After finding no answers from talking to experts, I decided to do my own research by talking to women I came across in everyday life.
I wrote about some of my experiences and conclusions and then asked women whether they would be willing to read what I had written. I made it clear that there was no obligation for reviewers to comment.
The first point to note is just how difficult it is to approach anyone on such a sensitive and personal subject. I quickly realised that very few women appeared amenable enough for me to dare even to ask them.
We can be fairly sure that a man is unlikely to object to or be insulted by a random reference to sex. It is much less certain that a woman will not be offended. Even as a woman, talking openly about sex and orgasm can easily come across as odd and even a little perverted.
I only approached women who I thought might have a sense of humour in the hope that even if they were embarrassed they wouldn’t take irreversible offence. Even so, few were willing to comment.
“Many women find it very difficult to talk about sex with their male partners. More than a quarter of the women with whom I have discussed the subject say that they never talk to their partners about things they might do to improve lovemaking.” (p117 Woman’s Experience of Sex 1983)
Even fewer women can explain how they orgasm during sex
Silence is difficult to interpret. Were they shocked, angry or embarrassed? I’ll never know. Of those who did comment they probably fell into five groups:
(1) Those who were ‘shocked’ by explicitly sexual behaviour. They assumed that a woman’s sexual experiences more properly revolve around a loving relationship. See: A sexual relationship and Female masturbation is relatively uncommon.
(2) Those who were confident that orgasm during sex just ‘happens’ the first time and every time. They drew comfort from popular beliefs about female sexuality: Bluffers, fakers and sex surveys and Some women never tune into eroticism.
(3) Those who were sexually ‘jaded’. One woman in her late thirties, career and no children, said that all her friends agreed that women don’t get anything out of sex. Women accept sex because they want a relationship (for companionship or family).
(5) Those who were confident about orgasm and were able to explain their experiences. These women were relatively relaxed about talking about orgasm. A couple of these explained orgasm with a partner either (A) by masturbation or (B) by using a position. They recognised the need for clitoral stimulation and also admitted to using fantasies during sex for arousal.
(A) Women who masturbate during intercourse: The women I spoke to (see: Applying orgasm techniques to sex and Reaching orgasm) learnt to combine masturbation and sex early on so perhaps they developed fantasies in line with reality.
(B) Women who find a position for intercourse: One woman described this approach to me (see: Positions and techniques for sexual intercourse) but the political correctness of this solution makes me doubt. I also question whether women used to direct clitoral stimulation during masturbation would be able to benefit from this approach, which provides little clitoral stimulation.
Excerpt from Jane’s book Ways Women Orgasm (2011)