Mona's O -- Doesn't Everybody?
Six years ago, when I was pregnant with my second child, my OB/GYN asked if I’d be interested in participating in a research study at Local University. They wanted women of all socio-economic levels as test subjects, with the goal in mind of finding out causes of low birth weight. Of course, I said Yes.
The study encompassed a light physical, with reference to my current OB records. For two days I had to wear a blood pressure cuff that went off every few minutes and automatically recorded my levels. (Try sleeping through THAT!) I met with a facilitator and answered a seemingly endless set of questions…multiple choice, short answer, open-ended. Having designed and executed research studies in college and in my place of work, I was very interested in what they were REALLY getting at, how they designed the study, if the questions were well-written or ambiguous. I made some comment about the study, asked the facilitator about her role in it, and she brightened to know that I had also done the job she was doing. We then started to chat a bit after every section, about the questions, the university’s role in the study. I felt like an insider.
"Do you know what an orgasm is?"
“Have you ever had an orgasm?”
“How many times in your life have you had an orgasm: 1-10, 11-20, 21-50, more than 50.”
“Are you kidding? More than 50.”
And the line of orgasm questioning went on and on, and we both giggled at some of the questions and she was amazed at my straightforwardness. Which struck me as odd, I mean, why wouldn’t you just open up? After that section, I laughed and said, “There can’t really be any women who say they don’t know what an orgasm is!”
The facilitator leaned in and said, “Actually, some women in the study have never heard the word!”
It was like she was speaking Martian.
Never heard of an orgasm?
“Some of the women in the study, those in a lower income level, or in a rural setting, some in very religious marriages, have NO idea what an orgasm is. I can’t tell you how many women have asked me to define an orgasm for them! When I tell them the physical aspects of it, that it happens during intercourse, compare it to their male partners orgasms, they just shake their heads and say, ‘Nope, never had me one-a those!’ And some of these women are in their late 30s with other children!”
I sat there speechless. The facilitator and I shook our heads and sort of sighed, I could tell that she’d seen and heard things in this study that made her wonder what womankind is coming to.
How can this be? How can you go through your life and not know what an orgasm is, at least heard the word, touched yourself "down there", at the very least demanded that your partner help you have one? It seems so odd that women can be so unaware of what their bodies are capable of.
I understand that access to education may play a part in this. Feeling guilty about sex, due to your upbringing, beliefs, culture, whatever, can play a part. Low self-esteem, a demanding partner, all play factors.
You had to, at some point in your life, heard the word orgasm. Or cum. And wondered what the fuss was about. Why wouldn’t you find out how to give yourself one, at the very minimum? Are those women really so affected by outside forces that they abandon their own feelings and happiness? Do they really think of sex as merely for procreation? Are they truly happy?
I so much wanted to talk to these women. To show them a diagram of their genitalia, to instruct them on masturbation. To talk to their partners and slap them upside their heads and say, “Make her cum first!” Knowing how much I enjoy an orgasm, I couldn’t fathom losing that part of my sexuality (or having never discovered it), that part of being self-confident, that happiness. Sad, it’s really sad that some women have neither the knowledge nor the want to explore their own sexuality.
The facilitator and I spent several hours together, talking, questioning, laughing. She was good, and I thanked her for being so open with me.
After my baby was born, there were a few more questions and medical records exchanged for the study. I was told that the final research report would be sent to me, as a courtesy. I didn’t hear anything further.
Until two weeks ago.
The study group sent me a letter, asking if I wanted to continue participation. I called the number listed and said, “YES!”, answered a few more questions, was told to expect more phone calls and letters in the next few months. PLUS a copy of the final report, probably next year, as the focus of the study was expanded to include the health of the mother, the child, and any future children.
All that is interesting, and the research-hog in me is extremely curious to see the results.
But I can’t help but be a little sad for those women who answered the orgasm question with, “Nope! Never had me one-a those!” In the six years since the study, have they had an orgasm? And why not?