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  • Translator: Leslie Gauthier Reviewer: Joanna Pietrulewicz

  • In our culture we tend to see sex

  • as something that's more important to men than it is to women.

  • But that's not true.

  • What is true is that women often feel more shame in talking about it.

  • Over half of women quietly suffer from some kind of sexual dysfunction.

  • We've been hearing more about the orgasm gap.

  • It's kind of like the wage gap but stickier ...

  • (Laughter)

  • Straight women tend to reach climax

  • less than 60 percent of the time they have sex.

  • Men reach climax 90 percent of the time they have sex.

  • To address these issues, women have been sold flawed medication,

  • testosterone creams ...

  • even untested genital injections.

  • The thing is, female sexuality can't be fixed with a pill.

  • That's because it's not broken:

  • it's misunderstood.

  • Our culture has had a skewed and medically incorrect picture

  • of female sexuality

  • going back centuries.

  • If over half of women have some kind of sexual problem,

  • maybe our idea of sexuality doesn't work for women.

  • We need a clearer understanding of how women actually work.

  • I'm a journalist,

  • and I recently wrote a book

  • about how our understanding of female sexuality is evolving.

  • So sexuality itself was defined back when men dominated science.

  • Male scientists tended to see the female body

  • through their own skewed lens.

  • They could've just asked women about their experience.

  • Instead they probed the female body like it was a foreign landscape.

  • Even today we debate the existence of female ejaculation and the G-spot

  • like we're talking about aliens or UFOs.

  • "Are they really out there?"

  • (Laughter)

  • All this goes double for LGBTQI women's sexuality,

  • which has been hated and erased in specific ways.

  • Ignorance about the female body goes back centuries.

  • It goes back to the beginning of modern medicine.

  • Cast your mind back to the 16th century,

  • a time of scientific revolution in Europe.

  • Men of ideas were challenging old dogmas.

  • They were building telescopes to gaze up at the stars.

  • We were making progress ...

  • sometimes.

  • You see, the fathers of anatomy --

  • and I say "fathers" because, let's face it, they were all dudes --

  • were poking about between women's legs

  • and trying to classify what they saw.

  • They weren't quite sure what to do with the clitoris.

  • It didn't appear to have anything to do with making babies.

  • The leading anatomist at the time declared

  • that it was probably some kind of abnormal growth --

  • (Laughter)

  • and that any woman who had one was probably a hermaphrodite.

  • It got so bad that parents would sometimes have their daughter's clitoris cut off

  • if it was deemed too large.

  • That's right.

  • Something we think of today as female genital mutilation

  • was practiced in the West as late as the 20th century.

  • You have to wonder:

  • if they were that confused about women's bodies,

  • why didn't they just ask women for a little help?

  • But you must be thinking, "All that was history.

  • It's a different world now.

  • Women have everything.

  • They have the birth control pill,

  • they have sexting and Tinder and vajazzling."

  • (Laughter)

  • Things must be better now.

  • But medical ignorance of the female body continues.

  • How many of you recognize this?

  • It's the full structure of the clitoris.

  • We think of the clitoris as this little pea-sized nub,

  • but actually it extends deep into the body.

  • Most of it lies under the skin.

  • It contains almost as much erectile tissue as the penis.

  • It's beautiful, isn't it?

  • It looks a little like a swan.

  • (Laughter)

  • This sculpture is by an artist named Sophia Wallace

  • as part of her "Cliteracy" project.

  • (Laughter)

  • She believes we need more "cliteracy,"

  • and it's true, considering that this structure

  • was only fully 3-D mapped by researchers in 2009.

  • That was after we finished mapping the entire human genome.

  • (Laughter)

  • This ignorance has real-life consequences.

  • In a medical journal in 2005,

  • Dr. Helen O'Connell, a urologist,

  • warned her colleagues that this structure was still nowhere to be found

  • in basic medical journals --

  • textbooks like "Gray's Anatomy."

  • This could have serious consequences for surgery.

