Kinsey found that only 20% of women masturbated regularly. Kinsey concluded that masturbation was not only the quickest way for a woman to orgasm (4 minutes on average) but also the most reliable way (95% success rate). He used women’s masturbatory activities to define female orgasm. There are many ways of demonstrating that women are mistaken about orgasm with a lover because they don’t understand what an orgasm is. So Kinsey’s work indicates that 20% of women may know how to 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 perhaps being more imaginative than average may be able to use erotic fantasies for arousal (if they are responsive). Kinsey also noted that there was a taboo over masturbation among the less educated. He found that two out of every five women (42%) never masturbate while a similar number (38%) try masturbation but are not motivated to continue.
But research inevitably involves women who are confident enough to come forward and talk about orgasm in surveys. Women’s reluctance to discuss sexual phenomena suggests that female masturbation is much less common than this. Reading Shere Hite’s book is a tremendous relief to any woman who masturbates. Her work is the only evidence that women orgasm easily alone but that they cannot achieve the same thing with a lover. The fact that her book is largely unknown is clear evidence that few women masturbate.
Masturbation clinics encourage women to feel better about their bodies. When a woman feels better about her body, she may be more amenable to having sex. It is not possible to teach someone how to orgasm. These clinics are run by women who have no idea what is involved in orgasm or masturbation. We cannot learn how to become responsive. Our responsiveness is determined at birth and is typically a male characteristic.
Some of the women in Shere Hite’s samples said they masturbated themselves during intercourse. Not only is this an impractical technique but it is also incompatible with how women masturbate themselves to orgasm. Neither men nor women appear to be aware of the fact that before anyone can orgasm they must first be aroused. Men’s arousal is fairly automatic but women have to work much harder at generating their arousal consciously.
Women never comment on the different stimulation techniques and anatomy that are supposed to cause female orgasm. If women knew how to masturbate themselves to orgasm, then more women would realise that intercourse does not cause female orgasm. Also their lovers would realise. Heterosexual women associate clitoral stimulation with lesbians who never have intercourse and so have to engage in more explicit genital sex play.
Most women dislike explicit references to genitals and so they say ‘front bottom’ or ‘down there’ by which they mean anywhere between their clitoris and their anus. Most women also dislike references to explicit genital stimulation including masturbation. They consider the clitoris to be too sexually explicit for a heterosexual woman. Most women associate the vagina, clitoris and female orgasm with pornography and male fantasies.
Shere Hite listed a variety of positions that women reported using during masturbation. Only 5% of the women in her sample who masturbated, did so by lying on their front. This means that the rest (the vast majority) were not actually achieving orgasm. Kinsey noted the technique of lying face down and thrusting with the hips, which only related to a few of the women who said that they masturbated. Kinsey also commented that many women do not use fantasy. Clearly many women are not masturbating to orgasm.
From the universal silence and ignorance over female orgasm, we can conclude that female masturbation and hence female orgasm are rare. Women allow men to portray their sexual responsiveness in completely unrealistic ways without ever commenting. Most women have little confidence in their own experiences so they accept all the fictional accounts as possibilities for other women if not for themselves. Few women even know that they have a clitoris, let alone know what to do with it. Men explore the female body as they always have done. Armed with the latest news of the clitoris men convince themselves that, as a new breed of male lover, they provide women with amazing pleasure for the first time in human history.
Women who masturbate to orgasm, understand the need for a source of eroticism. Although they don’t respond to pornography in the way that men do, they may be more understanding of men’s need for an arousal mechanism in the absence of a partner. Women who masturbate to orgasm do not talk about their fantasies because these are private and taboo. But also there are so many women who are disgusted by masturbation. Even without mentioning sex directly, there are signs that indicate a person’s attitude towards eroticism. Most women ignore or are offended by sexual references, which is a sign that they are not receptive to discussing orgasm.
Also because of its small size and the limited protrusion of the clitoris, many males do not understand that it may be as important a center for stimulation for females as the penis is for males. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)