Female Orgasm – Does it Exist?
Spoiler alert: yes, it does! Any red-blooded man or woman who has ever brought a woman to shuddering climax is well aware that not only do women orgasm, they love to do it and that it can be brought about in a number of ways.
However, people were not always quite so enlightened, and on and off throughout history, men (usually men, although they were often aided in their endeavours by other women) have exercised iron control over women’s bodies; demanding that they be covered, uncovered; hairy, smooth; pale, tanned; femininely voluptuous or slenderly boyish, depending on the dictates of fashion and taste. Women, for the most part, complied with these demands, wanting to please their fathers, husbands, guardians and protectors – although, when the control became more abusive than protective, women were not shy about expressing their unhappiness.
Mary Wollstonecraft was perhaps the first ‘feminist’, loathing weak-willed females who feigned weakness and simply obeyed the strictures of their menfolk without considering the wider consequences of their actions, and resenting her necessary reliance on the finances and (lesser) intelligence of her menfolk. Men who roll their eyes and decide that any women who calls herself feminist must be a man-hating lesbian must reconsider when it comes to Mary W. Not only did Mary thrive on discourse and friendship with men, she was also relatively highly sexed, having a number of sexual affairs with men. In fact, the revelation by her widower that she had born a child out of wedlock before their marriage almost put paid to the feminist movement, setting it back decades. Her husband, William Godwin, (with whom she had a daughter, Mary Shelley who would in later years write ‘Frankenstein’) did not tell her secret out of anything other than a desire to show the world his late wife’s full courage – sadly, society wasn’t ready for such liberties, and his words had exactly the opposite to what he had intended, with Wollstonecraft being derided as being ‘a hyena in petticoats’…
One of Wollstonecraft’s most felt injustices was that so many women died or were made permanently ill from the simple act of child-birth. (Ironically, Wollstonecraft herself died shortly after birthing her second child, Mary, mentioned above.) That men could and did make women pregnant more or less at will, was a major issue, and she actively encouraged her sister and one friend to leave their husbands after complications with their pregnancies…
In Wollstonecraft’s novel ‘The Rights of Women’ the protagonist, Maria, is abused by her husband, verbally, physically and sexually. She is forcibly impregnated, then her child is stolen from her while she is incarcerated in a lunatic asylum – and all of these actions were entirely legal in Wollstonecraft’s day. Maria does eventually become free, but the trauma she suffers during her bid for freedom (which included erroneously being told that her daughter was dead) leaves her bitter and diminished, and it is hard to imagine a return to the earlier innocent Maria described in the opening pages.
Such was the control that men permitted themselves over women, neatly ensuring that women could not vote, had no power to legislate themselves, and were not educated to a point where they could coherently and decisively point out the inherent unfairness in laws – all of which just proves how very extraordinarily intelligent and aware Mary W must have been, to pull herself up enough to gain a reasonable education, and then to go as far as she did in a world that was ranged entirely against her!
Fortunately, times have changed, and from the belief that women merely endured sex and could not and would not enjoy it, it is now perfectly acceptable for a woman to expect – and receive – full, orgasmic satisfaction with each sexual encounter. And she is no longer at risk of death in childbirth as a result of it either!