Most girls probably read romantic stories but not everyone is comfortable with the more explicitly sexual nature of erotic stories, which help a woman develop the sexual fantasies that lead to orgasm. Our sexual fantasies represent the aspects of sex that we find most arousing and hence most taboo.

“Although every child learns that pretending is an important type of play, sexual fantasies after childhood are usually not thought of as playful. This attitude may exist because sex is usually regarded as a serious matter, even in the imagination.

Furthermore, some religious traditions regard a thought as equivalent to an act; thus, a person who has ‘immoral’ sexual daydreams or desires is as sinful as a person who acts on those impulses.” (p413 Human Sexuality (fifth edition) 1995)

Even men learn to orgasm through masturbation and women have to learn how to orgasm much the same way. Women’s sexual arousal and orgasm are not automatic as a man’s tends to be and so female masturbation is relatively uncommon.

Very few of the women I spoke to said that they enjoy their own sexual arousal through masturbation. If you doubt this, just try asking the women you know, not whether they have EVER masturbated but, whether they masturbate REGULARLY as an adult.

Since many women never discover orgasm through genital stimulation they never know what they are missing. They assume that enjoying sexual pleasure relates only to the sensual pleasures of sex. Having enjoyed orgasm throughout my adult life, it is definitely an experience I would not want to have missed but I can quite see why many women are happy to do without.

Women have more conscious choice over their sexual arousal

A good-looking and successful guy in his mid-forties was very popular with the ladies. Despite hoping for a long-term partner, so far he had only managed serial relationships (some lasting months and some years). He told me that not one of the women he had been with over the years was amenable to enjoying eroticism by watching porn movies together.

Since many women do not enjoy eroticism of any kind, even if they knew that sexual arousal depended on erotic thoughts they would not necessarily be tempted. Women’s lower sex drive means they have much more conscious choice over their arousal.

“ … fantasy and sexual desire often merge together. People with low levels of sexual desire typically have few sexual fantasies…” (p415 Human Sexuality (fifth edition) 1995)

Censorship of genitalia means that films for general release limit sex scenes to intercourse. Other activities, such as oral sex or masturbation, involve the explicit genital stimulation that tends to offend women. So that even in a film as sexually daring as ‘Basic Instinct’ (1992) Sharon Stone appears to orgasm without the kind of continuous genital stimulation that men need.

The only media that show heterosexuals enjoying more explicitly sexual activity is pornography. One has to wonder (since the sex industry is paid for by men) whether such activities are, in fact, reflecting sex play and fantasies that men enjoy.

How many women enjoy oral sex, masturbation and other genitally based sex play? If most do, why is hetero sex still defined by intercourse? In the film ‘Philadelphia’ (1993) Denzel Washington portrays the self-righteousness heterosexual who feels that ‘love-making’ is more morally justifiable than the explicit sexual pleasuring enjoyed by gays and men who pay for sex.

Excerpt from Jane’s book Ways Women Orgasm (2011)


  1. “Furthermore, some religious traditions regard a thought as equivalent to an act; thus, a person who has ‘immoral’ sexual daydreams or desires is as sinful as a person who acts on those impulses.” – what an awful concept. I agree with you whole-heartedly that women should explore their sexual natures to figure out what it is that turns them on, without all the jingoistic restrictions of superstition and ostensible morals. The simple fact is that a women in a healthy and sexually satisfying relationship with a man who knows he is able to please her is not only likely to be happier (which is what life is about), but also more likely to make that relationship a success. Affairs, divorces, while not necessarily bad in themselves are just signs of people being unable to come to terms with their sexuality. Sex is possibly the most basic part of the human psyche and approaching it rationally is as important as approaching the rest of life rationally. Thank you for a very nice rational perspective.

  2. Changez thanks for your support. One of unfortunate consequences of the sexual revolution was to imply that all of a sudden women were somehow transformed from what they were before (presumably just ordinary women – wives, housewives and mothers) into fully motivated and experienced sexual beings.

    Women are capable of enjoying sexual arousal and orgasm but it is not as easy as is often implied especially during sex with a partner. Women today are told that every normal woman orgasms during sex so many assume they orgasm when they don’t. Consequently, there are women out there quite innocently setting off all kinds of misleading trails of mis-information about how easy it all is.

  3. It seems to me that a lot of the times the case is also that women are attracted to men on a physical level and assume that since they are physically satisfied at one point, they will continue to be so. Many never get to the mental stage with someone where they can frankly discuss the possibilities of orgasm and intellectual arousal for their stimulation. That is an important part of it for me and though I’m not a woman, I’d a assume a woman might find it just as important.

  4. My experience is that most women only realise what true orgasm is once they have discovered masturbation to orgasm. From talking to other women it would seem that very few women masturbate regularly as an adult activity in order to enjoy orgasm. Hence most women who refer to orgasm with a partner are most likely talking about sexual arousal or emotional sensations.

    I am trying to highlight that the aversion that many women have to eroticism actually prevents younger women learning about how to enjoy orgasm. Equally the fact that so many women believe that vaginal intercourse is the only proper sexual activity, means that women may never learn how they can enjoy true sexual arousal with a lover.

  5. Very true. Of course men are easy to arouse by and large. Pornography, like you said, is just a simple way. Honestly sometimes just a bit of porn is highly preferable to the awkward mechanics of sex with someone you’re not comfortable with. And you’re very right that it requires specific scenarios for some women who only discover them as they become more sexually experienced. Your point about masturbation becomes clearer now since I can see how setting particular kinds of moods and exploring them in different ways using masturbation can lead to knowledge for a woman of how to please herself or be pleased. Thank you.