Female sexual arousal

Jane’s video: ‘Talking to women about sex and orgasm’.

The very first time I had sex I knew that something was up. I felt absolutely nothing. I just cooperated with intercourse until my partner ejaculated. I concluded the whole thing was a hoax. But because of the ignorance in our society, the fabrication continued: the compelling images and accounts of orgasmic women and the sexual bravado of adults in everyday life.

Ever since I was a teenager I was curious about sex. What really motivated me to write was the huge discrepancy between my experience and the way women’s sexuality was promoted in society. I continued to doubt the bravado but I didn’t have time to figure it all out. I wanted to understand what was wrong so that I could put it right. But the therapists I talked to were extremely vague. I was simply told that I was supposed to enjoy sex. But no one could explain why a woman does not have this experience.

So finally, when I did get time, I decided to ask women I knew about these orgasms they are supposed to have. Very few were willing to comment. But their idea of orgasm had nothing to do with enjoying eroticism or fantasy. They talked of emotions and lovemaking. It was obvious that women had no idea about how to achieve the arousal that leads to orgasm.

We have plenty of evidence that men enjoy sex because men pay for sex (directly or indirectly). But women do not pay for any form of sexual gratification and pornography is censored to protect women’s sensitivities. Couples ask all the time about female orgasm with a lover. There are masturbation clinics for women. So any woman who claims that orgasm is easy, needs to explain her experience in detail. When they do this, it is clear they are talking about sensual experiences within a loving relationship.

I back up my work with my own experiences for the benefit of women who are interested (and any men who can cope with such honesty). I can explain in explicit terms how I achieve orgasm as a result of specific erotic and physical stimuli. I can also provide logical reasons for why the researchers have drawn the wrong conclusions from asking women about orgasm.

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, I was advised 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 provided the one and only reference to women having the same experience that I had had.

Men believe (like a Holy Book) that there are millions of women out there enjoying orgasmic pleasure from sex. Yet not one woman is willing to talk about it. A woman who blogs about orgasm told me I had to pay her $25 an hour (plus expenses) just to have a casual conversation about orgasm. And I’m not looking for turn-ons, just honesty. I have been asking women about these orgasms for over 10 years now. Most women are struck dumb.

We could ask women themselves or their lovers what turn-ons women use for orgasm. A woman cannot explain what turns her on or motivates her to want sex because she doesn’t know. Even a woman who masturbates to orgasm assumes that she should be aroused somehow with a lover, even though she knows that she has to use fantasy when she masturbates alone.

It is assumed that women are aroused with a lover, because that is the male experience. Yet while men’s turn-ons are very obvious, women’s turn-ons are a total mystery. Rather than accept that women are not aroused, we insist on believing they must be somehow but that these mechanisms are too complex for us to understand. This is the mystery of female sexuality.

Men tell me that women are too embarrassed to talk about sex and orgasm. But why should they be? I am the one who is supposed to be dysfunctional. Women keep silent to avoid conflict. Some are politically astute enough to say only what will benefit them. Others are just ignorant or inexperienced. Many women are hugely threatened by the expectations set by men that they cannot possibly fulfil. Most women have no idea what an orgasm is.

Other women are either too frightened, too inexperienced or just too embarrassed to ask questions. When I have talked to 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. The embarrassment over sex suits those who are profiting from our society’s sexual ignorance.

It’s ironic that everyone thinks female orgasm is so wonderful. The reality is that it is hugely disappointing because it doesn’t occur with a lover. No one believes a responsive woman’s experience. They imply that your experiences cannot be. It’s quite surreal. That’s how I know other women never experience it. They are content with the fiction men tell them because they don’t know any different. But I don’t envy them. The experience of orgasm is unique and I wouldn’t be without it. I am grateful that I have had the experience of responsiveness throughout my adult life.

Males are much more inclined, and females are less inclined to discuss sexual matters with other persons. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)