult for this to happen, since it opens up the possibility for female reproduction to be differentially influenced by things that influence their sexual behavior (like the promise of more orgasms). One would have to argue that orgasms don’t influence pleasurability, OR that pleasure doesn’t motivate people to have more sex, OR by that women do not actively seek sex. One of those things would have to be false in order for the female orgasm to never independently increase reproduction for those that have the trait.

Although I also have to take fault with people (like 176) who think that women’s super-sensitive clits, or greater orgasms, count as proof against the byproduct theory. It doesn’t. It also does not matter which set of genitals is the “default,” and which develops later. It’s still plausible that male genitals would receive all the selective pressure to become orgasmic regardless of which genitals are the fetal “default” or which ones have the more powerful orgasms as a result.

If the byproduct theory were true, it would simply mean that “human genitals” (including female ones) became sensitive and orgasmic because this caused “male human genitals” to fertilize more easily, and that insemination by males was the only mechanism by which orgasmability mattered (reproductively). It would mean that orgasmic women exist because orgasmic men had more offspring (which would include orgasmic women). Nothing about that is refuted by pointing out that the resulting orgasmic women were WAY orgasmic, or that they didn’t require testosterone in order to remain female in the womb.

The theory just states that women’s orgasms have no direct influence on reproduction, and were not selected for on their own.

I should reiterate that I do not for a minute buy the “byproduct” theory, but I think it’s important to refute it with evidence that is compatible with evolutionary theory. And you’ll notice that in my arguments earlier (this post and 130), I don’t point to any physical trait and say, “this here; this could not have developed unless the female orgasm mattered.” My whole reason for doubting the byproduct theory is due to its own incompatibility with evolutionary theory and its own lack of convincing evidence. It has to do with the difficulty in believing that the female orgasm, however it arrived, could manage to remain irrelevant to reproduction occurrence in a species where males and females exhibit sex-seeking behavior, which is influenced by pleasure.

In any case, though, using phrasing like "lukewarm leftovers" is not exactly a gold standard of scientific objectivity, so you'd be hard-pressed to fault people for their accusations of sexism. It's a pretty valid red flag.
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Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on September 30, 2011 at 11:59 AM · Report this
186
Oh, and in addition to pot, I would also suggest having a porn-a-thon. Look at porn, videos, stories, etc., touch yourself while you do it, don't censor yourself and shut off any catholic guilt buttons you may have in your psyche whilst you do this. I would also do this alone, work your way up to orgasming with your partner when you can learn to orgasm on your own, without the pressure of having another person there.

I look like such a barbarian compared to all these other comments, but I think something many of these smart people aren't mentioning is that sex is a very primal, violent act.... yes, it's loving and intimate, and there are flowers and fireworks, but all the loving, intimate bonding moments come from the fact that you have just shared, your naked, unhinged, animalistic, pleasure seeking, hedonistic self with another person. That's just better, and so much more telling than talking in so many ways.

Also, I am about sick to death of the "we all start out as females" thing. No. We start out genetically as whatever sperm fertilized our mommy's egg and then comes a special moment during development when hormones and mystical god-like chemicals turn on and we develop our girl parts or boy parts. The onset of testosterone doesn't make it a female to male (except in some grown adults) and the lack of a penis does not automatically make something female.

Yes, I have an education too, just wanted to throw that out there, but won't quote my grades or post teachers comments as some people feel the need. It is just silly.

Posted by Mary Jane on September 30, 2011 at 12:22 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 187
@69: "Read The Orgasm Diet by Marrena Lindberg.

Start taking high doses per her recommendation of FISH OIL, more than the bottle says - a tablespoon of the Carlson's Fish Oil for example"

http://www.badscience.net/category/fish-…

Or homeopathy, or acupuncture, or any other placebo.

Posted by undead ayn rand on September 30, 2011 at 12:53 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 188
Actual research hasn't matched any of the anecdotal claims for fish oil so far. It's healthy, but not a cure-all as is being sold, especially by fad dieters like Lindberg.
Posted by undead ayn rand on September 30, 2011 at 1:11 PM · Report this
189
I remember an excellent Stephen Jay Gould essay on female orgasm that was less scholarly in tone than this one, but I can't find it online now. Meanwhile, this has all the essential points.

http://books.google.com/books?id=pzj90sl…

For all those arguing about evolutionary necessity, evolutionary psychology, and byproducts, do read this. It's really good. There's lots in here, but the important point for this discussion, I think, is that it doesn't matter what's a byproduct of what or why something evolved or if there's a reason for the evolution of a trait. What if (for wild argument) it were proved conclusively that female orgasm was weird or abnormal or non-adaptive or a byproduct of male orgasm? Would that make our advice to FAP any different? Of course not! I'd still be telling her to experiment with a glass of wine, a vibrator, and a man who's not putting pressure on her.

I'll keep looking for that other Stephen Jay Gould essay, the one that's more accessible. I'll post a pointer to it when I find it.
Posted by Crinoline on September 30, 2011 at 1:14 PM · Report this
190
#187, your link goes to an article debunking the idea of fish oil making children smarter; nothing to do with orgasms. Perhaps you posted the wrong one?
Posted by perversecowgirl on September 30, 2011 at 1:18 PM · Report this
191
I never understood the evolutionary argument that male organism is "necessary" to propagate the species while female organism is not. Look folks, there is no physiological reason why ejaculation "needs" to be pleasurable. (Other fluids come out of the male organ just fine without it.) The main benefit of orgasmic pleasure -- it seems to me -- is to encourage folks to have lots of sex. . . whether they are men or women. . . from an evolutionary perspective. Just sayin'.
Posted by srbla on September 30, 2011 at 1:25 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 192
@190: It's the nutritional fad of the day.

