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Reproduction: The Role of Heterosexual Intercourse

It is often assumed that women orgasm naturally during intercourse. Yet there are no research findings to support this view. Shere Hite’s work in 1976 also produced inconclusive results[i] when she asked women about orgasm. Around half said they never or rarely orgasm from intercourse.

An even split hardly lends authority to women’s views either way. But given women must respond similarly it is more likely that half are wrong about orgasm than that half are wrong about not having an orgasm (especially given the ego associated with one and the taboo of the other).

Researchers assume that women are just as familiar with orgasm and just as capable of achieving it as men are. And yet this is clearly not the case.

By asking about orgasm researchers empower women to define orgasm as they please. Add this confusion to men’s desire to amplify any hint of female responsiveness and we have the nonsense that currently abounds.

Our sexual responses arise through a subconscious process in the brain and body. We cannot control consciously how much we want sex (our motivation to engage in sexual activity), the erotic turn-ons that cause us to become aroused or the frequency and the ease with which we can achieve orgasm. These responses occur beyond our conscious control.

Conversely our sexual behaviours are determined by conscious choice. We make personal decisions about how we explore and enjoy our own responses as well as those of a partner. These conscious behaviours are determined to a degree by a person’s innate sexual responsiveness.

Men can easily confuse women’s sexual willingness with their sexual responsiveness. A woman’s amenability to intercourse does not reflect her ability to orgasm. It indicates her willingness to engage in sexual behaviour that may be to her political, financial or emotional advantage.

Women’s ‘response’ to lovemaking is conscious, which is why they appear to respond differently. Consequently if we are to fully appreciate female sexuality we must differentiate between how a woman enjoys orgasm (in a way that has nothing to do with what men need of women) and her willingness to please a male lover by engaging in intercourse.

Female orgasm is most easily and reliably achieved by masturbating but emotionally and reproductively most women prefer to invest in a relationship rather than investigate how to stimulate themselves to orgasm.

[i] Has orgasm regularly from intercourse 30%; Has orgasm rarely from intercourse 22%; Has orgasm during intercourse with the addition of simultaneous clitoral stimulation by hand 19%; Does not orgasm during intercourse 29% (p230-231 Hite 1976)

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

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