I Guess Thinking Myself To Orgasm Would Be Nice, But....

Ok, so I came across this 2010 article called "Yes, yes, yes! How women can think their way to an orgasm...with no help from their man." It's about how recent research shows women can think themselves to orgasm without any physical touch and how that's quite different from men. It kinda annoyed me. Why?

I mean thinkin' orgasms is easy, ya'll
This is about 5 lines into the article:
The female orgasm is still something of a mystery — nobody is exactly sure how
it is caused or why...
Ridiculous, ridiculous, a million times ridiculous. The physical properties of the female, as well as the male, orgasm were quite clearly observed and recorded n a still relevant series of studies by Masters and Johnson in the late 60's. That's just plain true. The ladygasm is well understood and current studies back up the original research M&J did. It's insanely annoying to me to see the female orgasm described as things like mysterious or magical or mystical or any of that kind of bullshit because it is not only misleading, but it helps keep women (and men) ignorant about the very basic ways that women can and cannot orgasm.
What if our culture screwed with men's minds like it does with women's? Imagine we "knew" the penis caused orgasms, but we also had strange ideas about men's orgasms being wildly varied and much more magical than women's. Tickling the balls to orgasm or ramming the anus to orgasm or thinking their way to orgasm were ideas we held for men; all while clearly understanding that females need clitoral stimulation to orgasm. Imagine we regularly read things like,"The male orgasm is still something of a mystery - nobody knows exactly how it is caused or why," even though we actually did know. That is the situation women face, and it's clearly annoying to me. The rest of the article doesn't get much better.

It goes on to tell us things like Lady Gaga says she can think her way to orgasms, to relay a personal interview with a 40 year old secretary named Jill who learned to think herself to orgasm, and to get a one line quotes about Jill's story from Professor Alan Riley, a man described as one of the UK’s leading sex experts.
What this tells us, says Professor Alan Riley, one of the UK’s leading sex experts, is that sexuality for women is more complicated and emotionally driven than experts
had realised. 'There’s been a lot of focus on the body and our physical responses,’ he says. ‘But for many people, and women in particular, the mind plays an even more important role.'
I don't know what all Professor Riley works on in his research. Maybe his statement is based in some interesting stuff, and not, as I suspect, on vague, widespread stereotypes of female sexuality as a sort of indescribable, non-physical thing that is more unpredictable and emotional than male sexuality. I would have liked a citation or something on this, but oh well, there are no citation in this article. The closest it comes to gaining some solid credibility is the quotes from Dr. Barry Komisaruk, co-author of The Science Of Orgasm who begins with a quick statement about some MRI studies he did:
The pleasure centres of the brain associated with orgasm light up in women who think themselves to orgasm in exactly the same way as in women who orgasm through more conventional means...The same centres don’t light up when a woman mimics orgasm — only if it’s the real thing
It sounds interesting, as if Komisaruk took brain scans of women who were actually, verifiably orgasming and then compared them to brain scans of women who were asked to fake orgasms and also to women who were having these think-gasms. Truth is Komisaruk, to my knowledge, does not work in the world of actual physically verifiable and understood orgasms.  Beverly Whipple, one of the original authors of The G-Spot and other Recent Discovers in Human Sexuality, is his co-author on The Science of Orgasm. I read that book and many other articles authored by one or both of them. They define the word "orgasm" incredibly loosely. I take that back. They don't really define it at all. It seems as though it could be anything ...spiritual...mystical...a high state of arousal...whatever, and they really only do studies on the types of "orgasms" that have never been physically observed and recorded. These alternative "orgasms," (g-spot related/thinking only/cervical/uterine...) are probalby not what you understand an orgasm to be. They are not the physical experience of muscle tension release that is immediately recognized to be an orgasm. The orgasms they work with are, well, not really physically defined or even observed.

So, although there is no citation for me to know exactly what study Komisaruk is referring too, I am familiar enough with his work to know it refers to something like the following. Some women who say they can orgasm from g-spot/cervical orgasms had brain scans while stimulating their cervix/vagina with a dildo type thing. There would be no measuring of pelvic muscle tension or anything that actually physically identifies an orgasm. Instead, the women just have to say they are orgasming and the researcher accept that it is an orgasm (you know - since there is no real definition of an orgasm and all). These are compared to the brain scan of women who say they are thinking themselves to orgasm. The brains scans may have also been compared to women faking orgasm. No one would be having an actual physical orgasm like the ones Masters and Johnson recorded. The "orgasms" Komisaruk is talking about are, in reality, a phenomenon that has no physically observed qualities.
So, although the ideas in this article might seem intriguing, I wouldn't get excited for some unique female capability of thinking ourselves to orgasm - and when I say orgasm, I am not using it in a sloppy, confusing, magical, anything-goes, not-really-something-physical sort of way. I'm talking about the kind of physical orgasm that is universally understood to be an orgasm, the kind men experience almost every time they engage in sex (and women do when we get the right physical stimulation - which should probably be a lot more than we do now...)

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