The reason why they don't respond directly to her claims is because the author has tenously linked "orgasmic potential" to the other debunked benefits.
Posted by undead ayn rand on September 30, 2011 at 1:47 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 193
And also, they are medical professionals and responding to the addle-brains in science-"reporting" who don't understand how studies work and should be interpreted (not to mention the supplement-industry propaganda), and not bothering to go after every single author with a quack idea, no solid research, and a mess of untested anecdotes.
Posted by undead ayn rand on September 30, 2011 at 2:02 PM · Report this
194
@ 1... This is totally the place! This is where IGBP began! Haven't you been paying attention? This is a sex and relationship advice column, it's aim is to help people better enjoy sex and relationships. If you're being made to feel like an outcast and a freak it's very difficult to enjoy anything, even aspects of day to day life, let alone enjoying sex and relationships. Dan is standing up and saying "No More!" and obviously his column is the natural place to do that. I aplaude Dan for keeping us, his loyal readers and followers, up to date on his efforts and for encouraging everyone to do something to make it better NOW instead of just letting bullied teens wait alone until it gets better sometime later on.
Posted by DarkWonder on September 30, 2011 at 4:08 PM · Report this
195
I am not a lesbian. But from 5th grade to high school when I managed at last to become invisible... I was teased for being one because I was not "Normal" and did not date. My brother is not gay. He attempted to take his own life because people assumed he was. I suppose in a way I have no right to lend my voice to this discussion because I am straight. But I can speak as a victim of bullying and someone who knows what cruelty really feels like. "It Gets Better" is one of the greatest things I have seen in years. If it saves anybody, it has helped. At the very least it is drawing attention to a very real and serious problem in our schools.

I hope that when I am a teacher (as I am studying right now to be) I can recognize bullying and have the power to stop it. Perhaps it will get better. Thank you Dan!
Posted by The One You Never Saw on September 30, 2011 at 4:28 PM · Report this
196
I'm having trouble with my own link. In 189, I'm recommending an essay in Stephen Jay Gould's _Bully For Brontosaurus_ Male Nipples and Clitoral Ripples_, chapter 8. Google for it if my link doesn't help. It's worth reading.
Posted by Crinoline on September 30, 2011 at 4:46 PM · Report this
edmontoncenter 197
My heart bleeds for Jamey, but his actions put the lie to his assertion that things get better. I think that he began to see that the politically correct lie he told was not going to manifest itself for him, and the necessity of having to pretend otherwise must have crushed the life in him. I've been where he was, and it really doesn't get better.
Posted by edmontoncenter on September 30, 2011 at 8:04 PM · Report this
198
FAP:

My girlfriend had never been able to orgasm by herself or with me (she was a virgin when we got together). We tried everything.

Eventually she started taking meds for her bi-polar and BAM, doing nothing different or new she could come. In fact, I could tell when she hadn't been taking her medicine because she suddenly could get off again.

You would think with that kind of incentive she would have stayed on the meds but she didn't and we split up. But yeah.

- Anonymousdyke
Posted by Anonymousdyke on September 30, 2011 at 10:19 PM · Report this
echizen_kurage 199
@ Maddy811:

I admit to being snarky and tactless and generally a jerk, so please accept my apologies for my earlier comment to you. Just to clarify, I'm not calling you a feminazi ideologue, or a poor student, or saying that you went to an inferior college, or anything of that sort. I'm just saying that statements like “all human beings start out as female” and “females are evolutionarily older, and males arrived for additional genetic variation” are kinda sorta totally wrong.

As Doublehelix already pointed out, prior to the evolution of sexual reproduction, all organisms were asexual; males and females coevolved (often in weird and scary ways; just take a look at bedbugs, or Argentine lake ducks).

Regardless of chromosomal sex, all human embryos start out with a genital tubercule, bipotential gonads, Mullerian ducts, and a Wolffian duct. Typically, in XY humans the SRY gene (found on the Y chromosome) sets off a developmental cascade. SRY upregulates the expression of SOX9, which in turn upregulates the expression of FGF9; these latter two genes induce cellular differentiation in the bipotential gonad, producing Sertoli cells and then, slightly later, Leydig cells. The former produce anti-Mullerian hormone; the latter produce androgens (including, but not limited to, testosterone). Broadly speaking, anti-Mullerian hormone “defeminizes” the embryo, suppressing the development of the Mullerian ducts; androgens, on the other hand, “masculinize” it, triggering the development of the Wolffian duct into the vas deferens, epididymis, and seminal vesicles, and the development of the genital tubercule into a penis. (In an endocrinologically typical XX embryo, the genital tubercule will become the clitoris.)

It was long believed that the “default” or “passive” developmental pathway was female. In the 1950s, an endocrinologist by the name of Alfred Jost removed the undeveloped gonads from male rabbit embryos (somehow managing not to kill them in the process) and saw observed that these genetically male rabbits were born phenotypically female. In light of this, he concluded that “the testes are the body sex differentiators; they impose masculinity on the whole genital sphere, which would become feminine in their absence. The presence or absence of ovaries is of no significance.” At first glance, Jost's statement appears to accord with known medical phenomena. If, for whatever reason, an XY embryo is totally deprived of (or totally insensitive to) androgens in utero, it will be born phenotypically female . . . sort of. Individuals with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome still have testes (although these are internal and do not produce sperm), and they don't have ovaries, uteri, or fallopian tubes. Their vaginas are typically significantly shallower than those of XX women, and they tend to have smaller than average clitorises. (The opposite effect is seen in XY women with partial androgen insensitivity syndrome, who tend to have larger-than-average clitorises; taken together, these facts suggest that androgens play a role in typical XX clitoral development.)

There are all sorts of other mutations and chromosomal syndromes that can cause a host of intersex conditions, and have a host of fascinating implications regarding human development, but I won't get into that right now. (I will, however, mention that androgen insensitivity syndrome, which I mentioned above, is totally separate from XO syndrome, aka Turner syndrome, which Doublehelix mentioned. Forgive me if I misunderstood you, but your comment @183 suggests that you think the two conditions are related, which they aren't.) I'll just say that, in spite of Jost's rabbits and persons with CAIS, emerging evidence demonstrates that female development doesn't naturally occur in the absence of testosterone, irrespective of genotype. Research into the genetic mechanisms underlying sex differentiation is still very much a work in progress, but it's increasingly clear that female development hinges on a genetic trigger akin to SRY – probably RSPO1 – and involves a number of genes with female-specific activation, including FOXL2 and WNT4, which suppress the male developmental pathway just as AMH suppresses the female developmental pathway. If these genes are not activated, it's possible to end up with an XX male. (This is a different kind of XX sex reversal than de la Chapelle syndrome, which Doublehelix mentioned @179.)

