A colleague recently asked if I’d like to take a look at a book that had landed on her desk. She liked the look of it so was going to order copies to sell, but after having skimmed the contents, she wasn’t so sure.
After hearing the name of the book, Ways Women Orgasm, I eagerly agreed. The book arrived and at first look I was very impressed; a simple, glossy cover featuring a pair of high-heeled shoes that wouldn’t look out of place in my own wardrobe. Nice, clean and stylish.
Ways Women Orgasm
Reading the foreword, the author, Jane Thomas, states that Ways Women Orgasm is ‘the most comprehensive and explicit source of information about female orgasm available today’. Delighted, I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to learn a thing or two.
By page 4, I could feel my face settling in a frown.‘Although female masturbation is very NORMAL, it is also quite UNUSUAL' (Caps are author’s own – the written equivalent of SHOUTING at the reader).
Masturbation and Orgasm Help Combat Stress
Now, no member of Team Sh! would agree that female masturbation is unusual. Blimey – we meet thousands of women every year who all agree that a bit of me-time is necessary to combat the stress of modern living. We’d probably say that female masturbation is a very common, and an activity thatcan be enjoyed for free, none the less!
Heading, in bold letters, further on in the book: Female masturbation is relatively uncommon. No Jane, it is not uncommon. Just, enough women haven’t shared their thoughts with you.
Exploring Sexual Arousal
Page 5: 'relatively few women explore their own sexual arousal either alone or through genitally focused sex play with a partner'
Surely any book that purports to be sex-positive ought to have started that sentence with not enough women? We spend our days empowering women, telling everyone that exploring one’s own body and sexual arousal is a human right. Get with the programme, Ms Thomas. Let’s try it Sh! – style: not enough women explore their own sexual arousal. Much better.
And what about this clanger: 'Men think about sex much more than women but they only use a fantasy to enhance arousal when they are engaged in activities such as masturbation alone, unimaginative sex, or sex with an uninspiring partner. Under more ideal circumstances (eg adventurous sex with a stunning partner), men don’t need to use fantasy'.
The author hints at her own attractiveness and sexy body on more than one occasion, so presumably her partner never has to use sexy fantasies to get off. But what about the rest of us; those who are less than perfect? Should we assume our partners’ explosive orgasms are, in fact, due to him/her closing their eyes and imagining someone with longer legs and perkier breasts? Of course not. Confidence is the sexiest attribute a woman can process: Own your body, whatever it's shape and size– it’s sexy!
Enjoyable Sexual Imagery
How about this: 'A lover’s body does not cause female sexual arousal any more than images of naked men (porn) during masturbation'
Come again? Are women are not turned on by naked bodies and sexual imagery?
Of course women enjoy looking at naked lovers and sexy images – and we’re sure that more women would purchase sexy magazines, were the mags of a better quality and with erotic images rather than full-frontal, well-shaved, designer-vaginal nudity. How do we know? Because women have been telling us for years.
Many women admit to enjoying looking at beautiful, naked women. We look because it’s sexy, and we might even imagine a frolic with another woman, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we are about to come out as lesbians. It just means we are having perfectly normal fantasies. (And talking about lesbians – this book is strictly for the hetero community).
Jane Thomas, by her writing, comes across as out of touch with modern sexuality. Worryingly, the books Thomas lists at the back of her title are at least 8 years out of date, and many came out during the 90’s. Whilst we don’t disrespect the important and ground-breaking work carried out by Shere Hite (1976) or Alfred Kinsey (1953), the last few years have seen many excellent sex guides published.
For her research, the author has spoken to ‘many women’ and people who claim to be ‘experts’ (she didn’t come to see us).
29% of Women Have Experienced Breast Orgasms
'Amazingly, not all experts today agree that clitoral stimulation is required for female orgasm. The issue remains contentious because relatively few women understand that genital stimulation is required for a person to experience orgasm.'
