The $15 billion industry we should be ready to talk about

Discussion about female pleasure hits the mainstream every couple of years.

Usually, it’s around a pop culture moment, like 50 Shades of Grey or that episode of Sex and the City. In these moments, women’s sexual pleasure is presented as hilarious, strange and foreign - even to the women experiencing it.

Why? Because we are not taught about pleasure when we are young, we are taught about anatomy.

Mostly, we are taught about “right” and “wrong”.

76% of high schools in the US teach abstinence only. In those cases, the message is: Sex is dangerous! Avoid it till your heterosexual marriage! Pleasure isn’t a part of the conversation when having sex means you’ll ‘be like a used toothbrush or a chewed-up piece of gum’.

And yet, while the conversation on pleasure is silenced, all around us there is sex. Sexuality and sex sell fragrances, cars, even sandwiches.

Our hyper-sexual culture encourages us to gaze up at ‘SEX!!’ as it follows us around from highways to chip packets, but culture does not encourage us to talk about it, to ask questions. For some, it is almost impossible to talk about how it feels, without feeling like a sinner.

Yet, the ethics of combining technology and sexuality indicates we should. If we do not talk about pleasure, how else will we make sense of teledildonics, connecting people to devices across the world to sustain intimacy?

How will we utilize groundbreaking research on the female body and advanced engineering to tap into a market estimated at $15 billion, if we can’t acknowledge women’s pleasure without feeling ashamed?

In 2017, female sex and pleasure should not have to equal sleazy or sinful. Just the same as talking about periods, a normal sexual health for women during their reproductive age, should not be embarrassing.

As technology races ahead, our openness and attitudes toward female sexuality must catch up.