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Orgasm is not a vital aspect of women’s sexuality

Men approach sexual activity (alone or with a lover) already aroused and so they are easily stimulated to orgasm. Women are not spontaneously aroused and so physical stimulation does not guarantee an orgasm. Consequently, women often engage in sex without ever having an orgasm.[i]

How do we define sexual activity? For sure any behaviour that is directed towards achieving reproduction or orgasm is deemed sexual. But what about oral sex and intercourse? The person giving oral sex and the person receiving intercourse are not necessarily intended to orgasm directly from the activity but nevertheless their behaviour is considered sexual.

Sexual activity (alone or with a partner) can include psychological (emotional and erotic) and physical (sensual and genital) stimuli that may be delightful but that do not necessarily result in an orgasmic response.

This issue is vital in appreciating the confusion over female orgasm.

Sex is inherently linked with reproduction. Men assume that because orgasm is such a vital aspect of their own sexuality, it must have an equal significance for women. But intercourse is only part of the reproductive processes that occur before conception. The reproductive processes that occur post-conception (including pregnancy and childbirth) are rarely included in human sexuality because they relate solely to women.

All men (to varying degrees) are capable of orgasm because men’s prime reproductive role is to ejaculate into the vagina. Men do not have organs equivalent to the uterus and the mammary glands. So men are incapable of carrying the foetus and breast-feeding the infant. Women are potentially capable of orgasm only because the same embryonic structure (that grows into the penis in a man) develops into the clitoris in a woman.

The penis fulfils the functions of urination and reproduction (ejaculation) as well as that of a sex organ capable of producing an orgasm. A man stimulates his sex organ while responding to his reproductive drive.

But women have not evolved the anatomy to make orgasm a priority.

A woman has separate anatomy for urination (the urethra), reproduction (the vagina) and orgasm (the clitoris). It’s all quite remote and out of sight. A woman has to use a mirror to see her external genitalia. She has no need to handle her clitoris to urinate. But crucially the clitoris is not stimulated when a woman accepts a man’s desire for mating activity.

[i] It cannot be emphasized too often that orgasm cannot be taken as the sole criterion for determining the degree of satisfaction which a female may derive from sexual activity. (p371 Kinsey 1953)

Excerpt from Jane’s book Women’s Sexual Behaviours & Responses (2013)

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