So, basically:

- All humans start out with proto-genitals that could go either way, depending on the genetic trigger; there are genetic triggers for both the male and the female pathways
- Sexual differentiation begins with the expression of genes, not than the production (or introduction) of hormones
- Male and female developmental pathways are mutually antagonistic, and neither one is “passive” or “default”
- Hormonal underexposure/overexposure/insensitivity in utero can produce ambiguous external genitalia, or even external genitalia indistinguishable from those of the opposite chromosomal sex; however, it cannot produce a fully functional reproductive system characteristic of the opposite chromosomal sex.

@ 172:

To repeat a question from my previous comment, do you seriously think that female orgasm would be anywhere near as strongly selected for as male orgasm? I'm not denying that female orgasm may be an adaptive trait that increases reproductive fitness, and hence has been actively selected for (although, to repeat myself again, there's precious little evidence of that). However, it clearly hasn't been selected for to the degree that male orgasm has.

Yes, traits that give organisms even a slight competitive edge will still be actively selected for. But although there's a lot of plausible-sounding speculation about ways in which female orgasm would result in increased reproductive success, none of it seems to hold up to close examination. As of now, there's simply no good evidence that female orgasm physiologically increases the chances of conception. When it comes to behavior, I admit that's it very difficult to quantify what impact, if any, female orgasmic capacity might have on reproductive success. However, as I think I've said three or four times now, statistics show that, on aggregate, orgasmic women don't have (or want) more sex than their anorgasmic counterparts.

So, basically, the byproduct hypothesis is the null hypothesis: because there's no compelling evidence that female orgasm was actively selected for, we provisionally assume that it wasn't selected for. Evolutionary non-selection for female orgasm would certainly go a long way toward explaining the high incidence of anorgasmia/hypo-orgasmia in women. It would also explain the fact that even for orgasmic women, intercourse alone is seldom enough to produce orgasm; women most reliably achieve orgasm when their clitorises are rubbed/sucked/otherwise subjected to the same stimulation that brings a penis to orgasm. I admit that this proposition can be phrased in some potentially offensive ways – it can be made to resemble a dismissal of female sexuality, or a reaffirmation of phallocentrism. No woman wants to be told, “Hey, the only reason you can come is because your clit is a coulda-been dick! And if it were a real dick, you'd have a much easier time getting off! Your orgasm is just lukewarm leftovers, baby.” But – Tracy Clark Flory's massively unfortunate phrasing notwithstanding – the byproduct hypothesis doesn't necessitate that kind of value judgment. The evolutionary origins of female orgasm in no way reflect on its social value.
More...
Posted by echizen_kurage on September 30, 2011 at 11:19 PM · Report this
Bonefish 200
199: There isn't any more direct evidence that the male orgasm is selected for than there is for the female orgasm. The byproduct hypothesis is not the null hypothesis here.

The null hypothesis would be that neither is selected for. The byproduct hypothesis asserts not only that the male orgasm is selected for, but that the female orgasm is vestigial to the male orgasm. These are both positive assertions. Neither one has any more hard evidence than the assertion that female orgasms are selected for as well.

Can you cite the statistics showing that orgasmic women don't seek more sex than their anorgasmic counterparts? I'm curious to see if they managed to account for anorgasmic women who are not hoping for orgasms, as well as cultural expectations to pursue sex that may or may not have been around for the greater part of humanity's development. Did they conflate "pursuing relationships" with "pursuing sex?" Did they quantify the number of sex sessions (not just sex partners) and compare? Did they differentiate between sexual relationships and companionship?

As you said, the effects of behavior are harder to quantify than the effects of physiological mechanisms. That doesn't mean they're insignificant, though.

I also will reiterate again that I'm not claiming to have evidence that the female orgasm was definitely selected for directly. I'm claiming that the two positive assertions in the byproduct theory are no more definite.

I do agree that the byproduct hypothesis doesn't necessitate value judgement, since the cultural/personal reasons to "value" an orgasm have nothing to do with its genetic basis. My stance against sexism has nothing to do with my disbelief in the byproduct theory: if it's true, then it's true, and women should seek pleasure nonetheless.

My disbelief is due to the theory's failure to offer enough evidence for its assertions (it's a "maybe-things-happened-this-way" theory), and in the mean time, the behavioral aspects of women's sexuality are not as passive as the byproduct theory implies.
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Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on October 1, 2011 at 12:01 AM · Report this
201
To FAP: I have been right where you are. You *are* normal. I didn't have my first orgasm until I was 33, after I had been sexually active for 15 years and married for 10 of them. For me, it completely IS all in the mind. I found a book title "For Yourself" (I think that is the title!) written for "pre-orgasmic" women that was very helpful. But what was more helpful was finding a lover who didn't care if I came or not thus removing a lot of the pressure I felt. Even more helpful: he bought himself a copy of the book and was so enthusiastic about doing some of the things recommended that it became fun for us, with no required destination. Then one day a couple of months after we started, pow! And let me tell you, when I had my first orgasm it was like a sky rocket! My lover said I almost crushed his head (yes, he was going down on me, which he loved to do, while I was reading soft porn!). Don't give up hope, do some research and stop trying so hard. I still don't come easy by someone else's manipulations (protective brain barriers) but I come any time I want, as quickly as I want, with a Hitachi wand. Buy one!!!
Posted by pearlgoddess on October 1, 2011 at 2:48 AM · Report this
202
Echizen:

Why do you call Baumeister's address and Palmer and Thornhill's "A Natural History of Rape" sexist bullshit? The only criticisms of Palmer and Thornhill I've seen all seem to confuse stating something is adaptive with approving of it. It's likely rape evolved as an adaptive behavior: that seems to offend people, but it doesn't mean the science is bullshit. Same goes with Baumeister's statistics about men being more on the extremes.

Most of the criticism of ev psych I've seen is politically based -- in other words "I don't like this idea" -- rather than actually looking at the facts.

@200 / Bonefish:

The stats are in Lloyd's book. The null hypothesis for anything is that it's not adaptive, but there's strong evidence that the male orgasm is adaptive: specifically, that it's near universal in men.

