When We Talk About the Female Orgasm

The way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives. Similarly, the way we discuss something is often the way we come to see it as a whole. I was curious how some of the books on my shelves referenced the female orgasm. In particular, why is it that when I think of the female orgasm, certain things seem to come to mind? I’ve always felt as though there was a certain air of difficulty to the female orgasm. To that, I feel that much of the conversation around the orgasm is surrounded in some sort of mystery. What is it? How does it work? How does one obtain an orgasm?

I started by pulling out a stack of books from my shelf that referenced orgasms.

This is how female orgasms were listed in the indexes of the books shown.

Some of these books were required for courses, some were borrowed from friends (hello, I have your books!) and some were found on the street. Fucking Portland.

In order of how frequently they were mentioned in book indexes, these six topped the charts:

  1. Faking Orgasms
  2. G-Spot Orgasms
  3. Clitoral Vs. Vaginal Orgasms
  4. Physiological Mechanisms
  5. Sexual Fantasies
  6. Multiple Orgasms

This didn’t surprise me. A lot of functional knowledge and a lot of social interest.

The other subjects discussed were:

  • orgasms in animals
  • continual orgasms
  • fickleness of orgasms
  • prostitution and orgasms
  • health and orgasms
  • oxytocin and orgasms
  • simultaneous orgasms
  • hooking up and orgasms
  • sexual dysfunction and orgasms
  • difficulty achieving orgasms
  • function of orgasms
  • testosterone therapy and and orgasms
  • orgasms in adult/child sex
  • dildos and orgasms
  • hormones and orgasms
  • kinsey and orgasms
  • orgasms during labor or childbirth
  • pornography and orgasms
  • infants and children and orgasms
  • orgasms in lesbians
  • orgasms in marital sex
  • orgasms after menopause
  • mutual orgasms
  • phantom orgasms
  • rapid orgasms
  • sexual satisfaction and orgasms
  • orgasms during sleep
  • orgasms with vibrator
  • alcohol and orgasms
  • anorgasmia
  • aging and orgasms
  • ejaculation and orgasms
  • inexperience with orgasms
  • multiple orgasms
  • oxytocin levels
  • sexual response cycle

Obviously certain books focused on certain subjects. There wasn’t extensive information about hormones in all of the books, but there was in sexual pharmacology. Books like She Comes First focus more on what actually happens regarding pleasure during an orgasm whereas books like Sex at Dawn might talk about the purpose of an orgasm.

A lot of the information was condensed to make it easier to understand. There seems to be a lot of assumption that the female orgasm is:

1-  Something that ends sexual intercourse

2 – The general purpose of sexual intercourse

3 – A failure of the body or a failure of pleasure (in not achieving)

I also found it interesting that there was a lot of focus given on the different types or orgasms women might have. G-spot, vaginal, clitoral, orgasms while we’re asleep, orgasms when we’re married, orgasms when we’re old. We want to know more more more about what exactly the orgasm is and how we can have it. No big surprise.

I think a lot of the issue with orgasms is this pressure we put on orgasms. To make them bigger and stronger and more powerful and just on time!

I didn’t see much in the books about the actual process of achieving an orgasm. The actual stimulation. The actual arousal. The actual physical act of having sex or masturbating.

There actually seemed to be a pretty big gap between “I’m aroused” and “I’m orgasming” and I found myself lingering there, wondering how we influence our orgasms between points A and B.

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