Let’s Talk About Sex: The Reality of the Sexual Pleasure Disparity | Grace Wetzel | TEDxStLawrenceU

Let’s Talk About Sex: The Reality of the Sexual Pleasure Disparity | Grace Wetzel | TEDxStLawrenceU


Translator: Jordan Vartanoff
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven Today, I’m going to be
talking to you about sex. I’m going to be talking
about the clitoris, orgasm, oral sex. I thought I should throw a few of those
words out there right now so that we can all get prepared for what’s coming
over the next 15 minutes. Sex is a taboo topic, one that people typically shy away from
speaking to large groups about. Large groups that may even include
their professors and family members. But I’m here talking about it anyway, and that’s because I have a problem with the way that we are
currently thinking about sex. And that’s the reality that straight women often have a very different experience
with sex than straight men do, and that we live in a sexual world that
revolves around the pleasure of the penis. In this speech, I’m going to start by talking
about the ways that we define sex, I’m going to talk about
the differences in orgasms rates and pleasure distribution
for women and men, and finally, how we can move towards
a more equal sexual experience. I want to preface this entire speech by specifying that I’m addressing
heterosexual encounters only. So for the reminder of this talk,
whenever I refer to women or to men, I’m referring exclusively to heterosexual
and cisgender women and men. Additionally, this speech is directed
towards college-aged women living in the current generation
and sexual climate. So let’s start with how we define sex. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, sex is listed as “the activity
of sexual intercourse.” Sexual intercourse
is defined by Merriam-Webster as “heterosexual intercourse involving the penetration
of the vagina by the penis.” So, essentially, the definition of sex is just the definition
of penetrative, heterosexual sex. So what does this mean? Why does it matter
how we define sex in the dictionary? Well, think about it for yourselves: what do you count as sex? When you’re thinking to yourself
about the people that you’ve had sex with, what acts are you thinking of? For a lot of people,
this centers around penetration. Centering sex around the penetration
of the penis is problematic not only for any sex
that doesn’t involve a penis – God forbid – but also for the straight
woman’s experience. This is because if you’re
in the 3/4 of women who don’t experience
regular vaginal orgasm, a statistic found by Harvard professor
Elisabeth Lloyd’s analysis of 33 studies regarding human sexuality. So if you’re in the 3/4 of women
who don’t vaginally orgasm, then your orgasm
is already considered extra. Your orgasm isn’t even part of the textbook definition
of what real sex is. The significance of the clitoris as the main and most consistent form
of female pleasure and orgasm has been proven time and time again from researchers like Alfred Kinsey
to the survey studies of Breanne Fahs. So, essentially, the pleasure that
stimulates women’s main sexual organ – which, sometimes hard
for people to accept, is actually the clitoris, not the vagina – is not even considered real sex
but something else, “foreplay,” something extra. Here is the reality
of the sexual-pleasure disparity. According to a large-scale survey
of American adults conducted by Laumann and colleagues, women are having, on average, one orgasm for every three that men have
during heterosexual encounters. One for every three. I’ve met women who thought
that this number sounded pretty accurate, and I’ve met a lot of women
who said that, in their experience, this gap was a hell of a lot larger. So why are men having
so many more orgasms than women? There are two common cop-out explanations
for this orgasm inequality. The first is that sex
is a means for reproduction. If reproduction were the purpose of sex, then female orgasm may be unnecessary, because male orgasm is the way
that reproduction would be achieved. Makes sense, except that this argument is outdated
and just completely irrelevant because reproduction
is clearly not the purpose of sex in the majority of cases today, as you can see through the prevalence
of many birth control methods. So then, why are people having sex? For pleasure, right? Because it’s fun, because it feels good. So if the purpose of sex
is pleasure and not reproduction, then this argument just does not apply. In a mutual, pleasure-based encounter, theoretically, both parties should be
benefiting equally from that encounter. This idea of the male orgasm
as the means for reproduction represents an excuse for this orgasm
to retain privilege, and nothing more. The second cop-out explanation is the “It’s just more difficult
for women to orgasm” excuse. There’s this idea that women’s bodies are somehow naturally
just less capable of orgasm and that the clitoris is elusive
and difficult to operate. This so-called “scientific” explanation
of sexual difference ignores crucial social factors that play a huge role
in how we experience our sexuality, like hook-up culture,
anatomical misunderstanding, gender roles, and power dynamics. The myth that the female orgasm
is naturally less easy to achieve can be proven false
with two very simple statistics. The first is that according to
research done by Alfred Kinsey, the average time that it takes women
to orgasm from masturbation is the same as the average time
that it takes men, which is about four minutes. So this means that
if you know what you’re doing, as in doing it to yourself, then sex differences
in the time it takes to orgasm literally disappear. Additionally, women
who have sex with other women have orgasm rates that are much higher
than straight women’s, orgasm rates that are
almost as high as straight men’s. This research was conducted
at the Kinsey Institute by Dr. Justin Garcia and colleagues. The idea that the female orgasm is just as easy to achieve
as the male orgasm can be a tough one
for us to wrap our heads around because we’ve been so conditioned
to think of the male orgasm as the natural result of sex and the female orgasm as something extra. The problem does not lie
in the nature of the female orgasm. When women are put in a situation
where the penis is not involved, as in the situations I described before, then sex differences disappear. This means that it can’t just be biology – societal and gender dynamics
must be at play here. But the problem is not men’s alone, the problem lies in the way that all of us are approaching, viewing,
and participating in heterosexual sex. Given the statistic I stated before that only about 1/4 of women
report regular vaginal orgasm, it shouldn’t even be expected
that women orgasm this way – but it is. There is a huge pressure put on women
to orgasm vaginally, and when they don’t or can’t
have an orgasm this way, there’s a stigma and a sense of shame. Statistically speaking, this shame
simply should not exist, because it should be common sense that women typically need
clitoral stimulation in order to reach orgasm. This expectation for vaginal orgasm is one of the reasons
why women are orgasming less, and this pressure to do so
is one of the reasons why, according to Breanne Fahs’s surveys, over 50% of women report
having faked an orgasm before. That’s the majority of women
have faked an orgasm. Women are so trained
to put men’s pleasure first that it’s almost as if they would rather please their partner
by giving the appearance of an orgasm than actually have one themselves. By believing, whether consciously
or subconsciously, that their orgasm is less important, women accept and reproduce
subordinate sexual status. Sexual inequality can also be observed through the prevalence
of certain sexual activities, like oral sex. According to Wendy Chambers’ study on the sexual behaviors
of college students, she found that women
reported giving oral sex more, and men reported receiving oral sex more. So, why are men giving oral sex
less than women are? An easy way for women
to help fix this problem is to ask for oral sex, or to ask for orgasm,
or for clitoral stimulation, or for whatever it is that they want. The problem is, asking for pleasure, as a woman, is a lot easier said than done. First of all, asking for pleasure comes with the assumption
that you deserve it. Women always deserve it, but they often feel like they don’t. It can be hard to ask for something
from your partner when that person is making that act
feel like an inconvenience or a chore. Second of all, women
shouldn’t have to be asking. Men should be making
women’s pleasure and orgasm an equal priority to theirs, period. And third, women often
feel like they can’t ask. I’ve known women who have asked for things
that focused on their pleasure and have been straight-up told “no,” or treated like it was an inconvenience, or told that sex was over now
because the man had had an orgasm. A lot of times, women don’t feel
like they can ask or they just don’t, but that doesn’t mean
that they don’t want oral sex or that they don’t want an orgasm. And when we’re talking
about sexual inequality, the differences skyrocket when it comes to casual, uncommitted
sexual encounters, or “hook-ups.” Sociologists Armstrong,
England, and Fogarty found in their study on college students that women were 56% less likely
to have an orgasm in a first hook-up
than in a committed relationship. Women in this study reported their partners’
complete disregard for their pleasure, and men in this study also reported
being sexually inconsiderate. However, this does not mean that the orgasm gap doesn’t exist
for many committed women, because it really, really does. There are also a lot of women who have never had an orgasm
from a partner. The reality of the situation is that women’s pleasure and orgasm
consistently become secondary, less important, less prevalent, and sometimes ignored altogether
or even disrespected. Women internalize this belief that they don’t deserve
the same sexual experience as men, or that it’s just
not a physical possibility – although, I’d like to argue that the possibilities
for women’s pleasure are limitless. Women actually have a huge,
varying capacity for orgasm – we’re just not exploring it. I’d like to specify at this point that I don’t want
men’s pleasure to go down, I don’t want orgasm rates
for men to decrease, and I don’t want to diminish
the importance of penetrative sex, because penetrative sex
is really important. All I’m asking for is equality. I’m asking everyone who’s listening, all genders, to open your minds and just consider that the way you’re currently
viewing sex might be oppressive. The experience of pleasure
is different for every single person, but as long as interactions have consent,
respect, and a goal of equality, then we will have more pleasurable
sexual experiences. It can be hard to stop viewing sex
as penile-vaginal penetration only, and it can be hard
to start viewing the female orgasm as just as expected
and important as the male orgasm. It’s hard to accept
these things at first, but once you do, the reality of sexual equality
becomes really easy. It’s really all in the hands
of the individuals participating. How long is it going to take
for women to realize what they deserve, demand better, and not accept anything less? And when are men going to start
treating their partners as equal, active participants in sex? And when are we all going to realize that the way we’re currently viewing sex
is centered around penetration, and centered around
the orgasm of the penis, and that it’s a good thing
to question the validity of that? The trend of less pleasurable
and less fulfilling sex lives for women limits the sexual power
of women as a whole. If we could create a movement to abolish the sexual inequality
and pleasure gap, if we could start viewing sex in a more equal
and positive light overall, then we would be one big step closer to the reality of true gender equality. Thank you. (Applause)

