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Reproduction: the role of heterosexual intercourse

Despite the contrary research findings, society still promotes the idea that women orgasm from intercourse. Shere Hite’s research gave inconclusive results [i] when she asked women how they achieve orgasm. Around half of her sample of women 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 ease with which we can achieve orgasm. These responses to eroticism occur beyond our conscious control. Conversely, our sexual behaviours are determined by conscious choice. We make personal decisions about how we choose to explore and enjoy our own responses both alone and with a lover. These conscious behaviours are determined in part 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 has nothing to do with 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 explains why they appear to respond differently. Consequently if we are to truly 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 offering him penetrative sex.

Responsive women achieve orgasm reliably by masturbating alone. But for emotional reasons, most women prefer to invest in a loving relationship than investigate how they might respond to eroticism and self-stimulation. This is Nature’s intent because female responsiveness has no relevance to reproductive function. Female orgasm is consequently very rare indeed.

[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%. (Shere Hite)

Excerpt from Women’s Sexual Behaviours & Responses (ISBN 978-0956-894717)


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