Beyond Orgasm

Today is National Orgasm Day throughout Great Britain.

We don’t have such a day here in the U.S. (although good Americans do observe National Masturbation Day on May 7). In a country that criminalizes vibrators and classifies contraception as abortion, celebrating orgasm is a little advanced.

But let me speak against National Orgasm Day for a moment.

Because as a sex therapist, I observe people making way too much fuss about orgasm.

Don’t get me wrong, I think orgasms are fine—hey, some of my best friends have them.

But orgasm lasts, what—six, eight seconds? As good as those 8 seconds can be, they’re not worth a whole lot of aggravation. Or boredom, or guilt. Or doing a bunch of stuff that you don’t really want to do.

If you’re with a partner, that’s what those eight seconds frequently cost. That’s part of masturbation’s appeal—most people get an orgasm without a lot of hassle. You don’t have to take anyone out to dinner, kiss someone who needs to brush their teeth, or give anyone else head. You touch yourself, think about something pleasant, and in a few minutes a little magic door opens. Momentarily.

Depending on how you and your partner do things, it’s anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour from the time you undress until you climax. Ideally, people would enjoy every single one of those 10 to 60 minutes. But frequently they don’t. They’re thinking about their saggy butt, their unreliable erection, how their vulva smells. While many people love every part of sex, too many others are just trying to get through it, hoping to be competent, wanting for the Big Payoff that give the whole thing meaning.

That’s so sad. It’s people like that who give orgasm a bad name.

Orgasm is not the point of sex. It’s a little bonus, a fine bit of punctuation. If it’s the best part of sex for you, you’re missing a whole lot. If it’s the only part of sex you enjoy, it can’t possibly be worth it.

National Orgasm Day? How about National Relax & Enjoy Sex Moment-By-Moment Day?

That would be something to celebrate. And not just one day per year.


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