We can be confident that orgasm is primarily a male phenomenon in humans because female orgasm has always been a mystery. Even in the 1950s, when Kinsey did his research, he commented that many couples had no idea that it might be possible for a woman to experience orgasm. It was immediately assumed that women should orgasm through intercourse despite the finding that female orgasm was associated with masturbation.
The clitoris was hardly heard of before Kinsey and has not fared much better since. This reflects the difficulty most people have in visualising sexual activity that does not involve a penis penetrating a vagina. The biological facts that typically define the ‘sex education’ some of us may have had, help to reinforce this definition of sex (and therefore orgasm) as an activity that can be explained in terms of the reproductive biology.
Confusion over the anatomy involved in female orgasm arises on two counts. Given women are not aroused with a lover, they do not respond to specific genital stimulation so men supply a variety of general (e.g. breast) stimulation that assists with their own arousal. Men’s sex drive ensures that the vagina is always stimulated, which is why everyone assumes the vagina must be a sex organ. Secondly because men masturbate to orgasm, it is assumed that women do the same. Most women do not appreciate that orgasm relies on mental arousal. They stimulate themselves in various ways but not to orgasm. This ignorance is perpetuated in porn.
A responsive woman knows that there is something badly wrong with how society portrays female sexuality because she has the experience of orgasm from masturbation. Female orgasm is a unique gift from Nature but it often feels more like a curse because of society’s ignorance about how it is achieved. Unresponsive women are flattered by men’s fantasies about their sexuality so they have no incentive to question these emotional beliefs.
A woman masturbates by massaging the internal clitoral organ, with her fingers in front and her pelvic muscles behind. During intercourse a penis thrusts into her vagina (an organ with no sensitivity) as the man’s groin squashes her labia and vulva. Women never comment on these differences. If women were familiar with orgasm, then they would be motivated to understand why intercourse does nothing for them. They would know that the clitoris is the female sex organ and the source of a woman’s orgasm.
A person knows when they have had an orgasm. Women’s uncertainty over whether they have had an orgasm is evidence that they have never one. If female orgasm were common, there would be significant numbers of women in the general population able to provide explicit accounts of how they achieve orgasm as a response to erotic stimuli. This is not the case.
The reason we don’t know how women are aroused is because women themselves do not know. Unless a woman masturbates to orgasm, she has no means of knowing. Female arousal does not occur spontaneously or with a lover. It has to be consciously generated. Very few women discover how to do this because it requires a minimum level of responsiveness.
In any survey or even in everyday life there are many women who are happy to acknowledge that they have never had an orgasm. Other women clearly assume that they are supposed to orgasm through intercourse as well as all the supposed orgasm techniques suggested by erotic fiction. But they have little interest in discussing sexual pleasure or erotic turn-ons.
It is the rarity of female orgasm that generates male interest. If female orgasm was common it would not be a specialist topic. Male orgasm occurs reliably. No one discusses it and it is not a female turn-on. If female orgasm were as reliable there would be a similar lack of interest in it. The word ‘orgasm’ is taboo. When it is mentioned men laugh nervously but women are silent. We know that women do not orgasm with a lover because of the political and emotional pressure that is brought to bear to insist they do.
Many women are shocked even by the idea of sexual fantasies. The vast majority of women never experience orgasm because they are disgusted by eroticism. It is only a responsive person who appreciates that erotic turn-ons are required for orgasm. A person knows that they have had an orgasm because it is a unique experience. When you orgasm, not only do you know for sure but you also know how you got there! If women could truly orgasm with a lover, then they would be able to explain how they are aroused.
Few women discover masturbation, so mothers object to girls being told that the clitoris can be pleasurable to touch. Women tend to associate the clitoris with lesbians or turn-ons for men rather than with their own sexual pleasure. Most girls enjoy romance and the emotional aspects of relationships. Few girls enjoy the kind of erotic fantasies that cause arousal.
Considerable psychiatric therapy can be wasted on persons (especially females) who are misjudged to be cases of repression when, in actuality, at least some of them never were equipped to respond erotically. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)