Hi, I'm Rachel. I'm a twentysomething journalist and social researcher interested in the relationship between sex, status and the self. I'm also writing a book on the topic. These are the ingredients that fuel my theories.
Check out my main blog, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.
Click here to email me.
For me, the most troublesome part of Grindr has always been its proximity to commerce. In the Grindr economy, your body is your currency. You use the app to shop the catalogue of headless, shirtless torsos, to find one that you can afford (meaning someone who is at a similar fitness level). For someone like me with notorious body issues, this clearly presents a problem. But there’s also something kind of gross about it. Like emotionless and clinical. Totally the antithesis of romantic.Have hookup apps ruined gay romance?
Thus, sexology sets ‘orgasm’ up as the universal, empirical definition of sexual pleasure, and an essential component of health to which we all have a right. The asserted link between sexual fulfilment and emotional wellbeing impels us to liberate ourselves from inhibitions so that we are able to discover our ‘true selves’ through orgasmic sex (Brunt, 1982). In accordance with this sexual liberation ideology, we now have a ‘duty’ to have orgasms since experts, lovers and we ourselves expect this as a mark of ‘normal’ sexual experience. The right and duty to have orgasms reproduces what has been termed an ‘orgasmic imperative’ (an obligation) in contemporary sexual experience.Lindy Wilbraham, 1996
Sexology, as a liberal approach, sees sex as transcendent of social determinants, ie ‘a universal language’. Thus, sex information and techniques are empowering of individuals: to know what-to-do and how-to-do-it diminishes anxiety and increases autonomy in sexual encounters. Constructivists argue that our experience of sexuality is bound by our class, gender, cultural/religious positions. Medicosexual knowledges are ideology-laden, then, in that they reproduce a particular (class-based) definition of sexuality and sexual relationships as ‘universal’ (LaFountaine, 1989).Lindy Wilbraham, 1996
I also felt paranoid that lovers would resent me if they felt I was demanding something too “difficult” during the sexual “exchange”, so I downplayed my feelings. I told awful lies like “it’s not a big deal that I can’t come” — lies that broke my heart as I spoke them, but felt safer than the truth.A unified theory of orgasm: Clarisse Thorn
I didn’t even tell my partners about my orgasm difficulties until I’d known them for a while, because my secret felt like such Restricted Information: I couldn’t give it to anyone I didn’t trust. I couldn’t abide the idea of “everyone knowing” how broken I felt. I couldn’t stand the combination of pity and fascination that my problem evoked in the few who knew.A unified theory of orgasm: Clarisse Thorn
my apparent inability to orgasm became the most toxic secret I had. Most of my closest friends didn’t know. For a while I thought I must be “frigid”, and ripped myself apart over the idea that I was a “frigid bitch”, even though that made no sense. It was ridiculous to conceptualize myself that way — my sexual desire was undeniable, unavoidable. But I had no other words, no other images or stereotypes, that described a pre-orgasmic woman.A unified theory of orgasm: Clarisse Thorn