I’ve pretended to know you when male entitlement and fragile masculinity have been at their peakJack Dykinga

I don’t really know you. I only know you by reputation – you are the bringer of screams and whimpers, the embodiment of female pleasure. A source of empowerment, a reliever of stress. A myth, according to some (the majority of whom just never bothered to find you).

You definitely don’t know me, so let me introduce myself. I enjoy sex. A lot. To me, sex can be intimate, it can be casual, it can be love, or it can mean absolutely nothing. I talk about sex openly, which some men find terrifying. I have a lot of sex. What I’ve never had, however, is you (at least not in the context of someone else being around).

No one has ever truly wanted to introduce you to me for anything other than to further their own gain

I’ve heard about you, I’ve pretended to know you when male entitlement and fragile masculinity have been at their peak. My closest friends and worst enemies are well-acquainted with you, or at least claim to be, but I’m not even sure what you look or sound like. I think of you like I think of the tooth fairy or Father Christmas. Benevolent. Non-existent. Present only for those who deserve or who believe. Maybe the lack of importance I often prescribe to the act of sex means I don’t deserve you. Maybe I just don’t believe any man is capable of bringing me that amount of pleasure.

I know your brother very well. The male orgasm is like the postman. Or an alarm clock. I know he will be there (almost) everyday without fail.

But you, the female orgasm, are so much more elusive. You are a chameleon of sorts, and in the few blurry glimpses I’ve had of you, you’ve always looked different.

To the one I had to fake,

This should really read ‘ones.’ I’ve faked knowing you more times than I’ve faked knowing anything about British politics. I immediately regret it when I see the smug faces of my partners, revelling in the fact they’ve finally ‘cracked the code.’ I’ve even had men complain about how easily they’ve succeeded, with assertions that ‘I prefer when it takes longer, that was so quick.’ I roll my eyes into the back of my head, and not for the good reason (never for the good reason).

No wonder we fake it when the response to our honesty is being made to feel guilty

These days I’m less bothered with faking it. When I finally started being honest about not knowing you, men have tended to relish this fact, often assuming I’d just been with the ‘wrong’ lover. Suddenly I become an exciting challenge. These are the men who give up after spending less than a few minutes prodding inside me, as if they were searching for a set of car keys in a deep bag. These are the men who sulk when they fail, leaving me having to stroke their fragile egos, with a lot more effort than they bothered stroking me. No wonder we fake it when the response to our honesty is being made to feel guilty. It’s just so much easier to pretend. And clearly so easy to be convincing, despite the fact that I’m a terrible actor and avoid opening birthday presents in front of people such that they won’t see the disinterest in my eyes.

To the one from the mansplaining ‘feminist’,

It’s really no mystery why we never met. He even dared to tell me that we actually had: ‘maybe you are having an orgasm but you just aren’t noticing it,’ before trying to convince me that he’d often encountered girls with that ‘problem.’ He told me to ‘do my research.’ ‘Google it,’ he said. ‘Try harder,’ he said. As if I don’t already know this body inside and out. As if the only time I should bother being in tune with it is for another’s satisfaction or for the sake of their pride.

Maybe that’s why we’ve never met. No one has ever truly wanted to introduce you to me for anything other than to further their own gain. As a result, our interactions have been superficial, forgettable, like someone you meet in passing amongst a crowd of other strangers without your contacts lenses in and with both ears cut off.

You taught me the truth behind why I had been faking it, because sex is validation and an orgasm is the final seal of approval

To the one from the guy who wouldn’t stop talking,

I was so close. So close to seeing you. Unfortunately, there was a lot of background nattering from your source (and not even the dirty kind, just general comments on what he’d done that day). And poof - just like my interest in what he ate on his piece of toast that morning, you were gone.

To the one from my first one night stand,

It really shouldn’t have come as a shock not to see you here. You certainly set the tone for future casual encounters, teaching me that nights like these are rarely about my pleasure, and always about his. Maybe because he knew he wouldn’t see me again, he wasn’t bothered about impressing me. Maybe it’s me being a high-achiever, but I don’t follow that logic – even if it’s just one night, I always perform at my best.

To the one from the two-year long relationship,

You must be the biggest disappointment of them all. There’s really no excuse for you not coming (or rather, for me not coming). It’s easy to try and excuse how the one-night stands and the men I didn’t really like failed to get me there. But in a trusting and intimate relationship of love, there’s no explaining it. As the relationship lost that love and intimacy, so my glimpses of you became blurrier, until you no longer made any kind of appearance, and nor did he.


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Mountain View

Why should sex finish when he does?

To the orgasm he never had,

You were the alarm clock that failed to go off. I assumed, having become used to the sulky response men have given when I don’t climax, that I’d be a lot more understanding when the roles were reversed. I was wrong. For you to not show up surprised me, and I couldn’t help but feel slightly hurt, my ego bruised. For me, and a lot of heterosexual women, sex is defined by the male orgasm. That is how it ends, the final release which marks the crossing of the finishing line. Without it, there is a sense of incompleteness that is so much less tangible in the absence of the female orgasm.

You taught me the truth behind why I had been faking it, because sex is validation and an orgasm is the final seal of approval. And ultimately, people really just want to please, sometimes more than they want to be pleased themselves.

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