Charlie came across this article on Jezebel about the confusing nature of the G-spot/vaginal orgasm debate, and as is the practice of pop articles on female orgasm, they asked a sexpert about it. What she said was taken without a bat of an eye and pretty much unabashedly and appallingly defines the current (and completely insane) state of discussion on the female orgasm.
I asked sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff over e-mail what she thought about the whole debate. Here is what she had to say, "What this ongoing research does (for the lay community) is question the legitimacy of what women experience when they climax. Orgasms are subjective; orgasms can be spiritual and not directly connected to either the clitoris or the vagina. Does a vaginal orgasm exist? Depends on who you ask — but try answering ‘no' to a woman who has had (or believed she had) one."
|This is what I imagine a spiritual orgasm is like.|
So, an orgasm is defined as...well...it's defined as anything and everything. There is no actual definition one could work from (for women of course. We all understand what an orgasm is in men). Oh and also, don't say anything that a woman might not like, even if it's true (because that's good science?). I'd laugh if it weren't so true and so right on about where we are right now as a culture. We need to change this discussion.
The thing is, pushing against this ridiculously confused mindset when it comes to female orgasm is pretty damn radical. It shouldn't be, but it is, and the movie I made does just that with a simple idea. The stimulation of the inside of the vagina has never been shown to cause orgasm (the standard definition). I stand by that, and if you look into it at all, it's not a crazy statement. However, it plays as radical because for some reason, almost everyone in the research sexology community and the sexpert community straight up ignore this lack of physical evidence. Sure, most can get behind the uncontroversial idea that many women (about 70 - 80% most would estimate) cannot orgasm from stimulation of the vagina. Sure, that's fine. Everyone knows that, but saying that maybe that last 20 to 30% are either ejaculating and calling it orgasm or having spiritual/emotional highs and calling that orgasm, or orgasming from incidentally rubbing their clitoral glans during intercourse and calling that orgasm, or simply not orgasming at all and saying they orgasmed - well that's where things get dicey.
To do that, one has to "question the legitimacy of what women experience when they climax," which I am perfectly happy to do, because I don't even know what Dr. Logan Levkoff means when she talks about a woman's "climax." I assume it means orgasm since that's what the article's talking about, but even so, I still couldn't know what she means because these sexperts use orgasm to mean anything. Here's the deal. I know to many it seems mean and presumptuous and narrow, but I don't have a problem saying that maybe lots of women don't understand how their own sexual organs work, or that maybe some women lie about their ability to orgasm, or that there is one definition of orgasm and that using it to mean something different is unacceptable. I think these things need to be said.
Women get little and often terribly inaccurate information about their orgasm and organ of sexual pleasure from both structured education and from everyday education like media depictions and popular lore. It's not like women are known to be universally well educated about their orgasms, so why is it so strange to think that women might feel confused or be uneducated enough to call something that isn't an orgasm an orgasm, or be insecure enough to lie about their orgasm? I would think it pretty uncontroversial to say most women don't understand how their sexual organs work, and that there is a lot of women lying about orgasms. I don't see these assertions as offensive or off-base, and I think ignoring these is the same as tolerating them. I don't blame any women for dealing with this terribly confusing and uninformed sexual culture in whatever way she can figure to do so, but I don't want it to continue, and that means we need to be realistic.
I'm also going to say that there is one definition for orgasm and using it in other ways, specifically when experts use it in other ways, is unacceptable. It is. We don't do it for men. For them, the scientifically uncontroversial and documented physiological definition of orgasm coincides with the societal understanding of orgasm. For women too there is the same uncontroversial, documented understanding of orgasm, and the word "orgasm" is used to describe that...sometimes, but for some god-awful reason there are several other ways that orgasm is used - and not just in fringe communities, but in normal scientific and sexpert speak. It's not okay.
This isn't fun and games here. When an expert tells a woman that she could "orgasm" from a particular stimulation and that expert means something other than the established uncontroversial, physiologically defined "orgasm" (the one we use for men and should use for women) - that is not trivial, either for the woman or for scientific understanding of orgasm. That woman does not become more knowledgeable. She becomes more confused, and may even take on a completely inaccurate understanding. And, how are we supposed to move forward with the scientific understanding of "orgasm" in females when we can't even agree on what constitutes an "orgasm." That should be first priority. How can I study or talk with other scientists about igneous rock, when dropped coke cans, the thing we all know as igneous rock, and clumps of dirt are all being discussed and researched as "igneous rock." They are 3 different things, and describing igneous rock as red and aluminium just because we want to call coke cans igneous rock, is a terrible idea. It's just the worst science - the WORST.
Let me be clear. There is a definition of orgasm, caused by stimulation of the clitoral glans or penis that is documented, definable, and uncontroversially accepted as an orgasm. We accept this when it comes to men, but we find it perfectly fine to throw in all kinds of other ideas and call it orgasm when it comes to women. Unless we find that stimulating the vagina causes this uncontroversially defined physiological reaction, then we shouldn't be calling whatever happens from this kind of stimulation (pleasure, ejaculation, an emotional high, stars shooting from your vag and becoming one with the universe) an orgasm just because we feel like it. It's bad for science, bad for women, and we need to acknowledge this.