Not necessarily. Amazingly, 29% of women claim to have experienced breast orgasm. There may be some internal clenching going on simultaneously, but orgasm can definitely happen without direct clitoral stimulation.
'Women who claim to reach orgasm from intercourse alone are mistaken' and 'Vaginal intercourse for a woman feels like affectionate hugging…'
Again, we have much to say about those two comments. First of all, the figures speak for themselves: around 30% women do climax from intercourse; the clitoris is like an iceberg - most of it is hidden inside the vaginal canal - its impossible to differentiate from where the pleasure originates, just where it feels good.
Now, internally of course the mighty G-spot comes into play. Agreed not everyone is convinced of the G-Spot's existence (several of whom are male doctors). Again, from our experience actually talking to women, we believe it does exists, although we do concede that maybe not all women derive the same sensations from it.
Vaginal intercourse feels like affectionate hugging? Or, a hot and sweaty exercise that gets your blood pumping and brings colour to your cheeks.
Expert Advice on Orgasms
Ms Thomas is pretty scathing of "expert advice":
'Just to give a flavour, here are a few tips from the experts: Don’t worry because orgasm is not that important; Relax a bit more and stop concentrating on orgasm; Try incorporating a fair amount of leg, abdominal, and buttock tension; Rhythmically squeeze your pelvic floor muscles; Breathe deeply or pant to get oxygen to those tensing muscles; Arch your back or try a different position to maximise clitoral stimulation; Stimulate the lubricated clitoris for long enough to guarantee an orgasm; and Escape into fantasy to block out any negative thoughts or distractions!
I am not saying that these approaches do not work. Presumably they work for the people who suggest them. I am just saying that they do not work for me. Anyway isn’t female orgasm during sex supposed to happen ‘spontaneously’ as it does for men? '
Yes - she really did say all of the above.
For some women orgasm does happen spontaneously - it's not entirely unheard of. However, muscular tension, sexual tension, deep breathing, good positioning, hot fantasies and a good dollop of lube all do help.
'Prepare for sex by having a towel and waterproof sheet to protect the bed. This means that you don’t have to worry about marking the sheets and you can also use baby oil or other lubricant freely'
Straight up: don’t use baby oil as lubrication. The market is awash with good, body-friendly lubes that’ll ensure vaginal health, give no thrushy-side effects and won’t melt your condoms. Come see the us and we’ll help you find one that suits your individual needs.
'Most women who learn how to orgasm during sex do so only after many years with the same man'
We firmly believe ‘most women’ learn how to orgasm during me-time. What we are saying is, the way a woman learns to come isn’t necessarily important – just go with the flow, wherever feels good.
"The vaginal opening is one of absolute difference between the sexes. However, unless you want a baby there is no need to be overly distracted by the vagina.The vagina is part of the birth canal and so it has very few nerve endings. A woman is unlikely to feel a man’s penis inside her even if he is built like a horse"
Is Ms Thomas is basing her sweeping statements purely on her own experience? We talk to 10,000's of women every year who can definitely feel swerves or bumps along the shafts of their vibrators; some women like bumpy shafts, some don’t. Ms Thomas, are you telling these women that they are mistaken - that actually they can't feel the difference between a smooth shaft and a ridged one?
'women are not motivated to seek other more explicit forms of genital stimulation during sex because (1) they do not approach sex already aroused, and (2) female arousal does not arise from an appreciation of a lovers’ body'
Whilst it's true some women do suffer from low libido (and they should be given proper advice, help and encouragement, not judgmental twaddle) it's also true that there are also women who get hugely turned on when sex (in their preferred shape and form) is on offer, and that their arousal may indeed come from seeing their lovers undressed. Nakedness is sexy!
Women, Sex & Orgasms
Team Sh! have unanimously decided that we won’t be selling Ways Women Orgasm– but if Jane Thomas would like to come in and discuss 21th century sex in a frank and honest manner, we are here.