The orgasm is widely regarded as the peak of sexual excitement. It is a powerful feeling of physical pleasure and sensation, which includes a discharge of accumulated erotic tension. Overall though, not a great deal is known about the orgasm, and over the past century, theories about the orgasm and its nature have shifted dramatically. For instance, healthcare experts have only relatively recently come round to the idea of the female orgasm, with many doctors as recently as the s claiming that it was normal for women not to experience them.
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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The pursuit of sexual pleasure is a key motivating factor in sexual activity. Many things can stand in the way of sexual orgasms and enjoyment, particularly among women. These are essential issues of sexual well-being and gender equality. This study presents long-term trends and determinants of female orgasms in Finland.
Difficulty reaching orgasm is the second most common sexual complaint reported by women. Although this is a relatively rare condition among men, many women have difficulty reaching orgasm reliably and readily, despite the fact that there are few physical conditions that are insurmountable obstacles to orgasmic attainment. Orgasmic disorders among women are particularly intriguing because female orgasm is so variable. Some women are promptly and reliably orgasmic with a minimum of stimulation, whereas other women require concentrated stimulation in a particular fashion for extended periods of time for orgasmic release to be triggered. The psychological and cultural valuation and 'meaning' of orgasm are complex as well, and have changed considerably over the past 50 years.
Most women report reliably experiencing orgasm from masturbation, but a smaller proportion of women report regularly experiencing orgasm from intercourse. Research suggests that concurrent clitoral stimulation during intercourse increases the likelihood of orgasm, yet most surveys of orgasm during intercourse leave unspecified whether vaginal intercourse does or does not include concurrent clitoral stimulation assisted intercourse or unassisted intercourse, respectively. Using an online sample of men and women, we tested whether phrasing of questions about the occurrence of orgasm in intercourse modulates women's reported frequency and men's estimates of women's frequency of orgasm in intercourse. Participants provided estimates of orgasm when asked explicitly about intercourse with stimulation unspecified, assisted intercourse, and unassisted intercourse. When clitoral stimulation was unspecified, women interpreted "orgasm in intercourse" in three ways: as from intercourse alone, as including concurrent clitoral stimulation though it was unspecified, or as an average of assisted and unassisted intercourse.