Everyone has a phallus but intercourse, which dominates our view of sexuality, involves a man inserting his phallus into a vagina. Female orgasm has no useful function so it would be strange if it were common. This is why female orgasm was first discovered by researchers rather than being a well-known phenomenon in the population. Few women ever ask about orgasm, which is natural because you cannot miss what you have never known.
The clitoris was hardly heard of before Kinsey and has not fared much better since. This reflects the difficulty most people have in visualising sexual activity that does not involve a penis penetrating a vagina. The biological facts that typically define the sex education some of us may have had, help to reinforce this definition of sex (and therefore orgasm) as an activity that can be explained in terms of human reproductive biology.
Confusion over the anatomy involved in female orgasm arises on two counts. Firstly women are not aroused with a lover, so they are not focused on obtaining the stimulation they need for orgasm. Men can offer a variety of stimulation that assists with their own arousal. Men’s sex drive ensures that the vagina is always stimulated, which is why everyone assumes the vagina is a sex organ. Secondly because men always masturbate to orgasm, it is assumed that women do too. Confusingly, women stimulate themselves but not necessarily to orgasm. This ignorance is perpetuated in porn.
A person knows when they have had an orgasm. Women’s uncertainty over whether they have had an orgasm is evidence that they have never one. If female orgasm were common, 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.
If women had orgasms with a lover, then not only would they be able to explain the turn-ons and physical stimulation involved, but also their lovers would know. The reason we don’t know how women are aroused is because women themselves do not know. Unless a woman masturbates to orgasm, she has no means of knowing. Even a responsive woman assumes that she should be aroused with a lover, even though she knows that her arousal relies on the use of fantasy during masturbation. Female arousal does not occur naturally. It has to be consciously generated. Few women discover how to do this because it requires a minimum level of responsiveness.
Men enjoy exploring a lover’s body. Homosexual men talk of sweaty smells, nutty taste of semen, glistening glans, trickle of pre-cum, silky skin of the penis and the hairy skin of the testicles. Rather than exploring a lover’s body, women talk about what a lover is doing to them. Women enjoy a man’s voice, his caressing touch and what they interpret as his passion. These are sensual pleasures not erotic stimuli. Most women insist that lovemaking is superior to self-stimulation because they never appreciate that masturbation relies on achieving mental arousal through the use of fantasy.
In any survey or even in everyday life there are many women who are happy to acknowledge that they have never had an orgasm. Other women clearly assume that they are supposed to orgasm through intercourse as well as all the supposed orgasm techniques suggested by erotic fiction. But they have no interest in discussing sexual pleasuring techniques or erotic turn-ons.
It is the rarity of female orgasm that generates male interest. If female orgasm was common it would not be a specialist topic. Male orgasm occurs reliably. No one discusses it and it is not a female turn-on. If female orgasm were as reliable there would be a similar lack of interest in it. The word orgasm is taboo. When it is mentioned men laugh nervously but women are silent. We know that women do not orgasm with a lover because of the political and emotional pressure that is brought to bear to insist they do.
Many women are shocked by the idea of fantasies. It is only a responsive person who appreciates that turn-ons are required for orgasm. Few women discover masturbation, so mothers object to girls being told that the clitoris can be pleasurable to touch. Women associate the clitoris with lesbians or pornography rather than with their own arousal and orgasm. Most women enjoy romance and the emotional aspects of relationships. Few women enjoy fantasies because they lack the responsiveness that causes arousal.
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)