Replying To Comments And Thinking On The Discrepancies Around 'Vaginal Orgasm'

My critiques of a BBC article called, "The Mystery of the Female Orgasm," was posted on Alternet and Salon this week, and that means I got all kinds of comments. And, you know me, I like to engage in those comments as much as I can. It's actually incredibly time-consuming, but I also see it as really important because:

1. I'm just a nobody saying things lots of people don't want to hear and don't see why they should care about, so it's not like I have tons of chances to put my point of view out there for large amounts of people to hear, so I need to take the chance when I get it.

2. It helps me understand what other people hear when they read my writing on this stuff. If people are not getting what I'm saying, then I could be saying it better, and I should adjust.

3. It helps ground me a little bit in reality. I need to always be checking to understand what people are telling me and really consider how that fits into the things I'm saying. Do I need to adjust? Do I need to pull back? Am I overstepping my competence? Are there things that I haven't fully thought through but need to in order to get my point across better?

I don't get that kind of schooling talking to my friends. Honestly, I used to be a nervous wreck when something I wrote got posted somewhere that got lots of comments. My stomach would churn. I would spend excessive amounts of time obsessing over every little reply. I certainly have received lots of fantastic comments in my life, but as you can imagine, the internet comment world can be a nasty place. Contrary commentors are louder and more ready to pounce. Plus the negative stuff just sticks with you more.

Anyway, I am happy to say that I don't get bothered at all anymore. Besides just simply the time it takes to do it all, I don't feel overly obsessive, or annoyed, or insane, or bothered. I really don't - seriously, say any shitty thing you want to say about me or my points - I won't bat an eye. And honestly, I find if I try replying as nicely as possible to people, almost everyone will soften up a bit and engage in more useful conversation. The internet makes people act harsher than they actually are, and I find most people are really quite nice. I actually kind of like it now.

I do hear pretty much the same basic contrary comments every time I write on the topic, so I have had a lot of experience with talking about them. I honestly don't get comments that surprise me - which might be part of the reason it doesn't bother me as much anymore, but all that being true, I still feel like fielding comments is a challenging and useful endeavor. And actually this last round made me feel like I should think about more succinct, relate-able, and thoughtful ways of speaking about the discrepancy between what scientific inquiry has indicated about vaginal orgasm and the fact that some women claim to experience vaginal orgasm. What do I want to say and what can I reasonably say about how this reality should be interpreted for individual women and their partners? What do I want to say about the language we use in this situation? Should I / can I be more speculative about reasons this discrepancy exists? How do I succinctly say what I want to say about why, even with any harm that may come of it, this real discrepancy should be widely understood and thoughtfully discussed.

Anyway, my point it that those are things I'm thinking about now, but a post on that is not a quick post like this one is. I have real, paying work that is taking precedence right now, so I just wanted to give a quick nod to the people over the past week on different forums who inspired my deeper thinking. I have definitely talked in different ways about this topic before, and I went back through some blogs and linked some below that touched on it, but like I said, I need to write something more succinct and clear and all those kinds of things. For now, this will have to do.

Thanks all you commentors out there. I really do appreciate the engagement.

Some past posts on the general topic....

HERE is a post that includes Science, Sex and the Ladies' (the movie not the blog) press kit answers about if we are really saying the vaginal orgasm doesn't exist and if we are calling women liars. This one says things I say all the time. However, I think it focuses a bit more on the simple fact that there is a discrepancy with what science has shown and what women who claim vaginal/g-spot/inner orgasm are claiming, and that it's actually not such a crazy thing to wonder whether some of that discrepancy can be explained because some women say they orgasm this way when they actually do not.

HERE is a post of me ranting (a little, not toooo much) about cries that the vaginal orgasm is picked on too much. Spoiler alert: It's kinda like calling reverse racism...it just doesn't quite fly.

HERE is a post that talks about 1. People telling me the subject's not a useful thing to talk about since all orgasms (even vaginally stimulated one) are clitoral anyway and 2. that I'm an asshole for telling women their vaginal orgasms aren't real. I talk in this post, as I often do, about how important the accurate information is that I'm putting out there, and that it's worth putting out there even though it might be hard to face. However, I also go a little bit into how complicated our culture is around female orgasm and how we should at least be considering the possibility that women might be dealing with that complication in ways that aren't normally considered.

HERE is a post of me talking personally about how hard it has been over the years to say things about vaginal orgasm that I know piss people off. I also talk a little about my own experiences and the possibility that smart, sexual women might be able to convince themselves that they orgasm vaginally when they actually don't.

HERE is a post about how dismissive comments often are - ignoring that the argument that there is a large, encompassing, cultural problem and  blaming the problems about lack of female orgasm on intimate partner communication instead.

HERE is a post about the comment I often get telling me that talking about orgasm in a physical way is, like, not cool, man - because love and other pleasures shouldn't be taken out of it. It's a little off topic, but I think it relates.


  1. Thanks for the post and the embedded links.

    Interesting and thought provoking as usual.

    For the record, I suspect you are mostly correct with your observations that female orgasms are the product of clittoral rather than vaginal stimulation. As a guy who loves to dive into women mouth first, I can certainly attest that I never met a woman who, regardless of how squeamish she may have been initially, didn't become an enthusiastic recipient of oral sex once she was properly introduced to the practice.

    At the same time, many women swear by vaginal orgasms. I'm not sure why. Any clittoral stimulation achieved through vaginal sex would be sporadic and incidental.

    I'm no clinical expert (but that never stopped me from having an opinion).

    I think psychology plays an important role in orgasms. If a woman considers vaginal sex the height of sexual intimacy, she may have an orgasm despite the relatively low level of clittoral stimulation.

    I'll give you an analogy.

    Male orgasms are provoked by stimulation of the penis, right? Well I know at least one guy who gets so overjoyed by the opportunity to lick a little clitty and the responses this elicits in his prey that he occasionally has a full blown orgasm with all the attendant gooiness despite that his penis was being roundly ignored at the time.

    Women are at least as complicated in their sexual responses as men.

    I suspect (based on my nearly 50 years of experience with women) that they may be considerably more complex than men.

    1. Enjoyed you comments as usual. I do believe you're right, that there is variation in both men and women and that psychology has a shit-ton to do with orgasm in that one needs to be aroused in order to orgasm and arousal most definitely has a strong psychological element. You are also right that there are women who swear by vaginal orgasm, and I ain't mad at em'. I just want the most accurate information about what is known of female orgasm to be the default understanding in our world, and from there, science can begin to investigate the outliers more clearly.

      I further agree that women in general are much more complicated than men when it comes (pun intended) to our orgasms, but I do not believe it is because of our innate biology. I think it's because the world is such that we ladies develop a much more complicated relationship to and understanding of our orgasm. That still leaves it true that it is more complicated and that makes this whole discussion more complicated.