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Myths

November 12, 2008

After making myself orgasm for the first time in my life, I had to do a lot of thinking. I had to react, badly, to get it out of my system. I had to let all the ramifications sink in. I had to accept that the world was not as I had imagined it.

Finding out that orgasm as it is popularly presented is a myth was literally the fruition of one of my worst nightmares. I had grown up hearing about how wonderful orgasms were, and how much I was going to enjoy them. I grew up being taught not to have sex until Monogamous Matrimony, and since I had no urge to masturbate, I assumed I would have orgasms when I started having sex. But I was always a little afraid that orgasm wouldn’t be everything it was cracked up to be.

Me: “But what if orgasms aren’t good enough to be worth waiting for?”

Them: “Of course they will be. Orgasms are the most wonderful thing you’ll ever feel.”

Me: “Is orgasm as good as everyone says?”

Them: *eye roll* “Of course.”

Me: “But what if it’s not that good?”

Them: “Everyone loves orgasms.”

Me: “But the act of sex is pleasurable by itself.”

Them: “Eh, a little, I guess. But it’s not really worth it without the orgasm.”

“Orgasms are amazing.”

“I couldn’t live without orgasms.”

“Orgasming is the best feeling in the world.”

I don’t know why I was so shocked that it was a myth. Everything else people say about sex is a myth, why did I expect orgasm to be any different?

Everyone masturbates: Myth

Everyone wants to have sex: Myth

Orgasms are what makes sex worth having: Myth

Orgasms are the peak of sexual and even physical experience: Myth

Orgasms are inherently pleasurable: Myth

But this was the one myth I was holding onto, despite everything, despite my instincts, despite my personal experience. Orgasm was supposed to make everything worth it. Orgasm was the shiny golden carrot leading me stumbling onward despite the sharp rocks and the burning sand. Everyone I knew told me I was wrong to not seek out orgasms, that I was wrong to “deny” myself the “most incredible feeling in the world,” that I would only be happy and satisfied once I had achieved it. And for some reason, out of desperation and frustration that probably had more to do with the fact that I was at war with myself over my sadism than a lack of orgasms, I listened to them. I convinced myself that I had been wrong, and I started masturbating, thinking that if I could orgasm, Everything Would Be Okay.

Then I figured out how to make myself orgasm, and it wasn’t so great. I let go of the last illusion that my conception of pleasure actually existed, and it was like falling, hard.

But what I want to know is where did this idea that orgasms are be-all-end-all of physical pleasure come from? Who decided that was a good thing to say? Why did I grow up hearing these myths and developing an apparently impossible (perhaps even otherworldly) conception of orgasmic pleasure?

I picked myself up surprisingly quickly after the falling. I honestly expected myself to be miserably depressed, considering one of my worst fears had been realized. I did some crying on public transportation, did some honest labor in a garden, and talked about the religion of depilation, gender and sex fluidity, guilt complexes of the descendants of oppressors, witchcraft, the disproportionate ratios of body-/image-modification among women as opposed to men, indigenous education, and sheep with a bunch of young farmers. I felt better. The world seems a little bit bleaker, but more honest, which is the way I like it.

I know I’m going to masturbate again. I’ve had a few orgasms since that last post. It doesn’t feel good, but it doesn’t hurt now. The spasms aren’t as intense (and no neck-spasms, thank God), but they last longer. My clitoris doesn’t freak out quite as much. So far the only (but not inconsiderable) benefit is that all the blood that’s built up in the wet, gushy areas returns to it’s proper place, which means not being in pain for days afterward. As an alternative to feeling like shit after a long and intense fantasy session, having a few seconds of freaky full-body spasms is not such a high price to pay. Also, orgasm is not a bad way to prevent cervical cancer, balance out hormones, and tone uterine walls for giving birth.

