Ohhhh, come all ye faithful

Studies have pooh-poohed the vaginal orgasm as a myth, but Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett and her vagina know otherwise.

vaginal-orgasm1Never mind JFK – what were you doing when you had your first ever vaginal orgasm? It’s worth making a note of it; as many women will no doubt know, vaginal orgasms have a tendency to pop up and then disappear at will, much like the moles in your lawn.

I vividly remember mine, mainly because it was such a surprise. In fact, the “ohmygodddd” I uttered was probably more down to shock than pleasure. “I did NOT know I could do that,” I thought, wearing a face of beatific wonder and basking in the heavenly ray of light that miraculously emanated through the ceiling of my grotty bedsit. After years of no-show, the Marie Celeste had washed up on the shores of my own fair cuntry, and lo, the mystery had been solved: vaginal orgasms existed. And despite the fact that after that day, it took so long for me to have the next one that I started thinking that it might just have been a fluke, ultimately I knew my truth. Much like that ghost you saw at that sleepover when you were 15 after doing the Ouija board, I knew that this shit was real.

Now, 10 years on, I’m wondering if I may have dreamt the entire thing. According to several newspapers and a paper published in Clinical Anatomy, I must be some kind of crazy orgasm fantasist, because the vaginal orgasm does not exist. The study, which was conducted by Italians (go figure, I lived in Italy for a year and let’s just say that the furry lawn mole stayed safely buried beneath the earth the entire time), puts it right out there: “The majority of women do not orgasm during penetrative sex, but the ‘vaginal’ orgasm reported by some women is in fact caused by the surrounding erectile organs – or stimulation of the clitoris.” Hear that, you dumb bitches? That’s you and your vaginas told.

“Women cannot orgasm without stimulation of the clitoris,” the study continues (in later remarks guaranteed to get any hardcore feminist’s back up, they refer to the aforementioned clitoris as a “female penis”). Could it be true? Are they really telling me that I don’t know the location of my own clit? That whole area has witnessed expeditions of such laborious and tiresome duration that it often occurred to me that a corresponding treasure map might be helpful (“here be dragons”), but not for my own personal use. J-17 had that covered years ago (thanks, J-17).

That’s why this study reads like the ultimate in mansplaining: “No darling, that was your CLITORIS, you silly” *pat on head*. It doesn’t match up at all with my experience, either. I’ve had orgasms produced by the power of my mind alone – I’m not boasting – it can be very inconvenient. And what about those contactless dreamgasms I sometimes have? I’ve discussed these with friends, and I know I’m not the only one. Nor am I masturbating in my sleep. Did they actually talk to any women at all in the course of this study? Who comes up with this stuff? Is there some kind of sparse room in a darkened Orwellian office block in South London, where male scientists are secretly assigned their research projects by a grey faced bureaucrat sitting behind a desk upon which rests a single, unplugged Bakelite telephone (also grey). He shuffles his papers. “You, Keele University Man. YOU shall investigate how women’s waist-to-hip ratios correlate with sexual promiscuity.” “You, Leicester University man. YOU shall investigate whether having an absent father gives a woman a slack vagina.” “YOU, Sussex University Man. YOU shall look into whether single mothers wear too much make up, rendering them fundamentally unlovable.” “And you…we saved the best for you, Italian University Man. YOU shall disprove the existence of the vaginal orgasm.”

Why don’t they just ask us?

Thank God for hard-assed bullshit detector that is the New Scientist, is all I can say. They are not convinced by this latest “research”, not one jot. “To argue that the clitoris is nothing more than a ‘female penis’ seems, frankly, lazy”, wrote Kayt Sukel (BURN). She goes on: “They don’t seem to take account of studies outside the anatomical field that examine the function of the vagus nerve, the role of the brain in orgasm, or how direct cervical stimulation can lead to orgasm in paralysed women.” QED.

As for my conclusion: all I can say is that you have to own your orgasm, because despite what they may think, no-one else does. Especially not the jokers who conducted this study.

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Written by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett is a Guardian columnist and the co-editor and founder of The Vagenda blog, which has now been turned into a book courtesy of Random House. She lives in North London.