Understanding Women’s Sexual and Emotional Needs

Sadly researchers are often just as impressed with far-fetched accounts of female orgasm as the general public. Academics debate pure conjecture such as ‘female ejaculation’ (copious quantities of vaginal juices produced by aroused females) based on age-old male fantasies and ‘up suck’ of sperm (pelvic contractions supposedly arising from ‘vaginal orgasms’) as if they are proven facts. Most women ignore these myths fabricated by men but a few enjoy publicising this flattering account of their sexuality.

Orgasm can be used as a defining aspect of men’s sexuality because of the ease with which male orgasm can be objectively identified and linked with men’s sexual behaviours. The same is not true for female orgasm. One problem is the assumption that women experience orgasm in exactly the same circumstances that men do. Another is that female responsiveness is defined in terms of women’s willingness to engage in sexual activities with a lover rather than their motivation to achieve their own orgasm.

Kinsey’s work indicated that women orgasm once every 2 weeks versus men’s 3 orgasms a week (men under age 30). Men slow down with age but even by 60, male orgasm frequencies have not fallen to female levels. Kinsey and Hite overestimated female responsiveness. Their conclusions were incorrect not because their sampling methods were flawed but because they accepted what women said. They did not try to validate women’s claims. For example, the anatomy involved in female orgasm has to be consistent for all women (regardless of sexual orientation) whether they are alone or with a lover (regardless of their lover’s gender).

Heterosexuals obsess about female orgasm because it is elusive in reality. Similarly porn exaggerates women’s responsiveness in order to maximise the turn-on for men. After all if porn reflected reality it would no longer be a fantasy! A fantasy by definition is an embellishment or an exaggeration of reality. It is difficult to find a definition of sexual politics because the term encapsulates the unpalatable fact that: “Women can use sex to get what they want. Men cannot, as sex is what they want.” (BBC blog 2003)

I know we all want a man to think us the sexiest thing in the world but it is not helpful to have female sexuality defined in such a way that most women refuse to comment! Men’s politics is characterised by violent action; women’s by manipulative silence. But silence proves nothing. The evidence for female responsiveness needs to come from women who can talk confidently about their enjoyment of arousal (a response to erotic stimuli) and orgasm resulting from sexual activity they themselves initiate.