To look at a woman walking gracefully in five-inch stilettos is to know that our gender is capable of some pretty remarkable things, and we’ve just been informed that for some of us, that includes having an orgasm just from thinking erotic thoughts. An article in this weekend’s New York Times delves into what sex researchers refer to as “spontaneous orgasm,” a phenomenon that studies have found is significantly more common among women than men.
Today, most of the research on the topic is concentrated at Rutgers University, where scientists would ask female volunteers to place their heads inside large machines and think sexual thoughts. Despite being in a decidedly un-sexy laboratory, scans showed the pleasure centers of the womens’ brains lit up exactly as they would if they were experiencing a typical orgasm.
Investigations into “psychic coitus” started over a century ago, except then it was considered a disorder that could decrease a woman’s energy and “cause melancholia and mental weakness”. Later, the stigma was removed, and in 1948, Alfred C. Kinsey of Indiana University conducted a groundbreaking study on the subject which revealed the percentage of females who can climax by fantasy alone is higher than males.
Whereas before the common belief was men have an easier time achieving orgasm, the findings turned the stereotype on its head. In “Sexual Secrets,” a book published in 1996, there was even a how-to guide for “thinking off.”
For Dr. Gina Ogden, a researcher on the matter since the late 1970s, the most amazing aspect of these findings is it broadans the accepted definition of female sexuality.
Hmm. Maybe this means Meg Ryan wasn’t faking it after all in that infamous orgasm scene in “When Harry Met Sally.”
Head over to the Times now to read the entire story (and you should—it’s extremely interesting!)