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Unlike Men, Women Have a Remarkable Variety of Orgasmic Experiences

Summary: According to researchers, women have the potential to experience orgasm from one or more sources of sensory input.

Source: Concordia University.

Concordia researchers describe the vast potential for female arousal from multiple sensory inputs.

The nature of a woman’s orgasm has been a source of debate for over a century. Since the Victorian era, the pendulum has swung from the vagina to the clitoris, and to some extent back again.

Today, the debate is stuck over whether an orgasm can be produced through vaginal stimulation alone, or if arousal of the external clitoris is always necessary.

A new review by Concordia researchers, published in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, details the vast potential women have to experience orgasms from one or more sources of sensory input.

In the review, senior author Jim Pfaus, a psychology professor from the Faculty of Arts and Science, and his co-authors — Concordia graduate students Gonzalo Quintana Zunino and Conall Mac Cionnaith, as well as Mayte Parada from McGill University — look into the evolution of the clitoral versus vaginal orgasm debate.

They arrive at a new understanding of the female orgasm that incorporates the external clitoral glans, the internal region around the G-spot, the cervix and sensory stimulation of non-genital areas such as the nipples.

“With experience, stimulation of one or all of these triggering zones are integrated into a ‘whole’ set of sensory inputs, movements, body positions, arousals and cues related to context,” Pfaus says.

“That combination of sensory input is what reliably induces pleasure and orgasm during masturbation and intercourse. That said, we think it’s likely this changes across the lifespan, as women experience different kinds of orgasms from different types of sensations in different contexts and with different partners.”

The article explains that the distinction between different orgasms is not between sensations of the external clitoris and internal vagina, but between levels of what a woman understands a “whole” orgasm to consist of.

Image shows a sleeping woman.

The article explains that the distinction between different orgasms is not between sensations of the external clitoris and internal vagina, but between levels of what a woman understands a “whole” orgasm to consist of. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

This depends firstly on her experience with direct stimulation of the external clitoris, internal clitoris and cervix. But it also relates to knowledge of the arousing and erotic cues that predict orgasm, knowledge of her own pattern of movements that lead to it and experience with stimulation of multiple external and internal genital and non-genital sites — for example, lips, nipples, ears, neck, fingers and, yes, toes.

“Orgasms don’t have to come from one site, nor from all sites. And they don’t have to be the same for every woman, nor for every sexual experience even in the same woman, to be whole and valid.”

Pfaus hopes that this article will drive home the fact that the female orgasm is not simply a different version of the reproductive model of male ejaculation.

“Unlike men, women can have a remarkable variety of orgasmic experiences, which evolve throughout the lifespan. A woman’s erotic body map is not etched in stone, but rather is an ongoing process of experience, discovery and construction.”

About this neuroscience research article

Source: Cléa Desjardins – Concordia University
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Full open access research for “The whole versus the sum of some of the parts: toward resolving the apparent controversy of clitoral versus vaginal orgasms” by James G. Pfaus, PhD, Gonzalo R. Quintana, MA, Conall Mac Cionnaith, MA and Mayte Parada, PhD in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology. Published online October 25 2016 doi:10.3402/snp.v6.32578

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
Concordia University. “Unlike Men, Women Have a Remarkable Variety of Orgasmic Experiences.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 1 November 2016.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/female-arousal-sensory-input-5402/>.
Concordia University. (2016, November 1). Unlike Men, Women Have a Remarkable Variety of Orgasmic Experiences. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved November 1, 2016 from http://neurosciencenews.com/female-arousal-sensory-input-5402/
Concordia University. “Unlike Men, Women Have a Remarkable Variety of Orgasmic Experiences.” http://neurosciencenews.com/female-arousal-sensory-input-5402/ (accessed November 1, 2016).

Abstract

The whole versus the sum of some of the parts: toward resolving the apparent controversy of clitoral versus vaginal orgasms

Background: The nature of a woman’s orgasm has been a source of scientific, political, and cultural debate for over a century. Since the Victorian era, the pendulum has swung from the vagina to the clitoris, and to some extent back again, with the current debate stuck over whether internal sensory structures exist in the vagina that could account for orgasms based largely on their stimulation, or whether stimulation of the external glans clitoris is always necessary for orgasm.

Method:
We review the history of the clitoral versus vaginal orgasm debate as it has evolved with conflicting ideas and data from psychiatry and psychoanalysis, epidemiology, evolutionary theory, feminist political theory, physiology, and finally neuroscience.

Results:
A new synthesis is presented that acknowledges the enormous potential women have to experience orgasms from one or more sources of sensory input, including the external clitoral glans, internal region around the “G-spot” that corresponds to the internal clitoral bulbs, the cervix, as well as sensory stimulation of non-genital areas such as the nipples.

Conclusions:
With experience, stimulation of one or all of these triggering zones are integrated into a “whole” set of sensory inputs, movements, body positions, autonomic arousal, and partner- and contextual-related cues, that reliably induces pleasure and orgasm during masturbation and copulation. The process of integration is iterative and can change across the lifespan with new experiences of orgasm.

“The whole versus the sum of some of the parts: toward resolving the apparent controversy of clitoral versus vaginal orgasms” by James G. Pfaus, PhD, Gonzalo R. Quintana, MA, Conall Mac Cionnaith, MA and Mayte Parada, PhD in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology. Published online October 25 2016 doi:10.3402/snp.v6.32578

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