The key to female pleasure is all in her head

Article by Lauren Rosewarne /
ABC The Drum /
October 02, 2013 /

Click here to view original /

There’s a scene in the new Nicole Kidman thriller Stoker where teenaged India (Mia Wasikowska) is seated on a piano stool.

Next to her is her exquisitely sexily dodgy uncle Charles (Matthew Goode).

Charles’ lascivious presence arouses her. So much so in fact, that India clamps her thighs together. Really, really hard.

A lot of porn presents us with very unpolished – and invariably unfancy – presentations of female masturbation. That it’s all about a brisk rub to the clitoris, a good and thorough plunging of something in and out of the vagina and a theatrical finale. Increasingly with waterworks to set it all off, for that extra razzle-dazzle.

In real life, female masturbation takes a much broader variety of forms than porn or even popular imagination would suggest.

India was able to stimulate herself by pressing her thighs together. Not to orgasm in that scene, no, but as some lady bicyclists and sewing machine operators and bored schoolgirls and breastfeeding mothers could each testify, self-stimulation – even climax – can be reached in all kinds of ways that we’re not supposed to know about. Ways that we’re certainly not supposed to talk about.

The New York Times recently reported on the phenomena of spontaneous orgasms in women. I remember a Picket Fences episode about spontaneous human combustion; I’d most certainly pick the orgasm option myself.

So the gist is that some women – and perhaps more if they tried hard enough – can reach orgasm simply by concentrating really, really hard on really, really dirty thoughts.

That no clitoral contact is needed, that the only motion we need concerns ourselves with is playing a perpetual loop of our favourite filthy fantasy.

As someone who spends good chunks of each day reading and writing about the very dirtiest of dirty topics – whose complete and utter concentration could hardly be questioned – I feel a tad jibbed that my workday has never been jazzed up by any unexpected sweats or tremors.

That jibment aside however, the cynic in me wonders whether concentrating really, really hard on erotic daydreams is all just a bit too reminiscent of the hokum proffered by The Secret: that if only you want that carpark badly enough, the universe will gift it you.

There is a but though. One thing this research does support – in line with what academic work and all those conversations many of us have had – is that women do tend to be more ‘thinky’ when it comes to sex.

A stereotype, sure, but sometimes stereotypes emerge from lived reality.

And when it comes to women’s arousal, women’s masturbation and women’s orgasms, for many the process is substantially more complicated than men’s and much more so than porn would suggest.

While data is hard to acquire – after all, people are big fat liars when it comes to answering survey questions about sex – most researchers agree that the numbers of female users of porn are increasing.

Men however, still dramatically outnumber them.

Conversely however, it’s the ladies who are damp-fingeredly poring over 50 Shades of Grey.

Equally so, a lucrative industry of brothels and strip clubs and happy-ending massage emporiums exist to cater to men.

If women were as easily stimulated, our voraciously capitalist society would have well and truly exploited the market.

Sure, there are women who are exceptions, but for many, the process of arousal and the road to orgasm, often requires more than visuals, more than the mere presence of a scantily clad bloke gyrating in our vicinity and often a little more than our fingers or a nearby electric toothbrush.

That imagination and escapism all play very important roles.

I’m not sure that the study tells women much that they didn’t already know.

Except perhaps, that for those too lazy to reach down there themselves that dwelling on those risqué thoughts a little longer might yield some pleasurable goodies.

For our male partners however, this is yet another study to both assuage all those anxieties about penis size and staying hard, and serves as another reminder about the necessity of tending to her head before obsessing over endurance and advanced positions.

© Lauren Rosewarne