A woman’s fight to finish last


Photo: Evan Blaise Walsh

We all know how the heterosexual bedroom dance goes by now, there’s no need to be coy. I’m talking less about mechanics and where the bee’s stinger strikes and more so about who actually gets to pollinate first. When it comes to straight sex, it’s the guy who usually gets to finish first—sometimes he’s the only one who does at all. Now there’s a movement by women to demand not just finishing, but doing it first. While it’s nice to be first in something, this is one pursuit where women should demand to finish last. 

There’s great rationale for this movement. When women’s needs are placed at the forefront of the bedroom, this can result in improved pleasure for both parties and a questioning of the usual power imbalances that exist in the bedroom. You know the routine: Man and woman engage in foreplay, and this sometimes involves helping the woman orgasm. But the “real sex” begins and ends as soon as the man reaches climax, after which he rolls onto his side in exhausted contentment. Scratch that. I missed a part in the middle. After the woman orgasms and feels her own sweaty exhaustion—instead of rolling onto her side and basking in post-coital glow—she has to help the man reach his end goal. 

This assumes women are reaching their own point of completion at all. A survey released in 2010 by Indiana University found 64 percent of women reported having an orgasm during their last sexual encounter, compared to nearly 90 percent of men. The study also found that males are more likely to reach this climax from vaginal intercourse alone, whereas women need more of a combination of stimulation. This means that if vaginal intercourse—which heterosexual men by and large prefer as a sexual behavior, according to the survey—is the last sexual act of the evening, there’s a chance the song and dance will be over for the man long before it’s over for the woman, if the man isn’t prioritizing a woman’s pleasure. The average length of time vaginal intercourse lasts is six minutes. It’s safe to say that isn’t long enough for many women to reach climax and tuck into bed. Seeing as the facts state that foreplay is considerably necessary for a woman to achieve orgasm, then at the very least men should recognize that sex is not just the six minutes of vaginal intercourse.  

I have already had sexually active friends petition my suggestion by claiming that men finish last because they’re so exhausted after fornication. But they can do better, and we ought to expect more. True, brain chemicals that relax the body and lead to feelings of tiredness are released during an orgasm. But a short recovery time is all that’s needed for a bounce back—not eight hours of sleep. Granted, I’m speaking as part of a gender that is physically capable of not only having more orgasms in a short time period, but recovering from them more quickly. But women, too, experience ennui after having sex and would like to indulge themselves in nothing other than cuddles and some R&R. Radical notion, I know.

How is it that even in demanding to reach satisfaction at all, women still get the short end of the stick? In petitioning to be tended to last, women might also be able to receive a little more TLC when it comes to their pleasure parts. A man won’t be focused as intently on the task at hand if all he’s thinking about is the reward he’ll receive from what comes next. His attention is divided at best, and his reasons for making you finish include a race against the clock and giving his own pleasure a little preview of what’s to come (pun not intended). 

Gender politics play a big role in bedroom enjoyment. Women often feel timid asserting themselves during sex and feel nervous about demanding too much from their partners. Sex is no doubt another arena in which men have the alpha position—they’re in control of what is desired, when it is desired, and who gets to reap the benefits. Studies have found that when we adhere to these restrictive gender norms in bed, we tend to restrict our sexuality and diminish pleasure. 

No longer is that the entire case, though it’s still an issue. Changes are sweeping the country and pulling back the sheets in many homes. Women are speaking up about their sex lives—when they want it and how they want it. Amber Rose is free in discussing her sexual partners online (despite being publicly shamed by ex-partner Kanye West), and Kim Kardashian freely embraces autonomy over her body by tweeting nude selfies. Nicki Minaj has created a canon of songs that project power.

Not everyone can release a hit single to create large scale influence. But we can assert ourselves in the bedroom and ride the “females finish last” crusade. Let them know that just this once, it’s okay for women to be last in line.