ORGASM IS GENDERED: a feminist exploration into the (hetero) sexual lives of young women
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Italian society is still facing an enormous “orgasm gap” in (hetero) sexual relations: according to a very recent survey (Barbagli and co., 2010) only a minority of women reach an orgasm in every sexual intercourse, in contrast with the vast majority of men; this is true even in the younger generations. I take the lack of orgasm as a starting point for studying how sexual behaviours are still under the reign of patriarchy, imposing male standards that privilege male pleasure at the expense of female. My research therefore aims to analyze from a feminist perspective the agency of young women in reaching an orgasm during a (hetero) sexual relation. Through the use of a “feminist objectivity” and a qualitative methodology I have conducted eight semi-structured in-depth interviews with young women in Bologna, Italy. In particular I have identified a series of widespread social discourse that prevent women from choosing orgasm, while causing them to live their sexuality with high doses of insecurity and inhibition. The lack of sexual knowledge, the taboo of women masturbation, the myth of the vaginal orgasm and the greater recognition of the sexual needs of men contribute to the gendering of orgasm and impede women to live their sexuality freely and satisfactorily.