The Long Sexual Revolution: English Women, Sex, and Contraception, 1800-1975

By Hera Cook | Go to book overview
Save to active project

11
'The Vagina too, Responds':
Vaginal Orgasms, Clitoral Masturbation,
Feminism, and Sex Research 1920–1975

THE ACTIVE VAGINA

Debates on female sexuality throughout the twentieth century assumed the existence of a transhistorical, unchanging body which provided a secure basis for knowledge. Questions about how the female orgasm occurs and what it consists of directly related to the issue of whether the female vagina is an active organ, or an inert canal which forms a passive receptacle for the penis during heterosexual intercourse. Marie Stopes described the female genitals and the act of coitus in detail in Contraception (1923). She understood sexual intercourse as an activity in which both partners were active, arguing that 'the coital act is an extremely complex social function in which the woman (as well as the man) is an active partner' (italics in original). According to her the female orgasm entailed a corresponding action of the vagina to that of the penis:

[I]n the fully excited uterus the cervix may spontaneously open and interlock with the glans penis which thus discharges directly into the uterus I have formerly hinted at this active co-operation of the cervix, but received critical comment or denial of the possibility of the action. Such criticism is, however, due to the rarity of the persons in whom this happens and the impossibility of demonstrating it, as it can only take place at the height of sexual excitement. There is no doubt whatever, that some fully sexed and roused women do experience the interlocking of the glans penis with the cervical

-245-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Long Sexual Revolution: English Women, Sex, and Contraception, 1800-1975
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 412

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?