DEAR READERS: Sophia Wallace, the NYC-based conceptual artist behind the amazing Cliteracy project, was a guest on my podcast recently. During our chat, Wallace told me that a column I wrote years ago about the importance of the clit had a big impact on her as a teenager—in fact, she still had the copy of the column that she had clipped out of the newspaper. I’m reprinting that column this week for three solid reasons: Ignorance about the clit is still rampant (hence the importance of Wallace’s work), reprinting the column allows me to plug Wallace’s work (check it out at sophiawallace.com), and it’s Christmas and I’m taking the week off. For newer readers: Letter writers addressed me as “Hey, Faggot” for the first few years. These days, of course, only my husband talks to me that way. Happy New Year!
My question involves my present girlfriend and ex-girlfriend, as I’ve had the same problem with both. Both say I am a good lover. Lovemaking sessions have lasted hours. However, neither could have an orgasm via intercourse alone. They can each come in a second by masturbation, and in minutes from oral sex. They say they’ve come very close during intercourse with me. They also say I shouldn’t worry. But if I didn’t worry about it, wouldn’t I be one of those guys women complain about all the time? I’m beginning to get a complex. I wonder what I’m doing wrong. I wonder if they would be more satisfied if they were with someone better endowed. During intercourse, I feel myself becoming discouraged: I think that she will never enjoy this as much as I do, and sometimes these thoughts have caused me to go soft in the middle of the act. Please tell me what to do.
Your desire not to be “one of those guys women complain about all the time” is commendable, but it would be more so if you’d bothered to educate yourself about women’s bodies and women’s orgasms before you started fucking women.
News flash: Most women are unable to “have an orgasm via intercourse alone.” Why is this? Because the business end of the clitoris—which plays as central a role in her sexual pleasure as the head of your cock plays in yours—is located outside and above the vagina, not inside and up it. Are you with me? The clitoris is not a joy buzzer at the top of the vaginal canal. It doesn’t matter how big your dick is, how hard your dick is, or how far you manage to get it in (okay, those things do matter, but not for the sake of this argument): The clit’s the thing!
While some women’s clits are angled in such a way that bumping and grinding provides enough direct clitoral stimulation to get them off, most are not so conveniently angled, and you actually have to go out of your way to make her orgasms happen. It never ceases to amaze me just how many heterosexual men don’t know these basic vagifacts.
But you needn’t take my word for it. According to Cosmo—my reference for all questions regarding female anatomy, sexual response, and makeup—fully 70 percent of women need stimulation above and beyond vaginal intercourse in order to achieve orgasm.
Imagine the flip side, Brooklyn: Your new girlfriend pays no attention to the head of your cock during sex; the most she can be bothered to do is provide you with a little “indirect stimulation.” Maybe she nudges the side of your dick with her foot while you eat her to orgasm after orgasm. While you might enjoy this activity (especially if you’re a foot fetishist), it probably won’t get you off. You’re having fun, you’re enjoying yourself, but you’re not having orgasms. Eventually, you pull your slimy face out of her crotch and ask for some direct cock-head stimulation. Your girlfriend recoils in horror. She insists that ALL her previous boyfriends could climax from indirect cock-nudging alone. “What is wrong with you?” she asks.
How would you react to that, Brooklyn? Probably like this: You would get up, get dressed, tell her she’s full of shit—delusional—and inform her on your way out the door that all of her previous boyfriends were liars. You wouldn’t settle for indirect stimulation—so why should your girlfriends have to settle for indirect stimulation?
I’m going to let you off the hook just a bit: You most likely aren’t entirely responsible for your ignorance or your predicament. The women you’ve slept with up to this point may have contributed to your ignorance. A lot of women, when they first start having sex, believe they should be able to have orgasms from intercourse alone—because that’s the way women’s orgasms seem to work in movies, porn, and romance novels, and, funnily enough, it’s the way their ill-informed young boyfriends insist women’s orgasms work. Consequently, some young women psych themselves out, convincing themselves that they’re having orgasms while their boyfriends huff and puff; other women fake orgasms for fear that their boyfriends will think they’re damaged goods if they can’t come from intercourse alone.
Since inexperienced young women tend to have sex with inexperienced young men, these psyched/faked orgasms can leave young men with a false impression of the way women’s bodies work and, sadly, of their own sexual abilities. Bad-in-bed boys bop through their sex lives until the earth-shattering moment when they find themselves in bed with a woman who insists on a little hand action or a lot of oral sex. When a boy finds himself in bed with a woman who demands that her orgasm (and her clit) play as central a role in the sex act as his orgasm (and the head of his dick), these boys—these dear, sweet, darling breeder boys—freak the fuck out. They think the new girlfriend is some sort of psychotic nympho, or, like you, they think their lovemaking skills have deteriorated or their cocks suddenly aren’t big enough.
But the new girlfriend isn’t a psychotic nympho. She’s just not a doormat. And the boy’s lovemaking skills haven’t deteriorated—they never developed in the first place. And as for your particular cock, Brooklyn, it may be too big, too small, or just right, but almost all women need stimulation in addition to fucking to achieve orgasm, regardless of their manfriend’s cock size. So the size of your pee-pee doesn’t matter all that friggin’ much, except, perhaps, aesthetically.
You fear the girlfriend “will never enjoy [intercourse] as much as I do,” Brooklyn, and that fear sometimes causes you to go soft. Fear not: She’ll enjoy the fucking just as much as you do, so long as you remember to pay attention to her clit while you’re fucking her. If your arms aren’t broken or bound, reach down or around and finger her clit while you bang away; encourage her to play with herself when you’re fucking; try different positions to see if different angles of penetration might provide more direct stimulation to her clit, and then let her control the speed and pace of the grind; get her off with your mouth or your hand before you fuck; buy some “clit grapes” at a sex-toy store—the possibilities are endless. Learn more about women’s bodies, listen to your partner’s verbal cues, watch for her physical ones, and make her pleasure a priority—that’s how you avoid being one of those men women complain about all the time. Good luck.