I am Jane Thomas, the sex educator and researcher. I have spent more than 20 years of my life actively researching sexuality. I am a published author but my work is also freely available on the internet to allow the widest possible audience and participation. My websites are www.WaysWomenOrgasm.org, www.Nosper.com and www.LearnAboutSexuality.org. I have been married for more than 30 years and I have three grown-up daughters. Please connect with me via LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook! Read my books, watch my videos or email me!
My research has involved asking many difficult questions, most of which I have had to answer myself. The answers were always there. Only naivety, sexual ignorance and embarrassment stood in my way. Naivety about the power of sexual politics. Ignorance over the rarity of female responsiveness. Embarrassment over implied inadequacy. Over time I came to realise that even the most accepted beliefs are not facts at all but just assumptions. My work builds on that of Alfred Kinsey and Shere Hite because, unlike other researchers who assume that women in real life should respond as portrayed in erotic fiction and pornography, they presented a much more realistic picture of women’s responsiveness.
Everyone has come to expect a ‘sex expert’ to talk about how women orgasm quickly and easily in all ways known to man. As a woman who questions this view of female sexuality, I am asked “How can you call yourself an expert then?”. So I am not an expert. I am just a woman who knows what an orgasm is and I’m willing to talk about it. I also know that the many ways in which women are supposed to orgasm with a lover are complete fiction. I know this not just because of the evidence of my own experience (which of course I doubted initially) but because of the inability of other women to account for the orgasms they think they are having.
I have found that neither intercourse nor cunnilingus cause orgasm. I have never been able to masturbate to orgasm with a lover and a vibrator does absolutely nothing for me. After a great deal of work, I am able to explain why the many ways in which we assume women should be able to achieve orgasm with a lover are in reality impossible. Naturally men find this difficult to accept. But what has been much more shocking for me is the realisation that most women have no idea what I am talking about. Female orgasm cannot be nearly as common as most of us believe.
If women were enthusiastic about intercourse why would any man care what is said about their responses to it? It’s the fact that women are not as keen on intercourse as men would like that causes men to want to cover up any issue with female arousal. The bravado of “You obviously haven’t met the right man yet to make you orgasm!” indicates the male perspective. Men own the concept of female orgasm and how it is achieved. I have even been advised that a woman should not write about sex without ‘guidance’ from a man. Men assume that they have an instinct for appreciating women’s sexuality that even women lack.
I was embarrassed when I started out because I assumed that I must be missing something very obvious. When I went to seek help from therapists or sex manuals the advice was that I should naturally respond to the physical and erotic stimuli of sexual activity just as men do. There was no one who ever hinted at an issue for women. Shere Hite was a lone voice indicating that a few other women do indeed have a similar ‘problem’.
I didn’t understand why other women who claimed to experience orgasm with a lover were so defensive. Why were they not willing to acknowledge the very different physical stimulation involved in the different techniques (intercourse, cunnilingus, masturbation by hand or with a vibrator) we assume women use for orgasm? Why were they not happy to explain the erotic turn-ons they used to achieve the kind of arousal that leads to orgasm? Why were they not comfortable discussing masturbation techniques and why these do not work with a lover?
A comprehensive sex education should expose the emotional beliefs that cause many people to prefer sexual ignorance over sexual knowledge. No one can benefit from truths they are not ready to hear. The information I provide is for those who can appreciate it because they are looking for answers. No one can ‘give an orgasm’ to someone else. Before we can orgasm we must be aroused. Yet women’s ‘turn-ons’ are romantic (non-erotic). They are clearly confusing emotional sensations with true orgasm.
I am asking questions that other women are too frightened, too inexperienced or just too embarrassed to ask. When I have asked experts about orgasm, they have become defensive. They are used to having their opinions accepted without question. I have found no one, expert or otherwise, who is willing or able to have an open discussion about sex. No one admits that embarrassment over sex suits those who are profiting from the sexual ignorance in our society.
Our laws and customs are so far removed from the actual behaviour of the human animal that there are few persons who can afford to let their full histories be known. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)