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Keeping our eyes on the orgasm prize might just be a distraction

This is our third and final post from Arushi at the World Sexual Health Congress in Glasgow, where she also explored the wonderful world of the orgasm.

Score one for pleasure

Orgasm – the word itself is orgasmic. It begins with making your mouth open into the O of wonder, astonishment and exciting shock and ends with your mouth closed in an mmmm of pleasure, contentment and satisfaction. Right? Hmm, not necessarily actually!

I learnt about the tome which is used by psychologists, psychiatrists, sex and relationship therapists, sexologists and other health professionals to help their diagnoses and treatments. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been revised several times, including the time when homosexuality was struck off it as a mental disorder.

According to the DSM, most sexual dysfunctions are defined as either not having an orgasm during sex or having one too quickly. So does that mean that orgasm is or should be the main outcome of sexual intercourse  and  sexual activity? No, says  Dr Meg Barker. Orgasms mean different things to different people and constitute different experiences, from an expression of power to a mechanical release or a display of intimacy.

This is why, she says that sex and relationship therapy aimed at enabling orgasms and being goal focused rather than pleasure focused is forcing norms on people that just don’t fit.

Sexual satisfaction shouldn’t just be about having an orgasm.

Guess who agrees with her? Dr. Beverly Whipple – yup, the one who told us all about the G-spot! She emphasised the need to be pleasure oriented rather than orgasm oriented. An orgasm is not an end in itself and all the other activities, commonly considered to ‘lead up’ to the orgasm, like kissing, holding, touching, are each an end in themselves. Also, the idea really is to experience an orgasm, rather than be under pressure to ‘reach’ or ‘achieve’ an orgasm. In her words, “a person can express their sexuality in many ways, not only through their genitals.”

That’s what we at The Pleasure Project believe as well – there are sooooo many sexy and safe ways of pleasuring yourself or each other that you could spend a month of O’s and mmmm’s just going through our list on sexy tips !