Women represent a particular educational challenge because they are not nearly as curious as men are about sexual phenomena. Women often fail to realise that they are ignorant of the specifics of sexual response. They are unaware of the sexual content out there fictional or otherwise. Women rarely participate in any kind of informed sexual discussion. They assume that romantic and emotional interpretations of sex can substitute for knowledge of how arousal and orgasm are achieved.
The Americans have masturbation clinics for women, which have little to do with masturbation or orgasm. They are aimed at encouraging women to feel better about their bodies. When a woman feels that she looks good naked she feels ‘sexier’ and may be more amenable to having sex. It is not possible to teach someone how to orgasm. A person must be responsive for them to orgasm. Neither do many people (even exhibitionistic highly responsive men) masturbate to orgasm in pubic. It is quite impossible for a woman to masturbate to orgasm, even with a lover present.
Because men find intercourse sensationally orgasmic, there is a tendency to equate sex (i.e. intercourse) with orgasm. So many women simply assume that they orgasm during intercourse and that the vagina must be the source of a woman’s orgasm. It is clear that this is the only part of their anatomy that is ever stimulated.
Intercourse involves stimulation of the vagina while female masturbation focuses on the clitoris. If every woman masturbates, why do so few comment on the difference between the two? If many women stimulate themselves with a male lover, then it seems strange that so few men are aware of the role of the clitoris.
If most women knew how to masturbate themselves to orgasm, then more women would realise that intercourse does not cause female orgasm. Also their lovers would realise. Intercourse allows a woman to assist with the much easier task of facilitating male orgasm rather than aiming for her own. This explains why, although female masturbation is quite normal, it is also quite unusual.
Inexperienced women explore various parts of their body before discovering orgasm (if they ever do). Some women stimulate the vagina because they assume they are supposed to or because they are advised by men to do so. What we see in pornography is women who are providing a masturbatory display for male gratification.
Women are clearly not motivated by orgasm as men are. Of the women who masturbate, Kinsey noted they do so on average, once every 3 to 4 weeks. Kinsey concluded that only 20% of women masturbate regularly but female masturbation must be much rarer than this. Few women comment on the difference between intercourse and female masturbation.
If female masturbation were common more women would empathise with men’s use of pornography because they would understand that anyone who masturbates needs to use a source of eroticism to achieve the kind of sexual arousal that leads to orgasm.
Women who masturbate to orgasm, understand the need to use a source of eroticism for arousal. Although they don’t respond to pornography in the way that men do, they may be more understanding of men’s need for an arousal mechanism in the absence of a partner.
Men continue to masturbate throughout their lives but women often imply that the emotional rewards of a relationship replace any need to masturbate. For many women sex is an emotional experience and orgasm (if acknowledged at all) comes from simply loving a partner. The unspoken fear is that any activity as explicit as masturbation might interfere with the more acceptable loving experiences that a relationship can provide. Many women expect sex to have an emotional context and so they dismiss masturbation as unrewarding.
Reading Shere Hite’s book is a tremendous relief to any woman who masturbates. Her work is the only evidence that women orgasm easily alone but that they struggle with a lover. The fact that her book is largely unknown is evidence that few women masturbate.
A woman is very unlikely to discuss her experience of masturbation with anyone else. So it’s a very private affair. Given the knowledge of how to orgasm alone is of no use with a lover, female orgasm is simply a personal and private pleasure for a woman to enjoy. There is no harm done to anyone nor to any relationship she may have.
… certainly, it is easier for most women to be orgasmic during masturbation than during intercourse. … For most women, masturbation involves stimulation of the clitoris, whereas with intercourse, the clitoris is only stimulated indirectly. (Masters & Johnson 1995)