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How to make women orgasm, according to Tumblr

The female orgasm is a highly individual thing.

Jun 16, 2020, 12:07 pm*

IRL

 

Marianne Kirby

“I am sixteen and my boyfriend of seven months is telling me, as he has told me, as he will tell me in the future, that if I don’t have sex with him, he will break up with me. I, he said, am denying him his masculine right. I, he said, am emasculating him, am a bad girlfriend for not fulfilling his needs, am a bad person for not giving myself to him. If I loved him, he said, I would do this.”

So begins essay number 76 on the Tumblr How to Make Me Come, a collection of anonymous essays written by women about the female orgasm. While one might assume a blog with that name would read like an N-17-rated Penthouse letter, rest assured that it is anything but. The writing is by turns erotic, illuminating, instructive, and painful—a litany of different women illustrating not only how individual the female orgasm is, but how elusive it can be even from the people who want it the most.

According to a March study compiled by Cosmopolitan, only 57 percent of women have ever achieved orgasm with a partner. Male partners, however, are orgasming 95 percent of the time, according to the same study. In contrast, a 2014 study indicates that lesbian women achieve orgasm 75 percent of the time they are with a partner.

The data supports the idea that women in heterosexual relationships are getting the short end of the orgasm stick (vibrator pun totally intended). And so How to Make Me Come is here to help, proposing writing prompts such as, “Imagine you could give this essay to a past or future sexual partner, free of judgment or repercussion. What would you want them to know?”

Some of the pieces are short, such as post number 40, which couches orgasms in terms of making a grilled cheese sandwich (low heat for longer, in essence). The longer pieces, such as essay number 30, which begins with the story of how the author discovered masturbation as a toddler, tend toward the kind of intimacy that comes from from sharing personal details usually only overheard between long-time best friends.

That makes sense given the original inspiration for the blog, as shared with Mic in an exclusive last month:

“The project was founded by Sylvia*, a 27-year-old writer. (Given the taboo nature of the subject matter, Sylvia wants to keep her identity under wraps.) A few months ago, an uninspiring sexual encounter that left her unsatisfied got her thinking about communication — or the lack thereof — during sex.

After relating the experience to a friend, Sylvia realized she’d been much more upfront with her friend than she had with the guy she’d actually slept with. Why was it so hard to discuss the experience with a partner, when it had been so easy with a friend?”

Wrapped up in the sexual details, of course, are relationship stories. Many of the narratives explore the ways in which women try and often fail to hold onto both their sexual agency and their personal agency in a culture that positions them as objects to be desired, rather than as people.

While the majority of the How to Make Me Come pieces reflect heterosexual experiences, there is some queer representation. Essay number 34 presents an entirely satisfying sexual encounter with a lover and her strap-on, even while wondering why her lover has self-imposed limits about rough sex. There’s a different tenor to the post, an explicit sense of respect when the author writes:

“She fucks me hard and talks dirty to me, calling me a bad girl, but never a bitch. She knows exactly how to occupy this dominant role without offending me, she knows my boundaries and respects them.”

There is humor (“Chivalry is the best lube”), but there is also resigned frustration:

“I hold my vulnerability as a choice that I can actualize with agency instead of a pithy voice yanked out of me by dizzying circumstances. But I still don’t know shit about orgasms.”

Far from voyeuristic or tawdry, these orgasms might teach us something about our own experiences. Send this to the straight men of the world who might need a clue, yes. But also send it to the women you know who might just need to hear that other women are listening and searching, too.

H/T Mic |Photo via British Library

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*First Published: Sep 21, 2015, 3:06 pm