Female pleasure in the media is represented from the perspective of the male gaze, which also means that the male gaze shapes how female pleasure is represented.
S*x and pleasure are still somewhat taboo topics in social spaces. S*x is not a topic that is brought up for discussion in dinners and social gatherings. Female pleasure or accepting women as sexual beings is still a topic you do not bring up freely in some religions.
Western culture prides itself in being progressive in its depiction of women as sexually liberated beings. Women’s bodies are hypersexualised to start off.
It starts with the objectification of women’s bodies in advertising. Images of women’s breasts and ass are cut up and used to sell products such as food and perfume for example.
This leads us to the above mentioned male gaze. It’s this gaze that the media caters to satisfy. Porn is a good example of how s*x and pleasure are portrayed for men.
The woman is always on the receiving end of the sexual act, and focus is placed on her face, breasts and vagina. Some porn clips can finish without showing the mans face or most of his upper body.
The focus on the female body alludes the target audience to which this is catered for. The heterosexual male who will be watching this and perhaps getting off on the image of the women’s sexual body parts.
So the pleasure of the woman here seems to exist for the pleasure of the man. That advertising uses women’s bodies to speak to the heterosexual male gaze.
Female pleasure is a natural part of s*x and should be treated as thus. That women have s*x for pleasure and not to bare children or a task to be performed in marriage is an okay sentiment.
With all these influences from media and the assumption that men must know and perform se*x before they really even know it is problematic for all parties involved.
It places men at the centre of sexual performance and women as objects. Women having s*x with other women is even used to cater to the male gaze. Lesbian women seem to exist as a direct insult to men’s manhood, how dare you not want my phallus.
As a result, men do not understand women’s bodies and sexuality. This misunderstanding comes from a lack of discussion about female pleasure. Performing s*x is less about female pleasure and more about male pleasure and performance. Even when she does orgasm, it is to the gratification of the man’s abilities.
It is even difficult to discuss female sexual pleasure without touching on male pleasure and the male gaze. It is time to start topics that will build a fair representation of different sexualities.
The male gaze demands a particular representation of s*x and pleasure and if not disrupted, will continue to sell this image.