The female orgasm: Why are scientists so obsessed with what goes on between our thighs?

Are multiple orgasms a myth? How many erogenous zones are there? Will any of these answers be found in a lab?

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The Independent Online

Ladies: think back to the last earth-shattering orgasm you had during sex. Your last spine-tingling, sky-exploding, oh-god-my-life-will-never-be-the-same-again climax. Well, you must have imagined the whole thing.

That’s the view of some very clever researchers, anyway, who know far more about your body and the way it likes to be touched that you do, you silly woman. Thanks to their useful observations published in Clinical Anatomy, we now know that there’s no such thing as a vaginal orgasm, a clitoral orgasm or even a G-spot. So whatever you think you have been feeling, you haven't.

No, it appears that the only term we can use to describe the whole glorious gamut of pleasure that women feel is ‘female orgasm’. And don’t even try talking about female ejaculation or G-spot amplification because these are “terms without scientific basis.” Sexy stuff, eh? Because what else are we aiming for in the bedroom if not scientifically accurate labelling?

As a society, we are obsessed with female sexuality. Barely a week goes by without a ground-breaking new study emerging which claims to have solved the ‘mystery’ of why and how women come, and how they can come better and harder than ever. (For the latest example, see today’s announcement that women who eat an apple every day have better sex lives).  Ever since the G-spot was ‘discovered’  - by a man, of course -  in 1950, scientists have been tying themselves into knots trying to understand and describe exactly what happens in that perpetually captivating place between a woman’s thighs. Multiple orgasms are real; multiple orgasms are a myth; you can orgasm during childbirth (‘ecstatic births’) or while out for a jog (‘coregasms’); sitting down can turn you on; sitting down destroys your libido; women have three erogenous zones; no, four; no, wait…seven; women can make themselves come purely by fantasising; women need to be touched, stroked or played with at all times to even have a hope of reaching their own shuddering finish. It’s a sexual minefield out there.

The fascination with our orgasms apparently stems from the fact that there is no evolutionary reason for a woman to enjoy sex, and therefore it must be a baffling anomaly. Men need to orgasm in order to ensure the continuation of our species, but women – well, frankly, what’s the point of her getting off? All she needs to do, biologically-speaking, is be a willing receptacle.

But is the idea of a woman enjoying sex so utterly alien and terrifying that it has to be tested, poked and prodded until it can be satisfactorily explained away as something else entirely? It is really a problem to be solved, based on a series of daft experiments? It's as if we find the concept of women's sexuality so scary that we reduce it in order to cope.

The only thing these studies do is induce feelings of hopeless inadequacy and ensure a nationwide period of a terrible sex, as everyone worries they’ve been doing it disastrously wrong for years. They haven’t found the new 'it' spot; they enjoy something they definitely shouldn’t; and has their partner really been secretly yearning for that?

The universal key to pleasure won’t be stumbled upon in a lab to great fanfare, because it doesn't exist. There isn’t a classified code or magic trick to make all women come that only the world’s greatest lovers have been told. A woman’s body isn’t a complicated computer program that can be unlocked with a special combination of caresses and strokes; there isn’t a one-size fits all manual. And that’s what’s so ridiculous about all these studies: they reduce the vast experience of women’s pleasure, and all the endlessly varied and utterly wonderful elements of it, into a technical box-ticking exercise.

You really want to know the secret to giving great orgasms? Just ask her.

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