Sex education must be able to explain and justify how orgasm is achieved by someone regardless of gender and orientation. Equally there needs to be a reconciliation between how orgasm is achieved alone and with a lover.
Female masturbation is associated with lesbians because of the masculine connotations of the clitoris. But responsiveness varies among women, gay and straight, just as it does among men. Gay women do not masturbate any more commonly or more frequently than straight women. The anatomy involved in orgasm must be consistent for women regardless of orientation whether they are alone or with a lover (regardless of their lover’s gender).
There are differences in the orgasm techniques that men and women use. But it is not logical to suggest that a person of one sex achieves orgasm in a different way to another person of the same sex. So, for example, lesbians must use the same orgasm techniques as heterosexual women. This is because our minds and bodies respond in similar ways according to sex. Orientation does not affect responsiveness and how orgasm is achieved.
Orgasm is an instinctive response that involves physical stimulation and mental arousal. Just as men and women (or gays and heterosexuals for that matter) experience responses such as hunger or anger in much the same way, they must also experience orgasm similarly. In the 1950s when the public first learned of female orgasm, the excitement was that women might be capable of a response similar to the one that men experience. Male orgasm involves a mental focus on eroticism and a rhythmic massaging of the phallus from start to end of sexual activity. Yet female orgasm is associated with emotional factors and amazing array of different anatomy.
We need to understand responsiveness in explicit terms. It is often implied that orgasm is so obvious that no one needs to talk about explicit psychological and physical stimuli. It often appears that way for men. But this is because no one acknowledges the psychological aspects of arousal. Men need to have some kind of mental stimulation – fantasy or turn-on that causes them to be aroused in the first place. Women rarely demonstrate any understanding of the need for mental arousal. This is almost always missing from women’s accounts of orgasm. Everyone assumes that women are aroused as men are but there are no logical explanations for how this would occur. Women are not aroused by body parts or sex as men are.
It is often mistakenly assumed that female sexual arousal depends on emotional criteria. This misunderstanding arises for a variety of reasons. First, women tend to associate sexual activity with a loving relationship. Second, many women are uncomfortable with the kind of explicit eroticism that causes arousal. Third, women cannot account for erotic turn-ons.
We need to contrast the different stimulation men and women obtain from various sexual activities: masturbation alone, oral sex and intercourse. Each of these activities involves penile stimulation for a man. But both the anatomy and the stimulation technique are very different for women.
The key issue relating to stimulation is that we always stimulate our sex organ if we are aiming for orgasm. This is very apparent for men who never consider stimulating any anatomy other than their penis when heading for orgasm. The confusion arises because the vagina is a complement to the penis in reproductive terms (intercourse). But it is also assumed that cunnilingus causes female orgasm because the clitoris is a parallel to the penis. The penis and clitoris both develop from the same genital tubercle.
The phallus (penis or clitoris) is the only erectile organ of the body. Within the phallus are the corpora cavernosa that fill with blood when a person is mentally aroused by stimuli of an erotic nature. This process is almost automatic in young men but requires specific conscious focus for women.
Once the clitoris was known about, it was suggested that a couple should include clitoral stimulation in their lovemaking. Men’s sex drive would never allow the clitoris to replace the vagina as a source of female pleasure. So the clitoris was simply added as an optional extra. If clitoral stimulation caused female orgasm with a lover, then couples would have discovered it by themselves. They would not need researchers to tell them about it.
If a woman is in an intimate situation with a man (naked and alone), then he is going to be intent on having intercourse with her. This act will result in a possible pregnancy. So a woman is not going to be naturally motivated to engage in any intimate or sexual activity with a man unless she is prepared to be impregnated by him. This means that she is either married to him (or confident of his support should she become pregnant) or that she is using a reliable contraceptive to avoid pregnancy. In the many thousands of years of evolution there was no contraceptive pill. So a woman had to be able to make a conscious choice to offer intercourse to a reliable and loving man. This process has nothing to do with having a sex drive or even being sexually aroused. Male sex drive and arousal impel men to want intercourse regardless of any relationship or risk of impregnating a woman.
Rhythmic pelvic thrusts during sexual activity are among the distinctive characteristics of the class Mammalia. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)