23 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Sex: The Reality of the Sexual Pleasure Disparity | Grace Wetzel | TEDxStLawrenceU

  1. Is her face slanted 😂 maybe if she stopped mouth breathing someone with skill would come along and fix her issue

  2. Haha yo women will straight up laugh at a man if he cums three times before she does once 😂 what is she talking about.

  3. In addition to her pretty face, her body looks incredibly healthy (not too thin). Also, us men need to seriously perform oral every single time on our ladies-even if that's all you do. Truly, satisfy your lady and quit being selfish!

  4. Three times harder but twice regarding. Just evolution mocking of all us
    Disclaimer: I've finished the video… yeah I guess tabu doesn't help but still about evolution

  5. This video … make me feel not need real woman anymore.. 😌 whatever… forget it… digital wife is enough..

  6. This lecture is only your experiences and your idea, which is not always TRUE.

    Please do your homework first before lecturing.. I feel feminism…
    In play.
    This is my view, madam.

  7. So lack of communication and not enough activity are the reason.
    So in life example,
    The more women suffering from bad choices.
    The bad boy option.
    Choosing this over or cheating with ,
    Removes valuable experience and educational moments so many don't get the opportunity to learn what is wanted except
    the bad boy option in majority.
    Women don't start on men just for the mans benifit.
    They do it because,
    1. In Hope's the favor will be returned
    2. To get the man to go longer by firing him off so its artificial and he will continue without the finish side effects of tiredness because he didn't do it by his momentum .

  8. Its not difficult at all !!! If you have a good relation, just ask what you like and you want, people should talk more in this death cellphone addicted society

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