I suspect that after a while I’ll start associating orgasms with pleasure, or at least feeling good, and they’ll start to feel very different. And there will be other kinds of orgasms than the two types I’ve experienced. Right now the thing that feels the most like pleasure is the moment right before orgasm, when everything has built and it feels like something really incredible is about to happen– then *spasmspasmspasm.*

I’m thinking about the twelve months I’ve spent being preoccupied with trying to find sexual conclusion, of the emotional energy I’ve poured into trying to achieve something I never sought out on my own, all because a handful of sex-positive assholes in college convinced me I was self-repressed and missing out. (For those of you who are sex-positive and wondering, yes, the “sex-positive” and “assholes” in the sentence above are two separate things. The people just happened to be sex-positive, and happened be assholes about it).

And now, suddenly, it’s done. I feel like I can get on with my life. Now I know that, along with my exploration of my sexuality, I have to explore what pleasure actually means to me.

And I want to find out who started the myth of the orgasm. So I can shoot that asshole.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Dev permalink
    November 12, 2008 8:49 pm

    Just some thoughts here, from one person’s perspective.

    My experience is similar to yours in that the moment before orgasm is probably the best of the whole orgasm sequence.

    Orgasms, whether they feel very good or not (and to me they usually do, but not always), are something we seem driven to obtain (by our genes, presumably, which want us to reproduce them). They don’t have to be that great in order to occupy a place of intensity in human imagination, given the drive to seek them.

    I am 33 and still learning a ton of new stuff about my sexuality all the time, which surprises me since I’ve felt like I pretty had it figured out since I was 17 or so. I’m guessing most people never figure most of this stuff out at all – they just do whatever seems like the right thing to do in the context of their sexual relationship(s) and go with the flow.

  2. ranat permalink
    November 12, 2008 9:07 pm

    “They don’t have to be that great in order to occupy a place of intensity in human imagination, given the drive to seek them.”

    I think you have a good point there, I’m just wondering why the place of intensity is praised rather than feared. Seizures are otherwise considered a bad thing, ya now?

    Sexuality is… weird. It’s just weird. Enjoyable, but weird.

  3. November 13, 2008 3:11 pm

    I’m just wondering why the place of intensity is praised rather than feared. Seizures are otherwise considered a bad thing, ya now?

    The difference between being praised and being feared is the same difference as the line that separates genius from madness. I’m certain that not everyone considers seizures (or other neurological “dysfunction” such as hallucinations) to be bad things.

  4. ranat permalink
    November 14, 2008 11:32 pm

    “I’m certain that not everyone considers seizures […] to be bad things.”

    I believe it. But I can’t think of a context off the top of my head.

  5. Myth permalink
    January 27, 2009 6:48 pm

    I actually find orgasms from vibrator stimulation to my clit to be very painful, too. But orgasms from other things, like oral or fingers or fucking, are pure pleasure. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that not all orgasms are created equal, and you may have just come across a sort that happens to be painful for you.

  6. ranat permalink
    January 27, 2009 7:00 pm

    @Myth – Alas, yes. The vibrator is no longer usually painful, but I dislike having to rely on it, and would really rather if I could give myself orgasms with my own fingers.

  7. August 22, 2010 3:10 pm

    I’ve been masturbating, and if not, orgasming involuntarily while dreaming, and waking up on it, since I can remember. It’s never even crossed my mind until recently that some people might not have the same need. For me it’s as necessary as food. I border on psychotic if I try to deny myself for long, or even if I’m physically unable to. And by psychotic I don’t mean cutsie fluffy angy type of feelings, I mean I feel worthless, unloved, flegmatic, unmoved by anything, start having waking dreams and aggressive or just emotional outbursts. That’s why I might have once said something like your sex positive assholes. :(

    And for me the orgasming in and on itself is, well, what I need, really. I feel so shallow to say this, but I doubt I’d have sex without even the possibility of orgasming.

  8. ranat permalink*
    August 22, 2010 4:48 pm

    Orgasm has definitely changed for me, though it is still not the biggest-bestest-most-overpoweringly-awesome thing I have ever experienced. I like them now, and I’m learning how to edge myself so I actually get more of the sensations I do want, of which the orgasm is only the conclusion.

    Sometimes I don’t want to come when having sex with someone else, because I want to stay in the feeling, maintain the energy. But when I masturbate, I’m doing it for the purpose of coming. I really enjoy sleep orgasms when they happen, though. They just have a different quality, that I wish I knew how to nurture.

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