I don't think anyone is saying female sexuality is all passive. It's hard to understand why orgasm isn't linked to sex or reproduction rates. I'm not sure if we have a good theory behind it. But that's what the statistics show.
Posted by BlackRose on October 1, 2011 at 7:03 AM · Report this
203
Dear FAP
As a newly menopausal woman, I can commiserate. My orgasms are barely there anymore. I'm having to learn new pathways to get aroused and the finish is very variable, often faint. Consider having your hormones checked?

There is one thing that is almost miraculous in its effect...and that is marijuana. Just a tiny hit will do ya. And I don't think it's simply the relaxation part of it. I really think it's working on the hormones. It improves the situation for me immensely.

I do agree with all the other advice that focuses on the idea of taking the pressure off yourself however you can. And surround yourself with images and sounds that arouse you.

Finally: Remove any time limit.
I've realized that any dissatisfaction I've had with my own sexual experience has had a lot to do with following the male pattern to arousal and finishing. (fast and fast) Many women have the capacity, once fully aroused, to go and go (and not necessarily finish). Having any pressure to get it all done in the time it takes a man can have a big effect on arousal and ability to "get there" (wherever there is for you).
Posted by cheron on October 1, 2011 at 8:35 AM · Report this
204
Dear FAP
As a newly menopausal woman, I can commiserate. My orgasms are barely there anymore. I'm having to learn new pathways to get aroused and the finish is very variable, often faint. Consider having your hormones checked?

There is one thing that is almost miraculous in its effect...and that is marijuana. Just a tiny hit will do ya. And I don't think it's simply the relaxation part of it. I really think it's working on the hormones. It improves the situation for me immensely.

I do agree with all the other advice that focuses on the idea of taking the pressure off yourself however you can. And surround yourself with images and sounds that arouse you.

Finally: Remove any time limit.
I've realized that any dissatisfaction I've had with my own sexual experience has had a lot to do with following the male pattern to arousal and finishing. (fast and fast) Many women have the capacity, once fully aroused, to go and go (and not necessarily finish). Having any pressure to get it all done in the time it takes a man can have a big effect on arousal and ability to "get there" (wherever there is for you).
Posted by cheron on October 1, 2011 at 8:40 AM · Report this
205
Dan's answer to FAP is a non-sequitor. She states 2 problems:
1. She's not having orgasms.
2. She wonders if there's something wrong with her.

Dan ignores the first which makes a little sense since women's sexual response isn't exactly his thing and goes off on a tangent for the second. I'm glad others have filled in the blanks with suggestions for what helped them come (I had no idea marijuana was so popular; for me it was wine).

I'm disappointed with the scientific talk when I usually enjoy it (though I get frustrated with the attempts to boil down complex scientific concepts to the format of a comments section).

Dan says that she may be "relieved to know" and then gives a bunch of irrelevant information that doesn't strike me as comforting to anyone. I'd say his information is correct, but that doesn't stop it from having nothing to do with what's bothering FAP. She needs to know that there's nothing wrong with her if she doesn't come or doesn't come yet. She needs to know that it doesn't matter if she comes in an unusual way with unusual stimulation or with unusual fantasies or with a vibrator or without.

Then we've got the comments which go off on Dan's tangent. Like I said, I usually enjoy discussion of evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology, but this one has bothered me because I keep imagining FAP in the background feeling more confused and alone than ever.
Posted by Crinoline on October 1, 2011 at 9:09 AM · Report this
seattlegrrrl 206
Bravo to 61 (john Hostman) and 64 (DRF). Couldn't have said it better.

Re: FAP. I too don't quite get the whole "women who can't orgasm" dilemma. I've been orgasming since I was 11 and have never owned a vibrator. I've seen documentaries on sleep studies and/or human sexuality that show both men and women become aroused and climax during sleep. I had plenty of "wet dreams" as a teenager. So if both men and women climax during their sleep cycles how can all these women say they've "never had an orgasm"? They probably have, but for various psychological reasons they suppress the memory or are in denial about it.

I wouldn't go rushing out to buy every piece of plastic electronic toy if I was a non-orgasmic woman. I'd do a little self examination (maybe with a good psychologist) and ask myself why I might be not allowing my self to cum (not self-blaming, just ask why). Maybe this is a religious thing (sex is dirty, girls who enjoy it are dirty), maybe it's cultural or maybe there was an incident of abuse in this woman's childhood??? Deep shame is a real kill joy.

Re: the latest GLBT teen committing suicide. I'm sorry this happened, it's terrible but so is teen bullying and suicide in general.

Do I think GLBT teens are at greater risk to commit suicide because of social pressures OUTSIDE of school (church, family, etc.)? Yes.

Do I think GLBT teens are the only friggin' teens on earth to suffer bullying as Dan has repeatedly implied? HELL NO!!!

Saying (or even implying this) is like saying the only people who have contracted, suffered and died from HIV are gay men. Wow, talk about myopic. It's time to stop playing the Victim Violin. Bullying is bad, HIV is terrible but they happen to all sorts of people: straight, gay, bi, white, black, American, foreign, etc. When you play the Victim Violin that loud Dan, you can't hear any of those other voices.
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Posted by seattlegrrrl http:// on October 1, 2011 at 9:23 AM · Report this
207
Did we lose a whole bunch of emails, including one I wrote about GOP?
Posted by Hunter78 on October 1, 2011 at 10:03 AM · Report this
@FutureKitty 208
Dan, I can't quite fit this massive black dildo up my ass. How can we blame the GOP?
Posted by @FutureKitty on October 1, 2011 at 11:52 AM · Report this
209
Dan,

Quite a timely topic. A paper came out just this week addressing the byproduct theory of female orgasm (or as a previous commenter rightly put it, hypothesis not theory), and they couldn't find evidence to support it in a place they'd expect to. Not the last word, as science proceeds in baby steps, but still. So yes indeed, this is an interesting area of current research.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/art…

or the more popular

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/0…

Posted by flumph on October 1, 2011 at 12:49 PM · Report this
210
Dan,

Quite a timely topic. A paper came out just this week addressing the byproduct theory of female orgasm (or as a previous commenter rightly put it, hypothesis not theory), and they couldn't find evidence to support it in a place they'd expect to (an opposite-sex twins study). Not the last word, as science proceeds in baby steps, but still. So yes indeed, this is an interesting area of current research, and nobody really knows what's up.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/art

or the more popular

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/0
Posted by flumph on October 1, 2011 at 12:55 PM · Report this
211
@204 cheron and @205 Crinoline: Thanks for the helpful suggestions!
Any advice for a pre-menopausal gal with lubrication problems?

