I was recently asked to link with the site of a woman who is trying to collect stories about women’s masturbation and orgasm experiences – or lack thereof, (read to the end of this article for the web address). When I looked at her home page, I decided not to link at the moment, although I saw a few really good points about this issue. For example, we would never think a man could reach orgasm without stimulation to his penis (although some may be able to) – but women are often expected, and often expect of themselves, to reach orgasm without adequate stimulation to the clitoris.
I like her idea of collecting stories from women who masturbate, and if/how they orgasm and if/how they translate that to having sex with a partner. I haven’t read the stories on her site, but she claims some women are responding negatively and don’t want to include theirs. I think some people would not wish to put their most personal experiences on line. Even if the site owner were doing formal research supported by a university or sexual science organization – among people given legal guidelines about how their identity and information would be respected as private for research, many still do not participate.
Her approach – which she claims in part is to “provoke” women into participating – and the medium of the internet may not be acceptable to many women, who need to feel trust and comfort, as well as a desire to contribute to the data base the site’s author claims to be building. Some women may be turned off by the stories and not want theirs associated.
Others may find it painful to discuss this issue and have no reason to do so with the site author, a complete stranger. She does not appear to have a degree or any training in sexology and/or psychology. Not that every person who collects sexuality stories or has a business related to sex has or needs a degree, but some training might help in collecting intimate life stories from people and reporting on them with integrity.
I sent the following responses to her:
“Here are some research results from various sources that I wonder if you know:
Only about 30% of women report having orgasms with intercourse alone
Its common for women to need an average of 20 minutes of clitoral and/or other stimulation to reach orgasm with a partner
As many as 40% of women report having never masturbated, many of them also never having had an orgasm
Some women DO have an orgasm with a partner that knows what they are doing, even if the woman herself has not masturbated or orgasmed alone
A couple of my objections to statements on your homepage:
You use the word “sex” apparently as synonymous with “intercourse” – “sex” can be a far wider experience and my not include intercourse at all – just one example is someone who is disabled and cannot have intercourse – but does report having satisfying sex. Some women have sex with women…its definitely not all about intercourse with men! Sex may not include orgasm but still be described as satisfying, again as with some persons with disabilities, injuries, or some post surgery transgendered persons.
“Sex” means a lot of things to a lot of people. Don’t use the word like it means intercourse. SAY intercourse. Other sex acts and aspects of sexual experiences make it good/bad and contribute to orgasm, with or without a partner.
Not all women use stories or any sort of fantasy when masturbating as you claim. Of those who do, some DO use explicit sexual scenes in their heads and not elaborate stories.
Points i’d like to make:
Many people have little to no comprehensive or particularly useful education about sexuality. If they had any positive information and/or experiences while growing up = they are lucky. It is common for people to have negative and limited information and experiences. This does not represent human sexual potential.
MANY women may not have orgasmed with a partner bcs the partner has lousy skills! Of people who think the woman will orgasm with intercourse alone – the male may have no useful training in the kind of intercourse that might “work”…even if that particular woman could orgasm with intercourse alone. Maybe all women could, if all men knew how to “do it” properly and all couples knew how to connect and make it a mutually ecstatic experience.
Men (and women) CAN learn to have satisfying sex including intercourse; great sex is a LEARNED SKILL for both partners. “Mating” is essentially instinctive, and most people figure out how to have rudimentary intercourse and some basics of other sexual activities. Along the spectrum, luckier people have had a fun time, learned from partners, and possibly when in love. They may have a more rounded and whole-feeling sexual background including having learned some skills. Overall, however ~
Our culture handicaps people: women are supposed to shut up and expect the guy to know what to do. If women are too open or interested they run the risk of being considered a “slut” or the like. If women (and some men) weren’t put off masturbating when young, again, lucky.
MEN are kept pretty basic – they’re supposed to know what to do – perform (if they can’t – THEY are stigmatized) – but no one tells them how, often including the girls they’ve been with. Men are not routinely taught how to have intercourse in sync with a woman (who likely doesn’t know her own sync…).
Publications & links:
Gina Ogden – ginaogden.com – research reported in her last 2 books of over 4000 responses collected from people of all ages, regions in the U.S., vocations, genders, and abilities, who had what they called in some way spiritual or transcendental sex including what some term “expanded” orgasms. She surveyed women but many men answered. If some of the women are having sex with men, then some men at least, do know about more holistic sex. Brain scans as part of her research showed that sensual, sexual experiences, and resulting orgasms “light up” at least 12 regions of the brain.
She also published research specifically on women’s orgasm – in a book called “Women who love sex” showing that orgasm can happen in many ways including for some women without being touched, and for women with spinal cord injury who experienced orgasm in other parts of their bodies (again – challenging assumptions about people with disabilities!)
Gina’s research shows some of the potential that humans have sexually – away from a “performance/intercourse/orgasm goal oriented” model to something more complete and expanded if we learn how to tap into our potential.
Betty Dodson – the masturbation queen. She “put masturbation on the map” in the late 1960’s/70’s. She’s spent decades teaching women to masturbate in workshops. She tried to retire so I hear, but keeps getting calls for help from women.
Oh and there’s the classic – For Yourself by Lonnie Barbach – put out in the 70’s, all about women being sexual with themselves.” (end of my response to the woman with the website)
Now that i’ve shared my concerns about it, which i ask you to keep in mind – the name of the site is – Ways women orgasm – which I think is an excellent topic to collect stories on and as title for a publication that is obviously still needed – since Betty can’t seem to retire…
You check it out – http://www.wayswomenorgasm.com – read some stories – and get back to me. How does it feel and sound to you? And would YOU tell about your masturbation habits and orgasms – or lack of them – on the site?