Bex Truthbombs On Clarity of Language for Female Orgasm

I love me some Bex
Bex vanKoot is a superb feminist and writer that drops truthbombs about female sexuality and has already been deemed (by me) an Orgasm Equality Hero for their absolutely on-point article called Ecstatic Science and the Erotic BrainThey doubly deserve it now, writing another fabulous piece called Defining Orgasm for Myself over at Together Magazine. It's about needing precise language around female orgasm and how that can help create clarity and better groundwork for allowing those with clits to more deeply understand and experiment with their own sexual experiences. It, much like the first article, is so on point.

Some background
Let me start by saying that if you read my blog, you know that I am hell bent on letting the world know that female orgasm is not a mystical thing - quite the contrary. Scientific investigation over the last 60 years has pretty clearly shown that stimulation of the clit can cause orgasm in females just as stimulation of the penis can cause orgasm in males (and as a side note - everyone, even those whose bodies don't fit perfectly in the male or female category, also have parts that come from the same embryonic tissue as the clit and the penis which can be stimulated to orgasm. We all have it and it's not hard to find!).  Scientific investigation over the years has also - quite importantly, but rarely discussed - not revealed any physical evidence that stimulating the inside of the vagina causes orgasm.

So, clits cause ladygasms.  Vaginal stimulation probably doesn't, and orgasm has a physical marker - the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions that are well researched, widely accepted as the physical aspect of orgasm in all sexes, and largely found to accompany a person's claim of 'orgasm' in scientific literature. That's where I stand, and Bex is largely in the same camp, but I feel like Bex's writing speaks way better to women and men who have tended to see 'orgasm' as a much looser, broader thing in their and their partner's lives, and Bex is also able to create much needed, and easily relateable vocabulary that can help clear up the conversation.

Shouldn't 'orgasm' be more than physical?
What about all the experiences out there that a person might describe as an 'orgasm' but that don't include the rhythmic pelvic muscle activity? Are those experiences not an 'orgasm?' Are they not worthwhile? Are they not as good? Isn't it demeaning to women that find great pleasure and fulfillment in those non-rhythmic-pelvic-muscle-contraction 'orgasms' to say that they shouldn't be called 'orgasms?'

These are valid questions that I have discussed with people - particularly in the comments section of articles I written. The way I have always tried to answer is to say that not creating a clear definition is confusing, makes it hard to speak and teach about female orgasms, and makes it almost impossible to discern different experiences of female sexual pleasure. I mean it's just true that an 'orgasm' with the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions is clearly a different physical experience than an 'orgasm' without the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions. It doesn't mean that sexual experiences without the contractions are worse or less fulfilling or less pleasurable - just different, and there needs to be clarity about that. But, like I said, Bex speaks to these points with a level of personal experience and thoughtfulness that I think is incredibly important and helpful.

That beautiful Bex speaking truths
Back to Bex vanKoot. The article made the claim that clarity in our language of female orgasm is of the utmost importance. At the same time it accounted for and acknowledged the variety of important climactic experiences females may have and may find deeply pleasurable and fulfilling in their sex lives.

I am always awed by and grateful for Bex's logical, practical, and often personal writings about the harms that come from viewing female, but not male, orgasms as mystical, elusive and complicated.
But we like to mystify women’s orgasms, assuming they are inexplicable, unable to be defined by cold, hard science, all the while normalizing men’s—orgasms so straightforward that we don’t need science to understand them.
There is no complaining though - only solutions. Bex speaks about how specific language and more focused thoughtfulness towards one's own experiences can fairly simply clear up a lot of confusion and personal angst - all while acknowledging concerns about the narrowness of a physically based definition of orgasm,
If the pulsing climactic rush I experience during penetrative sex doesn’t end with this clinical muscular response, is it still an orgasm because of the way it engages my core and light up my brain? And if it is, then how do I talk about the specific orgasms I want and when I want them? I already found communicating sexual desires difficult enough, without the added ambiguity around what is and is not an orgasm. So I decided to make a change.
I started by asking myself, where am I being touched? How does the energy peak change my body? How long does it last?
Bex speaks so easily and thoughtfully about how they have been able to fit personal experiences within their growing knowledge of female orgasm. Although Bex believes it is important to have precise language and that an orgasm should include in its definition the physical element of the rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions, they don't see how not calling something an orgasm hurts the value of that thing. It just makes talking about one's experiences more clear.
When I’m being penetrated and have what might be called a “vaginal orgasm” by others, I’m coming. I climax from sexual sensation that isn’t directly genital-related, such as nipple stimulation or BDSM. Orgasmic experiences from touch-free practices like intense breathing, or the aftershocks that hit in the wake of really intense sex, I lovingly refer to as blissing out. These aren’t technical terms, obviously. They are arbitrary labels on experiences I’ve had to observe and categorize myself, while I wait for science to catch up.
Lady-gasm scientists - we're talking to you...
I think the statement about 'waiting for science to catch up' is particularly important. As anyone who reads my blog knows, I think the scientific investigation around orgasm, both male and female, paints a pretty clear picture. However, I also know that the scientific community has largely refused to be clear with its language around female orgasm in particular. Because of this, the experiences Bex speaks about - coming, climaxing, and blissing out - get lumped in to investigations of orgasm without the acknowledgment that these experiences are actually physically different. That causes two main problems.

1. Research subject's self reports of orgasm are often taken at face value without a clinical check of what is happening physically in the pelvic muscles when they self-report. That means investigations into 'orgasm' are often not investigations into orgasm. They end up being investigations into orgasms, climaxes, blissing out, and coming. These are physically different things but treated as the same thing in the results. So just because a result says women can 'orgasm' from a particular type of stimulation, it often doesn't actually mean that they can be expected to experience rhythmic pelvic contractions from that stimulation.

This is problematic in a practical way because sexperts take their clues from this confused research and often tell women they can do things like orgasm through inner vaginal stimulation, cervix stimulation, or through mere fantasy. This leads people to believe that the same rhythmic pelvic muscle contractions that can happen as a result of clitoral stimulation can also happen from stroking the vaginal canal, the cervix or from thinking oneself off - but the truth is, there is no physical scientific evidence this is true. So, to the huge numbers of women really trying to figure out what to expect from their sexual encounters and how to finally have the orgasms that seem to elude them during their partnered sexual encounters - the confused use of the word 'orgasm' can create unrealistic expectations about what they might physically experience during different sexual situation - and that sucks.

2. Again, because in general the female-orgasm scientific community insists on lumping any experience a woman calls an orgasm into one thing called 'orgasm,' they miss out on so much detail about the female sexual experience. Because they don't parse out these 'other' experiences to investigate, we have ended up not knowing about what is physically happening to women during these experiences. We also don't know how women feel about each of these experiences separately, and we don't know how common they are. In fact, these experiences are essentially invisible, so they are in many ways erased out of cultural knowledge. So things like blissing out, coming, and climaxing don't receive any actual, thoughtful scientific inquiry, and both the women who value them and our scientific knowledge on female sexuality as a whole suffers.

Both 1 and 2 up there are unnecessary evils. They're harmful to women's knowledge of their bodies, to females' ability to understand and achieve pleasure during sex, and to better scientific understanding of female orgasm. We deserve better, and like Bex vanKoot is advocating - more precise language can help!

Love you Bex.

Go read Bex's post. Seriously. Read it. Then follow Bex on Twitter.

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