In the Medieval period, scholars say that the common belief regarding baby-making was that both men and woen had to orgasm in intercourse in order to release the egg and sperm for formation. Though the times weren’t exactly blissful (The Plague anyone?), this meant that at least the women could count on some sexual pleasure. Then a whole bunch of other stuff happened over the centuries, like witch burnings, which generally gave women a bad name and didn’t help them much in any department, let alone the bedroom. The Victorians especially, with the regal “lady in black” running the show, pressed that women should have absolutely nothing to do with sex, save the few necessary times within the confines of marriage to, you know, regenerate the population. Even up to the “Summer of Love,” women’s pleasure was treated as a taboo subject. Everyone knew that men were sexual fiends, but women were barred from the subject to the point that the female orgasm was considered a myth.
Thank God that’s all changed – right? Some regions of the world might still need some improvement (let’s start with the women in Saudi Arabia who get their toes cut off for wearing nail polish), but here in the great state of California a woman now proudly has the right to a little enjoyment, man or no man. In her column in Jane magazine a few years ago, Pamela Anderson made mention of a well-publicized trip the posh Gwyneth Paltrow made to an adult store, where she bought dozens of toys to surprise her friends with at a bachelorette party. Pam cheered Gwyneth on for proving that real women, not just porn stars and prostitutes, actually enjoy sex and sexual pleasure.
But believe it or not, Gwyneth’s buying habits aren’t enough to relax some of the more archaic state laws in this country. In California, we seem to have it easy. As recently as 2004, a woman in Texas was arrested and faced with up to a year in jail for explaining to other women how to use a dildo (it sounds self-explanatory but I guess a girl might still have questions). However, this isn’t an isolated case. Texas, Georgia and Alabama all have laws that prohibit the sale of vibrators and make it illegal to have more than five (why five, you may ask? Absolutely no idea.)
Women have actually been arrested and hauled off to prison in these states for simply wanting to get off. Meanwhile, erectile dysfunction awareness ads, coupled with a huge open market for Viagra, run every commercial break. Hmmm –
The irony is, most young guys today don’t seem to mind if their girlfriends own a vibrator, dildo or any toy of the like. Though I’ve been forbidden to name names (and that’s not very progressive of you, unnamed vibrator supporters), a lot of dudes I spoke to admit that they like to throw their girl’s little friend into the mix every now and then. “If she wants a little something extra to get going, why would I have a problem with that?” said one such valiant fella.
So the advice I may give any girl out there, including the firm recommendation not to plan on a shopping spree in Texas, Georgia or Alabama, is to get in on the fun. In the past month alone, several of my close girlfriends have taken the plunge and have gone from the awful confession, “I don’t know if I’ve ever had an orgasm” (believe me, you’d know) to “Uhh, coffee later tonight? Gee I’d love to, but (buzzzz) I’m kinda busy.”
If you haven’t already, ladies out there, join the good times. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did.
Janice Edman is an English senior and a Mustang Daily columnist.