It can be hard to think about sex and pleasure and orgasm when things are so wrong with the world. But in some ways, there is nothing more important to think about right now.
Now hear me out. I know that may sound terribly brash and unfeeling when our government is tear-gassing children and trying to make it illegal for women to have domain over our own bodies. But the truth is fighting against the bad in the world is the very reason we must not forget the good in the world. And orgasm is definitely on the list of things that are still good in the world, from its ability to heal us to its ability to enlighten us to its ability to empower us. Orgasm allows us to control our own bodies and, believe it or not, can be the ultimate form of protest.
When we are whole and healthy, sexually and otherwise, it is far easier to take on the world. After orgasm, once “sex brain” (that glorious fog that comes along with a great orgasm) passes, we feel the most empowered and engaged and ready to take on, well, everything. According to research by the department of neurology at the University of Münster in Germany, orgasm can help with migraines. North American Menopause Society research published in ScienceDaily outlines its impact on insomnia. A Rutgers University team led by psychology professor Dr. Barry Komisaruk linked orgasm to pain reduction. A Planned Parenthood white paper penned in conjunction with the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality touts orgasms’ ability to reduce stress and depression. Orgasm can energize us. Simply put, orgasming makes us feel good, and when we feel good, we can tackle the things that feel anything but good. Having an orgasm can create the clearest thinking and energize the most creative mind. It can be the shortest route to the exercise high — that moment when your brain is flooded with happy hormones that assure you that you can do anything. Orgasm heals us.
Orgasm can also put us in touch with our bodies and remind us who it belongs to — us. When so many people are trying to make us believe they have a right to control what we do with our bodies, including when it comes to medicine and medical procedures, orgasm reminds us our body is ours and ours alone and that it is capable of magical things. No partner or equipment required. And no outside opinions welcome. This is especially true when that orgasm is a result of masturbation. We can do that for ourselves and remind ourselves we are self-contained creators of all things joyful. Orgasm helps us to remember our body’s true purpose: to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others. Orgasm enlightens us.
It can also be a form of resistance. Think of Lysistrata, a play about women withholding sex until things are right in the world (in that case, ancient Greece). I mean that both literally and figuratively. Women can take care of themselves sexually and not settle for men who they otherwise would never put up with. We don’t owe men anything, especially our bodies. If men can’t work with us, why should they be able to have sex with us? It’s a control we have and it’s a control we have every right to use.
Imagine it. Every woman says to every man, “Change your ways if you’re one of the bad ones and demand that the bad ones change their ways if you’re one of the good ones.” In that scenario, until the catcalling and the rape and the laws against our bodies and the lower wages and the lack of respect ends, there would be no sex with men. Anyone who thinks they have a right to a woman’s body can go fuck themselves, because we certainly won’t be fucking them. Orgasm empowers us.
Having orgasms is the ultimate way for us as women to revel in the two things not even the government can take away from us: our bodies and our pleasure. (Unless we go full Handmaid’s Tale. Heaven forbid…) We should have sex with the people we choose to say, “You can fuck with us, but you can’t stop us from fucking.” We should have sex with ourselves to say, “This is my body and I have a right and responsibility to my pleasure.”
Having orgasms is a reminder we have domain over our bodies and our choices. Our sexuality is an inalienable right, and while the government is busy trying to take away other inalienable ones, we should exercise this one to the max. When we orgasm, it should be for ourselves and ourselves alone. And now more than ever, we need to be standing up for ourselves and reminding the powers that be that the power is ours. All ours.
Jenny Block is the author of O Wow: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm.