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Sexual pleasure: how responsive women reach orgasm

It is often assumed that every woman masturbates just as every man (96%) does. Yet there are no research findings to support this view. Alfred Kinsey found that a few [i] women (20%) masturbate regularly but not necessarily to orgasm. Most of these women only try masturbation for a few years.

Kinsey’s research indicated that two out of every five women (42%) never masturbate while a similar number (38%) try masturbation but are not motivated to continue. Female orgasm is clearly much less common than male. But these are women who are confident to come forward and talk about orgasm in surveys. All the evidence from everyday life suggests that female masturbation is much less commonplace in the general population.

Men concur with women’s conclusion that lovemaking is more rewarding than masturbation since this is also their experience (that masturbation is a poor substitute for sex). A man is not likely to question how he can stimulate a lover to orgasm when she cannot do the same for herself. Intercourse involves coordinating with a man’s thrusting pace and rhythm while masturbation alone focuses on drumming up mental inspiration. Overall masturbation is worlds apart (both physically and psychologically) from sex with a lover. Yet women never remark on these inconsistencies.

The position a woman assumes to masturbate (the clitoris) is quite different from the one she assumes to allow penetration (of the vagina). A woman masturbates by using a humping motion to thrust her vulva against her fingers. Whereas during intercourse, a woman cooperates with male thrusting by gyrating her hips, which assists with stimulation of the penis.

By masturbating a woman is acting out the role of the penetrating male. She uses fantasy to create a scenario where she is the initiator and in control of the action (by imagining herself as the man or as an observer). A woman uses a subconscious simulation of the male drive to thrust in combination with a simultaneous massaging of the clitoral corpora cavernosa.

Women’s orgasmic capability is an evolutionary redundancy. This explains why most women are embarrassed by talk of explicit sexual techniques. They are offended by men’s enjoyment of pornography because they never appreciate that women can also use erotic stimuli for arousal. Female masturbation is evidence that some women have a residual thrusting instinct. This instinct can only be acted out in fantasy and does not transfer to vaginal intercourse where a woman takes on a receiver role.

[i] Although 58 per cent of the females in our sample were masturbating to orgasm at some time in their lives … not more than a fifth – 20 per cent – of the females were masturbating within any particular year. (Alfred Kinsey)

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