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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hello, A Female Orgasm Is Slapping You in the Face and You Don't Even Know It

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Whenever I'm having sex with my partner, she shakes uncontrollably and produces excess lubrication. Having sex with her has been unpleasant. I just want to know the causes and solutions to these problems.

Dan Savage
is the granddaddy of sex advice columnists, the one against whom all others must be measured. While there are many things that I admire about Dan, when I started writing SEXpress in 2008, my editors and I agreed that we wanted a kinder, gentler sex advice column—one that treated readers with respect no matter what their questions were rather than being snarky or opinionated, which is often the tone in “Savage Love.”

I have faithfully stuck with this philosophy—until now.

The question above really pushes my buttons, because to me, it reads like a description of normal female arousal. Uncontrollable shaking? Vaginal lubrication? Sounds like an orgasm is happening. And if you find this “unpleasant,” then the problem is yours, not your partner's.

I considered not printing or answering this question, because women have enough pressure on them to look or act a certain way during sex without reading a column where some random person expresses distaste for the bodily signs of female pleasure over which we have no control. Every week, I talk to women who have trouble achieving orgasm because they are worried about losing control, appearing unladylike, or doing something “dirty.” These psychological pressures are real things that inhibit women's sexual pleasure.

I am reminded of a chapter in the classic women's health book Our Bodies, Ourselves, when several women describe what an orgasm feels like to them. One woman says that she hoped someday to be able to have an orgasm, if only she could get past the shaking and shuddering she felt when masturbating. Later, she realized that the shuddering was it—that was the orgasm. She hadn't recognized her own body's responses because she was so attuned to what she thought an orgasm “should” be like.

While it is true that some people may produce so much lubricant that they find it makes sex less pleasurable (see my previous column about this), for the majority of people, our natural bodily responses when we're aroused are a good thing.

If you find your partner's sexual responses “unpleasant,” then perhaps you should stick to having sex with Fleshlights or other inanimate objects that, you know, aren't attached to real people. I sincerely hope that you have not already shamed your partner into suppressing her natural expressions of sexual pleasure.

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side. She has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.