For a person to orgasm, they must stimulate their own sex organ. This is a key misunderstanding of intercourse. Even when a sex organ is capable of penetration (as the penis is), it cannot cause a lover’s orgasm. If women were aroused with a lover, they could stimulate themselves. The issue is that men want women to orgasm from (be enthusiastic about) intercourse.

It’s reasonable that we might occasionally attempt orgasm but not achieve it. But in general, we stimulate our genitals because we are aroused enough for orgasm. Men are aroused before they arrive at sexual opportunities. It is assumed that women are similarly aroused so that all that is required is physical stimulation. But women are not automatically aroused as men are.

For most of our history, there has been no substitute for a penis. Women couldn’t just use a random stick because it would be too uncomfortable. If they used something as everyday as a banana (only in hot countries) then one assumes that bananas would be associated with women’s pleasure rather than with fellatio as they are. If a woman wants vaginal stimulation, there are more than enough willing men. Why does she need a substitute?

No one has written an academic paper to explain how a sex toy can provide women with a responsiveness they don’t experience in other more natural ways. There is no research to indicate that anyone can orgasm by using a vibrator. These are simply marketing claims. It’s a clever ploy on the part of the sex toy vendors because, just by buying a vibrator, a woman can reassure herself that she is capable of orgasm. It doesn’t even matter what anatomy she stimulates. Rather than responsiveness being an innate, biological response, it is promoted as a commodity that can be purchased.

Even men do not orgasm simply by pressing a button. For stimulation to be effective, the mind must first accumulate some psychological arousal. This takes time to accumulate and, in the case of women, often some considerable time. Few women appreciate that stimulation only works once someone is mentally aroused. It is women’s aversion to abstract mental fantasy, that makes a vibrator so attractive. A gadget gives women something to do. But it is also clean and devoid of any ‘dirty’ associations so many women have with sexual activity. A gadget is acceptable to women because it can be accessorized and comes in different colours.

Naturally everyone accepts that women’s difficulties with orgasm must be due to inadequate physical stimulation. Perhaps this implication reassures women by inherently shifting the blame onto men. Yet this form of stimulation has only been invented recently, more than 200,000 years after the emergence of homo sapiens. It’s as if the sex toy manufacturers propose a gadget allows women, who cannot orgasm by natural means, to experience orgasm. But responsiveness doesn’t work like this.

Responsiveness is a capability that has evolved. That means our ancestors had to have had a similar capability. It is not possible for modern women to suddenly experience a new physiological response as fundamental as orgasm for the first time in human history. A gadget cannot replace the natural masturbation techniques that humans have used for millennia. A vibrator does not replicate any kind of naturally occurring stimulation.

The very action of purchasing a vibrator is evidence that a woman is in search of something that she does not experience naturally. It is also a reflection of the enormous political and emotional pressure some women feel that they should experience orgasm. This is the key reason why men never buy vibrators to assist with orgasm. Orgasm occurs in the brain and the physical stimulation is almost incidental in the sense that it is trivial. Once a person is aroused the physical stimulation is instinctively supplied.

Vibrators tend to be modelled on dildos (shaped like an erect penis) which were symbols of male potency in the past. This shape is suggestive of eroticism but also confuses women into thinking that they are supposed to stimulate their vaginas as a simulation of intercourse. Undoubtedly, a dildo is most useful to men who want to experience anal penetration. It is difficult to explain how women could respond to stimulation that doesn’t occur naturally. Despite all the publicity, most women never use a vibrator.

In the past witch doctors sold ineffective lotions and potions to an ignorant public desperate for a cure. Today the sex industry thrives on people’s embarrassment and ignorance about orgasm. If a woman finds a vibrator does nothing for her, she has no one to tell. The marketing of these gadgets is so universal that it’s difficult for a woman to question their effectiveness. Men do not use a vibrator to stimulate the penis. It is the wrong kind of stimulation. Yet men do not question why women need to use a vibrator. Vibrators do not increase women’s enthusiasm for sex any more than any other technique. Otherwise men would be rushing out to buy them.

A rhythmic development of muscular tensions is probably the most important of all the physiologic changes which occur when an animal responds sexually. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)