Nadia Bokody: Dump your partner if they don’t value foreplay

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Nadia Bokody has some tough love for women who are being refused this act in the bedroom, saying it’s reason to end the romance.

As a sex columnist who also happens to be a woman, it often feels as though people are waiting for me to pull a rabbit out of a hat.

There’s a kind of unspoken expectation I’m going to distil the secrets of the *mysterious* female body. That I’ll pull back the curtain and reveal the shocking truth about what women REALLY want in bed …

But the shocking truth is, women’s bodies aren’t complicated.

What we want in bed (the same amount of pleasure men have been enjoying throughout all of history, please and thanks) isn’t rocket science, either.

So why are so many women in heterosexual relationships having subpar sex?

Before attempting to answer this question, it’s worth noting each time I write a column like this, the comments section is inundated with men insisting I’ve got it wrong.

Their wives and girlfriends are extremely satisfied!! What would I know, anyway?!! I’m a jaded misandrist who hasn’t been able to experience the earth-shattering pleasure of being with a “real man”!!! (I’m never sure whether to laugh or weep on behalf of straight women everywhere in response to this).

But the science doesn’t lie.

Some of the most notable research into the disparity between male and female sexual pleasure, published in the Archives Of Sexual Behaviour, found heterosexual men climax 95 per cent of the time during sex, while their female partners get off just 65 per cent of the time.

Most strikingly, the same study showed gay women reach the ‘Big Oh’ almost as reliably as straight men do – 86 per cent of the time. And if that weren’t damning enough, one of the biggest surveys of its kind, the Hite Report, revealed 95 per cent of women climax in just a few minutes during masturbation.

It’s almost as if the female orgasm isn’t as complex or elusive as men have been telling us it is. That, actually, the real problem isn’t with women’s bodies, but with the fact a lot of men simply don’t care about female pleasure.

It’s still a bragging right in many male circles to announce you’ve “pumped and dumped” a woman – a term that frames the female body as disposable and celebrates disregarding women’s pleasure.

And each time I post a meme about a woman “waiting for a man to find her clitoris”, the comments section is inevitably overtaken by dudebros asserting they don’t care about finding their partner’s clitoris, because “real men” just use women to get themselves off. (Online trolls seem to have a particularly specific fixation on being called “real” men.)

But perhaps no other example better illustrates how little attention men have been taught to pay women’s pleasure than the message I received last week. It was from a woman who lamented her boyfriend was unwilling to participate in foreplay.

This was, she qualified, even after she’d already communicated with him she required it.

Though I rarely give out advice to anyone online, I couldn’t get my words out fast enough to this reader: “Dump him”.

It’s the same thing I’d tell a friend whose partner wasn’t listening to her. Because this is what it boils down to – actually listening to, and taking a vested interest in, what matters to women.

And the depressing reality for a lot of women, is their boyfriends and husbands simply don’t care. Patriarchal culture teaches men they don’t need to, because they’re the protagonists in every story, and women are merely the decorative ornaments that line the shelves on the walls they exist inside.

The consequence of living in a society that conditions men to expect unfettered access to women, is heterosexual relationships often centre around preserving men’s egos. Almost always at the cost of the woman’s emotional needs, comfort and sexual pleasure.

(If you need more proof of this, you only need to look to behavioural scientist Paul Dolan’s ground-breaking book, Happy Ever After, which examines research on married couples that show married men live longer, are happier, and earn more – while exact the reverse is true for their female counterparts.)

Though no one enters a relationship a perfect partner – and indeed the best partners continually evolve with their significant others – it’s folly to expect someone who hears your needs and denies them at such a basic level to ever change.

Because a man who is able to ignore his partner say, “I need more foreplay for this sex to feel comfortable” is also unlikely to feel compelled to check in with her emotionally on a regular basis, or contribute to co-parenting and domestic labour in any meaningful way.

Waiting for a man like this to spontaneously decide he cares about your comfort is a whole lot like trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat. With some perseverance, you might eventually be able to create the illusion it’s happened, and even convince your audience of it. But in reality, you know it’s an act.

And look, I’m not a magician, nor can I reveal any startling secrets about women, but I can offer this: sexually disappointing boyfriends will come and go, but a vibrator stays around.

Of course, I’ve never had the privilege of being with a real man, so what would I know?

Follow Nadia Bokody on Instagram and YouTube for more sex, relationship and mental health content.

Read related topics:Nadia Bokody



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