Sunday, September 22, 2019
Home What real women say Emotional intimacy Women settle for emotional intimacy over sexual arousal

Women settle for emotional intimacy over sexual arousal

On relating our experience to others, we all tend to gloss over details or not own up to difficulties that were perhaps transient.

I told Linda, a mother of three in her late forties, that I had never had an orgasm during intercourse. Linda looked at me incredulously and laughed as if I must be ignorant of the most basic sexual facts. Naturally, I died with mortification at the implied sexual inadequacy.

“In fact, since only about 30 percent of women achieve orgasm with intercourse but over 80 percent experience a climax with masturbation, orgasm by means of masturbation rather than by sexual intercourse, should be regarded as the normal experience.” (p53 Healthy Sex 1998)

Later when Linda joked that she would rather do her gardening on weekends than have sex, I was confused. Although I would not go to the ends of the world to enjoy my own sexual arousal and orgasm by masturbating, it is definitely worth investing a few minutes of effort from time to time. Women who have never masturbated presumably assume that reaching orgasm must always be a drawn out affair.

If I am already turned on and have an effective fantasy to hand, it is no trouble reaching orgasm from female masturbation within a couple of minutes. Masturbation is very enjoyable but I have no sense of needing to interrupt other activities to engage in it. I usually consider masturbation when I am already lying in bed either on waking or on going to sleep.

“In fact, women do not take longer to orgasm than men. The majority of women in Kinsey’s study masturbated to orgasm within four minutes, similar to the women in this study. It is, obviously, only during inadequate or secondary, insufficient stimulation like intercourse that we take ’longer’ and need prolonged ’foreplay’.” (p46 The Hite Reports 1993)

The only women I have found to be confident about orgasm are those who masturbate. This is because in order to aim for orgasm a person needs to know how to become sexually aroused. I believe that many women never learn now to do this. Those who claim to orgasm the first time and every time from intercourse are simply blissfully ignorant of the facts.

The fact is that women have to learn how to orgasm. One woman told me that it had taken around ten years for her and her partner to achieve a ‘good’ sex life. Surely this fact is worth passing on to younger generations?

Imagine telling a man he has to wait ten years to learn how to orgasm from sex! Young women often don’t know how to orgasm and older women are not always that open about their own sexual experiences. The huge gap between how women’s sexual arousal is portrayed in the media compared with reality means that sex advice for women is often misleading.

Months later, when we had talked around the subject a few times Linda told me that she did not always experience orgasm, that orgasm was not that important to her and that her partner was the prime initiator in their sex life. So, her experience of sex with a partner was little different to my own. Linda explained that she had never approached sex expecting to experience orgasm.

Linda liked to dress provocatively and was evidently one of those women who enjoy attracting a man’s attention. For her, sex was about sharing an intimate physical act with her partner and so masturbation was meaningless. They watched porn movies together and Linda confirmed that she preferred some story content rather than the endless banging sessions.

“For some women lovemaking without orgasm is unsatisfying and they feel they have missed out on something precious. For others the journey holds more richness and delight than the getting there.” (p80 Woman’s Experience of Sex 1983)

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


  1. So, I’m the odd one out then as I find intercourse very stimulating indeed. Additionally, I’ve never been one to group everyone into a narrow range at the top of the bell curve. There are outliers unless you’re dealing with all or nothing situations like alive or dead.

  2. You cannot orgasm in time with another person’s responsiveness. The vagina (like all internal organs of the body) is inert. Minor surgery can be performed on the vagina without using anesthetic. It’s pretty dead…

    To orgasm from intercourse a woman would need to time her orgasm to fit within the time that a man has an erection. If you are suggesting that the stimulation of intercourse causes orgasm? The stimulation that leads to orgasm needs to be consistent. Only the sex organ can produce an orgasm.

  3. No one can orgasm in time with another’s responsiveness & I never suggested that. I wonder if you’re even reading my responses or if you’re just touting your informed but layperson’s expertise.

    As a sexual abuse survivor whose claims were dismissed by her own mother, I find it woefully disheartening that you. a woman, are talking at me, not with me. My knowledge of sexual function comes from my university education in health sciences so I understand sexual physiology.

    Female orgasm with through intercourse alone is a male fantasy & I’ve not disagreed with that. I’m trying to communicate that orgasm during intercourse is possible if there is ongoing manual stimulation. Have I, a woman who is willing to discuss sex & orgasm, not been clear?

  4. Universities are run by men who are ignorant about female sexuality. You need to provide the research that backs your experience. Around the world men complain that women are not interested in sex. You need to explain how you can experience something that other women don’t.

    Anyone can claim to orgasm. But why don’t you talk about sexual pleasure? Men don’t boast about orgasm. They talk about erotic turn-ons. Women always talk about the relationship – emotional factors. If sex causes female orgasm, women would be much more promiscuous than they are.

    Women often mistake orgasm. If you don’t masturbate then you really can have no idea what an orgasm is. The clitoris is the female sex organ. The clitoris & the penis both develop from the same genital tubercle before birth. But most women never achieve orgasm by any means.

  5. Fortunately, I happen to know, from personal experience, what an orgasm is & am fully aware that the clitoris is a woman’s primary sexual organ. I’ve also had orgasms during intercourse. Are you really dismissing my personal experience? If so, you are a biased researcher.

    No one is talking about simultaneous orgasm. But with stop/start intercourse, manual/oral stimulation, continued intercourse, a woman can orgasm with continuing stimulation (by him or herself) while her partner is inside her, if that is what she/they want. Not impossible.

  6. The stimulation of intercourse (from the penis penetrating the vagina) only lasts as long as a man has an erection. You cannot know how long that will be & so you are saying that you can orgasm the instant he orgasms?

    ‏The stimulation to achieve orgasm is continuous. The same body part – the sex organ – must be stimulated from beginning to end. Just look at men… The research that identified the clitoris (Kinsey & Hite) was all focused on female masturbation.

    Most heterosexuals have not even heard of the clitoris. Intercourse remains the lovemaking act. Why would a woman want to stimulate herself with a man inside her? What is the point – she can do so much more easily when he is not thrusting into her vagina.

    My experience is that there is no arousal with a lover & this explains why clitoral stimulation does not cause orgasm with a lover. If women could easily orgasm with a lover, it would not have taken a scientist (Kinsey) to tell them about the clitoris.