Yes, it’s a serious question. An ancient technique called karezza — based on the Italian word carezza, for caress — is coming back in vogue with therapists as a means of addressing more modern sex problems. Karezza refers to intercourse that eschews orgasms for both parties and focuses on attachment and affection. Serious devotees claim that it can overcome sex addiction, female sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction and sexual boredom, and extend the honeymoon period of a relationship for, well, forever. Which sounds to us like a bit of a Sophie’s choice: Would you be willing to give up orgasms — or, at least, intentional orgasms — for the rest of your life in order to have a permanently awesome sex life?
We’re always on the look-out for free podcasts to fill the interminable gaps between new episodes of This American Life and RadioLab, and one of our new favorites is the Stuff You Should Know podcast from HowStuffWorks.com. The hosts, Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant, are funny and smart and just the right amount of nerdy, and their meandering conversations cover everything from how Alcatraz works to how silly putty works. If you’re used to the tightly edited style of, say, This American Life, their loosey-goosey style will take a bit of getting used to. But unlike those high-budget shows, this one is updated every few days.
So anyway, we were thrilled to hear the recent episode, “What happens in the brain during an orgasm.”
The female orgasm is a mystery, and not just in that how-the-hell-can-I-make-my-girlfriend-climax kind of way. Scientists just can’t seem to figure out what it’s there for. The most recent theory – popularized in the 2005 book The Case of the Female Orgasm – was that it was just an accidental evolutionary by-product of the male orgasm. Meaning, the orgasm is important for men (no shit) and women share biology with them in the same way that men have non-functioning (unless you count orgasm via nipple clamps) nipples. But anyway, a recent study of thousands of twins and how they do or don’t orgasm, failed to prove this theory.
It’s not exactly rocket science to say that men orgasm more often than women when they have sex with each other. Now, if you had to guess, what do you think happens to this orgasm gap as a relationship progresses from casual hookup to repeated hookup to serious commitment? Yep, the orgasm gap closes. According to new research by Elizabeth Armstrong, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan, women orgasm about 80% as often as men do in close relationships — but only 32% as often in first hookups. This research is based on feedback from 12,000 college students across the country. In other words, yes, the undergraduate female orgasm is a rare and special beast.
In the first book the two of us wrote together, a sex manual called The Big Bang, we included the throwaway line “multiple orgasms for men — sorry, that’s a whole ‘nother book.” (What can we say, we only had a few hundred pages to work with, and it seemed to us that women who had never had any orgasms of any kind deserved a bit of attention.) Well, a reader named Alan Oberman wrote to us recently to say, “It doesn’t have to be a book. I’ve written an article, based on personal discovery, on how man can become multi-orgasmic.” He’s been so pleased with the results that he asked if he could share his experience with our readers — and given how many men write to us asking about this topic, how could we say no? (Though we must admit that we did demur when it came to hearing about Alan’s personal experience building his own perfect artificial vagina!) So, without further ado, here is Alan’s story, in his own words:
I probably know less about female orgasms than anyone on the planet—even former boy band members–but Liz Canner knows a lot about them, even more than pharmaceutical companies do.
In fact, when she took on a job editing erotic videos for such a company’s drug trials in their attempt to market a female Viagra, Canner’s intellectual G spot was awakened and she realized the bizarre situation she’d landed in needed to be a documentary.
The strongly executed result, Orgasm Inc, is an alarming look at the way big business tries to manipulate the public by creating diseases, then marketing the supposed cure.
On the eve of the film’s February 11 opening in New York and Chicago (before it goes to L.A. and DVD), I spoke with Canner about her orgasmic achievement.
One of the most popular and commented-on posts of our home site, EMandLO.com, is about strap-on sex. It’s not exactly a point of pride for us. We’re much more about the happy feel-good feminist relationship posts. And we worry that this prominent butt-sex mention is what keeps the advertisers away (of course, it could be the vibrators we peddle in our sidebar). But then we see Bank of America and Bing ads right along side Slate’s article “Riddle of the Sphincter,” about the correlation between anal sex and orgasms for women, and we can’t help but think “No fair!”
When Craig Venezia, the man behind the Faking a Sportsgasm blog, wrote to us suggesting that our sites had a lot in common, we were wary. On the one hand, we love that he makes fun of macho dudes who slobber and moan over balls and hard pucks. But on the other hand, we’re against faking of any kind — and it seems like Craig just wants to blend in with all the face-painted sports fans. Which would mean that slobbering macho dudes win. And on the other other hand, part of us thinks that Craig just might be pulling everyone’s leg.
But then Craig uploaded his Faking a Sportsgasm song to his blog, set to the tune of YMCA, with lyrics like “A discharge of your testosterone / You can do it when you’re all alone / But it’s more fun, when you’re with other guys / Then you can all do high fives.” Okay, so (a) that is hilarious on so many levels, and choosing the YMCA tune was a stroke of genius. And (b) the recording actually sounds really good and surprisingly professional, which leads us to think that Craig is serious and not pulling our leg. We’re still not down with the faking, but we’re totally down with making fun of sports fans in song, and so we decided to ask Craig a few questions and let him explain his mission in his own words.
Photos via BeautifulAgony.com
When we first saw the headlines this past week about a woman who has 300 orgasms a day finally meeting the man of her dreams — i.e. a man who could keep up with her libido — we assumed the story would be about Marrena Lindberg, whom we interviewed last year for our U.K. TV show. Lindberg is the author of The Orgasmic Diet: A Revolutionary Plan to Lift Your Libido and Bring You to Orgasm and has persistent sexual arousal syndrome (PSAS), which means that she has hundreds of orgasms a day. Mind you, these aren’t dramatic, Meg Ryan-style orgasms — she demonstrated one for us during the interview (using a photo of Stephen Colbert as her “inspiration,” we shit you not) and after it was over, we had to ask, “Did it happen?” And yes, we were just as awkward as you might expect. Exactly where is the polite place to look when one’s interview subject is in the midst of an orgasm?