@208 FutureKitty: I can think of lots of ways!
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 1, 2011 at 12:59 PM · Report this
212
I remember hearing what a huge journey it is for the sperm to reach the ovum, as they are so small and the journey is the equivalent of a human traveling hundreds of miles (or whatever). I recently saw this, and it made incredible sense: the female orgasm is a selector. It causes internal contractions that not only draw the sperm up the path at break-neck speeds, but even draw it up the correct path (as there are two ovaries and only one is producing at any given time). I don't think we can say it's merely a vestigial sensation, because I think females are the original gender; the penis is just an adapted clitoris after all.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/…
Posted by ROLtheWolf on October 1, 2011 at 1:00 PM · Report this
213
@211, re: lubrication problems--

When you say pre-menopausal, do you mean peri-menopausal? When you say lubrication problems, is it every time you have sex? If not and you're lubricating some of the time or most of the time, can you work out a pattern? My questions are geared towards trying to figure out if a hormonal fix is in order. Ovaries sputter out hormones some times more regularly than others. (That's pre-, peri-, and post- menopause. The ovaries keep sputtering.) The trick is to figure out which hormones are missing and give those a boost. For this, you need a doctor. It's easy enough for me to say get a little estrogen, but I don't know nearly enough about the subject to say for sure. Also, easy enough for me to tell you to find a doctor, but my own record on that count has been horrible. It's easy to find a doctor to prescribe hormonal birth control, hard, in my experience, to find one who knows about hormones and how they relate to desire and lubrication.

A product might be in order. It will be called "lubricating jelly" or "water-based" or "personal lubricant" or "compare to K-Y Jelly." It can be applied with a finger, penis, or (and it took some looking for this) an application device normally used for spermical jelly.

The subject gets complicated. Are you sure the problem is lubrication and not relaxation and expansion of the pelvic floor muscles? They usually go together but not necessarily. Again, friends can pass around information, and they may hit on the right diagnosis and recommendation, but in the end, a doctor, if you can find one, is the right way to go.

( My example recently is kegels. I'd been doing them wrong for years. They're not hard, but as with any exercise to learn to strengthen and relax muscles, it can help to have someone tell you how to do them right including breathing and isolating correctly.)
More...
Posted by Crinoline on October 1, 2011 at 2:34 PM · Report this
echizen_kurage 214
@206:

Personally, I don't quite get the whole "people who can't reach things on high shelves" dilemma. I've been reaching things on high shelves since I hit puberty and have never owned a step stool.

I wouldn't go rushing out to buy all sorts of step stools and step ladders if I were a person who couldn't reach things on high shelves. I'd do a little self examination (maybe with a good psychologist) and ask myself why I might be not allowing myself to reach things on high shelves (not self-blaming, just ask why).

. . . Wait, what's that you say? Just because I'm six feet tall, it doesn't mean that everybody else is six feet tall? And somebody who happens to be, say, five foot one might legitimately need a step stool to reach the top shelf? Huh. Freaky.
Posted by echizen_kurage on October 1, 2011 at 5:33 PM · Report this
215
@213 "I'd been doing them wrong for years." Any advice that would have been helpful? How did you figure it out?
Posted by EricaP on October 1, 2011 at 5:44 PM · Report this
216
215, EricaP-- Nothing I can explain in writing. A doctor recommended a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor. She taught me to them properly with individualized instruction.
Posted by Crinoline on October 1, 2011 at 6:52 PM · Report this
217
@206: "So if both men and women climax during their sleep cycles how can all these women say they've "never had an orgasm"? They probably have, but for various psychological reasons they suppress the memory or are in denial about it."

Wait, what, now? I remember as a teenaged boy waking up a few times with a mess in my underwear, but I don't remember the actual orgasms that produced said mess. Surely you aren't claiming I'm suppressing the memory or in denial about it? Remember, I was ASLEEP at the time.
Posted by avast2006 on October 1, 2011 at 7:18 PM · Report this
218
@213 Crinoline: Thanks for the helpful advice. I'm 47, so I'm pre-menopausal, and currently taking progesterone cream to balance my hormones. Additionally, I take 3-mile walks and take vitamin D3/Calcium and B complex supplements. Too much estrogen, a common problem for many middle aged women, is supposed to be bad, because it can lead to hair loss from where you want it, facial hair where you DON'T want it, and other undesirable health problems.

You're right; I don't think it's just a lubrication problem. I have been wondering about having kegel muscle tension, and not being able to relax my pelvic floor. Consequently, I have experienced painful pelvic exams lately that resulted in a thin bloody discharge upon discovering that my vaginal walls are sensitive. I've repeatedly asked my gynecologist about this, and she amazingly has few answers!

I haven't had sex since after leaving a toxic relationship ten years ago. While I'm otherwise happily enjoying an independent, single life, is it possible that prolonged sexual inactivity can cause health problems, too?
I guess I'm old fashioned, but I'm uncomfortable with just randomly leaping into bed with someone I don't know well and feel anything special for.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 1, 2011 at 9:29 PM · Report this
219
Auntie Grizelda-- Remember the source for everything that follows. I'm not a gynocologist, not a doctor, not even working in a health field. I'm a middle aged lady who likes to google things on the internet. If others jump in on this thread, consider their (lack of) credentials too. Even the best doctors would run from giving specific advice anonymously in a comments section. For that matter, the more one knows about treating patients, the less likely one is to give advice without an in-person exam and a full history. Keep that in mind as you read the rest of this post.

The question of "balanced" hormones is a difficult one. It's not easy to get it exactly right. It may take several tries. I googled on "symptoms too much estrogen" and did not find head hair loss and facial hair gain. I did find that the loss of estrogen that comes with peri-menopause can lead to the thinning of vaginal walls.

