Heartfelt Plaint: Dworkin and MacKinnon are two controversial flavors in a veritable Baskin Robbins of feminist choice.
Dworkin is about as popular these days as a Cabbage Patch doll. MacKinnon, I think, has had more lasting influence. (FTR, I strongly disagree with the former, and find the latter thought-provoking but ultimately wrong-headed. Moreover, this is true from just about every self-identified feminist, including male feminists, I know).
Demosthenesian*"there may be a simple physiological aspect to this. Besides the way the equipment works, it’s pretty much a given (although not aways) that a man will have an orgasm no matter what the woman does. She can just lie there. Too often, and sadly for both sexes, they often do.
Since women’s orgasms are (usually) more elusive, mysterious, and require a hell of a lot more work, the unequal amount of effort helps to create the belief that the female orgasm is an achievement, which is exacerbated and shaped by the perception that men actually have to Do Something during sex and women don’t to create the perception that “men give women orgasms” instead of women simply having them.
(It doesn’t help that too many young girls haven’t the faintest clue about their sexual responses, either, thanks to societal mores)."*
Demos, this reminds me of a joke I heard in a movie a few years ago (can’t remember the name unfortunately).
*Qu: What’s the difference between a G-spot and a golf ball?
Answer: I’ll spend 20 minutes looking for a golf ball" *
First, what Manda Jo said and much of what Lamia said.
As Manda has indicated, you’re sort of trapped here between remarking on a cultural stereotype that you lament, and naturalizing its effects as though they were the inevitable product of physiological difference.
Is men’s anatomy really so much less mysterious and elusive and than women’s? A penis is a, um, hard fact, while a clitoris is a metaphysical quandary?
It is really “a given” that a man will have an orgasm no matter what a woman does? How can it be when, for many men, the problem is the erection. There are also men who get too nervous to complete the act, or complete it so fast that they don’t feel they’ve experienced a proper orgasm. (I’m sure I don’t have to tell you these things.)
Is it true that women’s orgasms require “a hell of a lot more work” that men’s?
Does it take more calories to vigorously pump your hips for–well you fill in the blank–than to lie at relative ease, employing your digit of choice to stimulate your lover’s body while (optionally) whispering, “Does this feel right?”
I think if we asked an engineer to weigh in on this subject, the harder “work” would fall to the first task.
And, no, it doesn’t help that many men consider it a major effort to ask a simple question–presumably because societal mores have led them to believe that they are failures if the woman doesn’t scream with ecstatic pleasure while she’s lying on her back and he’s doing exactly what his central nervous system is telling him to do.
Demos, you are one hell of a cool dude and I would never want to say anything that puts you off posting here.
But consider. A clitoris is, physiologically speaking, very much like the head of a penis, only smaller and harder to see. But not to worry about that.
We have the technology.
Men: get a flashlight if you need to. If you wear glasses, keep 'em on. Train your eyes considerably above where you boldly go with that other, sightless organ of yours.
Find it. It is there: this is not like looking for the source of the Nile.
In fairness: yes there are women who’ve been mentally messed around by unrealistic body images, or by conflicting messages to be virgin/whore. Such a woman many not feel comfortable enough to help you on your quest. She may feel too guilty to want to keep you away from what she thinks (from reading posts like the above!) you’d much rather be doing. She might even be tempted to fake it just to make you happy.
Suggestion: Tell your lover it turns you on hugely to look closely at her body. Tell her that the most exciting thing to you is to find your lover’s most sensitive body part and to never, ever leave it go.
Then–to quote Captain Picard–“Make it so.”
She is very unlikely to lie flat on her back in response to your body, once you’ve recognized that hers too is hard fact.
Lamia, I agree with your last, especially since it’s hard to tell the difference these days. When porn was porn I had no big issue with it–up on the top shelf, in the X-rated movie theater, or adult section of hte video store.
The problem nowadays (last 5-8 years or so) is that softer edged porn, or porn-inspired images are everywhere. Magazines like Maxim are right next to Scientific American. And the main difference between Maxim and Cosmo, image-wise, is the ads.
The Victoria’s Secret catalogue–the primary objective of which is to get women to buy products–is designed to look as much like a men’s magazine as they can get away with it. HBO et. al. play lame midnight softporn, with men’s nude bodies nowhere in evidence. Video stores display obvious erotica by directors you’ve never heard of alongside Hollywood blockbusters. Comic books, video games and even some Disney movies draw women’s bodies as though the women in question had just left the implant ward. MTV videos for bands marketed to teens and pre-teens are shot by porn directors and feature porn actresses.
Going through this catalogue, I can’t draw any clear and reliable distinction between men’s media women’s media and the problems thereof.