A few years ago, I was with a partner in bed.
Pillow talk? Forget it.
He whispered in my ear, after I asked for more clit action, that it wasn’t necessary for him to stimulate my clitoris for me to climax.
Sexy, right? I laughed and told him that I definitely needed the clit. Did he listen? No, he just insisted I was wrong.
I was stunned. Why did he think he knew my orgasms better than I did?
The origins of the vaginal orgasm
Sex can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. For some of us, it informs what we wear, do and watch. Unfortunately, women were dealt a sly hand by a Mr. Sigmund Freud back in 1905.
The ‘Vaginal Orgasm’ was made famous by philosopher Sigmund Freud in his ‘Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.’
According to Freud, once a girl grew into a woman, she also outgrew the infantile clitoris orgasm. She should be able to experience an orgasm from vaginal penetration alone.
References in popular culture
Well, I’m sure we all really wanted that little opinion of yours, Mr. Freud. But, instead of fading into irrelevancy, your theory stuck. It trickled down into popular culture before anyone could look at the science.
In fact, the theory gained traction. Self-help doctor and author Frank S Caprio latched onto Freud’s theory in the mid 1900s and wrote in his book, ‘The Sexually Adequate Female’:
“…whenever a woman is incapable of achieving an orgasm via coitus…and prefers clitoral stimulation to any other form of sexual activity, she can be regarded as suffering from frigidity and requires psychiatric assistance.”
What a lovely and alarming diagnosis.
When authors and doctors perpetuate an idea, it’s not even just bad sex that is the consequence. People have been diagnosed with sexual disorders because of the widespread nature of this theory.
And supporting all of this? Porn.
Reams of the videos we’re shown on platforms Brazzers and PornHub depict women screaming in passion and writhing with pleasure from just penetration! No clitoris stimulation in sight.
People who watch porn without a pinch of salt might wonder if they’re somehow to blame when their partner doesn’t orgasm.
What is the difference between the clitoris and vaginal orgasm? My female mates were equally confused when I brought it up… Isn’t the clitoris a part of the vagina?
I tried to research ‘How to Have a Vaginal Orgasm’ and lo and behold the ever-present clitoris was right there listed as one of the tips.
In reality, the clitoris is much bigger than the little nub we see. It’s an iceberg of pleasure that stretches back around the vaginal wall.
“The head of the clitoris is also composed of erectile tissue, and it possesses a very sensitive epithelium or surface covering, supplied with special nerve endings called genital corpuscles, which are peculiarly adapted for sensory stimulation… No other part of the female generative tract has such corpuscles.”
[Bold my own]
How has the idea that the clitoris has an optional role in the orgasm persisted?
If we look further at the science of the vagina, we find that the wall of the vagina is incredibly insensitive: “Among the women who were tested in our gynecologic sample, less than 14% were at all conscious that they had been touched.” (Kinsey, p. 580.)
So if it’s the only part of the female organ that possesses such spine tingling abilities, what was Freud talking about?
What was his obsession with leaving the clitoris, as wonderful as it is, behind?
Feminist theories! Men have had their fun, so now it’s time to psychoanalyze them…
There are a few theories that have bubbled up to explain why a distinction arose between a clitoris ‘vaginal’ orgasm. Anne Koedt, a New York feminist wrote in 1970 a fabulous theory of her own. She wrote in her book, “The myth of the vaginal orgasm”:
“Since the clitoris is almost identical to the penis, one finds a great deal of evidence of men in various societies trying to either ignore the clitoris and emphasize the vagina (as did Freud)…It should be noted also that a big clitoris is considered ugly and masculine.
Some cultures engage in the practice of pouring a chemical on the clitoris to make it shrivel up into “proper” size.”
What we can do?
We need to speak up. We love our clitorises and they sure love us. Some may claim to be able to climax with just penetration alone – which is great!
But for the rest of us, vocalization in the bedroom is gonna have to be our method to the Garden of Orgasm.
Take responsibility for your orgasm by telling partners what to do, because they’ve been learning wrong.