You need to go back to your GYN with your concerns. If your GYN dismisses your concerns or gives you the I-don't-know, ask her to find out for you or to recommend a specialist who can help. Too often, doctors think that because they've screened you for cancer, they don't have to do anything else. I'm appalled (but not surprised) that your GYN thinks that painful pelvic exams and a bloody discharge during them can be disregarded. I may not know what causes it and what will help, but I do know that that's not acceptable, and I suspect the problem is related to too much progesterone causing the effects of too little estrogen.

I have read that regular intercourse as we get older is supposed to be beneficial for our vaginal health, supposed to help with lubrication and toned pelvic floor muscles, but I have not heard anyone recommending random sex with people you don't want to sleep with as a cure! It seems like that would tighten up the muscles for sure and smacks of the old teenage come-on line that the girl should have sex with him because it will clear up her acne.

I'm conscious that finding the right doctor is hard, but it's worth it even if it means paying full price without insurance coverage.
More...
Posted by Crinoline on October 2, 2011 at 4:31 AM · Report this
220 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
221
Sad state when a death of a kid is put on the back burner to some chick not getting off. The kid could have been the one to solve the problem for all down the road by doing research in that field RIP, Just saying.
Posted by flipx on October 2, 2011 at 5:21 AM · Report this
222
Auntie Grizelda, the hair loss and facial hair are symptoms of too much testosterone, not estrogen. All women have testosterone throughout life, but that is balanced out by estrogen before menopause.
Posted by cockyballsup on October 2, 2011 at 8:42 AM · Report this
223
@221: I posted my condolences regarding the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, and to all who knew him. It truly is sad that Jamey took his life because of shamefully cruel bullying going on at his school. Worse yet, the bullying could have been prevented. Please read my post @166.

Although I'm lightyears past the tender age of 16, I jumped into the lubrication problems fray, too, because I had questions of my own on that subject.

@222 cockyballsup: Too much testosterone can cause problems, too, yes, but I have been struggling with too much estrogen in the past, and this was the issue I was referring to.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 2, 2011 at 9:47 AM · Report this
224
@219: I'm aware that you're not a doctor, but I appreciate your advice, mainly because you're a woman, too, and can empathize about my situation.
Is there a decent gynecologist in the Puget Sound area that you would recommend? My primary health care provider is the VA, largely because I cannot afford anyone else.

@222: Also, many doctors erroneously prescribe too high of estrogen dosages to their pre-, peri-, and menopausal patients. Often this creates an unhealthy hormonal imbalance for many.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 2, 2011 at 10:02 AM · Report this
225
@216 thanks; the take-away seems to be that it might be useful to schedule a consult with a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor.

May I ask what words you said to your doctor to get that referral? Or at least, can you say if it was more along the lines of incontinence or sexual dysfunction?
Posted by EricaP on October 2, 2011 at 10:52 AM · Report this
226
Had to come here after reading to column to help. Didn't have an orgasm until mid 20s. Think of it like a sneeze or a hiccup, it's a body's response to something, but it's not something you can MAKE happen. It would be like saying "Sneeze right now, make it happen." And you can't, because a sneeze occurs naturally.

You have to set the conditions for the orgasm to happen. I would suggest getting a small, cheap vibe if you don't have one. If you're on birth control, get off it and use condoms because it definitely affects your libido. Go to a tube website and search around for some porn you really like. Get in a comfortable position, if you don't like light, turn it off. Do only what YOU like, watch stuff that turns you on. Use the vibe on the top of your clitoral hood, not directly on the clitoris. Remember it's all about the tissue up inside the body, you want to stimulate that with vibrations.

Most important is what is going on inside your head. If your saying things like "this will never happen" or "I am fat", or anything self-conscious, you will inhibit yourself. Lose yourself to fantasy. Have a glass of wine or toke to relax. Don't TRY to have an orgasm, just vibrate and enjoy, watch porn...and it will happen, or it won't! Keep at it, and eventually you will figure out how to make it happen, and it gets easier each time after.

If you're with a guy who is obsessed with giving you an orgasm for him ego, tell him to knock it off, just take orgasm off the table and have great sex until you figure it out. Don't pressure yourself, that is the biggest inhibitor!

Posted by safireblues on October 2, 2011 at 11:49 AM · Report this
227
Had to come here after reading to column to help. Didn't have an orgasm until mid 20s. Think of it like a sneeze or a hiccup, it's a body's response to something, but it's not something you can MAKE happen. It would be like saying "Sneeze right now, make it happen." And you can't, because a sneeze occurs naturally.

You have to set the conditions for the orgasm to happen. I would suggest getting a small, cheap vibe if you don't have one. If you're on birth control, get off it and use condoms because it definitely affects your libido. Go to a tube website and search around for some porn you really like. Get in a comfortable position, if you don't like light, turn it off. Do only what YOU like, watch stuff that turns you on. Use the vibe on the top of your clitoral hood, not directly on the clitoris. Remember it's all about the tissue up inside the body, you want to stimulate that with vibrations.

Most important is what is going on inside your head. If your saying things like "this will never happen" or "I am fat", or anything self-conscious, you will inhibit yourself. Lose yourself to fantasy. Have a glass of wine or toke to relax. Don't TRY to have an orgasm, just vibrate and enjoy, watch porn...and it will happen, or it won't! Keep at it, and eventually you will figure out how to make it happen, and it gets easier each time after.

If you're with a guy who is obsessed with giving you an orgasm for him ego, tell him to knock it off, just take orgasm off the table and have great sex until you figure it out. Don't pressure yourself, that is the biggest inhibitor!

Posted by safireblues on October 2, 2011 at 11:51 AM · Report this
228
Had to come here after reading to column to help. Didn't have an orgasm until mid 20s. Think of it like a sneeze or a hiccup, it's a body's response to something, but it's not something you can MAKE happen. It would be like saying "Sneeze right now, make it happen." And you can't, because a sneeze occurs naturally.

You have to set the conditions for the orgasm to happen. I would suggest getting a small, cheap vibe if you don't have one. If you're on birth control, get off it and use condoms because it definitely affects your libido. Go to a tube website and search around for some porn you really like. Get in a comfortable position, if you don't like light, turn it off. Do only what YOU like, watch stuff that turns you on. Use the vibe on the top of your clitoral hood, not directly on the clitoris. Remember it's all about the tissue up inside the body, you want to stimulate that with vibrations.

