Gemma Askham - Writing Orgasm Equality for Women's Magazines Like A Boss!!!!
Women's magazine sex writers get a lot of jokes thrown their way - they bring to mind things like Cosmo sex positions that involve throwing doughnuts around an erect penis and then eating said doughnut.
It ain't no joke to me, though. Women's magazine sex writers are important, and what they write means something. Women are starved for sensible, accurate, realistic, non-frivolous information about our own orgasms. So, when a popular women's magazine publishes information about sex and female orgasm we ingest it even if it's bad. Their words impact women and our understanding of ourselves - they just do.
What that says to me is that when it comes to preaching orgasm equality, sex writers at women's magazines have incredible power to make change and sway the status quo, and what I really want to talk about is the cold hard fact that there really is some good, progressive-as-shit writing out there in this genre. And further, I would like to talk about how important good quality lady-gasm writing must have been to these writers for them to get that shit published. That kind of writing is not the norm, and so the very fact that it gets published means that they had to be a little pushy and a little brave, and their editors had to be a little brave too.
In fact, I have talked to a few of these women over the course of writing this blog, and I know that good writing on this subject isn't usually what the decision-makers are comfortable with. Every little tidbit of true progressiveness is hard fought, and I respect the hell out of these ladies for doing it. They are paving roads. You can meet some of them in my Orgasm Equality Hero's list, and today I'm going to introduce you to one more.
Gemma Askham is a freelance writer. She was a feature editor at British Glamour, and she's written for all kinds of magazines including Elle, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Glamour, Cleo, etc., etc. Anyway, my point here is that she writes for women's magazines, and she sometimes writes in them about sex...and she cares about doing it right. In fact, she is doing it right because she's pushing to be more realistic, more accurate, and more progressive. I think she's kick ass on the Orgasm Equality front, and I know of at least 2 articles she's written that will prove it.
In Bedroom Equality, (a pdf of a differently titled print version HERE) a rather appropriate title if I might say so, she talks about the bullshit of so much sex ending when the man comes, about the abundance of crappy, unrealistic sex in porn, and about how too few women masturbate. Most importantly, though, she tells us that women need to start believing we deserve our share of orgasms.
My 2 favorite quotes in this article:
of orgasm..."But when a third more Australian men than women admit to masturbating, what are we telling the world about our right to having one."
"We fight to overturn Australia's 18.8 per cent gender pay gap, yet we're laying back and just letting our 26 per cent gender gap happen. In sex, women aren't only coming second; frequently we aren't coming at all. This isn't the equivalent of being paid less, it's the equivalent of no pay at all."
Hells. yeah. Let's get this fight a goin'!
Beating the Orgasm Gap in Australia's Cleo Magazine (pdf HERE) is chock full of orgasm equality and good advice. She speaks the truth about the clit and its rightful place as the organ of female sexual pleasure. Granted, I may have a few quotes in this one, so I might be biased, but I LOVE that she was so bold about really, specifically pointing out that vaginas do not orgasms make (as far as science has found so far). That's not at all common to see, and I can only imagine it's not super easy for editors to swallow. It's brave, and I am overjoyed she's done it.
However, that's not the only great stuff. There's some wicked insightful thoughts about what our culture has to do with this, what parts we play in it, and what we can do about this orgasm gap. You'll find quotes from the awesome Tumblr, How To Make Me Come (really - check it out if you haven't). Also from Dr. Lisa Wade, author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, Dr. Vivienne Cass author of The Elusive Orgasm, and Elizabeth Armstrong, author of this big ol' survey having to do with orgasm and relationships. ,
You'll also find some sensible and kinda cool starter masturbation activities from Carlyle Jansen, author of Sex Yourself: The Woman's Guide to Mastering Masturbation And Achieving Powerful Orgasms.
Now, that's the kind of sex writing we should be seeing in magazines aimed at us, ladies, amiright?
Gemma kickin' ass and takin' names
Gemma is pushing her medium forward. She speaks to large audiences, and her progressive writing is just the kind of thing that could really give Orgasm Equality a sizable nudge in the right direction. My hat is off to you, Ms. Askham. Welcome to my List of Orgasm Equality Heroes!
I believe there is more to come (ha - come) from Gemma Askham. Keep up to date with her HERE at her site.