Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Reality of the Female Big "O"

Since it's my first official post here as a Naughty Author Chick, I thought I'd start off with a bang. Go big or go home, right?

I've read and loved erotic romances since way before I began writing them. My favorites have lots of conflict and layered emotion along with all the heat, otherwise I'm just not invested in what happens to the characters between the sheets. But I have a real pet peeve with how female orgasm is portrayed in a lot of books.

I'm not saying that to ruffle any feathers here or elsewhere, because it's certainly true that some women can climax rather easily, and for some lucky few, even repeatedly. But since most women can't, reading it in a book time and time again bugs the living hell out of me.

To spell it out more clearly, here are some reasons why I sometimes roll my eyes when I'm reading a love scene:

*Not all women can reach orgasm through intercourse. Actually, the majority can't.
*Not all women can come seven and eight times in a row (or more, until they pass out), per session.
*Not all women can come after ten seconds of stimulation, or from their partner looking at them sideways. Or on command.
*Some women can't reach orgasm, period. (Really. It's true.)

To back up my humble opinion with some fact, from a Wikipedia post on female orgasm:

"most women achieve orgasm only through clitoral stimulation, or some form of clitoral assistance, and research supports clitoral stimulation as the easiest means of achieving orgasm in women. Dr. Gail Saltz stated, 'Women take on average 20 minutes of stimulation and arousal to have an orgasm."

See? Not ten seconds. I knew it!

"Men take quite a bit less. Women also have more variation in what they find to be stimulating as well as having more difficulty defining exactly where and how stimulation works best. Only 20 percent of women are able to orgasm with intercourse alone, most women need some sort of direct clitoral stimulation.'"

Thank you, Dr. Saltz. See, it's not just in my head. Is it too much for me to want a little bit of realism in my steamy romance novels? It really annoys me when a woman is portrayed time and time again as being able to reach orgasm without anything other than penetration, and a whole ten seconds of it. If you're one of the lucky 20% that can, I'm totally jealous, but good on you. The majority of women, however, will not be able to relate to that experience. At all.

I'm not saying it's impossible. I realize there are women out there that don't need much foreplay/stimulation in order to climax. As one expert says,

"It is possible that some women have more extensive clitoral tissues and nerves than others, and therefore whereas many women can only achieve orgasm by direct stimulation of the external parts of the clitoris, for others the stimulation of the more generalized tissues of the clitoris via intercourse may be sufficient."

Again, if this describes you, you're a very lucky girl, but definitely in the minority. For those women who need a little more work to um, enjoy themselves to the fullest during sex, don't feel bad. It could be worse.

"Anorgasmia is regular difficulty reaching orgasm after ample sexual stimulation, causing personal distress. This is much more common in women than men. About 15 percent of women report difficulties with orgasm, and as many as 10 percent of women in the United States have never climaxed."

Are you shocked the number's that high? It makes me wonder if the real number is actually even higher, since I can't imagine it's something most women would freely admit to. 

But wait, there's more!

"Even women who orgasm on a regular basis only climax about 50 to 70 percent of the time. Dr. Drew Pinsky stated:
...Men and women are wired differently, moreover women are wired differently from each other. Many times women will feel as though they are flawed because they are not living up to a certain standard of climaxing. Men make it worse because they generalize what’s needed to make a woman climax. Often men believe women are the same, and once they figure what works for one woman they apply that same method to all the other women they are intimate with, and that’s one of the major problems. 50-60% of women will never have an orgasm via intercourse and will require clitoral stimulation to climax. 30% of women will have a reliable orgasm with intercourse. 10% of women will orgasm with intercourse and could possibly have sequential orgasms. 5% of women have true multiple orgasms only through intercourse and these women typically find oral sex uncomfortable."

So there. How's that for some accounting? Now I'm curious as to whether it's only me that reads erotic romances with a bit of a jaundiced eye. (Tell me it's not just me!) Have any of you read a steamy romance that left you rolling your eyes instead of spiking your libido? I'm willing to bet you have pet peeves about love scenes too, so please share.

Callie Croix, new smut writer


Michelle Polaris said...

What a great blog. Yes, it's important to talk about this stuff. It is ironic that romance, where we are trying to make women feel good about life, can indavertently make them think there is something wrong with them. I wonder what a story would be like that involves sexual excitment for a woman and true love even if she was never able to orgasm? Not one where the magic of the love finally allowed her to have her first one, but really a situation where she never does but still has an fulfilling relationship.Hmmm?

Wynter Daniels said...

Great post! I'm with you on the over and over orgasms. And I never knew this stuff! I'll let you in on a secret. Nearly all my heroes bring their lovers to climax with clitoral stimulation, at least the first time. And they never, ever have more than one with intercourse (and that's usually with some extra help;-)
As far as being unable to reach climax, well, this is fiction we're writing, so that would never occur!

Paige Tyler said...

What Wynter said!


Callie Croix said...

Michelle, I never thought of that! Intriguing idea.

Wynter, I love the way you write your love scenes ;)

I agree, Paige. *g*

Katie Reus said...

Awesome post! I haven't seen this mentioned before but it's so nice to see this topic. I laughed at the 'Or on command' bit. That's one of my ultimate pet peeves. (I have a heroine who orders her man to come but that's totally different, lol). Like Wynter, the majority of my heroines require clitoral stimulation. It's just more realistic. If a woman is climaxing four or five times in one session, I'm rolling my eyes and usually putting the book down.

Callie Croix said...

Why thank you ;)

It's a pet peeve of mine, for sure, but maybe it's just because I'm jealous of the heroines in those books. Lol.

I'm totally okay with your heroine ordering the hero to come. Cuz you know what? He probably could! Men have it so easy, I swear.

Ashlyn Chase said...

Excellent post, Callie!

I'm sorry it took me so long to respond, but it was worth being late better than never.

Jina Bacarr said...

I agree with everyone, Callie, fabulous blog! Your research and points are well taken. Finding the right balance in sex scenes is key: enough sizzle so you can enjoy the steak!

Callie Croix said...

Thanks, Ashlyn. Lol.

Great line, Jina! I was starting to feel like there was something wrong with me ;)