Judy married in the late 1950s; well before the average woman was informed about what a sexual relationship might involve. Judy’s aspirations were to provide a comfortable home for her family and to enjoy being a wife and a mother.
When I talked to her, Judy was in her mid-sixties with grown up children and a relationship of over 40 years. It was always doubtful whether she would understand a smutty joke but she had a wonderful giggle.
On the subject of female masturbation Judy commented: “I am a little bit shocked… I have always thought (totally without any proof) that young men masturbated more than young women. The reason I thought this would be that their thoughts and urges were much stronger in general towards sex.”
It is often mistakenly assumed that all young women today masturbate. Whatever the social fashion most (if not all) men masturbate but even in our ‘modern’ times female masturbation is relatively uncommon.
Young women often don’t know how to orgasm and why should they? There are few sources of information to help younger women learn how women’s sexual arousal works or how they can go about enjoying sexual pleasure. Also it can be difficult to find explanations for women’s sexual experiences given that sex advice for women is often misleading.
“It is obvious that neither younger girls nor older women discuss their sexual experiences in the open way that males do.” (p138 Sexual behavior in the human female 1953)
A sex therapist in her late fifties was totally over-awed by the modern talk of vibrators and orgasm. She was happy to admit that young women today are much more experienced than older generations (my view — it depends on the woman). Nevertheless she was confident to advise (presumably from the book) that clitoral stimulation solves all difficulties with orgasm during sex.
I question this advice. Clitoral stimulation by itself has certainly never produced miracles for me during sex. The truth is that even during masturbation, clitoral stimulation only works when combined with the use of highly explicit sexual fantasies.
Women have lower sexual desire
It may have become fashionable (not only acceptable but also actively encouraged) that women should be as positive about sex as men but, whatever the fashion, we cannot change our fundamental biological responses. Flattered by male attention, young women naturally respond by appearing to be ‘more sexual’ than their elders. Unfortunately, society rejects a more representative picture of women’s sexuality because of the cultural pressure to promote young women as sexy.
In fact the young women I spoke to were just as embarrassed about sex as their elders despite the liberalisation in sexual attitudes. Few women of any age identify with concepts as sexually explicit as clitoral stimulation or female masturbation. The conclusion must be that it is natural and normal for women to be less motivated than men to explore their own sexual arousal.
In any event, lack of orgasm is only a problem if a woman feels that she should have one in the first place. This is likely to be one reason why the scale of the ‘problem’ is rarely acknowledged because, as long as a woman is ignorant of what she is missing, she can happily go through life without ever knowing what an orgasm feels like.
Judy told me how, without preconceptions, a woman simply accepts her experience of sex at face value. Many women, of any generation, never read erotic novels or sex manuals. Being unaware of other women’s experiences, either real or imaginary, they have nothing to reconcile their sexual experiences to. At least Judy was brave enough to comment.
“Sexual decisions, in the final analysis must be personal.” (p412 Human Sexuality 1995)
Lack of understanding about female sexuality means most women prefer to say nothing at all. It has certainly made me wonder: if the ‘normal’ experience is to orgasm with a partner then why do so few women positively promote the joys of sexual pleasure?
Excerpt from Jane’s book Ways Women Orgasm (2011)