Still Here, but Sadly Shere Hite is Not

I wanted to put a post up this weekend because it's been too long. I don't want anyone thinking I'm uninterested in this blog or the fight for Orgasm Equality or generally fucking up the deeply embedded, far-reaching cultural assumption that it somehow makes sense that banging into a vagina would cause the attached lady to orgasm. 

Listen, I am still dedicated to fucking up that assumption, and it needs to be fucked up because it doesn't make sense - not anatomical sense, not sense based on peer reviewed scientific investigations, not sense based on historical knowledge, not sense based on actual experiential accounts from ladies. 

It doesn't make sense, but yet it feels sensible enough. 

It feels sensible enough that degreed and experienced scientist are often willing to turn a blind eye towards the appalling lack of evidence for a 'vaginally stimulated orgasm."* - allowing baseless claims in articles to go unchecked in peer review.

It feels sensible enough that everyday women all over the world believe they should have them and will desperately scour sex advise for ways to have them, or pretend to have them, or convince themselves that feelings and sensations related to intercourse are vaginal orgasms. 

It feels sensible enough that despite no physical evidence that vaginal orgasms exists, sexperts will refuse to say this blunty in their advise. Maybe it's because their status quo sexpert curriculum holds the incorrect assumption that a percentage of ladies are known to orgasm vaginally. Maybe it's because they aren't sure enough or are too scared to say that there is not physical evidence for vaginal orgasms because they don't want to offend or rock the boat. Maybe they had some kind of spiritual/emotional climax while getting their brains banged out, assumed it was an orgasm, don't care to put thought into why defining "orgasm" as anything and everything is confused, scientifically inaccurate, and harmful, and now they just want to have fun talking and advising about sex in a surface, uncritical, and ultimately problematic way. 

And that's the problem, it's hard to get past the feeling that women can/should have vaginal orgasm. It's seems wrong and mean and narrow to burst the bubble of vaginal orgasm, to tell people that the things they have heard and assumed and seen and learned their whole life from basically everything that could give them clues about sex is pretty wrong about the ladies, and that the idea of vaginal-penile intercourse being orgasmic for both parties or about the vagina as an orgasmically sensitive orgasm is bullshit. It's scary to even insinuate that. 

Believe me. I know. You get real pushback saying this shit. People will tell you you're arrogant and that their personal experience says vaginal orgasms are real. Although honestly, those are just the loudest (sometimes very loud) people. If you really listen, you will not find this is what most people have to say - quite the contrary in my experience. But I do get why it's a controversy sexperts and researchers don't want to touch. And listen, I don't doubt what anyone feels about their personal experience, but I see no problem in doubting what people know about their personal experience. Frankly, without some bit of objective corroborating evidence I don't have reason to trust anything anyone says about what their bodies are doing. You say had a heart attack but didn't go to the doctor? Maybe. Might have been a panic attack. You're think you sprained your ankle? Could be. Could be something else too. You think you orgasmed when Kevin was pushing his dick in and out of you and your clit wasn't being touched in any way? Maybe. Maybe you just had fun and made noises like you orgasmed, but that's not an orgasm. 

I really do get it. The feelings and pleasure and emotions around sexual activity are personal, complicated and no one is here telling anyone else what they can and can't enjoy or find pleasurable. But any person with some authority on the subject - sexperts, researchers, doctors, therapists - have a responsibility to be educated (really educated) and clear about the physiological, anatomical knowns of orgasm. And there are knowns. The female orgasm is no more a mystery than the male orgasm. Ignoring the facts and perpetuating the baseless claim that "vaginal orgasms" are a known, observed phenomenon is fucked up at this point in history. If I may be blunt, it breeds ignorance, continuation of the current state of sexual culture and sexual politics, and mostly it perpetuates the confusion, shame, and lack of orgasm that have been plaguing the female population for centuries. 

