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Normalizing Female Pleasure

Women's History Lessons with Emily

Women's History

I wish I could offer a more lighthearted introduction to this history lesson, but the truth is, women have endured countless challenges throughout history. From fighting for reproductive rights to hysteria, women have consistently faced underrepresentation and marginalization. Yet, amidst the struggles, there are moments of triumph and a hope for a future where equality is not just the goal but the reality.

Female sexuality and pleasure were once highly esteemed in certain ancient civilizations, celebrated as integral parts of fertility rites, religious ceremonies, and artistic expressions. Statues depicting naked female figures, adorned with thick curves and explicit depictions of their vulvas, were commonly erected during this time. Beliefs suggesting that the vagina possessed supernatural power, capable of inducing transcendent states of wonder and awe, were prevalent.

The Fall of Female Sexuality

The fall of female sexuality did not happen all at once, but rather in subsequent historical periods. Influenced by various factors spanning from the times of Ancient Greece to the 19th century and beyond.

Starting with the concept of 'wandering wombs' in Ancient Greece, where it was believed that a woman's uterus could move around her body, causing physical and emotional disturbances. This notion contributed to the perception of women as the weaker sex, both physically and mentally.

However, female sexual desire was not fully pathologized until the Victorian Era, when predominantly male medical professionals began diagnosing women with female hysteria.

This umbrella term described a wide range of symptoms in women, including anxiety, irritability, and desire. The treatment for hysteria often involved pelvic massages or simulations, believed to induce a hysterical paroxysm, now known as an orgasm. Women often did not have a choice in receiving this treatment, and the underlying assumption was that female sexuality was pathological.

Normalizing Female Pleasure

These social attitudes continued to spread as a means to suppress women’s desires and autonomy, and they are still reflected in our social beliefs today. The misconception persists that the female orgasm is elusive and hard to maintain, or that women desire sex less than men. Disparities in orgasms exist across the globe, and normalizing female sexual pleasure remains an ongoing struggle, especially outside of heterosexual marriages.

Understanding the history behind these social barriers is crucial to moving forward with open conversations and challenging norms to advocate for inclusive representations of female pleasure and liberation.


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