In his ‘Three Essays on the theory of Sexuality’ Sigmund Freud argued that there were two types of female orgasms – vaginal and clitoral – the latter of which was seen as ‘infantile and immature’.
A series of studies on the subject of the female orgasm, by Stuart Brody and Rui Miguel Costa, reignited the outdated concept, and added to the theory by arguing that ‘clitoral’ orgasms were linked to ‘immature psychological defence mechanisms' and poorer relationship quality.
The implications were quite severe: the research argued that women who orgasm by clitoral stimulation were mentally unfit.
However, new research published by neuroscientist and founder of Liberos, Nicole Prause, provides compelling evidence that vaginal and clitoral orgasms are the same, refuting previous studies on the subject.
Prause and her team asked 88 women between the age of 18 and 53 to answer detailed questions about their usual and most recent orgasm experiences, as well as depression and anxiety.
The participants were then asked to view ‘neutral’ and ‘sexual’ films, and were asked to increase or decrease their sexual arousal or to respond ‘as usual’.
Results showed that most women (64 per cent) reported both clitoral and vaginal stimulation are part of their usual methods for attaining orgasm.
Interestingly, those that did report clitoral stimulation was mainly responsible also demonstrated greater control over their sexual arousal.
The clitoris and vagina can be distinguished in the somatosensory cortex, or the motor homunculus on the outside top part of the brain. Some people misinterpreted this as evidence that these areas can independently generate orgasm. There is not actually any evidence that can occur. Further, vaginal intercourse always displaces the clitoral (its legs extend down towards the vaginal opening), so it is impossible to make this distinction when penetrative intercourse is involved for vaginal orgasms.