Why We Should All Become Cliterate (just ask Amy Schumer)

This sex positive story excerpt from Becoming Cliterate by Dr Laurie Mintz is published with permission.

Dr Laurie Mintz is a sex therapist

The comedian Amy Schumer told Glamour magazine:

“Do what you feel you want to do while also considering how you’ll feel the next day. Don’t not have an orgasm…. Make sure he knows that you’re entitled to an orgasm. … I’ll be like, “Oh my God, have you met my clit?” Don’t be self-conscious.”

When I first heard this, I thought, Wow. She summed up Becoming Cliterate in a few sentences! Then, as I further contemplated her words, I realized she’d pinpointed three mind-sets that can hinder-or enhance-women’s orgasms. Let’s break them down.

Optional Versus Entitled Sexual Pleasure.
Hopefully, you’ve now rejected the idea that women should orgasm during intercourse and that women’s orgasms are less important than men’s. But rejecting deeply rooted cultural messages on principle doesn’t mean they no longer have the power to affect you personally. As one example, research finds that even women who reject unrealistic standards for female appearance have at least part of their self-esteem dependent on their weight. We’ll deal with these damaging cultural pressures for women’s appearance later. The message we’re talking about now—that women’s orgasms are less important than men’s—is also so deeply entrenched in the fabric of our culture that it can subconsciously affect even women who consciously reject it. Let’s do a little thought experiment to see if it’s still affecting you.

Have you ever had a sexual encounter with a man when he had an orgasm and you didn’t? If you have sex with men and remember, I mean sex broadly, not just intercourse—it’s likely you’ll be able to recall several such incidents. Replay one in your mind. Really, truly take a few concentrated moments to think about how you felt (e.g., unsurprised, unperturbed, neutral, disappointed, worried, upset) and why you think you felt that way. Now reverse the scenario. Have you ever had sex with a man when you had an orgasm and he didn’t? If not, imagine one. Either way, real or imagined, take another few moments to genuinely examine how you felt and why you think you felt this way. If you felt more negative about his lack of an orgasm than your lack of an orgasm, you’re still at least somewhat buying into the insidious cultural message about men’s orgasms being more important than women’s. Likewise, if you imagined a scene in which you didn’t orgasm during intercourse and felt concerned about your male partner’s ego, you’re likely still negatively affected by the cultural lies about the importance of women’s intercourse-based pleasure.

 

Good Sex Awards
 

 

So what’s the solution? Truly believing that your sexual pleasure is of utmost importance. Like Amy said, it means feeling entitled to pleasure.

I know some of you might be having a negative reaction to the word “entitled.” It’s gotten a bad rap lately. Urban Dictionary associates this word with being rude, demanding, and spoiled, but I’m not using “entitled” this way. Among psychologists, “feeling entitled to pleasure” means believing that it’s essential a partner cares about your pleasure. To me, it also means that if you’re having sex with a man, you and he both genuinely believe that your pleasure is as important as his. This means that you consider-and expect him to consider-stimulating your clitoris to be as central to sex as stimulating his penis. In other words, entitlement could simply be another way of saying equality.

Entitled to Orgasm Too? Maybe you noticed I’m saying you’re entitled to pleasure instead of saying (as Amy does) that you’re entitled to an orgasm. This is because goal-oriented sex is way less likely to be satisfying sex. Determination to achieve the goal of orgasm (“I want to come! Am I going to come yet?”) makes having an orgasm less likely. So when it comes to the attitudes needed to orgasm, we ironically need to stay away from anything that makes an orgasm something you must have and focus exclusively on your sexual pleasure instead.

How do you get this feeling of entitlement to pleasure? By talking to yourself. Tell yourself, “I’m entitled to pleasure!” or something else that gives this same message. Go ahead and steal my “The time has come to cum” line, if you’d like, but personalize it: “The time has come for me to cum!”

To make sure you have lots of entitlement messages to choose from, two students and I brainstormed several other self-talk options for you. Some are straightforward and some are full of alliterations and slang words. Whether you want a mantra or a motto or a slogan that could sell T-shirts, the important thing is to find a message that resonates with you.

My clit is crucial!
I deserve pleasure.
Hell, yeah, my pleasure’s paramount!
I’m worthy of pleasure.
Making my pussy purr is primary!
My sexual pleasure is essential.
My vulva is vital!

In case you’re not yet convinced of the importance of believing you’re entitled to pleasure, researchers have found that holding this attitude is related to experiencing more orgasms, having higher self-esteem, and even being happier in general! They’ve also found that feeling entitled to pleasure is related to being able to reject the sexual double standard—the next sex-negative attitude we’re going to attack.

Is Self-Talk Silly? Some people feel silly talking to themselves. However, psychologists recommend consciously and purposefully replacing negative thoughts —even subconscious ones — with positive thoughts. Research proves that positive self-talk leads to positive behavioral and emotional change. Changing your thinking is also harder than it sounds. But it starts with noticing the conversation inside your head-first tuning in to what’s already being said and then flipping the script if necessary. It takes effort to change your internal chatter, but it’s essential, and definitely worth it!

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Want to read on? You can buy Becoming Cliterate here.

Dr. Laurie Mintz is a feminist author, therapist, professor, and speaker whose life’s work has been committed to helping people live more authentic, meaningful, and joyful lives through the art and science of psychology. Her books include Becoming Cliterate and A Tired Woman’s Guide To Passionate Sex. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Excerpted from BECOMING CLITERATE by Laurie Mintz and reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2018.