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Women’s Experiences of Different Types of Orgasms - A Call for Pleasure Literacy?


Weitkamp, Katharina; Wehrli, Fabienne Seline Verena (2023). Women’s Experiences of Different Types of Orgasms - A Call for Pleasure Literacy? International Journal of Sexual Health, 35(2):193-208.

Abstract

Background
There is an ongoing controversy about women’s sexuality and the existence of different orgasms. The debate is tilted toward anatomical and physiological evidence, which often leaves subjective experiences out of the picture. The aim of the current mixed-methods study was to capture women’s accounts of their experiences of orgasmic states.

Methods
As part of a larger online survey, 513 women (M = 25.89 years, SD = 5.60) from a community sample filled in open-ended questions on their experience of different kinds of orgasms. Additionally, women rated semantic differentials with bipolar adjectives characterizing vaginal and clitoral orgasms. A sub-sample of n = 257 women (50%) had experienced both, vaginal and clitoral orgasms and rated both separately on the semantic differential.

Results
Wilcoxon signed-rank test showed significant differences in that clitoral orgasms were, amongst others, rated as sharper, easier, and more controllable, while vaginal orgasms were rated as wilder, deeper, more pulsating, and extending. In open-ended questions, women talked about various other orgasmic experiences, such as mixed clitoral/vaginal orgasms, whole body, cervical, anal, or mental orgasms. Some women were uncertain about their orgasmic experiences.

Conclusion
It is time to integrate anatomical, psychophysiological, and experiential data and conclude that either “all clitoral” or “clitoral and vaginal” falls short to do justice to the complexity of women’s orgasms. Understanding and defining these various types of orgasms and allowing for the apparent diversity to have its place in research and in social discourse is a task for future research and pleasure-positive sex education to increase pleasure literacy.

Abstract

Background
There is an ongoing controversy about women’s sexuality and the existence of different orgasms. The debate is tilted toward anatomical and physiological evidence, which often leaves subjective experiences out of the picture. The aim of the current mixed-methods study was to capture women’s accounts of their experiences of orgasmic states.

Methods
As part of a larger online survey, 513 women (M = 25.89 years, SD = 5.60) from a community sample filled in open-ended questions on their experience of different kinds of orgasms. Additionally, women rated semantic differentials with bipolar adjectives characterizing vaginal and clitoral orgasms. A sub-sample of n = 257 women (50%) had experienced both, vaginal and clitoral orgasms and rated both separately on the semantic differential.

Results
Wilcoxon signed-rank test showed significant differences in that clitoral orgasms were, amongst others, rated as sharper, easier, and more controllable, while vaginal orgasms were rated as wilder, deeper, more pulsating, and extending. In open-ended questions, women talked about various other orgasmic experiences, such as mixed clitoral/vaginal orgasms, whole body, cervical, anal, or mental orgasms. Some women were uncertain about their orgasmic experiences.

Conclusion
It is time to integrate anatomical, psychophysiological, and experiential data and conclude that either “all clitoral” or “clitoral and vaginal” falls short to do justice to the complexity of women’s orgasms. Understanding and defining these various types of orgasms and allowing for the apparent diversity to have its place in research and in social discourse is a task for future research and pleasure-positive sex education to increase pleasure literacy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Gender Studies
Social Sciences & Humanities > Social Psychology
Health Sciences > Reproductive Medicine
Health Sciences > Dermatology
Health Sciences > Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, Dermatology, Reproductive Medicine, Social Psychology, Gender Studies
Language:English
Date:1 March 2023
Deposited On:09 May 2023 09:53
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:36
Publisher:Haworth Press
ISSN:1931-7611
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/19317611.2023.2182861
PubMed ID:38595859