Difficulties in assessing women’s sexuality

Difficulties in assessing women’s sexuality

Our understanding of female sexuality must reflect what real women are physically and emotionally capable of. The advantage of a realistic approach is that couples can build on what is practically achievable rather than hanker after an impossible fantasy. Men stress about what they can do or say to get a woman into bed. So they are frustrated when a date does not result in sex. An experienced woman knows that any relationship with a man involves an on-going commitment to offer regular sex. So although it’s only one time, it’s usually the first time out of many. A man more or less assumes that the arrangement is on-going. This makes the first time a much bigger decision.

Women who claim that orgasm is easy are clearly talking about sensual experiences within a loving relationship. They assume that romantic and emotional interpretations of sexual activity can substitute for a knowledge of the physiological facts. Women represent an educational challenge because they are not nearly as curious as most men are about sexual phenomena. Female arousal is not a conscious phenomenon so women lack the experience of what a response to erotic stimuli feels like. Mental arousal motivates us to stimulate the phallus instinctively in a way that causes orgasm.

Yet researchers ask women in the general public about the stimulation they use to achieve orgasm. How do they expect to discover something from the public that they do not know themselves? If female orgasm occurred routinely with a lover, all heterosexuals, both male and female, would know not only the anatomy but also the erotic turn-ons required. The problem with researching female orgasm is that women cannot provide information that they do not know themselves. Rather than conclude the obvious (that women have no experience of arousal), men assume that women are too timid or embarrassed to reveal details of the erotic turn-ons that they use.

Most women have no idea how orgasm is achieved. So when researchers ask women about arousal and orgasm, they get confusion not science. The more women are told that they should orgasm the more confusion there is. Women who are shocked or disgusted by eroticism are assumed to orgasm simply because they engage in intercourse. Women are asked simple yes-no questions such as “Do you orgasm?”. Due to ignorance of what orgasm feels like, women can ascribe the word orgasm to almost any sensation, emotional or sensual, that they experience with a lover. Anyone who can orgasm knows the anatomy, the kind of stimulation and the erotic turn-ons that they need.

Men’s sexuality is straightforward in the sense that men naturally focus on the mating act. Men are motivated to engage in intercourse because of the pleasures of thrusting, the release of orgasm and the satisfaction of ejaculation (the reproductive event). Men assume that women should obtain the same pleasure from intercourse that men do because they want women to be amenable to intercourse. Most women never stimulate themselves so they only time their genitals are stimulated is when they are with a male lover.

Any research that focuses on responsiveness is likely to conclude that female sexuality is inferior to male. But the behaviours some women employ makes their sexuality much more flexible than male sexuality. Men engage in sexual activity with the simple goal of enjoying their own pleasure and sexual release. Women can be much more generous as lovers. They offer a lover an opportunity for sexual release through penetration. Due to a lack of arousal, women can continue sexual activity for longer and with many consecutive lovers (e.g. in prostitution). Some women enjoy providing male erotic turn-ons and they use conscious behaviours to facilitate male orgasm.

Images and stories of women, apparently enjoying sex, abound in fictional media. Even a responsive woman, who has the experience of orgasm through masturbation doubts the inevitable conclusion from her own experience. But it is much more difficult for women who never experience orgasm. They have nothing to replace the fiction with. Most women conclude that these fictional experiences must be true for some undefined other women. At the same time, the sexual ego and bravado cause others to conclude that it is all a hoax. But this private conclusion is never promoted.

Men need genital stimulation and a mental focus on eroticism to achieve orgasm. Most women never experience orgasm so they don’t understand this. Women claim to orgasm from nipple stimulation, belly-button stimulation and even brushing their hair. This ignorance over female orgasm is compounded by men who will believe anything just so they can convince themselves that women want sex. Men are fascinated by any account of female orgasm no matter how unrealistic. Inadvertently, Kinsey’s research fuelled the belief that women are capable of orgasm from breast stimulation and multiple orgasms simply because a few women claimed to have them.

Researchers try to identify the anatomy involved in orgasm but they don’t specify the kind of stimulation involved. What is not appreciated is that responsive women use a similar stimulation technique to men and stimulation must be continued up until orgasm. Both sexes use a rhythmic motion (squeeze technique) that massages the whole sex organ from outside (fingers) as well as inside (pelvic muscles). There are limits to how and when orgasm can be achieved by anyone. If a man can’t do it then a woman can’t either. We are limited by the responsiveness with which we are endowed.

Even Sharon Stone admits that she did women a disservice in ‘Basic Instinct’ by suggesting that they could reach orgasm in about 30 seconds flat. This is just not how the female body works, and anyone who suggests otherwise is either a good actress, deluded or blessed by the gods. (Marina Muratore)

Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)