Alfred Kinsey had attempted to be comprehensive in the scope of his research and in doing so had offended people by revealing taboo aspects of sexuality such as: homosexuality, promiscuity and female masturbation.
Masters and Johnson decided to ignore the wider picture. Unlike Alfred Kinsey, William Masters and Virginia Johnson did not take a statistical approach or interview people about their sexual habits. They focused on explaining how women who were willing to have intercourse under laboratory conditions had the orgasms they were assumed to have.
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 could not be considered an objective researcher with the authority to challenge his undoubtedly male view of female sexuality. She would not have been the first or the only woman to mistake the emotional and sensual sensations of intercourse for orgasm.
There’s not much money available for sex research. Most of the money that is available (as well as the money that can be made out of findings) is directed towards research that demonstrates how women can be motivated to provide the intercourse that men want. Women’s willingness to provide men with pleasure through intercourse has always been core to men’s motivation to research sexuality. Men want to establish that women enjoy a similar pleasure (defined by orgasm) from intercourse that men do.
The women were selected for their presumed ability to orgasm from intercourse. Such people cannot possibly be considered representative of the general population. These findings are published as an example of what women are supposed to be capable of. The thinking is: if we can demonstrate that one woman ‘enjoys’ sex (she believes that she has an orgasm) then every woman must be equally capable of ‘enjoying sex’ and having an orgasm with a lover.
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 apply to the majority of women.
Consequently, research involving observing couples having intercourse under laboratory conditions is much more popular than the interview approach that Kinsey took. This laboratory-based approach has remained the predominant model until recent times. This kind of sex research is more like propaganda than true science. The findings are based on so many assumptions that the research is meaningless.
There are many physiological changes that occur in the human body during sexual activity. These include increased heart rate. Such changes are observed in other mammals, both male and female. But only the male provides obvious evidence of orgasm. Scientists (who often tend to be male themselves) are inclined to assume that a female 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. However, orgasm involves a mental release associate with a psychological peak.
A refusal to discuss a topic is not an indication of a willingness to engage in scientific discussion. It is an indication of people defending emotional and political beliefs. Even women in the sex industry (therapists, prostitutes and bloggers) are not able to provide credible proof of orgasm. Talking to women about orgasm has proven disappointing. The few women who are confident about orgasm talk about masturbation alone. Women who talk about orgasm with a lover, are vague and unsure.
So rather than ask women, modern researchers use machines to ‘prove’ that a woman has experienced arousal and 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. Researchers evidently do not consider psychological arousal to be critical to orgasm. Regardless of what we call such phenomena, they do not indicate that women experience sexual pleasure in the way that men do.
Our mind determines our actions and when we are aroused, the idea of sexual activity is appealing. Without any psychological aspect, orgasm is ‘unsatisfying’. 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, then they must 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)