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Wednesday, July 09, 2008


A few days ago, someone commented on a piece I wrote elsewhere. I felt it off-topic there, but relevant here, and worthy of a decent response, so I shall attempt to answer the points made.

“…before she was outed by the media, I read Zoes
[sic] blog, as did my boyfriend. And afterwards we both agreed unanimously that it had to have been written by a man.”

I have had this accusation levelled at me many, many times. It used to make me laugh, but I also got angry: why can’t a blog about sex, written in a graphic way, be authored by a woman?

The commenter continues:

“We thought this because in most of the sexual encounters described in her blog, Zoe comes a ridiculous amount. And I do mean ridiculous. Often during the first sexual encounter with a new partner.

I won’t deny this, because it is true. Yes, I climax easily. And? For that I must be male?

“Now unless you are a VERY lucky women, so lucky in fact that the mere touch of a man sends you on a cascade of orgasms, that just doesnt happen! Its a male fantasy, of the type you find in the story section of a cheap porn mag. We were asked to believe all these (very talented) men knew exactly what to do first time.”

And this is where this particular reader has got the blog, and me, all wrong. The fact I can orgasm frequently and easily, is little to do with how good a lover a man might be and ALL to do with the fact that I know my body well, and I know how to bring myself off.

Having orgasms hasn’t always been easy for me. In fact, I spent years, as many women do, not climaxing at all, and when I finally learned how to, I was still not able to come with a guy like I could on my own. So what changed? Well, I wanked lots, mainly; something I recommend to all women. Like with all activities, the more often you do it, the better at it you become. The first time I used a toy, I was like, “What the fuck is this supposed to do?” which later became, “Jesus, get these fucking ears off me” and then finally, “Goddamn, I wanna hump that rubber cock all night”. Basically, I learned that my body was receptive to particular things (penetration, for one) and not others (non-direct clitoral stimulation only). And I also discovered that by concentrating, turning off the bullshit noise in my head, and clenching my pelvic floor and vaginal muscles, I could –often at will– climax.

I’ve documented all this here on the blog (much to my embarrassment, but hey ho, it’s out there now: hello to all my friends and family reading!) and at no point have I ever stated that my ability to climax is purely because the man I was with was some Casanova. I’ve fucked men that climaxed after three minutes of thrusting; or that painfully jabbed their fingers in and out of me as fast as possible; or that could not stay hard for more than a minute or two, and you know what? I’ve climaxed with them all, and each time, my ability to do so was because I knew exactly how I could obtain an orgasm – and I ensured I received (or gave myself) the stimulation necessary to bring me off.

That’s not to say I haven’t been with some amazing men, who not only taught me how to be a better lover myself, but whose sensuality and sexiness had me dripping wet upon just kissing them. Sometimes the chemistry just clicks and when it does, the sex can be magic. But even given this, without my ability to relax – and I mean both physically and mentally – I would still be struggling to orgasm, like I did throughout my early twenties. So no, what I’ve documented here is not pretend (as my sex partners would attest to) and not fantasy, but my own, real, experience of sex.

“What did she do, distribute a manual of the best way to bring her to orgasm to the male population of London?”

A manual? How about a personal sex blog read by 5.6m people and book (now translated into 17 languages, don’t you know)? Seriously (and ego aside) though, what’s with all the focus on MEN bringing WOMEN to orgasm? Isn’t there enough pressure on men already? What about women bringing themselves to orgasm? I’ve stated, many times, on this blog that women need to take responsibility for their own pleasure. By learning about their bodies and discovering what works for them; by switching off those horrid insecurities that can impact the sex (“Does he think I’m fat?”; “Will he consider me a slut for fucking him on the first date?”; “Am I shit at hand-jobs?”); by gaining confidence in stating their needs, women will have a better time in bed – as will the men they’re with – and the sex will be improved as a result.

I never used to be assertive in bed, but I’ve learned how to be, over the years. Like, for example, when a guy didn
t offer to finger me after he’d climaxed and I hadn’t, I ended up grabbing his hand and placing it between my legs, to ensure I could come too. Why should he be the only one to orgasm? And why should I expect him to automatically know how to please me? By taking his hand and showing him how I wanted him to use it, it meant I got the pleasure and climax I desired and it took the pressure off him worrying about having to maintain or obtain another erection. I truly believe that if more women had the confidence to state/show their needs, they would be having more –and easier– orgasms with men. Not all women, perhaps, but certainly more.

“Of course now that she has been outed, I have no reason not to believe that the experiences Zoe has written about were anything other than completely genuine. However, imagine my surprise then when I hear her being hailed as the new voice of true female sexual experience.

Great now Im
[sic] the freak.”

I have never, ever claimed to be “the new voice of true female sexual experience”. In fact, a few years ago, I felt like I was the freak: the only woman unafraid to express her appetite for sex, and I felt terribly alone in that. Everywhere I looked it seemed that as a woman, I was either supposed to have difficulty orgasming and be inhibited about sex, or else I was supposed to be donning a thong, shaking my tits to some lads, and screaming about how “empowered” I was. I related to neither, and I was sick of how my sexuality as a woman was restrained by these limited stereotypes. Where were the women who loved sex and refused the “slut” labels? Where were the women who felt OK about their bodies, but weren’t interested in making money off them? Where were the women who grasped that sexual liberation doesn’t mean the freedom to pose for Playboy, but instead, means being able to have the sex that they want and still be respected by both their partners and society?

I was surrounded by representations of female sexuality that I neither related to, or respected, and that was why I set up the blog and why it became such a cathartic outlet for me: it was a place I could be open about my thoughts on, and experiences of, sex, and not be judged for it. But I soon learned I was not the only one with these points of view. In fact, the thousands of emails and comments I’ve received from other women prove the opposite: there are many, many, women with one-track minds. So whilst we might not be the “true” female experience (because there is none), we are but one true reflection, amongst the myriad of all the other perspectives. All of our perspectives belong; none of us should feel like freaks.

“The point is good sex takes work and a really good sense of humour, and that is the message we should be trying to get across young people today.”

Absolutely: humour is always helpful. And with more openness, more honesty, more questioning of the restrictive gender stereotypes that affect both women and men, hopefully we’ll be a step closer to being able to ensure that the next generation of young people are able to have better sex and healthier relationships than we do.

And for any women out there reading this, and wondering what they should do to improve their sex lives, I suggest this: go masturbate right now. You won’t regret it, I promise.

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