Opinion

‘Female Orgasm’ promotes sex-positive dialogue on the Hill

By Hristina Mangelova ’16

October 3, 2013

“Orgasms are like snowflakes: every one is unique!”
Maggie Keenan-Bolger

On Monday evening, the Hamilton College Womyn’s Center hosted its second “I Love Female Orgasm” workshop, the first having taken place in April 2011. Despite some negative responses to the publicity of the talk, both from members of the campus community and the outside media, the event’s organizers say the turnout was spectacular. Approximately 450 people packed into the Tolles Pavilion to learn about female sexuality. Many of them, to my personal surprise, were males.

Sex educators Maggie Keenan-Bolger and Marshall Miller opened the event with the infamous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene from When Harry met Sally. Throughout the talk, Maggie and Marshall debunked sexual myths, compared male and female expectations of sex and even shared some personal stories.

The Womyn’s Center Executive Board explained that they held this event to provide students with information that traditional sexual education often leaves out. Indeed, as I was listening to the presentation, surrounded by so many intelligent young people, I could not help but ask myself: How is it that we know so much about the world’s economics, politics and history, yet so little about women’s bodies? Marshall underscored the fact that, while sexual education classes teach teenagers about the fallopian tubes (the structure of which he jokingly mimicked with his body), menstruation and ovaries, nobody talks about the clitoris. Where is the shame in women experiencing pleasure from sex?

Last week, The Daily Caller referred to Hamilton as a “creepy college [that] thinks female students must be taught how to orgasm,” and called the event “intrusive.” I would like to respond to that reporter. Of course, students should be taught how to orgasm, but not only female students, males too! Since we were little, someone has taught us how to potty, brush our teeth, play sports, write and read. For many people growing up, sex has been a taboo topic and their knowledge has come from poor sources of information like popular culture, magazines and porn. Combine that with raging hormones and nervousness, and see if women get pleasure from sex! Young people, and some may say people of all ages, can benefit from talking about sex with a specialist in that field. Conversations with experts limit the perpetuation of myths such as “only guys masturbate,” and provide useful advice like “a gentleman lets his lady finish first.” But most importantly, having these discussions makes it easier for us to talk about sex with our partners—to tell them what we do, or don’t, like. And communication is essential to experiencing multiple female orgasms.

“I Love Female Orgasm” made people laugh uncontrollably and blush slightly. But the small amount of discomfort Maggie and Marshall may have caused their audience members to feel led to insights on intimacy that everyone—regardless of gender or sexual orientation—could take home. Or, more specifically, to bed.

The Womyn’s Center: “We’d like to extend our gratitude to everyone who attended the event, and everyone who supports the Womyn’s Center. We are always open to feedback, and would love to hear your opinions about this event and input on future programming. We meet every Tuesday at 9 in the Womyn’s Center on the second floor of the Days-Massolo Center. All are welcome! “

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