I am reposting this article I wrote for my original blog back on November 22, 2013. It’s not that I don’t have another topic in mind for today. I just saw this in my Facebook memories and realized that yes, nine years later, I am STILL very grateful for orgasms. And I just wanted to spread the news.
As it’s November and the month of Thanksgiving, there have been a number of Facebook posts recently about gratitude. Many people post something they are grateful for every day in November. In the spirit of gratitude, I too have been posting things I am thankful for. I try to keep my thanks upbeat and light-hearted, though. I figure there are enough schmaltzy posts about being grateful for good health and happiness or a supportive family. I like to give other things their due.
So I am grateful for odd things like clean underwear, modern plumbing, and Jagger’s swagger. And yesterday, I was grateful for orgasms. I posted that thought and was amazed by how many “likes” it got. Some people thought it was funny. Some thought it was shocking. Some people, who know me, thought it was typical. But yes, a lot of people apparently appreciate the ability to have an orgasm. And you know, it’s something that many of us probably take for granted. I’m aware that a lot of people thought my post on Facebook was funny, but when you think about it, the ability to have and enjoy an orgasm is really a much more serious subject than meets the eye.
Back in the late 1990s, I took Prozac for awhile. It wasn’t the best drug for me and pretty much killed my ability to have an orgasm, not that I had a sex life at the time. I just remember that even when I was in the mood for a little self abuse, it took forever. It was very frustrating. I remember thinking of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story, “Welcome To The Monkey House“, a story about overpopulation and indecency and how people of the future were ordered to take a drug that took all pleasure out of sex. In the story, a druggist had taken his family to the zoo and was appalled when they saw monkeys masturbating. He came up with “ethical birth control”, a drug which didn’t actually render anyone sterile, but just made sex unappealing. Because the world was overpopulated, everyone was required to take the druggist’s birth control pill.
The story was also about how people were encouraged to visit “ethical suicide parlors”, where beautiful, tall, virginal women would help people voluntarily kill themselves as an effort to keep the world population of 17 billion people stable. There was a group of rebels who refused to take the birth control and therefore were able to enjoy sex. And indeed, they did enjoy it frequently. One of the characters kidnaps a “suicide hostess” who is very much in favor of the laws. The characters force the woman to allow the birth control to wear off… which, of course, gives her the ability to know what she had been missing.
I have always liked the story, but after taking Prozac, it became very profound to me. It’s been years since I read it, but I do remember Vonnegut describing what the ethical birth control did to people and how it made them feel… kind of numb in the sexual regions. And that’s how Prozac made me feel, too.
But at least I had the ability to stop taking the drug. I eventually switched to Wellbutrin, which was a much better antidepressant for me. My nether regions came back to life and my depression finally lifted. I was able to make decisions. Later that year, I met Bill online and the rest is history. You might say Wellbutrin actually helped me finally get a sex life, though it took a few years.
I am very grateful not to have been raised in a belief system that thinks of sex as a dirty thing. It’s bad enough that we have a number of religions that discourage masturbation and subject members to humiliating interviews about their “habits” and refer to masturbation as “self abuse”. There are also belief systems that promote the idea that enjoying sex is a sin and that it should only be done for the purpose of procreation.
There are a number of religions that forbid members from admiring others, even to the point of forcing young men to look away when a pretty woman walks by or worse, forcing young women to wear shapeless garments that obscure their figures and veils that cover their hair and face. This is all done in the name of avoiding lust or, heaven forbid, immorality caused by an orgasm. An early episode of the fundamentalist Christian Duggar family’s reality show featured someone shouting “Nike!” when a pretty but “inappropriately dressed” young woman walked by. It was a code to get the boys to lower their eyes, lest they be “defrauded”– that is, driven to lust by the tempting appearance of a beautiful woman. Can’t have those young men having boners, can we? Not until their wedding nights to women who are hand-picked by daddy… and may or may not be all that attractive or interesting. (ETA in 2022– oh, how innocent we were about the Duggar family in 2013!)
There are also a lot of women who, unfortunately, can’t have orgasms because they have been subjected to female circumcision. Female circumcision is a horrible misogynistic custom practiced in certain countries around the world. It’s considered a rite of passage in some places, perhaps even celebrated to some extent before a poor girl between the ages of birth and puberty is forcibly held down as her genitals are brutally mutilated by other women or even the local male barber, who may be a local health practitioner. It involves removing part or all of the clitoris and sewing up the labia, which makes the eventual enjoyment of sex very difficult. This procedure can be done with or without anesthesia. It can cause significant health problems and gynecological difficulties. It can also cause death.
Women who have had their clitorises amputated can’t experience orgasms. They may or may not know what they are missing, which seems like a small problem in the grand scheme of things. Just the idea of trying to recover from such a brutal operation, as routine for them as having wisdom teeth extracted is for many Americans, is hard to fathom. It really is food for thought if you happen to be lucky enough to be a woman living in a place where female genital mutilation is not common.
So yes, during this season of Thanksgiving, I am very grateful for orgasms… the ability to have them at will, and for the sweet man who still inspires me to have them. Orgasms are one of life’s most wonderful gifts. May you enjoy your orgasms as much as I do mine…