HomeWomen's sexualitySexual pleasureSome women masturbate without aiming for orgasm

Some women masturbate without aiming for orgasm

It is difficult to establish the nature of female masturbation. [i] Women do not always use fantasy as men do, which suggests they may not always be masturbating to orgasm. Some infant girls masturbate as an instinctive comforting activity. Sometimes they reach a resolution that is interpreted as orgasm. However a young child does not have the sexual maturity (or the erotic experiences) to obtain a sexual release by using adult fantasies.

Male masturbation is almost inevitable. Men have a biological (hormonal) sex drive and they can easily imagine a scenario that causes them to orgasm. Boys attempt to masturbate soon after they learn about it but girls often delay investigating masturbation. Men don’t tell their partners that they masturbate because many women are disgusted by the idea of masturbation. Women are not conscious of arousal. From observing the male response, it appears to an observer as if men are aroused purely through physical stimulation. So masturbation seems very mundane to women.

We assume incorrectly that anyone who masturbates does so for orgasm. Men, being intent on orgasm, always stimulate the penis. Yet only 84% of women who masturbate stimulate the clitoris. The conclusion must be that some women stimulate themselves without having any idea how orgasm is achieved. Female masturbation is associated with lesbians because of the masculine connotations of the clitoris. But responsiveness varies among women, gay and straight, just as it does among men. Lesbians do not masturbate any more commonly or more frequently than other women.

Women’s indifference to their own sex organ as well as their lack of awareness of the role of the clitoris in orgasm is evidence of women’s innate lack of understanding of their own genitals and sexual response. Women perceive the clitoris to be unfeminine and hence unattractive to men. The surgery to remove a girl’s clitoris (performed by women) in primitive societies ensures that she is unlikely to discover masturbation.

Girls become responsive later than boys. If they already have a sexual relationship, they are unlikely to get the privacy to discover orgasm by masturbating. The presence of a male lover deters a woman from masturbating because a man’s drive to engage in intercourse tends to override any desire a woman may have to stimulate herself to orgasm. Women are likely to masturbate when their husbands are away or when bedtimes differ. Having the opportunity for privacy is important, but much more crucial (for orgasm) is having the kind of brain that responds positively to erotic stimuli.

[i] … published instances of masturbation, especially in the female, have often been unduly augmented by the inclusion of activities which we do not now consider sexual and which, … few persons would consider masturbatory if they occurred in the adult male. (Alfred Kinsey)

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