Freud called women achieving a clitoral orgasm ‘infantile’. He claimed that if a woman couldn’t achieve a vaginal orgasm, or tried to shift where their pleasure was taking place so it happened vaginally, they were ‘frigid’. Throughout history women have been demonised over their orgasms. During the 1800s, Hysteria was a common diagnosis for women who were deemed sexual deviants. The term ‘hysteria’ literally translates as ‘suffering in the uterus’. Doctors were so hell bent on trying to ‘fix’ hysterical women, their research ultimately led to the invention of the vibrator.
Here’s a remedy for treating hysteria from 1653 by Pieter van Foreest:
“When these symptoms indicate, we think it necessary to ask a midwife to assist, so that she can massage the genitalia with one finger inside, using oil of lilies, musk root, crocus, or [something] similar. And in this way the afflicted woman can be aroused to the paroxysm. This kind of stimulation with the finger is recommended by Galen and Avicenna, among others, most especially for widows, those who live chaste lives, and female religious, as Gradus [Ferrari da Gradi] proposes; it is less often recommended for very young women, public women, or married women, for whom it is a better remedy to engage in intercourse with their spouses.”
To this day, some 20% of women have never achieved an orgasm. And it wasn’t until the 1940’s, and The Kinsey Reports, that things started to become more widely discussed. The Kinsey Reports showed that 40% of women surveyed got their first orgasm from masturbation and 5% from “wet dreams,”. The Kinsey report also showed that 14% of women were able to achieve multiple orgasms.
Fast forward to 2017, and orgasms are so widely discussed we now have #NationalOrgasmDay thanks to a sex toy company.
20% of women have never achieved an orgasm.
So, why is your orgasm a feminist act you ask? Here’s five reasons, with a little help from my fave Feminist TV heroines, the cast of Broad City.
1. Orgasms improve brain function
That’s right – every time you orgasm you’re totally improving your IQ. If you want to be smart, then you’re going to have to invest in some ‘you’ time. It’s research time for your world domination plan.
2. You don’t need someone else to have one
Orgasms are literally in the palm of your hand – or whatever else you’re using for simulation. Just 12% of women masturbate with a sex toy once a week – for the good of womankind let’s get those numbers up and help the cause. It’s vital to be self-sufficient, and your orgasm should be your first gift to yourself on the road to self-discovery.
3. Orgasms regulate menstruation
“Studies have shown that orgasms can work as natural analgesics to help alleviate menstrual cramps, migraines, and other aches.” Says Orgasm authority, Cosmo. Orgasms also help to regulate your menstrual cycle – its been proven that women who orgasm frequently have more regular periods due to the immune-boosting effects an orgasm has on the female body.
4. Everytime you come, you’re proving Freud wrong
I personally love proving a well-revered, but ultimately sexist public figure wrong with my hobbies. Just watch a Dangerous Method, see how he treats Sabina Spielrein, and come back to me. You’ll be aching to prove him wrong.
5. It’s you taking control of your own pleasure
Ultimately, if you say ‘yes’ to an orgasm, you’re saying ‘yes’ to you. Whether you’re achieving this through sex with a partner, or a little you time, an orgasm is a defiant act. It’s you saying ‘go fuck yourself’ (pun intended) ‘I’m in charge of my pleasure’. You do you girl.
For a final lesson on the female orgasm, watch this handy video from Wired –