Alright so up until 1970 the belief was that women mainly orgasmed vaginally. Put your fingers inside your vagina and have a poke around, not too much feeling on them walls alone huh? Most women will find the very entrance to their vagina is very sensitive. Slightly above sits the clitoris, home to 8,000 nerves, it is up to 9cm's long - extends into our bodies and is more internal than external. It becomes erect when we are aroused and once aroused can be stimulated internally as well as externally. While every woman is different you will find most women struggle to orgasm without clitoral stimulation, whether that be internal or external - most orgasms come (scuse the pun) back to the clitoris. Compounding that, without foreplay and psychological stimulation to naturally lubricate the vagina many women cannot orgasm. This issue dates back to years of misinformation surrounding the vagina and the clitoris.
The male sex organ however was thoroughly researched, poked and prodded so no stone was left unturned and in the 1970’s we knew essentially all we needed to know about the penis and how it functions. However the vagina, specifically the anatomy of the clitoris was not fully realised until the late 1990’s. Then through 3D sonograms in two thousand and damn they discovered that when we orgasm, even in vaginal only orgasms with no direct clitoral stimulation it was because of…. the clitoris. Through pleasure our internal clitoris (which extends up to 9cm - seriously think about that) within our body becomes engorged and internal stimulation can see us cum - I feel like i'm going to repeat myself alot in this post because it's all so amazing to me. Two French dudes conducted the research that proved this in 2009 and you can find it here The synopsis of their study goes like this: even in vaginal only stimulation without direct pressure on the clitoris the clitoris is still working its magic and getting us off. They reckon even orgasms from the elusive G spot and anal sex can be explained by an engorged clitoris (I really like saying engorged clitoris)
In the 1970’s an underground feminist magazine called Ms. published this article The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm which to me explains so much about this issue, even in science and medicine which we are told are non bias were often (particularly in those days) viewed through a male lens. At the time this resulted in an utter lack of research responsible for many women of that era being labelled as “frigid” (which originally meant unable to orgasm from vaginal only intercourse).
Whether it have been a lack of technology, funding or simply because the clitoris served no other purpose than to elicit female pleasure - it was not fully researched for another almost four decades. FOUR. The afformentioned research conducted which concluded that our clitoris' is responsible for most if not all of our orgasms was unfunded, with French researchers Dr. Odile Buisson and Dr. Pierre Foldès taking the mission on themselves. Unfunded...That is some bullshit. Through their research which included a 3d sonogram they discovered so much about our pleasure and that upon internal and external stimulation the clit becomes engorged and can be stimulated trough the vaginal walls and even the anus. They also discovered that with the correct surgery some victims of female genital mutilation could have feeling restored to their clitoris. Do you know how important that is?
The lack of knowledge around the clitoris is fairly insane considering how much we know about the rest of the body. We can explain the misinformation in a myriad of ways one of which (and that i resonate with) is the historic patriarchal lens with which research was conducted. As claimed in Annes article The Myth of The Vaginal Orgasm men feel pleasure by thrusting in and out of the vagina, physically clitoral stimulation is not really of consequence to them:
To reiterate this in a modern context we can probably all relate to lets get some men and womens locker room talk going. You will be hard pressed to find a hetero woman who has not experienced the “Jack hammer" routine most men have toyed with at one point or another, female conversations often come back to this topic as we cringe and groan (not the good kind) at the memory of being slammed like a jack hammer in concrete followed by the dude cumming and thinking he gave us the ride of a lifetime. I even had one guy tell me it was his “go-to” and apparently we women love it (fyi…we don't) To the routines credit it serves a purpose at times and can be fun ON OCCASION but essentially it feels like…. nothing. Pressure, slammming...i’m trying to think of the right word here, one of which PLEASURE is not. Without concise and rhythmic thrusting and clitoral stimulation (most) women cannot orgasm. It’s as simple as that. This kind of leads us to a conversation about faking orgasms and how detrimental that is to both male and female sexual journeys but I feel like thats another story for another time.
The idea that the clitoris is “just like the penis’ or that our vaginas are lacking (research Freuds theories about the vagina and female penis envy), or there is something wrong with a woman if she cannot orgasm from penetration only is some patriarchal bullshit. The clitoris and its stimulation are paramount in our sexual pleasure. It is the only organ thats sole function is to experience pleasure, it is capable of so much more than ever thought and it is only through that recent research and education that this has been discovered.
We can use the need for medical research as an example of how important exploration is with ourselves and our partners - it is utterly paramount to understand our anatomy if we want to experience our fullest sexual potential. Being aware of the facts is also crucial to us not feeling disheartened in our sex lives if orgasm is more difficult. Be aware that if your clitoris is further away from your vagina or your clitoris is small or you are not well lubricated (which often means there hasn't been enough foreplay - both physical and mental) you may find it more difficult to orgasm. If your partner is addicted to the jack hammer and makes you feel insecure about not being able to orgasm from penetration YOU ARE NOT ALONE and it is infact them who need to advance their understanding of female sexual anatomy.
There is so much information floating around now and the articles i've listed here are just a few but if you spend some time researching the misinformation we have been fed I believe you are on your way to sexual empowerment.