The female orgasm has been cherished, denied, repressed or questioned during different periods of time and in different societies. Now it is being reintroduced as a foundation for a healthy life. Nature has indeed equipped our bodies with sexual faculties, as a rich treasure which can be developed at length.
Who knows in reality what the female orgasm really entails? Stimulation of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves and augmentation of tension followed by muscular release is an example of one of the key components. To reach this we know that physical stimulation is not even always necessary. Mental stimulation can be enough. That much we know, but how does it happen? Nobody knows for sure but new information has been added to our common well of knowledge during the last decades.
Not until Masters and Johnson released their observations on masturbation and intercourse in 1961 did we begin to reach some clarity about what actually happens in the body when it is erotically stimulated.
They distinguished between four phases: The excitement phase, the plateau phase, the orgasm phase and the resolution phase.
During the excitement phase the woman’s clitoris and her vagina begins to lubricate and becomes moist. This is parallel to the male erection and both are the result of increased blood supply to this area.
The nipples become hard, the breast firmer and the inner and outer lips (Labium minus and Labium majus) enlarged.
During the plateau phase the tissue in the upper third part of the vagina swells, the vaginal opening (orifice) tightens and can thereby grip the penis better. The clitoral head (glans) is drawn back under the clitoral hood and can be difficult to find. Pulse and breathing become more rapid. The pelvic musculature tightens.
Most women clearly notice when the orgasm phase is approaching, but it can fade away and return many times without coming to a peak and it can be frustrating if the orgasm fails to occur. If there is a release of an orgasm then feelings of an explosive and voluptuous nature occur when the autonomous nervous system functions beyond control of the Ego. Some prefer to describe it as an implosion rather than an explosion, since for many women it has more of a quality of an inner event of muscular contractions followed by a melting sensation rather than an outwardly directed movement.
The inner part of the vagina is formed like a balloon, as a result of an upraising movement of the uterus into the abdomen. A moderate orgasm consists of 3-5 rhythmical spastic contractions in the pelvic musculature. An intensive orgasm can consist of 8-12 contractions.
The orgasm can come back several times as a result of continuous stimulation. Women can without pausing, go directly forward to the next plateau phase followed by orgasms. During prolonged multiple orgasms the woman experiences recurrent waves of autonomous muscular contractions and the body is trembling and shaking. Multiple orgasms tend to heighten the woman’s sexual energy rather than lowering it.
Today we speak of many different types of orgasms, for example; clitoris orgasms, vaginal orgasms, g-spot orgasms, blended intensive orgasms or ecstatic orgasms, total orgasm, whole body orgasm, energy orgasm or energetic release orgasm, multiple orgasm, the Big O, the ultimate orgasm.
Despite our interest in the female orgasm, it is not to be conceived of as an absolute goal that needs to be obtained, since the most important thing is that one can enjoy the situation as such and not be too focused on reaching an orgasm. The importance of the relationship between two partners, their communication not only in the sexual situation but also outside of it, care and intimacy, are just some ingredients, which lay the ground for a positive sexual experience.
One of the reasons why many women are sexually disappointed is that their sexuality is described from the viewpoint of male norms, i.e. that sexuality must be focused on intercourse, which works fine for men but is not enough for women. Many still also think of the clitoris only as that little pea-sized gland and are not aware of how large an area it encompasses in the female body. That which most people call the clitoris is indeed only the clitoral head, which is one of but many parts. They also believe that women’s sexual response is not as powerful as a man’s; in fact it is rather the contrary.
During the last few decades a great deal has happened which has enhanced our knowledge of the orgiastic ability and sexual responsiveness of women.
Clinical observations and influences from areas as diverse as
- the ancient erotic manuals from the east (mainly the wisdom of Tantra and Tao)
- energetic concepts developed from Wilhelm Reich (The Orgon Energy)
- Alexander Lowen (Bio-Energetics and the concept of the Orgasmic Reflex)
- Stephano Sabetti (Life Energy Therapy)
are just some of the examples of what has entered and changed our views of this field.
If women could understand better how all the parts of the clitoral area need to collaborate in order to produce an orgasm, they would have a greater chance of enhancing their sexual responsiveness. That is how Rebecca Chalker reasoned as she wrote her latest book The Clitoral Truth: The Secret World at your Fingertips (Sept. 2000).