And this brings me to Shere Hite. I just happened to write about her in my last post. She said the shit that needed to be said, and she didn't pull punches. She asked and really listened to women's specific, detailed experiences with orgasm, masturbation, pleasure and sexual interactions. And she also really listened to what the science actually can tell us about lady-gasms and our bodies. Since then, almost 50 years later, the science hasn't uncovered anything yet that contradicts what she was saying in any significant way (no way I can think of, really). She told us straight up in the 70's all the basic things I'm saying in this blog now. If we had listened to her, we would know that women need clitoral glans area stimulation in order to orgasm just like males need penile stimulation. We would know that sexual interactions between any 2 (or more) people can and should create ample opportunities for any body to orgasm as long as the correct stimulation is given to the penile or clitoral areas (or, might I add, the organ that is a little bit clit / a little bit penis for certain intersex individuals). The vagina is not the female organ of sexual pleasure (although you might call it an organ of male sexual pleasure ;)

Everyone is capable of and deserves a real opportunity to orgasm during sexual interactions. Making that statement tangible through her epic information gathering and spot-on assessments was the gift Shere Hite tried to give the world. 

She made a mark - an important push towards Orgasm Equality, but the world wasn't quite ready to embrace it. We still aren't in 2020. In fact, when I said there's pushback for saying these things, I meant it. She was loved, certainly, and her book changed lives. However, it pissed people off. Saying women don't need a dick up inside them to come is not a popular opinion. Despite the fact that she did an insane amount of serious research and created a straight up revolutionary piece of work, she was shit on for years. Apparently Playboy at the time dubbed her book, The Hite Report, "THE HATE REPORT" and Times did a shitty article on her as well.  I wish I could have read a bunch of the stuff that was written at the time about it, but ya know, the internet wasn't around at the time, so tricky to find. 

But the hate isn't really the saddest part to me. Hate is a side effect of any good revolutionary thought. It's the eventual disregard and marginalization of her work that really fucked her (and all of us) over. As soon as there was any way for people to "reasonably" disregard her hard statements about vaginal orgasms not being realistic, they did. The G-spot craze that started in 1982, less than a decade later, was a great way to ignore the truths Hite was telling us. It shouldn't have, since the G-spot doesn't cause orgasms, and everything Hite was saying was still absolutely as valid as it was before...but people don't want to believe you can't bang a woman into orgasm, so we mostly don't. The G-spot is out of vogue now among the hip, but believing the inner clit somehow causes orgasms from maybe, kinda, being pressed upon during a good fuck is SUPER popular. It's as ridiculous and probably even less supported by evidence than the idea of a 'G-Spot Orgasm," but it has been widely and un-critically accepted - especially and sadly by people that thinks they are knowledgeable and progressive around issues of sexuality. Even recently I had a debate with a man that called himself a skeptic and progressive that basically said Freud's idea of vaginal orgasms being more mature than clitoral orgasms is similarly extreme and harmful as the feminists of the 70's saying that vaginal orgasms did not exist (He used Anne Koedt's essay The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm  *Read it. It's good stuff btw* as an example, but she was of the same time and was in agreement with Hite's point of view). My point is, the sentiment out there is the same. People think it's crazy to say dicks don't give women orgasms. As I said before. They don't like it and don't wanna hear it.

After I read The Hite Report on Female Sexuality, I tried reaching out to Shere Hite. I looked for emails and addresses and social media, publishers - anything. I think it was partly because she got so much hate that she kept her info more private than most. Then in about the late 2000s to about 2011, she seemed to pop back into public. She did a Colbert Report interview, some interviews, and then I found a random blog post where someone had gone to a talk of hers in England. The woman said Hite seemed confused and acted a little strangely. I have no idea where it was and can't find it now.  I couldn't really find anything about Shere Hite out in the public after that. I assumed she was ill in some way and assumed I probably would never get in touch with her. 

I was right that I would never get to talk with her or interview her. She died this month. Although I had kind of settled on Shere as a person not in the public eye any more, hearing that she had died really struck me. It reminded me one more time of how very resistant this world is to hearing truth about female orgasm. Hite's work should have been held in high regard and incorporated deeply into our sexual culture from the moment her book was released. Instead of slow marginalization through the years it should have been fundamental to sexual learning. She deserves more than she got, but I do believe her legacy, though sometimes invisible and put upon, exists as a small but mighty beacon of light that guides others towards lady-gasm truth and inspires those working towards those same goals.

Shere Hite, you gave us all a gift, and one day we will open it properly. 

*(vaginal orgasm/VIO or Vaginally Induced Orgasm/Gspot Orgasm/uterine orgasm/cervical orgasm/inner clit orgasm - or whatever the new hip term is for an "orgasm" causes by something pushing in and out of the vag)