Men can orgasm from non-reproductive activity such as fellatio or masturbation. But men obtain the most satisfying sexual release by ejaculating into a lover’s body. So although another person is not absolutely necessary for men to enjoy orgasm, it is typically preferred. So men naturally assume that women have the same preference. But female arousal is not needed for intercourse and female orgasm is not needed for reproduction.
Male masturbation acts as a safety valve for men’s sex drive. But a woman has no conscious awareness of needing sexual release. A woman does not have the benefit of the external triggers that cause male arousal before men even start on stimulation. A woman has to generate sufficient arousal for orgasm out of nothing. A woman masturbates purely to enjoy orgasm.
Men’s acute arousal (especially with a lover) means that they can be much more flexible in the techniques they use to achieve orgasm. A woman’s masturbation technique is not limited by a lack of imagination or a reluctance to try other approaches. A woman learns from experience that orgasm is achieved only in a highly specific way. She can only orgasm by using a meditation technique that involves an intense focus on erotic fantasy. She also has to thrust with her hips and put pressure on the internal clitoral organ (by pushing down with her fingers and clenching her buttock muscles).
The actions of masturbation are subconsciously done and result from a primitive thrusting instinct. The body responds to what is happening in the mind. If a woman’s body is capable of orgasm, the clitoral organ responds. She can feel a sense of erotic excitement as blood flows to the genitals in response to what she is thinking about. The clitoral organ becomes more sensitive to stimulation and provides an erotic feedback loop via her fingers.
When a woman masturbates in a position other than face down, she is not responding to sexual instinct. She is consciously deciding to stimulate herself because she thinks she should or because she hopes to discover orgasm. Rather than responding to an instinctive response to erotic arousal, she is just copying what she has seen in pornography or read about in erotic fiction. These accounts are based on what arouses a man rather than being a reflection of how a woman truly achieves orgasm. A responsive woman responds instinctively to the mental arousal that causes clitoral tumescence.
Women’s masturbation techniques are not sociable as a man’s can be. She cannot orgasm with a lover or with an audience of any kind. Neither does a woman observe herself during the performance. If she is aiming for orgasm, a woman needs to eliminate distractions and block out the physical world to focus on the sensations within her body. A woman shuts her eyes to focus on achieving the psychological arousal that she needs to reach orgasm.
Just as intercourse represents the natural expression of a man’s arousal cycle, masturbation is the natural expression of a responsive woman’s ability to become aroused and enjoy orgasm. She enjoys eroticism through fantasy and the feelings that accompany mental arousal. She enjoys the pleasure of achieving a sexual release and the subsequent relaxation. But there is no urgent need, no pent-up arousal or frustration. Nor is there any accompanying sex drive. Given the impossibility of sharing her arousal cycle with a lover, female masturbation is a private and personal experience.
When a man engages in intercourse, he clenches his buttocks as he thrusts. This is because he is thrusting into the body of another person. The thrust of his pelvic comes up against a firm obstacle in the form of a lover’s body. He can thrust only to a certain point that is defined by the length of his penis. When a woman masturbates, her fingers substitute for the stop of a lover’s body. This mimics the effect a man has when thrusting into a body, of coming up against a firm stop point. The squeeze technique includes pressing the sex organ up against a firm obstacle just as orgasm is reached.
The kind of stimulation that is required for a woman to orgasm restricts the position in which she can masturbate. Orgasm is achieved by the combined stimulation of fingers, pelvic muscles and body weight on the clitoral organ. This technique is incompatible with a lover or a vibrator. Unfortunately, women’s instinctive masturbation techniques do not provide the genital display and presumed invitation to penetrate that arouse men. Being face down, with her hands on her vulva, allows for the freedom of movement needed for thrusting. Men also like positions for intercourse that give them control of thrusting. They stand over, behind or on top of a woman to obtain the internal pressure, which intensifies the physical sensations of orgasm.
A woman achieves orgasm when her mind has reached a peak of arousal determined by the fantasy. She synchronises this mental arousal with both internal and external pressure on the clitoris. Using fantasy produces a sense of release including an increased heart-beat and heavy breathing culminating in waves of relaxation. There is a sense of release followed by lassitude. After orgasm a woman’s vulva remains swollen. Post-orgasm the area alongside her labia is pleasurable to touch and her clitoris has a tiny blip of sensitivity.
The concentration of stimulation on the clitoris and labia minora in masturbation is a demonstration of the fact that they are the portions of the genitalia which are best supplied with end organs of touch. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)