Something has been haunting me lately about men and women and orgasms. It’s been sticking in my head, popping up during conversations and thoughts, and I can’t seem to shake it. It arrived courtesy of comedian Liza Treyger.
Normally, I don’t watch a whole lot of comedians on TV, but my sister has been with living with us and she is a big fan. The other night she eagerly insisted I watch Liza Treyger’s set from The Degenerates 2018 comedy special on Netflix. I now understand why.
Liza is pretty raunchy and makes no bones about talking about sex. While she’s got a number of funny bits in the show, what it all leads up to is a bold, astonishing, and revelatory statement on the prioritizing of men’s and women’s pleasure in bed. Which in turn is an interesting lens through which to view our society.
Her set is everything that a good comedians set should be in this day and age. It’s funny, raunchy, insightful, and 100% unapologetic. Even more telling, I haven’t been able to quit thinking about it.
SPOILER ALERT (This is still SO worth seeing even after you read what I have to say (and paraphrase) about it.)
“Did you have an orgasm?”
At one point, Liza mentions that when she entered her first same-sex relationship, she felt a bit intimidated sexually. So, she bought a book on cunnilingus. She then asks the men in the audience if any of them own a book on how to eat pussy. A few female titters are followed by silence and discomfort that’s palpable.
She moves on to the first time someone sleeps with a new partner (hetero sex, specifically), and asks the men in the audience what questions their good (male) friend might ask after finding out his friend got laid. They might ask what the woman looked like. Or whether they got a blowjob. Or how big her pussy was (I didn’t even know this was a thing!).
Women, she posits, almost always ask each other whether they had an orgasm. And when prompted to give her the usual answer they receive, the ladies yelled out “No”. Loudly.
She then asks the men in the audience if they’ve ever been asked this question after a hot hook up? Of course the answer is no, because whether or not a man orgasmed isn’t even a question. At this point, the ladies are giggling and the men are silent and mostly stoic.
Towards the end of this joke, she points out that those men in the audience in the audience who feel defensive, yeah, they’re guilty of being shitty in bed. This is the best public call-out I have ever witnessed.
It’s a bold move to risk alienating half your audience, but I think it paid off.
Putting Men’s Pleasure First
It’s no secret orgasms during sex are basically guaranteed for the vast majority of men, the vast majority of the time. And for women an orgasm is not guaranteed at all. But I don’t think I ever really considered how that affects our sex lives, our relationships with the opposite sex, and how woman are treated in general.
Porn is made primarily by and for men (and as Liza notes, few people pay for porn even though those women work far harder than a baseball player ever has). High heels were originally designed by men. There are articles in women’s magazines every month on how to please your man in bed. Women buy sexy lingerie to entice men, or struggle to come up with new ways to spice up their sex lives.
Yet women do all this when we don’t need to work hard to help men achieve orgasm. Whereas women’s orgasms take more effort and are rarer—which, incidentally, should make them more valuable and sought after. Yet the media (and most men) spend comparatively little time and attention ensuring women are satisfied.
Instead, women’s pleasure is considered superfluous and unnecessary, or simply assumed.
The truth of the matter is woman spend a ridiculous amount of time, money, and energy trying to make sure men are happy, satisfied, and attracted to them. Because we have all—men and women—been taught to put a man’s pleasure and happiness first. Always.
It’s an attitude that bleeds into most everything women do.
Our work, our desires, and our abilities are still constantly derided and downgraded. We’re called girls until we die, our hobbies are “cute”, and our careers are place-holders until we have children. Our looks, and how pleasing those looks are to men, are paramount. Once we’re passed child-bearing age, any value we might have had is gone outside of free babysitting services.
Romance novels are one of the few places in life where women are allowed and encouraged to get the respect, success, and pleasure they deserve (in bed and out). Yet these stories, written by and for women are also regularly ridiculed. Scorned. Mocked.
What does that say about the importance of our desires? Our pleasure? Our happiness?
Imagine what might happen if we flipped that script, and men started prioritizing women’s desires, pleasure, and happiness. Certainly, a lot more good sex and female orgasms, for a start.
Thoughts? Ideas? Rants? Please do comment below!