  • Take this in.

  • Gentlemen:

  • imagine if you were at risk of losing your penis

  • because doctors weren't totally sure where it was

  • or what it looked like.

  • Unsurprisingly,

  • many women aren't too clear on their own genital anatomy either.

  • You can't really blame them.

  • The clitoris is often missing from many sex-ed diagrams, too.

  • Women can sense that their culture views their bodies with confusion at best,

  • outright disdain and disgust at worst.

  • Many women still view their own genitals as dirty or inadequate.

  • They're increasingly comparing their vulvas

  • with the neat and tiny ones they see in pornography.

  • It's one reason why labiaplasty is becoming a skyrocketing business

  • among women and teen girls.

  • Some people feel that all this is a trivial issue.

  • I was writing my book when I was at a dinner party

  • and someone said, "Isn't sexuality a first-world problem?

  • Aren't women dealing with more important issues all over the world?"

  • Of course they are.

  • But I think the impulse to trivialize sex is part of our problem.

  • We live in a culture that seems obsessed with sex.

  • We use it to sell everything.

  • We tell women that looking sexy

  • is one of the most important things you can do.

  • But what we really do is we belittle sex.

  • We reduce it to a sad shadow of what it truly is.

  • Sex is more than just an act.

  • I spoke with Dr. Lori Brotto,

  • a psychologist who treats sexual issues in women,

  • including survivors of trauma.

  • She says the hundreds of women she sees all tend to repeat the same thing.

  • They say, "I don't feel whole."

  • They feel they've lost a connection with their partners and themselves.

  • So what is sex?

  • We've traditionally defined the act of sex

  • as a linear, goal-oriented process.

  • It's something that starts with lust,

  • continues to heavy petting

  • and finishes with a happy ending.

  • Except many women don't experience it this way.

  • It's less linear for them and more circular.

  • This is a new model of women's arousal and desire

  • developed by Dr. Rosemary Basson.

  • It says many things,

  • including that women can begin an encounter for many different reasons

  • that aren't desire,

  • like curiosity.

  • They can finish with a climax or multiple climaxes,

  • or satisfaction without a climax at all.

  • All options are normal.

  • Some people are starting to champion a richer definition of sexuality.

  • Whether you identify as male, female or neither gender,

  • sex is about our relationship to the senses.

  • It's about slowing down,

  • listening to the body,

  • coming into the present moment.

  • It's about our whole health and well-being.

  • In other words,

  • sex at its true breadth isn't profane,

  • it's sacred.

  • That's one reason why women are redefining their sexuality today.

  • They're asking: What is sex for me?

  • So they're experimenting with practices that are less about the happy ending --

  • more about feeling whole.

  • So they're trying out spiritual sex classes,

  • masturbation workshops --

  • even shooting their own porn

  • that celebrates the diversity of real bodies.

  • For anyone who still feels this is a trivial issue, consider this:

  • understanding your body is crucial to the huge issue

  • of sex education and consent.

  • By deeply, intimately knowing what kind of touch feels right,

  • what pressure, what speed, what context,

  • you can better know what kind of touch feels wrong

  • and have the confidence to say so.

  • This isn't ultimately about women having more or better sex.

  • It's not about making sure women have as many orgasms as men.

  • It's about accepting yourself and your own unique experience.

  • It's about you being the expert on your body.

  • It's about defining pleasure and satisfaction on your terms.

  • And if that means you're happiest having no sex at all,

  • that's perfect, too.

  • If we define sex as part of our whole health and well-being,

  • then empowering women and girls to fully own it

  • is a crucial next step toward equality.

  • And I think it would be a better world not just for women

  • but for everyone.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

Translator: Leslie Gauthier Reviewer: Joanna Pietrulewicz

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【TED】Sarah Barmak: The uncomplicated truth about women's sexuality (The uncomplicated truth about women's sexuality | Sarah Barmak)

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    林宜悉 posted on 2019/03/22
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