3 big problems (and 1 awesome thing) in huffpo's article about women's orgasm

I don’t often do things like this, but sometimes a mainstream media thing gets SO many things SO wrong that I can’t not correct it.

HuffPo UK has an article today called National Orgasm Day: Experts Reveal Everything You Need To Know About The Big O with info from “a brilliant expert panel” who apparently either explained things poorly or are stuck in a 20-years-out-of-date paradigm of sexuality and sex education.

“There are two types of female orgasm: clitoral and vaginal”


If there are “two types of orgasm,” both defined by their genital stimulation, then people without sensation below the waist wouldn’t have any orgasms at all, and yet they cannot all do but it’s totally possible.

So please. For the love of all that is holy. Let us stop defining orgasm in terms of genital organs and define them instead by EXPERIENCE. Orgasm is the explosive release of sexual tension. It can happen from stimulation of the clitoris, the vagina, the anus, the eyebrows, the feet, the breasts, or just by thinking about sex, depending on a lot of factors, including simple factors like PRACTICE and CONTEXT.

“So a woman needs to ‘feel safe’ to have an orgasm.”

If women actually needed to feel safe to have orgasms, then orgasms would never happen during sexual violence, but sometimes they do (trigger warning on that link). In general what leads to orgasm is adequate activation of the sexual excitation system – the gas pedal of your brain’s sexual response mechanism – and deactivation of the sexual inhibition system – not “inhibition” as in “shy” but inhibition as in your brain’s sexual “brake,” responding to potential threats. The system is complex and shares hardware with all the other motivational systems in the brain (stress, attachment, etc), and under conditions of trauma the whole thing goes sort of haywire, and sometimes orgasms happen.

Under NORMAL conditions, MOST women orgasm more readily orgasmic when they feel safe. But if we just perpetuate this idea that a woman needs to feel safe to have an orgasm, that too easily opens the door to the idea that if a woman has an orgasm, then she must have felt safe. And that’s not at all true.

“In an ideal world, men would have an L shaped penis, or women would have a clitoris inside, rather than outside, their vaginas, but until evolution provides, we have to work with a major design flaw.”

If your definition of “ideal world” necessarily involves female orgasm during vaginal penetration. And if that’s your ideal world, then it’s MORE true that the design flaw lies in the clitoris being so distant from the vagina, instead of IN the vagina, which is where it should be in order to lead to orgasm.

The flaw is not in our genitals, but in our culture – our “world” – which idealizes orgasm during penetration, which is only reliable for about a quarter of women.

But let me not just criticize – there’s good stuff too! There’s one bit that’s maybe the best sex advice I’ve ever seen on HuffPo:

Dr Corey Allan Ph D, marriage and family therapist says: “Honesty is the best policy. And sometimes by being honest, you become more inventive and add novelty to the experience. Sometimes couples can forget about the pleasure of sex.

“They get too caught up in life together, family, roles, jobs, arguments, etc. and forget about their biological pleasures and urges. Re-learning to have sex just for sex’s sake can provide a great break from the mundane of the day to day, so long as the sex is not mundane!”

Yay! Pleasure! Doing things that feel nice! It doesn’t have to be WANTING CRAVING YEARNING ACHING LONGING; it can just be a delightful way to spend time together. Yay!!