IS THE BIG O ALL IN YOUR MIND? Startling New Research Reveals That Everything You Thought You Knew about Female Sexuality Is Wrong

Article excerpt

Byline: by Kayt Sukel

THE female orgasm has always been a bit of a mystery. For a start, no one seems to know exactly why women have them -- or don't as the case may be.

Like male nipples, they are viewed by many as something of an evolutionary accident: existing simply because nature hasn't come up with a good enough reason to get rid of them yet.

But ever since the sexual revolution of the Sixties, when women put down their knitting, turned on the bedside lamp and began openly discussing the concept of female sexual pleasure, there's one thing on which everyone has been crystal clear. The best sex a woman can have is with a loving partner in a monogamous, committed relationship, isn't it?

As supposedly sentient, emotional beings, women have long been believed to differ from male 'players' and are, consequently, far more likely to achieve orgasm with someone they know and trust. This is why, it was assumed, women have fewer one-night stands than men.

For a woman, love is the biggest, if not the only, turn-on in her erogenous arsenal. Errr...wrong. As a science writer and sex expert, I can state with absolute conviction there is no basis for this assumption whatsoever.

My research has left me convinced that women do not have to be in committed relationships -- or any relationships -- to enjoy sexual satisfaction.

In fact, research has shown that even a trip to the gym or an active imagination can 'hit the spot' for some women, with no physical stimulation required at all.

And, if women are looking for sexual satisfaction in a relationship, they're much more likely to reach orgasm with a new partner than they are in a marriage of several years' standing.

The female orgasm is as diverse as it is fascinating, and we're still a long way from understanding it.

There was quite a furore when a recent study revealed how women regularly achieve orgasm while exercising.

Researchers at Indiana University studied the sexual habits of hundreds of women aged from 18 to 63 and found that more than half have experienced orgasms on at least ten occasions while at the gym, or doing a yoga or spinning class.

In fact, many of the women surveyed admitted that sex and romance were the last things on their mind as they hit their big 'o' -- and they found the experience unwanted and deeply embarrassing.

The exercises which hit the spot centred around the core abdominal muscles -- giving the phenomenon the name 'coregasm'.

Research leader Debby Herbenick explained: 'This shows that orgasm is not necessarily a sexual event and may teach us about the bodily processes leading up to women's orgasms.'

WHILE it flies in the face of convention, I wasn't the slightest bit surprised.

I also believe that women are able to experience a feeling of sexual arousal every bit as easily and intensely as men can.

In short, the female orgasm is much more complicated and less predictable than it was believed.

I am passionate about sorting the fact from the fiction about women's sexuality. My book Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex And Relationships, examines the latest neurobiology in an effort to explain why we behave the way we do when it comes to sex and love.

For too long, our views on the female orgasm have been mired in misconceptions based on oldfashioned ideas of how women should behave. Science just doesn't bear most of it out.

The truth is, very little research has ever been done into women's sexuality. And what research was done, for example by Masters and Johnson in the Fifties -- the American 'pioneers' who recorded some of the first laboratory data on the anatomy and physiology of human sexual response -- was very heavily influenced by the culture of the time, which assumed that women didn't really enjoy sex.

They were right in a way. …