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The Phenomenon of So-Called Female Orgasmic Dysfunction

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An article cited by EmpowHer reader entitled, "Almost Half of Women Have Sexual Problems" (Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News for The Washington Post on October 31, 2008) grimly described a near-pandemic of what is being called female orgasmic dysfunction.

In it, Gardner reports a scary 40 percent of women aged 20 to 65 with problems of sexual release, with a mere 12 percent distressed about it. To put it bluntly, this amounts to roughly 33.2 million women in America who deem themselves incapable of orgasming, only 10 million of which actually care about it.

Traced back to its origins, the appearance of the disorder in women directly corresponds to the nature of the female orgasm itself, which although complex, is not as physiologically complicated, difficult or impossible to achieve as some would have you believe. Yet, the fact that the female anatomy is somewhat more labyrinthine than a man's obvious shaft with its single, straight path to orgasm is apparently the source of real aggravation for many women who have long gone without it.

Still, it would seem that some 30 percent of women for which complete orgasm is a complete mystery are perfectly content to exist, mapless, lost in a foggy no man's land of sexual discontent. This is a heartbreaking idea. Hundreds of thousands of women have simply allowed themselves to prematurely accept defeat, having lost all hope of ever experiencing the vital richness of a sexually satisfying life, whether it be in relationship with a man, woman or simply with herself.

As a result of this surge, some women seek out or await hormonal fixes, such as testosterone or the as-yet undeveloped female Viagra with its hoped-for effect of artificially elevating desire. These desperate searches for quick, medical fixes very often resemble gold rushes, for both patients and pharmaceutical companies.

While testosterone likely has the promoted behavioral effect of "masculinizing" the female libido, it's dangerously limited not to consider that other factors are at work within the endocrine system.

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EmpowHER Guest

I don't agree that women hate themselves and I actually don't think that that statement is supported by your conclusion. I think that, contrarily, there is not enough regard for women by themselves or society for them to even manifest the kind of hatred that would result in bodily dysfunction. I think it is that lack of regard that makes it so difficult to get in tune with the sexual processes that make us whole and it is that same lack of regard that isolates us in our feelings of failure from non-performance. I do agree that there is a connection between sexual performance and standards of feminine beauty, after all; The assumed role of women, that of being on the sex stage, is to provide the "audience" with something that is visually stimulating as well as physically stimulating. But, I don't think that a hatred can even develop to the extent that you're proposing when there is a general conditioning that men do come first, and as a result, they do. The hatred is more ideological than a real judgment of self-worth.

That said, I appreciate your article because it takes the routine (and at this point, hackneyed) criticism of societal standards of beauty and forms a critical theory of how those pressures affect us when they extend to the most intimate part of our lives. As it turns out, it's not about focusing on our inside or outside, but finding the intertextuality of the two that makes us whole and regard ourselves as worthy and capable individuals. (Oh yes, and have orgasms.) -M

September 24, 2009 - 2:09pm

I absolutely love the poetic quality of your writing and really couldn't agree more with you about the intensely personal nature of womens' pleasure.
I would add that there are men out there who can and want to help women love themselves and who genuinely love women, and can be a profound influence on going with a woman to that place of intimacy where she can really lose control.
Awesome article!

May 17, 2009 - 4:22pm
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