Most important is what is going on inside your head. If your saying things like "this will never happen" or "I am fat", or anything self-conscious, you will inhibit yourself. Lose yourself to fantasy. Have a glass of wine or toke to relax. Don't TRY to have an orgasm, just vibrate and enjoy, watch porn...and it will happen, or it won't! Keep at it, and eventually you will figure out how to make it happen, and it gets easier each time after.

If you're with a guy who is obsessed with giving you an orgasm for him ego, tell him to knock it off, just take orgasm off the table and have great sex until you figure it out. Don't pressure yourself, that is the biggest inhibitor!

Posted by safireblues on October 2, 2011 at 11:52 AM · Report this
229
@215 and @216: I have the same questions as EricaP.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 2, 2011 at 11:58 AM · Report this
230
FAP- hold on! It took me until I was 30... now it takes a very patient partner w/ oral sex or a strong vibrator for up to an hour... but it can happen =)
Posted by Kriemel3 on October 2, 2011 at 2:05 PM · Report this
231
EricaP and AuntieG-- Re: Why a doctor would recommend a physical therapist to teach pelvic floor exercises (used to be called kegeling, not sure why there's been a switch).

A urogynecologist brought up the idea when I saw her for a possible bladder problem, not incontinence. I'd never heard of that sort of specialized physical therapist before she made the referral. For that matter, I'd never heard of a urogynecologist before either. Getting older + peri-menopause is opening up whole new pathways of knowledge for me, whole worlds to explore .
Posted by Crinoline on October 2, 2011 at 2:11 PM · Report this
232
202-Black Rose: "The only criticisms of Palmer and Thornhill I've seen all seem to confuse stating something is adaptive with approving it."

Look at the Amazon reviews of A Natural History of Rape for criticisms that state that the problem with Palmer and Thornhill is that their book is based on questionable studies, data so filtered that it's practically falsified, and bad science.
Posted by Crinoline on October 2, 2011 at 3:17 PM · Report this
233
@231: Thanks--I'll check it out.
Posted by auntie grizelda on October 2, 2011 at 4:13 PM · Report this
mydriasis 234
@214

I regularly thank the good lord I was born short, not anorgasmic.
Being short at least confers benefits.
Posted by mydriasis on October 2, 2011 at 4:32 PM · Report this
235
@234, thanks for pointing me to 214.

echizen @214, as someone who loves her hitachi, I very much enjoyed that, thanks!
Posted by EricaP on October 2, 2011 at 7:04 PM · Report this
236
For someone like me that was cruelly and consistently bullied during his teens, the death of this poor child Jamey is so heartbreaking that I can barily say a thing. However, as Dan says, life improves, things go better and you can have a fulfilled life - as a matter of fact, I'm happily in love with my partner, I have a career, and we both have many projects and dreams. Life is hard, though. And even here, in my country, Argentina, with the so call "matrimonio igualitario" (gay marriage), LGBT people have to endure daily harassment, hate and scorn of the bourgeois statu quo. I think it's important for us to fight for human dignity.
Posted by Ezequiel on October 2, 2011 at 8:21 PM · Report this
nocutename 237
@214: thank you for handling with humor what I want to do with a non-satiric scolding!
@206: This is exactly the kind of "advice" that makes an anorgasmic woman think she is broken.
Why not try a vibrator first, anyway? They're certainly a lot cheaper than the psychologist you suggested?

A sex therapist I saw when I was frustrated by my inability to orgasm without a vibrator was great in helping me see that everyone's body is different, and that some of us just need an amount of stimulation at a speed per hour that no human body can reach.
Posted by nocutename on October 2, 2011 at 8:40 PM · Report this
238
@184 Oh I definitely agree that there's a difference. But while I have had what I called a "fly off the bed" orgasm many times, sometimes you can have that release in a less obvious way. And I think that for someone who is expecting every single one to be the most mind blowing thing every... well they may have a release, and not realize that, yep that's it. I think the way it's explained on www.dodsonandross.com is much better than the way I explain it. A lot of the women who write to her talk about a release and pleasure, but no orgasm, and they're just expecting something different than the truth.
I've also noticed that as I've gotten older I've gotten more orgasmic and they've gotten more intense. I'm sure part of that is biological and part is just me being more comfortable in my own skin.
I enjoy my orgasms in all there forms. Mind blowing ones, softer ones... however they come. But that's also like how a clitoral orgasm is different than a g-spot or vaginal orgasm. Or even one from nipple stimulation. And I'm sure an anal orgasm would feel different from the above (haven't had one yet, though I'm pretty sure I was close). So I think the biggest thing is really not to let it worry you so much and enjoy what you're getting. If there isn't something physically wrong, and you are genuinely attracted to your partner, why not try to just enjoy and let it happen?
Posted by KateRose on October 3, 2011 at 9:52 AM · Report this
239
I parallel the idea of female orgasm being a by-product to the Christians saying women came from one of Adam’s ribs. An afterthought. Human beings are sexist but evolution is not. Evolution sees the benefits of humans feeling this intense pleasure to reproduce and a reason to keep living. Men and women are not all that different, therefore the thought that a woman’s orgasm is less than (a by-product) does not seem plausible. We do start out the same when we are embryos and we would all turn female but to turn into a male the embryo has to do some work. So, logically, if we are naturally supposed to turn out all female why would we be without a very human (not male trait) of a sexual organ?

