Learn About Sexuality

How we know that female orgasm is uncommon

The research clearly indicates that women orgasm most easily through masturbation alone. But how can we deduce that this experience is relatively uncommon and hence that few women orgasm by any means?

Let’s take a look at some of Kinsey’s statistics and think about what they might tell us. Kinsey and his team held private interviews with 5,490 women over a period of 10 years or more. Around 10% of those women (549) acknowledged that they had never had an orgasm in their life.

Kinsey also found that many other women orgasm very infrequently. He estimated that in total around 30% (1,647) of the women in his sample were largely unresponsive. They had only had an orgasm a handful of times in their lives. Kinsey also commented on the fact that a tiny number of highly responsive women had skewed the results so he had used median rather than mean figures to fairly reflect the average for female responsiveness. Mean figures give much more weight to unusual and infrequent incidences. Median figures give the same weight to all incidences.

Only around 70% of women orgasm with any kind of frequency that counts as responsive. But Kinsey also found that only around 20% of women masturbated regularly. Yet he concluded that masturbation was the most reliable means for a woman to achieve orgasm. There are many ways of demonstrating that women do not orgasm with a lover and therefore that women often mistake orgasm. That makes a maximum of 20% of women who may know how to achieve orgasm.

The percentage of women who do truly orgasm is likely to be much lower than this in the general population. Kinsey’s sample was heavily biased towards more educated women. It is likely that such women read more than others and are more likely to learn how to use erotic fantasies for arousal (if they respond to positively to eroticism). He also noted the tendency among the less educated to consider masturbation a perversion.

In general women are typically shocked and embarrassed by explicit sexual phenomena. They rarely engage in sexual discussions as men do. In any survey or even in everyday life there are many women who are happy to acknowledge that they have never had an orgasm. But if these women make up such a large proportion of the population how can other women be highly responsive? It is not logical. There are very few men who have a low responsiveness and essentially none who are unresponsive. Women assume that they are supposed to orgasm through intercourse almost automatically. They also generally believe all the other ways in which women are believed to orgasm through everyone’s knowledge of pornography. Women rarely talk about sexual pleasure.

Why can men not explain what turn-ons cause their lovers to become aroused enough for orgasm? Women talk about orgasm in vague and emotional terms. They do not talk of erotic turn-ons. If female orgasm were common place, 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. Many women are shocked even by the idea of sexual fantasies.

Anyone who knows how to orgasm knows which body part they need to stimulate. The confusion over the anatomy involved in female orgasm is due to women’s ignorance about how orgasm is achieved. Why don’t men know what physical stimulation their partners need for orgasm? Women are embarrassed to name intimate body parts, often considering them to be ‘dirty’. The fact that few women talk of the clitoris (and even fewer men) is evidence of women’s lack of responsiveness.

A woman’s masturbation techniques involve massaging the internal clitoral organ, which is pressured between her fingers and pelvic muscles. 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 it doesn’t occur during intercourse. They would know that the clitoris is the female sex organ and the source of a woman’s orgasm.

Just as intercourse is not designed to facilitate female orgasm, so women are also not as strongly motivated by orgasm as men are. If women were motivated by orgasm, they would masturbate. Even women who can orgasm do not go to the lengths that men often do to engage in activity that leads to orgasm. Women are not nearly as flexible in the circumstance in which they can orgasm. This is because of the difference in arousal mechanism between men and women. It is also because of the limited nature of female orgasm.

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)

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