The Mandatory Orgasm depicts the journey of a young dietitian, who is told by her family doctor that unless she has an orgasm with her fiancé, she will remain childless. This unusual phenomenon is said to affect a growing number of the female population in North America. The young woman is therefore forced to face issues she ignored for years and start speaking her truth.
During the summer of 2005, a friend of mine lent me a book titled, The Dance of Deception, by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D. This book explores the idea of truth-telling in modern Western women’s lives. Mrs. Lerner’s work resonated with me because I could see myself—and other women in my life—in the stories she told. Three of the main questions that The Dance of Deception posed were: How truthful are we? To whom do we tell our truth? and In which context can we safely reveal information and how much?
Paradoxically, today in North America we tend to both praise and punish truthful individuals. For instance, people frown upon someone showing negative feelings in a professional setting—good manners often implies a degree of hiding one’s true feelings in order avoid being offensive. Unfortunately, the same level of courteous “deception” does not translate into better relationships when it comes to our loved ones. It is very difficult to be emotionally and physically intimate with someone and hide who we truly are. In the realm of women’s sexuality the need to reveal ourselves can become imperative since, generally speaking, the female sex needs to feel emotionally close to someone before they can open up sexually.
During that same summer, I was given a gift certificate to a sex workshop downtown Toronto. Somehow, as I was talking to a female friend, an unusual idea came to mind. I said to her: “What if women needed an orgasm to get pregnant?” My friend laughed and said, “By now, the human race would be extinct.” Thus, the title of my novelette was created and became the catalyst that was to shape the story to come. Therefore, The Mandatory Orgasm is about truth-telling in a young woman’s life. Although the protagonist does not want to show her real self, her body betrays her.
I think that North America tends to be conservative when it comes to sexuality. We are constantly bombarded with sexual messages (i.e., with advertisements filled with sexual innuendos), yet there is rarely a genuine holistic and healthy portrayal of sex. The sexuality that is promoted is often done from a masculine view: faster, harder, and with the goal of having an orgasm. The feminine perspective is pushed to the side, and, therefore, women try to be sexually fulfilled using a male model.
The goal of my novelette was to offer insight into what goes on in a woman’s heart and mind when she has been unable to fully express herself in different areas of her life. Her sexual “dysfunction” is the starting point that leads her into a different direction. The Mandatory Orgasm does not attempt to answer questions as much as it is meant to stimulate discussions about truth and female sexuality. This book was a cathartic experience for me, and I hope that people will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I am not a reader by nature; however, as soon as I started reading The Mandatory Orgasm, I could not put it down until I was finished. This is how captivating this novelette is!"