I don’t see why she would need drugs—relax—it’s sex. It’s supposed to be fun. You’re supposed to have fun with your partner. And if you’re not—look for a new partner. Life’s too short to not orgasm with or without a partner.
Posted by Unique#312 on October 3, 2011 at 4:23 PM · Report this
240
There could be the distinct possibility that FAP is a lesbian but is afraid to venture into that realm. Especially if she has crappy over-protective parents/family (especially brothers). Like conservative religious types, or even 'traditional' Eastern European parents that really don't like the whole 'gay idea'. If she's brave enough, she should explore some lady time if it's ever been an inkling. It could be that missing piece to the puzzle...
Posted by MadMaddy on October 3, 2011 at 6:33 PM · Report this
241
Why would you go into a relationship with a person with a child and is not the case that BOTH of you are inlove.....???? ridiculous situation to get into. Now the baby is a victim. You also need to go into therapy. Serious therapy.
Posted by math_math_math on October 3, 2011 at 6:33 PM · Report this
242
FAP's guy's been estrogenated. She needs to find a more T guy. She could return to number one.
Posted by Hunter78 on October 3, 2011 at 7:34 PM · Report this
243
FAP use the sex toy called WEE VIBE...You should orgasm in no time with that....
Posted by bradley on October 3, 2011 at 8:00 PM · Report this
244
To FAP, one very easy thing to try is drinking more water! I know it sounds totally random, but being well hydrated really helps me get wet, which in turn makes orgasm WAYYYY easier.
Posted by tilda_sf on October 4, 2011 at 11:09 AM · Report this
245
Seriously, and people still roll their eyes at me when I say we need our own homeland, San Francisco and Seattle don't count, we need our own country where we make the rules and these little bigots can be kept out or thrown in prison.
Posted by LumosDeFortuno http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jimmi-Indigo/485581250441 on October 4, 2011 at 11:57 AM · Report this
246
ALL suicides are sad, & ALL are preventable-by the person who takes their own life. ALL crimes are hate crimes, a person who taunts, beats, abuses tortures somebody who is differnt, would eventually do it to their own kind if an easier target wasn't available. I'm not saying bullying is forgivable, just that it will always happen, to the easiest target, & if you rteally want to make a difference, teach your kids to have a thicker skin.
Posted by racefan55 on October 4, 2011 at 2:17 PM · Report this
247
LumousDeFortuno,

You sound every bit as bit as those you criticize. I'll not cross the border to your imprisoning homeland.
Posted by Hunter78 on October 4, 2011 at 3:38 PM · Report this
248
FAP, I couldn't orgasm either for the first 2 years of having sex. Eventually, my first boyfriend had me smoke some weed and licked me forever. BANG! I am not for illegal drugs, but it did the trick. After that, it took a lot of oral sex, but I could orgasm. Now, at age 45, I am multi-orgasmic and can have an orgasm after about 5 minutes of stimulation. So it will eventually happen, and you'll be able to understand your body better as you 'practice'.
Posted by HappytoBE on October 5, 2011 at 7:51 PM · Report this
249
On the evolutionary psychology thing...

There may or may not be problems with real, proper, scientific evo psych, but there are definitely problems with *pop* evo psych.

The base problem is that it is nearly impossible, with any complex or nuanced scientific subject, to simultaneously explain the matter in a way that a general audience can understand, and explain the matter in a way that is entirely correct. So, any pop science tends to be, at best, a crude approximation of the real thing, and at worst, utterly wrong.
Posted by Melissa Trible on October 9, 2011 at 1:26 PM · Report this
250
I've always said "It gets better" is a hollow gesture coming from a very privileged perspective. It doesn't get better for everyone. I'm out as trans now, and as an adult I'm bullied more than ever, by other adults, by gay people.
Maybe we have to literally fight to change culturally,instead of teaming up with google to commodify teen suicide.
Posted by heidistink on October 12, 2011 at 11:19 AM · Report this
251
This story is killing me. It reminds me of Phoebe Prince who lived in Massachusettes and killed herself in 2010 due to continual bullying by her school peers(not about her sexual orientation - but still it was bullying). All 9 of the teenagers involved in her bullying have been charged criminally. Two are being tried in adult court. I don't know if the trial is over yet but I think this is a wonderful outcome. Phoebe's law has been passed in the state as well as the Department of Justice Federal Code Regarding Aggravated Bullying Harassment, a recently passed law in the Union of Everett outlawing all forms of bullying and harassment in schools, in the neighborhood or online on the internet. A shame we have to be reactive rather than proactive. The law came too late for Phoebe. Perhaps young Jamey didn't live in an area where he was protected by law or even knew of its existence. Young people sometimes know they have legal rights but are still reluctant to pursue them. SCHOOLS NEED TO BE MORE ACTIVE IN QUASHING ANTI-LGBT ATTITUDES, COMMENTS, BULLYING, ASSAULTS, ETC. This stuff happens in the schools and there is no way any principal can convince me that s/he isn't aware of it. Clearly many schools' anti-bullying programs aren't cutting it. Time for Plan B....whatever it is.
sincerely,
an elementary schoolteacher in Ontario, Canada
Posted by lml1 http://www.amazon.ca/Millicent-Carlisle-Lisa-Lahey/dp/1451295952/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1320202787&sr=1-5 on November 1, 2011 at 7:49 PM · Report this
252
@29 - thank you! I read that and immediately called bs. What a load of crap. Maybe we can have orgasms so that men GET to have sex with us, hm? From what I read I gather that science doesn't understand the female orgasm, then immediately tried to explain it using the male model.

Many of us (and no slight to the LW implied) can have multiple orgasms. The radio program I listen to recently covered women who pass out from the intensity of theirs. That doesn't sound like a watered-down by-product to me.

How about you try to actually help the lady by telling her to masturbate to figure out how she works on her own first? However good her guy is, sounds like he needs some help.
Posted by MJade on November 4, 2011 at 9:37 PM · Report this
253
The explanation I remember about the human female's orgasm (sorry, I don't have the references) is that it was an adaptation for walking upright. If, after sex, the female just got up and walked away, gravity would inhibit the sperms' journey. So, if you're trying to get her pregnant guys, you better please her *really* well.....
Posted by Steve I. on November 8, 2011 at 12:30 PM · Report this
artdyke 254
I prefer the Sex At Dawn theory, even if it's icky: women have intense but delayed orgasms to encourage them to fuck multiple men who each get off, lose interest, and make room for someone new. The woman ends up with the sperm of multiple men duking it out inside of her, and everyone winds up happy, encouraging group cohesion, cooperation, and survival. Hooray!
Posted by artdyke on November 27, 2011 at 9:35 PM · Report this
255

I would like to suggest to FAP to watch the movie Shortbus (2006), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367027/
its mainly about a woman in a similar situation. Very good movie!
Posted by kaceface on May 7, 2012 at 8:10 PM · Report this
256

I would like to suggest to FAP to watch the movie Shortbus (2006), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367027/
its mainly about a woman in a similar situation. Very good movie!
Posted by kaceface on May 7, 2012 at 8:13 PM · Report this

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