Scattered Thoughts on Faking It and the Dark Side
A bit of a mixed bag today!
Hi, I’m Jeannette and this is the 19th issue of The Sex Beat, a newsletter documenting my research on sex. Every piece is a WIP, so if there are any topics you’d like me to expand on, hit reply and let me know. If you no longer want to get this newsletter, it’s easy to unsubscribe.
I’ve been juggling my full-time job, thesis edits, and other stuff in the last two weeks. As you can imagine, my brain is being pulled in many directions.
But there are a couple of things that I’ve been ruminating on: 1) Some thoughts that surfaced as I was reading for my thesis and 2) a local social media phenomenon that one of my new colleagues mentioned after finding out about this newsletter.
Although none of the thoughts are fully fleshed out – and to be honest, most of the stuff I write here is very WIP – I thought I’d share anyway. One of the things I like about writing The Sex Beat is the conversations that come out of each piece. Each conversation gives me new insights and opportunities to explore further and learn more..
People who “fake it”
Amidst the reading I’m doing on postcolonialism and pornography, I've also been reading a lot about people faking orgasms. Majority of these are women, but there are some men who also admitted to it (though it’s harder for men to fake).
Some of the reasons women give for doing it include wanting to satisfy their partner, putting an end to sexual interactions, and because they feel abnormal if they don’t orgasm (Fahs, 2014).
The common idea in these three reasons is that sex has to produce something and can only end after that something is produced. So rather than enjoying the process, there is an emphasis on a “correct” outcome.
It’s crazy that sex is one of our most primal instincts, but even then, it’s not exempt from the rhetoric of productivity.
I guess that’s why the word “pleasures” is often preceded by “guilty”. Pleasure for pleasure’s sake implies a lack of productivity.
Is this the price of empowerment?
In one of the studies I came across – it’s also mind-boggling to me that so much research has been conducted on orgasms – researchers found a correlation between income level and faking it.
Women who made more money than their partners were more likely to fake orgasms (Jordan et al., 2022). They did this because they believed their partners’ masculinity was insecure.
So as modern women, we can negotiate higher salaries, take our seats at the table, and lean in at the workplace all we want – but this means we must fake our orgasms?
It’s a strange thought. I wonder who first equated money to masculinity. And is this the same in every culture?
Next stop: The dark side
obsessed thinking about gender power dynamics for the past year or so, but when I have a little more brain space, I want to explore “Dark Side” social media accounts.
On my first day at my job, a colleague told me about dark side Twitter accounts. These are alter ego accounts made by Malaysians who want to display their sexuality anonymously.
Apparently, people would arrange meet-ups, share nudes etc on these accounts (referred to as “DS accounts”). These meet-ups could sometimes result in sexual assault cases.
Now, this is where it gets interesting.
These accounts are anonymous, so the law can’t always do much, but the DS community has its own remedies. When these assaults happen, the DS community will work together to reveal the identity of the perpetrator. It seems they are often successful.
I can’t wait to have more time to dive deeper into this – or read someone else’s deep dive into the DS world.
Fahs, B. (2014). Coming to power: Women’s fake orgasms and best orgasm experiences illuminate the failures of (hetero)sex and the pleasures of connection. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 16(8), 974–988. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2014.924557
Jordan, J. A., Vandello, J. A., Heesacker, M., & Larson-Konar, D. M. (2022). Do Women Withhold Honest Sexual Communication When They Believe Their Partner’s Manhood is Threatened? Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1177/19485506211067884
Encouragement from my horoscope app
I hope your body is treating you well!
The Principles of Pleasure (2022). It’s a four-episode limited documentary series on Netflix that I’m plodding through very, very slowly.
Pisau Cukur (2009). The title is Malay for “razor knife” but it’s a phrase that’s also used to refer to gold diggers. The story is about two women who go on a cruise to find someone rich to marry. Came across this movie when I was scrolling through Malaysian movies on Netflix and decided to watch it because I was curious about how it would display gender power dynamics (also, because Aaron Aziz ).