Learn About Sexuality

Bill Masters & Virginia Johnson’s research (1966)

Virginia Johnson was Bill Masters’ assistant. So she was not his equal in a professional sense. Later they married. Given she was involved in a sexual relationship with him, she was not an objective researcher with the authority to challenge his male view of female sexuality. Neither would she be the first woman to mistake emotional sensations for orgasm.

Masters and Johnson accepted Kinsey’s conclusion that the clitoris is the female sex organ and source of female orgasm. They simply assumed that the clitoris is stimulated during intercourse. They suggested that the area of skin around the clitoris is stretched or pulled as the penis thrusts into the vagina, thus providing enough clitoral stimulation for orgasm. It was this assumption that Shere Hite challenged later on with her statistical work. She suggested that this theory did not work for the majority of women.

Masters & Johnson are famous sex researchers but no one reads their book today. Unlike Kinsey and Hite, Masters and Johnson’s work produced no detailed research findings. Their findings were very vague and quite unsensational. Anyone who reads their book will find it difficult to identify any scientific conclusions drawn from their work. There work has little impact on modern sexual knowledge. They simply observed couples copulating with the assumption that women had orgasms from the activity.

Unlike Alfred Kinsey, William Masters and Virginia Johnson did not take a statistical approach or interview people about their sexual habits. Their research involved observing couples having intercourse under laboratory conditions. This laboratory-based approach was much more popular than the interview approach that Kinsey took and has remained the predominant model. Women are simply assumed to have orgasms from intercourse.

This approach involves selected women who claim to orgasm from intercourse. Such a selection process cannot produce a representative sample. These findings are published as an example of what women are supposed to be capable of. The thinking was: if we can demonstrate that one woman believes she has an orgasm from intercourse then we can convince every woman that she should be capable of orgasm with a lover.

Sex research is not considered a priority in our society. Women themselves have little interest in sexual matters. Women’s willingness to cooperate with men’s desire for intercourse has always been core to men’s motivation to research sexuality. For political reasons, men want to establish that women can enjoy (now defined by orgasm) intercourse just as men do.

Rather than ask women, modern researchers use machines to prove that a woman has had an orgasm. They measure increases in electrical impulses, blood-flow or vaginal secretions that they assume to be evidence of arousal even though the women themselves are not conscious of any pleasure.

There are many physiological changes that occur in the human body during sexual activity. Such changes are observed in other mammals, both male and female. But only the male provides evidence of orgasm. Scientists (who tend to be male) are inclined to assume that a woman must have had an orgasm simply because her body returns to its normal state once sexual activity ceases. But this is an assumption and may explain women’s accounts of physical stimulation without any psychological arousal.

Regardless of what we call such phenomena, they do not indicate that women experience sexual pleasure in the way that men do. Orgasm involves a mental release associate with a psychological peak. Researchers evidently do not consider psychological arousal to be critical to orgasm. Yet sexual pleasure is primarily defined by erotic turn-ons and what happens in the mind. Orgasm itself only lasts a few seconds. The vast majority of sexual activity involves the enjoyment of mental arousal.

Our mind determines our actions and when we are aroused, the idea of sexual activity is appealing. We need to be aroused before we are attempted to embark on the effort of trying to achieve orgasm. The quality of the orgasm we have, the level of satisfaction, is primarily linked to the effectiveness of the erotic stimuli that cause our mental arousal. Without any psychological aspect, we have no conscious awareness of pleasure. Men also experience this effect sometimes. They assume that they have ejaculated but not had an orgasm. If they ejaculated, they would have had an orgasm but there was no accompanying psychological pleasure.

Women, on the other hand, can become physically aroused (increased blood flow in the reproductive organs) without becoming psychologically aroused even in the slightest. (Robert Weiss 2014)

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