Female orgasm is not an issue in sexual relationships because the vast majority of women accept sex for what it is. Such women describe orgasm in terms of emotional factors. For some women this means they accept that orgasm does not occur with a lover. For others, they may assume that orgasm occurs but they assume that it is trivial or implicit. Saying that women orgasm from intercourse means that any woman who has intercourse can believe that she has orgasms and reassure herself that she is sexually normal as defined by her social culture. Either way it makes little difference to women’s attitude towards sex. Intercourse relies on a man having an erection and so women can only engage in intercourse by responding to male initiative.
Women’s sexuality is portrayed unrealistically in fictional media, both pornography and movies for general release. Yet women never correct these fabrications. Women’s arousal is largely subconscious and few women are responsive enough to orgasm. This explains women’s lack of interest in their own sexuality and why the male view prevails. The male response to their bodies is the only aspect of their sexuality that most women are aware of.
Being ignorant of what orgasm feels like, some women assume various vague sensations with a lover might be an orgasm. Some women believe they orgasm from intercourse. They may feel mildly pleasurable sensations from the diffuse stimulation of intercourse. These physical or emotional sensations that women feel are all quite normal and do no harm. They are not orgasms because they do not involve a mental response to erotic stimuli. Women’s erotica is often associated with themes of humiliation, domination and sadism. Just as with fear or horror, such themes can cause nervous excitement that women might mistake for sexual arousal but they do not cause orgasm. Orgasm is a mental response to explicitly sexual scenarios.
A responsive woman is surrounded by so much fiction that she assumes that other women may experience arousal and orgasm in situations where she doesn’t. There are so many fictional stories that no one even recognises a real account of orgasm when they hear it. A responsive woman has no reason to talk about her enjoyment of masturbation alone. It is only women who are trying to be popular with men who promote their stories. Consequently female masturbation, as portrayed in fictional media, reflects fantasies and assumptions rather than how a responsive woman masturbates to orgasm.
Young girls and women can stimulate their vulva, without ever achieving orgasm. Perhaps they are responding to some latent instinct. Maybe they are experimenting. Perhaps they feel that they should masturbate. It could be that they experience some kind of genital itch. They rub it for a while and then finally stop, seeming satisfied. Perhaps the rubbing has eradicated the itch much as it might do in any other part of the body. These assumed orgasms occur outside any erotic context. Women never refer to turn-ons.
Any activity that starts when a child is pre-pubescent cannot be a true orgasm. Ultimately, regardless of gender we can only start to respond sexually once our sexual anatomy (the sex organ in particular) has developed the ability to become tumescent. A woman needs the sexual maturity to respond to eroticism at a much more sophisticated level than a man does. A young man can be aroused by visual images of body parts or genital activity. Girls learn to masturbate later than boys because their fantasies involve a more psychologically complex mechanism. To masturbate to orgasm, a responsive woman needs to think much more explicitly about penetrative sexual activity.
Reproduction relies on women providing a man with an opportunity for intercourse rather than being focused on achieving their own orgasm. So sexual activity with a lover has a social rather than an erotic context for women. Compared with men’s acute arousal, women feel much more diffuse feelings of mild excitement. Nevertheless these sensations, whether they are strong or weak, draw our attention to the sex organ. It is only when a responsive woman is alone that she is able to enjoy her own responses.
Anyone who is responsive struggles to understand why someone who has never had an orgasm would say that they have. Women refer to orgasm to obtain approval from others and because they are told that they should orgasm. Few people are ever explicit about what an orgasm feels like and how it is achieved (that it relies on mental arousal). So women have the idea that orgasm is just a nice feeling. They can assume that almost any sensation (especially with a lover) might be what other people are calling an orgasm.
People who advise others about female orgasm or on related issues (such as lack of sexual desire) are never required to explain how women achieve the mental arousal that is a prerequisite for orgasm. It is assumed that women orgasm even though no one can account for any female erotic turn-ons. This is because women don’t appreciate that arousal is a mental phenomenon.
Women who know that orgasm is impossible with a lover deserve explicit explanations for why some women can claim what others know is impossible. Female arousal needs to be explained in terms that are compatible with women’s behaviours. These arousal mechanisms need to operate as men’s do, by providing a psychological erotic stimulus. The physiological process for achieving orgasm as a result of different anatomy being stimulated by a lover in a variety of ways also needs to be laid out.
How do women learn what an orgasm is? Your parents aren’t talking to you about it. Where would you learn? I don’t know. Maybe they’re reporting orgasms just when they’re having a pleasurable sensation. (Nicole Prause)
Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)