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The Female Orgasm Takes Carleton By Storm

October 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm
By Claire Weinberg '12

Students of all genders and sexual orientations had come from all over campus (some from as far away as Goodhue!) to attend the program, presented by Dorian Solot and Marshall Miller, a couple who have presented, according to their website, over 450 sex education programs to college students around the country. The goal of the program was simply to shed light on a topic that is often obfuscated (as Solot pointed out, in most sex education classes in grade school, the clitoris is never mentioned or even included in diagrams of female anatomy. "It would be like if you were given a picture of male anatomy," said Solot, "and you were like, excuse me. There's no penis here!") What are the messages society gives women about their orgasms? What can help a woman have an orgasm? How does it physically work? Solot and Miller set out to answer these questions, along with many more that came up throughout the evening.

The program started off with a viewing of the scene in When Harry Met Sally where Sally fakes an orgasm in a restaurant to prove to Harry that he can't tell when women are "faking it." (According to Solot and Miller's website, 44% of men think that women always orgasm when having sex with them; 22% of women say they always orgasm when having sex.) Then we moved on to Cosmo covers with teasers like "Your O Face: What He Thinks When He Sees It!" As Solot pointed out, "When I'm having a really incredible orgasm, I could really care less what 'he' thinks of how I look."

Next, Solot and Miller split the audience into men, women, and people who preferred to stay in a co-ed group, and did a short session pitched to each gender. The women were startlingly honest. In the discussion of masturbation, one woman said she did it all the time when she was younger, was told to stop, and didn't know what "masturbation" was when she first heard the word – she thought it was something only boys did. Another said she had never masturbated, had her first orgasm while having sex, and had no idea what had happened to her. A third woman said she was so nervous when ordering her first vibrator off that she had to have her friend click "confirm" for her. Answers for "what could help a woman have an orgasm?" ranged from positive body image to "chocolate" (it wasn't clear in what capacity). When it came time for open questions, the women were even more direct – what could you do if your partner's penis was just too small? one woman asked, then collapsed into giggles. (Answer: most woman can't orgasm from penetration alone anyway, so improvise, basically. "It's probably not helpful to say to your partner, 'Your penis is too small!'" Solot advised.)

When the groups came back together, there was a brief presentation on the workings of female anatomy. The two male friends I came with were highly inspired by the revelation that men can train themselves, through Kegel exercises, to have "female" orgasms (they can learn to keep themselves from ejaculating, allowing for multiple orgasms). At the end of the program, everyone had learned at least one fact they didn't know before, and a bit of the taboo surrounding the subject had been loosened. After all, it's not every day you come back to the dorm in the evening and everyone greets you with, "So, how was the female orgasm?"