I wish this figure was surprising. It’s not, because female pleasure has long been on the back burner of sexuality. And while we’re all increasingly aware of this, many women are complacent in terms of their satisfaction. If this weren’t the case, the stats would be different.
The fact that society and women are hesitant to take a stand for female pleasure indicates the deep rooted nature of this issue. It’s deep because for centuries, a patriarchal society has esteemed men’s sexuality while shaming women’s. Consequently, women have been conditioned to put men’s pleasure before their own.
It hasn’t been until recently that women’s pleasure became an open conversation. After all, the clitoris hadn’t even been officially discovered until 1998 or properly mapped by science until 2009… If that shows you anything about priorities.
But times are changing. Women are using their voices, and much of what they have to say screams sexuality. And the fact that, without a shred of doubt, pleasure is our birthright.
Our Bodies Are Made for Pleasure
The conversation around pleasure starts with you and your preferences. It comes down to asking ourselves the question — What feels good to me? And recognizing that everyone is allowed to and will have different answers.
Women were anatomically designed to experience pleasure, or so it seems. The clitoris, with 8,000 nerve-endings, is the only known organ to exist exclusively for pleasure. And to put it into perspective, that’s twice as many nerve endings in the head of the penis, the most sensitive part. The clitoris has no other function beside giving you waves of pleasure, which also happen to be great for your health.
We have to ask ourselves, why would we have such an organ if pleasure wasn’t a fundamental component of a woman’s experience? Why has it taken so long to talk about it? The closer we get to embracing pleasure, we understand the extent society has cast pleasure as something bad, excessive, indulgent, or sinful.
This is not easy work. It is not easy to explore the stories that were handed down to us that allowed our bodies to be diminished, ignored, and misunderstood. But alas, perhaps as women, this is the work we are here to do.
Decide for Yourself
If you strip away all of the stories about sexuality and pleasure, all of the rules, suggestions, implications, past experiences, and traumas — how would you look at pleasure?
All that would be left, really, is the capacity of our bodies and the science that says pleasure is good for us [link to self love article] — our brain, heart, mental health and emotional wellbeing.
I’m not here to tell you how to feel about pleasure. I’m here to encourage you to choose for yourself how you feel about it. How important is pleasure to you? How central is it in your life? What do you think about it, separate from those and the culture around you?
We reclaim the truth that pleasure is our birthright by deciding how we feel about it, versus accepting what has been handed down for ages. That, in itself, is empowering. And empowerment is the first step to a healthy relationship with pleasure.
Owning our own pleasure, as dreamy as it sounds, can also feel a little daunting or scary. It feels this way because it disrupts a stubborn norm — so don’t worry. You aren’t alone in that feeling.
But something amazing happens as you take a stand for your pleasure. Empowerment moves in. Because though we’re talking about pleasure, pleasure is inextricably linked to your sense of worth.
You are worthy of pleasure! You are worthy of feeling good — whenever and however you want. (As long as everyone is safe, ok?) Your embrace of pleasure means that you’re invested in creating a happy, joyful, fulfilled life for yourself.
More often than not, we fear that our partner won’t be receptive to this new awareness. Maybe they’ll feel intimidated or insecure. We fear that our friends will judge us for such a journey. And to all of that I say — what’s more important to you?
What is more important than your total satisfaction with this one precious life? Total satisfaction means satisfaction in every area of your life — sexuality included.
What Are You Waiting for?
Generally, all of the statistics related to women’s sexuality and pleasure reveal that women are collectively underwhelmed in the bedroom (mostly those in a sexual partnership with men, by the way.) Not to be stark, but no one’s going to jump up and fix this for us…
Otherwise it would have happened by now. If we want pleasure, we have to take a stand. And that might look something like this:
Let this be a journey. Is it going to happen overnight? Unlikely. Even as you start to figure out what pleases you, know that pleasure evolves with your changing body.
You aren’t alone in claiming pleasure as your birthright and the obstacles that come with that endeavor. There are many women out there on the exact same path. Many women are open to sharing and discussing, too. Let yourself reach out. Lean on the sisterhood that has always seen it through.