What If We Looked at Female Orgasm Differently?
I’m what I like to call an Orgasm Equality Activist. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry. I sort of made it up. I mean, I made up the term Orgasm Equality Movement, but I didn’t make up the idea that females deserve as much accurate, realistic information about pursuing orgasm as males have. Others have made that argument before I ever came along. I’m just picking up their torches and trying to make a big ol’ bonfire.
I just finished making a movie called Science, Sex and the Ladies about the culture of the female orgasm. I keep a blog where I do things like interview other orgasm equality activists and review TV and movie depictions of female sexual release, and well, in general, I spend a lot of time writing, talking, and reading about female orgasm.
Here’s the deal. There is a big ol’ nasty, tangled-in-everything problem when it comes to ladygasms. No one and everyone is to blame, but that’s not important. What’s important is that we first recognize that we have a problem. The trouble is that it’s so in front of our faces that it really is hard to recognize, so I like to use the following little perspective switch to point it out.
Image: Nicky Chan via Flickr
Imagine, if you will, an alternate universe, where things are mostly the same except in this new world, they extract eggs and sperm to make babies, and they think about sex a bit differently. Of all the sexual possibilities, what our current universe calls sex is intercourse. In this alternate universe, when people say "sex", they mean that the woman's clitoris is grinded on the base of the penis (where it connects to the balls) - until orgasm. This is the general definition of “sex” in this alternate universe. But, grinding the clit onto the lower pelvis where it meets the penis or on the inner thigh close to where it meets the penis would also be considered sex - just different positions. Oral sex, manual stimulation, and intercourse all also exist, but are not the common type of "real sex" that is depicted and discussed commonly in movies, TV, books, porn, and songs. These other things are more like foreplay.
In the porn of this culture, often times the males don't have erect penises during "sex" but they sem to always "orgasm" and very loudly and enthusiastically at that. Sex advice books for women are largely focused on how to please a man, and advice books for men are largely focused on how to up his sex drive, find pleasure during sex, and how to orgasm. It is taken for granted that a woman needs her clitoris stimulated to orgasm. It's as if you don't even have to say that. For men, the advice books often emphasize the importance of the penis. In foreplay it should be manually or orally stimulated, and these could even be considered full sexual acts. However, these books also go on about the different positions that could make sex more pleasurable for him. For instance, if he's on top, and she's rubbing against the base of his penis where it meets his leg at a particular angle, the penis is in a position to get more stimulation against her navel. Well, by golly, that might put him over the edge!
Also, the part of the penis that extends into the body is said to be stimulated when the woman is having “sex” with him. That area between the balls and the penis where she grinds her clit is supposed to press into that inner part of the penis. People call it his "J-Spot". A lot of people believe that the J-spot allows a deeper caressing of the penis that accounts for a deeper, more full bodied orgasm than a penile orgasm does. It is, of course, not an orgasm that all men seem to be able to achieve, although there's not much research on the subject.
About 40 years ago it was common even in the medical community to view a penile orgasm as immature and a J-Spot orgasm as the sign of a mature man. Men who couldn’t have J-Spot orgasms were deemed “frigid.” However, this has been rejected by the medical community and is not a particularly common idea in the culture anymore. Today, most advice books will tell you that the majority of men need penile stimulation in order to orgasm, even as they sing the praises of J-Spot stimulating sex positions.
Strangely though, if you really look into the research of this culture you would find that men can orgasm as fast and easily as women when they masturbate, and the way men masturbate (rubbing up and down on the penis shaft and head) doesn't look a lot like how they have “sex” (putting pressure on their k-spot with possible intermittent penile stimulation depending on position). However, female masturbation (rubbing the clitoris/vulva area) clearly mimics how women have “sex.” Also, there has been no recorded case of a male orgasm (the defined physical kind - not simply an emotional/spiritual climax or high levels of arousal) through "J-spot" stimulation, even though it seems like there are plenty of men - in porn and movies and stuff like that - that have them.
Also, in this universe a few things are common knowledge:
- Women average 3 to 7 minutes to reach orgasm. Men average about 25 minutes.
- Only about 15 - 30% of men on surveys claim to orgasm from “sex” alone. 10% of men have never experienced an orgasm.
- Men on average watch porn less often, masturbate less, have fewer sexual fantasies, are less interested in one night stands, and generally have a lower sex drive
- Men tend to need more romance and emotional connections to feel aroused and satisfied during a sexual encounter
If it seems like this alternate universe is kinda blind, well.....
Here are a few points I’d like everyone to know.
1. Women can orgasm as quickly and easily as men can during masturbation.
2. Women by and large masturbate their clitoris/vulva area during masturbation and not their vagina.
3. To my knowledge, and I promise I keep up pretty well on the literature, there has never been a recorded case of an orgasm caused by vaginal/g-spot/cervical stimulation (and by orgasm I mean the rhythmic release of muscle tension and blood congestion that is universally accepted as orgasm for both men and women by the scientific community).
I know that sounds like it shouldn’t be true, but it is. Yes, there are some popularly cited studies used often to give credit to the idea of this vaginally activated orgasms (VAOs); studies involving the close proximity of the inner clitoral legs to the vagina, brain scans of women claiming (although not physically verified) to have experienced VAOs, instances in which arousal is recorded or pleasure is reported due to g-spot/vaginal/cervical stimulation.
However, I have yet to find a study where there is a causal link between vaginal/ g-spot/cervical stimulation and a verified instance of orgasm. In fact the only physical sexual release related to vaginal stimulation that has been recorded is ejaculation, which for both men and women is distinctly different than an orgasm. It may seem like VAOs should exist, but if they do, the scientific community has yet to document them. I understand this is a controversial statement that might feel wrong, but please read a more detailed explanation about it HERE.
Women deserve better when it comes to our orgasms, and I think most men want better for women. Let’s start a discussion.