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