This movement tends to be split into three waves, the first beginning in the 19 th and early 20 th century where suffrage was a key feature. The second wave of the s included the sexual revolution and the role of women in society. Third wave feminism is often seen as beginning in the s. But despite a great deal of progress, women and girls continue to face discrimination and violence in every part of the world. Source: United Nations.
Unlike some animals, human females can have sex any time of the month, and they do not have to orgasm to ovulate or get pregnant. Male-dominated scientific norms mean that much about the female orgasm remains misunderstood, and many harmful myths persist. A female orgasm can be highly pleasurable and occur during masturbation or sexual activity with one or more partners.
Scientists are unsure whether it has additional benefits. In this article, we look at why female orgasms occur and what happens during an orgasm.
We also debunk some common misconceptions. The benefits of the male orgasm are clear. Men must ejaculate to deposit sperm in the vagina, possibly leading to pregnancy. The male orgasm, therefore, serves a clear evolutionary purpose. The purpose of the female orgasm is less clear.
Researchers have suggested numerous potential benefits, but few have been rigorously tested, and no theory has conclusive scientific support. Not everything the body does has a clear purpose, however. Scientists have not discovered the evolutionary benefits of some traits that have persisted in humans. A study argues that the female orgasm may have no obvious evolutionary benefit and that it may be a relic of a time when the hormones associated with orgasm were necessary for a woman to ovulate.
Since there was no evolutionary need to eliminate the female orgasm, it persisted even when it was no longer necessary for fertility. Orgasm may serve important purposes, however. The pleasure it can cause can encourage females to have sex. This may also promote bonding with a sexual partner, which does have ificant evolutionary benefits.
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As orgasm approaches, the muscles may twitch or spasm. Many women experience rhythmic muscle spasms in the vagina during an orgasm. Several researchers have proposed that sexual response follows specific stages, though their theories about these stages differ. Still, most theories include the following stages:.
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Many females are able to have another orgasm after resolution, whereas males usually require a period of rest before having another orgasm. While the internet is filled with articles promising that orgasms improve skin, hair, and overall health, there is little scientific evidence that orgasms offer any specific health benefits. Scientists have not identified any evolutionary benefits of female orgasms or found that orgasms improve health. But orgasms are pleasurable, and pleasure can be its own benefit.
Women do not need to orgasm to get pregnant. However, a limited body of evidence suggests that orgasms may boost fertility.
One very small studyfor example, measured whether there was better sperm retention after female orgasm. While the confirmed this, proving that the female body retains sperm better after an orgasm will require larger studies with des of higher quality. While trauma, relationship issues, and poor mental health can make it more difficult to orgasm, many people with healthy sexual attitudes and good relationships still have difficulties. An orgasm is both a physical and psychological response, and numerous health problems can make it more difficult to enjoy sex in this way.
Some people struggle to orgasm due to inadequate lubrication. This may happen while taking hormonal birth control, or during or after pregnancy, or due to menopause.
Also, women can experience vulvodyniawhich refers to unexplained pain in the vagina or around the vulva. Treating this and other medical conditions may improve sexual pleasure. Self-appointed experts, mostly men, have long told women that they must orgasm from heterosexual intercourse. However, many women can only orgasm from clitoral stimulation. Sigmund Freud argued that the vaginal orgasm was the superior and more mature orgasm. No evidence supports this claim. While vaginal orgasms are less common than those from clitoral stimulation, some women have them — with or without other stimulation.
The female orgasm can result from many types of stimulationincluding vaginal, clitoral, and nipple contact.
Orgasm is a complex psychological and biological experience — reaching and experiencing orgasm is not the same for every woman. Some women may need to feel love to orgasm, while others may not. There is no way to tell if a woman has had an orgasm without asking her. Some people make noises during an orgasm, while others are silent.
Some flush or sweat after an orgasm, but others do not. A person who wants to know if their partner has had an orgasm can ask without being confrontational. If the answer is no, avoid judgment, anger, or feelings of inadequacy — these can put pressure on the person to orgasm, which can lead to anxiety and make it more difficult.
Instead, discuss whether they would prefer a different approach to sex. Being unable to orgasm is a common issue, and it can occur for a variety of reasons. Some people may not receive the right kind of stimulation during sex, while others may have experienced trauma linked to sex. Others may simply be uninterested.
A analysis of prior studies identified several factors that increase the risk of sexual dysfunction, including:. The same study identified several modifiable risk factors that improve sexual experience, including:. Masturbation can help a person find what feels good to them. Some other strategies that might help include:.
The aforementioned study that compared orgasm frequency among people of various sexual orientations in the United States found that the following behaviors during sex increase the likelihood of women having an orgasm:. If self-help strategies do not work, a doctor who specializes in sexual dysfunction may be able to identify a problem, if there is one.
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When trauma or relationship problems make having an orgasm difficult, or when a person feels ashamed of sex or their desires, individual or couples counseling can help. Serious scientific research into the female orgasm is relatively recent.
Even some doctors may still believe myths about the female orgasm or think that it is unimportant to the female sexual experience. A competent, compassionate medical professional can help a person understand the process of orgasm and identify potential barriers to sexual satisfaction.
There is no right way to orgasm and no correct way to feel about sex. People should pursue what feels good to them.
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Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph. Why do females orgasm?
Female orgasms: what you need to know
What happens? Health benefits Misconceptions What if you can't orgasm? Summary Unlike some animals, human females can have sex any time of the month, and they do not have to orgasm to ovulate or get pregnant. Share on Pinterest An orgasm can cause intense pleasure, which may have its own benefits.
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What can you do about mucus in the urine? Medically reviewed by Emelia Arquilla, DO.