Dear MKE SEX,
I have noticed that most women I talk to don’t really enjoy sex. This is absolutely not the case for me! I’m definitely a woman, and I definitely enjoy sex (lots and lots of sex)! Am I alone? I can’t be the only one, right?
I’m Lovin’ It
Dear Lovin’ It,
You’re not alone! Very many women (both cis and trans) enjoy sex. There are women who spend time fantasizing about the sex they want to have, and reminiscing over the great sex they’ve already had. These women are not all just having sex with their long-term partners. Some of them are hooking up with strangers, and some are having NSA sex with friends. Some are joining in on play parties for fabulous group sex, and some are having mind-blowing solo-sex (a.k.a. masturbating).
But a lot of these sex-loving women aren’t very verbal about it, or they even deny it. There are many cultural reasons for this. For one thing, women are actively discouraged from being fully actualized sexual participants. We are supposed to be the receivers of sexual attention and energy, not the instigators. From a young age, we’re taught that there’s a high value attached to our virginity, and that we shouldn’t “waste” that by having sex too young, too late, or with the wrong person. Society shows us that our own pleasure isn’t very important, but our ability to please our partner is extremely important.
Women also run the risk of being thought of as slutty if they enjoy sex. Or if they talk about sex or ask questions about sex. Or if they have “too many” sexual partners. But of course, if you’re a woman, you know that you can also be labeled a slut if you wear the “wrong” clothes, have the “wrong” friends, go to the “wrong” clubs, speak in the “wrong” tone of voice, or make a myriad of other “wrong” choices. I’ve even seen women called sluts for not having sex with someone who clearly thought he was going to score.
Given that our culture still doesn’t really understand consent, there is another very real risk to women who admit to enjoying sex. If people find out that like we like sex, it could make us targets of sexual assault. And women’s enjoyment of sex has been used to justify assault throughout history. For many women, it seems safer to err on the side of hiding or lying about their sexual pleasure and activities.
Of course, there are women who have tried sex and don’t really love it. I’ve spoken with folks who say things like, “It was nice, but I thought it would be more.” And it’s possible that these women would enjoy sex if we had comprehensive sex education in our adolescence (and earlier!) Then we’d know what to expect, at least from a technical standpoint. Plus, we’d have common language for discussing what we like and don’t like, and would be more comfortable with our bodies and bodies of our lovers.
Finally, it’s important to acknowledge that there are also cis and trans women (and men, and nonbinary folks) who actually don’t enjoy sex, or don’t feel sexual at all. This is a variation on normal, and these people should never feel like they have to have sex. Just as we shouldn’t shame a person for having and wanting lots of sex, it’s not okay to shame people who don’t want to have sex either.
Curious about cunnilingus? Anxious about anal? Do you have questions about queefs or problems with your prostate? Lucky Tomaszek is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee’s only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll get back to you with an answer.