Orgasm is a basic physiological response of the human body. Just as the same mechanism causes men and women to sneeze, so we also orgasm in the same way. Regardless of gender and orientation, both the anatomy and the trigger are the same. We massage the tumescent phallus and focus our minds on explicit aspects of eroticism. Orgasm techniques are similar whether we are male or female, alone or with a lover, gay or heterosexual.
If we want to understand responsiveness, a good place to start is male sexuality. When men engage in intercourse or masturbation, they stimulate their penis rhythmically up until orgasm. It only appears as if men are intent on the goal of orgasm. In fact, men are responding to an instinct to thrust into the vagina (or other orifice). This thrusting action inevitably ends in orgasm, which ends a man’s ability to engage in sexual activity. No one can predict the exact timing of an orgasm. But intercourse stimulates a woman’s vagina only while a man has an erection (until ejaculation). No one (not even a man) can orgasm within limits set by another person’s responses. Neither can we orgasm with exactly the same frequency as another person.
The idea that women (but not men of course) need a lover with specialised stimulation skills to make them orgasm or give them an orgasm is a fallacy. Orgasm is a specific erotic phenomenon that occurs relatively predictably given the appropriate psychological and physical stimuli. But physical stimulation (regardless of who provides it) is a secondary issue. Mental arousal is much more crucial and must be achieved before physical stimulation can be effective (lead reliably to orgasm). When we become responsive in adolescence (all men but very few women), we discover orgasm by ourselves. We orgasm because of what happens in our mind.
Sexual activity that is aimed at orgasm is not accompanied by a dialogue. Anyone who wants to orgasm needs to concentrate on the mental turn-ons that cause arousal. During masturbation alone we always need some form of fantasy to achieve arousal. These fantasies need to be explicitly erotic and include aspects of sex that are sufficiently arousing that we achieve orgasm. Fantasies are based on the personal erotic preferences of the individual.
It is inconceivable that men and women would have evolved a response as fundamental as orgasm through different evolutionary routes. This is where the anatomical precedent comes in. The phallus (penis or clitoris) is always involved in orgasm. The penis and clitoris (only the glans is visible) may not look very similar but they develop from the same anatomy in every foetus (regardless of sex). Whereas the vagina develops from reproductive glands that every foetus has initially but that never develop in a male foetus.
The penis acts both as a sex organ and a reproductive organ. So men enjoy orgasm (which triggers ejaculation) as part of their reproductive role in intercourse. But for women, intercourse has a purely reproductive function. A woman has separate anatomy for reproductive function (the vagina) and orgasm (the clitoris). Women’s reproductive anatomy (the vagina) complements male sexuality. Women’s responsiveness (ability to orgasm) mirrors (or parallels) male sexuality including an instinct to thrust to orgasm.
Masturbation is based on an instinctive thrusting behaviour. This thrusting action is not consciously determined by the individual. It happens because the individual does what comes naturally when they are mentally aroused. Build-up to orgasm involves rhythmic movements of the whole body, focused on the pelvis. The hips are thrust forward, the thigh and buttocks muscles are flexed. This is an instinctive behaviour that puts pressure on the internal sex organ (penis or clitoris). The sex organ (clitoris or penis) is stimulated simultaneously from behind (or within) as well as from the front (by rubbing the loose skin over the shaft of the penis or the body of clitoris).
Although men are much more flexible in the position in which they can orgasm, they often prefer a position that is above a lover or facing down. A woman masturbates by lying face down with her hands on her vulva. This position allows for the thrusting motion and the clenching of the buttocks that is critical to achieving orgasm. Women do not orgasm from intercourse because the position they need for orgasm is incompatible with intercourse. Intercourse does not allow a woman the focus she needs on fantasy for orgasm. Neither can she emulate the male role of thrusting to orgasm.
A responsive woman may enjoy resting her hands on her vulva before going to sleep or when she is relaxing alone. There is no sense of arousal, just a feeling of comfort. Men also enjoy resting a hand on their penis even when flaccid. Unresponsive women are offended if a man (or anyone) touches their groin in public. Women are often unaware that cursory genital contact cannot cause orgasm. Achieving orgasm involves specific stimulation and a degree of privacy to focus on turn-ons. We need to be mentally aroused first, then physical arousal (blood flowing into the genitals) causes the erectile organ (penis or clitoris) to become sensitive to stimulation. This sensitivity is considerably heightened for a man. Even when aroused, a responsive woman obtains relatively little pleasure from clitoral stimulation.
The basic physiology of sexual response is essentially the same among females and males. (Alfred Kinsey 1953)