Let’s Normalise Female Pleasure | Her Campus

As I was writing this blog post, I started to doubt myself – not doubt my strong opinions (as you will come to see) but doubt whether I should post this. Yet, here lies the problem.

Society has conditioned women to silence their opinions on sexual pleasure, creating an unnecessary ‘taboo’ around a topic that is so freely spoken about in relation to men’s sexual pleasure. If you haven’t yet read about what was being reported in the news, a few months ago, then essentially all you need to know is that Zoella has been removed off the GCSE media curriculum, after she posts ‘best sex toy’ reviews. Yep, you read that right!

‘Male journalists criticising a woman for discussing the taboo of women’s sexual health, when the majority of the publications, they are writing for have been openly assisting men’s wanks on page 3 since November 1970 is gross and outdated’

How many countless times have you heard a man talk about ‘wanking’? Yet, have you ever thought about the fact whenever a woman speaks up about her own sexual health/sexual pleasures that suddenly those women are categorically classified as “too outspoken”. This act of being silenced by the media, doesn’t just silence this generation, but it silences the next generation, and the next generation… How many generations does it take for us to realise that this is simply unacceptable?

I’m not sure about you but not only do I remember the impending dread when we were told that the next lesson was going to be on sex education, but also how adverse the reactions of this were between that of the girls of the class and the boys. Boys openly talking about their sexual desires and preferences – whilst girls wanting the ground to sallow them up when being ‘taught’ how to put a condom on a banana – what a great educational experience *insert eye roll*.

Netflix’s tv show, Bridgerton, has highlighted just how far have we really come since the 1800’s. How can we categorically expect progressions in society to happen if we fail to recognise that is not only women that need to be educated on their own sexual health, in order to reduce internal stigmatisation (wow what a shocking statement), but men’s perceptions as well. Why can’t we take this opportunity to educate more openly-minded younger generations on all things sex – not just the ‘birds and the bees’ of said discussion.

We need to create a society where women are comfortable enough to talk openly about their own sexual health, and not be blocked at any chance of expressing a ‘taboo’ topic by the ‘alpha male’ or to succumb to the male gaze (the internalised male gaze being the idea that women live their life feeling as though they should express themselves in order to benefit the male).

In order for this to happen we need to educate and guide the younger generation through a rewrite of the education system – teenagers need to learn about the pleasure of sex not just the biology of it.

Much of the education is governed by out of touch, middle aged men who have no idea about what teenagers actually require from their education to be happy human beings. World Happiness Index, as a landmark survey of the state of the global happiness, ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be. A statistical measure should theoretically increase, as the increase in educational satisfaction increases – with 1 in 5 students suffering from a mental health issue (depression and anxiety being the highest), why aren’t the government doing more to boost the educational happiness and reduce stigmatisation? Because the removal of Zoella’s brand from the syllabus just further augments the idea that sexual pleasure is shameful.

Taken as a direct quote from The Times article it is said that ‘parents and teachers had expressed concern that some of Zoella’s “recent content is aimed specifically at an adult audience and not suitable for GCSE students”.’ How ridiculous! Even though Zoe Suggs brand, Zoella, is aimed at the 25+ demographic, who cares if teenagers are taught about this. We should be instead discussing why this isn’t taught to every student under the national curriculum, because let’s face it girls start getting their periods from as young as 11 – why not empower them about the pleasure of sex! Maybe if the education system evolved from its archaic ways, then we wouldn’t be in a crisis where teenagers learn about sex through porn!

Let’s consider the difference between men watching porn, and women reading about sex toys and learning to pleasure themselves…. ‘BOYS WILL BE BOYS’, but the moment girls might speak up about their own pleasures they are silenced, by the stereotypes of society, the very educational system that they go to 5 days a week. Perhaps in some sad cases their parents, who forgivingly allow their sons to explore sex (through porn might I add) but deny their daughters any such right… this needs to change!

This outdated thinking sees girls enter sexual partnerships as teenagers that they might not be comfortable with because the focus has always been on the male, their needs, and their pleasures. They don’t see themselves as people with needs, rather as an object that can be used. A disgusting but harsh reality of society.

I would like to leave you with a little antidote, that should hopefully bring you some further joy in light of this discussion. The other day, me and my two housemates were on my bed having our nightly run down of the day, when eventually, we began online shopping for sex toys…. Midway into our online browse my bed quite literally broke from underneath us, leaving the three of us in a fit of laughter on the floor of my broken bed. Looking back at this story, I like to imagine that the three of us were playing a part in (quite literally) breaking down the stigmatisation of female sexual pleasure….

So, when you all search for your first, or next, sex toy imagine the “classic” metaphor of a bed breaking the internal and external stigmatisation of female pleasure as you do so!

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