Levin and Wagner, 1985

Shall we continue reviewing some of the #papersIlike?

Among the older papers I’ve found myself referencing for the handbook is Levin and Wagner’s 1985 “Orgasm in Women in the Laboratory-Quantitative Studies on Duration, Intensity, Latency, and Vaginal Blood Flow,” published in “Archives of Sexual Behavior,” my favorite of the sex research journals.

In 10 dense pages, they frankly and rapidly lay the foundation for future work in arousal nonconcordance, describing the orgasmic measurements of approximately two dozen women.

Some important terms you find in this paper:

Orgasm latency – how long it takes to get from zero to 60, as it were. This is a methodological tough nut, since outside the laboratory, t=0 might be at dinner or while she’s watching her partner shower or in the middle of the work day when she finds herself fantasizing. But for their purposes, it just means when the subject starts masturbating in the lab.

Orgasm duration- they used “measured duration,” which was simply the time between when the subject announced that orgasm was starting and when she announced it was over (this was between 12-40 seconds on average) and also “estimated duration,” which was how long the subject guessed her orgasm lasted, when asked after the fact (this was between like 2-22 seconds, significantly and reliably shorter than measured duration).

Grade of orgasm – they asked study participants to rate their orgasmic experience (“1 = weak or poor orgasm, 2 = moderate or fair orgasm, 3 = good or strong orgasm, 4 = very strong or very good orgasm, 5 = most powerful or excellent orgasm.”), and there ended up being no significant relationship between orgasm latency, either kind of orgasm duration, or any measure of vaginal bloodflow.

I mean, how can you not love a paper like that?