Learn About Sexuality

Orgasm is a response to stimuli of an erotic nature

We can experience a peak of sensation for various reasons. For example, someone could tickle our feet, our knees or under our armpit. We may reach a point where we have had enough and we don’t want further stimulation. Such a sensation is not orgasm. Firstly, the sex organ is not involved but neither is there any mental engagement on eroticism.

Arousal is a psychological response that is triggered by the mind. Orgasm is a response to erotic stimuli of a psychological nature. These stimuli may be visual or imaginary but they are explicit images or concepts related to the genitals and most typically penetrative sex. Orgasm can be achieved reliably because a person learns which erotic stimuli cause them to orgasm.

Some women believe they orgasm either alone or with a lover but without using any form of fantasy. They believe it is possible to orgasm simply by using physical stimulation alone. There is a good reason why women might think this way. When they observe a man who is intent on orgasm, all they see is the physical stimulation involved. They have no idea what is going on inside his head. Men need an erotic mental stimulus to achieve orgasm.

Female orgasm is often defined in emotional terms. Yet the implication is that women are capable of the same sexual response as men. We would expect true female orgasms to have characteristics in common with the male experience. Male orgasm involves the sex organ and erotic turn-ons. Orgasm involves genital secretions (cervical and male glands), tumescence (increased blood flow in the whole body as well as the sex organ), rhythmic pelvic thrusts, muscular contractions and a release of nervous energy.

The feeling of blood flowing to the genitals causes us to instinctively place our hands on our sex organ. As children we learn that it is not socially acceptable to rest our hands on or near our genitals. Women are offended by any suggestions of arousal or genital stimulation because male sex drive causes men to hassle women for sex. We need very specific stimulation of the sex organ to achieve orgasm combined with a focus on erotic stimuli.

A responsive woman may enjoy resting her hands on her vulva. She only does this in private because of the taboo over touching the groin in public. She may also rest her hands on her vulva lying in bed just before going to sleep. There is no sense of arousal or tumescence but simply a feeling of comfort. Men also enjoy resting a hand on their penis even when flaccid.

If men want women to have a positive attitude towards eroticism or to be willing to engage in more adventurous sex play, then so-called female orgasms that arise without women engaging on erotic concepts of any kind are not going to help very much. It is the mind’s positive response to sexual scenarios that causes someone to empathise with eroticism. Our ability to respond to eroticism is what motivates us to engage in sexual activity. The true pleasure of orgasm is erotic release that causes the pelvic contractions.

Arousal occurs as the mind responds to images or concepts of an erotic nature. The mind then acts on the body producing observable evidence of arousal so that as our mental arousal increases. Men become conscious of their physical arousal because they have erections. Female arousal is only achieved by using considerable concentration on fantasy when alone. Women feel much more diffuse feelings of mild excitement. Nevertheless these sensations, strong or weak, draw our attention to our sex organ.

Aspects of control and domination, as well as the idea of a man negotiating his own pleasure, are core to arousal. We use BDSM (Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism) for arousal because it involves revelling in the control of others (of ‘doing something’ to someone else). BDSM may be useful for arousal but it does not cause orgasm. Much more explicit genital concepts are required for orgasm.

Even women who masturbate do not approach sex looking for erotic turn-ons to substitute for their fantasies. This is because women’s fantasies do not relate to real life. Sexual activity with a lover has a social rather than an erotic context for women. Reproduction relies on women accepting intercourse rather than being focused on achieving their own orgasm.

Most males … are definitely aroused upon seeing things that are associated with sex, and most females are not so aroused. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)

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