Sex and female pleasure have always been a controversial topic in Southeast Asia. While there is effort by The Noeo Project in Malaysia that demands for a more comprehensive sex education for the youth, many adults—men and women alike—are still left in the dark when it comes to sexual pleasure.
The difference between sex and pleasure is subtle. The latter can exist without the former, but not the other way around. Unfortunately, sex without pleasure is all too common, hence the orgasm gap. It is a cultural phenomenon where women have far less orgasms than men.
Surely this is something that only exists in countries that lack sex education, right? Well, Archives of Sex Behaviour reported amongst 52,000 adult Americans, 95% of heterosexual men climax during sex, compared to only 65% of heterosexual women.
The exact statistics are unknown here, but it’s clear that sexual knowledge shouldn’t be limited to just consent and reproductive health, when bedroom inequality exists.
Reclaiming our bodies
According to studies, the female orgasm has no evolutionary benefit unlike the male orgasm, which serves a clear purpose through ejaculation. So why is it important to close the orgasm gap? It’s simple, because we deserve to feel good.
Even with the popularity of the sex-positive movement, embracing a very natural part of ourselves still come with negative stereotypes. It discourages women from fully embracing their sexuality. As a result, it has built a culture of slut-shaming, victim blaming and in the worst case, violence.
The taboo that surrounds female sexual pleasure has led to extreme procedures like FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), a cultural and traditional practice done in regions like Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Conducting FGM is believed to reduce a woman’s libido to prevent extramarital sexual acts. In Malaysia alone, almost 93% of Muslim women have undergone circumcision—proof that the religious motivation behind FGM still stands strong, despite not having any concrete religious text in support of female circumcision.
In a conservative setting like ours, acknowledging limitations in sexual expression is already an act of rebellion. There’s still a lot of destigmatising to do. The better we understand our bodies, the more we know what we deserve.
Get in touch with yourself
Another way to change the narrative on female pleasure is to bring sexual wellness into the conversation. This means exploring our own bodies, discovering preferences and learning how to be comfortable in our own skin—with or without a partner.
Among the ladies, the subject of masturbation for instance, is not as widely discussed compared to the guys. It’s easier for us to open up about periods and contraception, but it’s rare or even almost awkward, to talk about what we like in bed. Thankfully, female-centric sex content on websites like Bellesa, Frolic Me and Sssh are aplenty. You can find erotic stories, ethically- sourced adult films and all kinds of sexy material that are made for women, by women.
The demand for such content is also rising on our shores. With female pleasure as its main ethos, the locally- born brand Erosu aims to provide not just pleasure products, but also serve as a sex-positive platform where topics about aftercare, types of orgasms and kinks are discussed. From dildos to vibrators, the site offers a wide range of tools with detailed product descriptions so you can find the right toy to help you “get there”.
View this post on Instagram
The benefits of orgasms are endless. It’s a mood booster, stress reliever and producer of happy endorphins! By using tools during intercourse or solo sessions, you get to experience new sensations and make discoveries about yourself and your partner that might be game-changers in your sex life. . ”
“We received a lot of questions about sex that range from hygiene to pleasure. Some “basic” or “common sense” questions came in large quantities and it made us realise that Malaysia has a serious lack of sexual health discussion,” shared team Erosu.
The goal is to not make the elephant in the room disappear, but to embrace it through open conversations and awareness. Though it might not be the best lunch hour topic to have with your colleagues, it should be a norm to exchange experiences, likes and dislikes with people you trust, as well as your sexual partner.
“Women have been taught to ‘put up’ with sex with their male partners and often have their pleasure disregarded,” said Erosu. “It’s important that we teach women that sex should be equal. The best way to do that is through self-exploration. Understanding what pleasure feels like helps women realise that their pleasure matters. Sex and masturbation is enjoyable and healthy.”
There’s no shame in the game and the sooner we all know it, the better.