Gender differences in human orgasm

An interesting excerpt from a recent scientific paper entitled “Toward an understanding of the cerebral substrates of woman’s orgasm”, published in the August edition of Neuropsychologia:

Since the pioneering research of Kinsey and then of Masters and Johnson, there has been considerable discussion about the differences between female and male orgasm. While orgasms are physiologically the same in males and females, it has often been assumed that there are two distinct and easily distinguishable kinds of subjective experiences (Vance & Wagner, 1976).

This assumption is mostly based on the basic physical disparities between male and female orgasm concerning the orgasm duration. For example, it is agreed that a man’s orgasm is often more sudden and explosive in nature while a woman’s orgasm is more prolonged and less violent (Meston et al., 2004; Vance & Wagner, 1976).

However, a study investigating the basic differences between a man’s and a woman’s orgasm experience by submitting 48 written descriptions of orgasm (24 men and 24 women) to 70 judges, demonstrated that subjective experience of orgasm do not differ by gender (Vance & Wagner, 1976).

In this study, the judges (obstetrician-gynecologists, psychologists, and medical students) had to sex-identify the descriptions and to discover whether sex differences could be detected. The judges could not correctly identify the sex of the person describing an orgasm. Furthermore, male judges did no better than female judges and vice versa.

This suggests that men and women share common mental [cognitive] experiences during orgasm. Whether this is the case at the neurological level is a matter for current neuroimaging data.

An interesting paper which I shall try and write about more when I get the chance.

Link to abstract of scientific paper.

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