Savage Love | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Savage Love

I am a 23-year-old female, sexually active for seven years, and I can't reach climax. I have a wonderfully patient and helpful partner. He has tried hard to no avail. I can't even get myself there. I feel like I am broken. When I brought up to my doctor that I had never had an orgasm, she told me that female orgasms are largely a mental thing. She suggested I try using fantasy, which was not new to me. Other than this, my partner and I have a healthy sex life. I don't know what to do from here.

Frustrated Annoyed Person


"FAP shouldn't feel bad that she doesn't have a handle on a phenomenon that even sex researchers don't properly understand," said Tracy Clark-Flory, who writes informed, fascinating and sometimes hilarious pieces about sex and relationships for "In fact, scientists of all stripes have been struggling for decades to determine why the female orgasm even exists."

You might also be relieved to learn about one theory making the rounds … or you might not. "It's called the ‘byproduct' theory," says Clark-Flory, "and it might help make FAP feel less broken.

"Evolutionary selection has hugely favored the male orgasm, for obvious reasons," explains Clark-Flory -- the most obvious reason being that males who can't come aren't going to have many descendants. "The byproduct theory goes that since females share the same embryological origins of pleasure-friendly nerves and tissues as males, women are physically capable of climaxing as well. In this view, the female orgasm is an evolutionary hand-me-down."

In other words …

Every little zygote, so beloved by the GOP base, has all the basic parts needed to build either a male or a female baby who, once born, the GOP base could not care less about. Blasts of hormones transform those pleasure-friendly nerves and tissues into either boy junk or girl junk. Backers of the byproduct theory believe women are capable of having orgasms because female junk is built from the same components as male junk. Women can have orgasms because men must.

"At first, I found this theory terribly off-putting," says Clark-Flory. But viewing the female orgasm as an "evolutionary freebie … can actually validate the vast range of women's orgasmic experiences, as Elisabeth Lloyd, author of The Case of the Female Orgasm, has argued. This means a multiorgasmic woman is just as ‘normal' as an orgasmless one."

Clark-Flory doesn't think you should give up all hope of experiencing an orgasm -- nor do I! But she thinks you should stop stressing so much.

"When women have a difficult time getting there, it can be helpful to take the finish line away," she says. "I would suggest that she slow down and focus on feeling individual sensations. She'll be most likely to come when she forgets her worries about all that she isn't feeling and simply enjoys what she does feel."

CONFIDENTIAL TO EVERYONE: Jamey Rodemeyer -- a 14-year-old in Buffalo, N.Y. -- loved Lady Gaga, most of his friends were girls and he had feminine mannerisms. For that, he had been subjected to daily and often brutal bullying since he was in the fifth grade.

Last week, Jamey took his own life.

"All the girls just loved him and they always defended him," Jamey's mother told CBS News. "But all the boys would say, ‘Geez, you're such a girl. Why are you hanging out with all those girls? What are you, a girl? Oh, you must be gay.'"

For those sins -- the sin of hanging out with girls, the sin of loving Lady Gaga, the sin of not being exactly like all the other boys -- Jamey had to endure taunts like this one: "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!"

Then there's this detail from the Buffalo News:

"Last September, the It Gets Better Project was launched online as a place for adults [to] reassure troubled and potentially suicidal lesbian, gay and bisexual youth that despite the taunting, bullying, and physical abuse they face as adolescents and teens, life improves after high school. In May of 2011, Jamey posted [a] YouTube video with the description ‘Jamey From Buffalo, New York telling you, IT GETS BETTER!'"

The It Gets Better Project was created to give bullied LGBT kids hope for their future. But sometimes hope isn't enough. Sometimes the damage done by haters is too great. Sometimes the future seems too remote.

Watching Jamey's It Gets Better video is heartbreaking. Jamey was in pain when he made his video. But he was reaching out and trying to help other kids.

We can best honor his memory by following his example.

As I've said since launching the It Gets Better Project, nothing about participating in the IGBP excuses or precludes the adults among us from doing more. The videos have helped. Countless LGBT kids have told us that the IGBP provided them with moral support, insight and practical referrals to services that they needed. But we can do more.

We can press for the passage of the Student Non-Discrimination Act. We can fight to get anti-bullying programs that address anti-LGBT bullying into the schools. We can support GLSEN and its efforts to get Gay-Straight Alliances into every public middle and high school. We can support the Trevor Project.

And we can -- we must -- confront the bigots who are making it worse. Whether the bigots are stalking our schools, running their mouths on cable news or running for president, they must be held accountable for the lives they're destroying.

ABC News reported there may be some accountability in Jamey's case: "The Amherst Police Department's Special Victims Unit has said it will determine whether to charge some students with harassment, cyber-harassment or hate crimes."

Harassment and cyber-harassment should be investigated and prosecuted before a grieving family has to bury a child, not after.

Jamey's parents have asked that donations be made in his memory to Crisis Services ( Please donate. Find something else you can do and go do it. Then do more.

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