Are you self-conscious about the way you walk? No? Well, get ready! According to a study published in the September 2008 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine (not, unfortunately, The Journal of Sexual Healing, which publishes only papers by soul-ologist Marvin Gaye), people with sexological training were able to deduce a woman's "history of vaginal orgasm" from her walk about 80 percent of the time. If you're already shaking your head in confusion and annoyance, don't stop — the study offers way more of both!First of all, let's take the term "history of vaginal orgasm." We've asked for access to the study itself, but so far we only have the press release to go on. According to this rather bizarre document, "history of vaginal orgasm" appears to mean a woman's ability to have orgasms from penile-vaginal sex. But does that mean penis contact alone, or was additional clitoral stimulation also allowed? Since only about 7 percent of women can always come from P-in-the-V alone, the question is an important one. Then there's study author Stuart Brody's analysis: "Blocked pelvic muscles, which might be associated with psychosexual impairments, could both impair vaginal orgasmic response and gait." Brody also hypothesizes that women who experience penile-vaginal orgasm are more confident. Could be true, but it shouldn't be. Having an orgasm isn't like sinking a free throw or delivering a PowerPoint presentation — it's not a skill women should judge themselves on. Thinking of yourself as good or bad at orgasms (a mindset only encouraged by the use of words like "impairment") probably leads to worse sex, not better. The fun continues! The authors say that "confidence might also be related to the relationship(s) that a woman has had, given the finding that specifically penile-vaginal orgasm is associated with indices of better relationship quality." That study is online (subscription-only), and it was conducted on 30 Portuguese women who "were all undergraduate psychology students, workers in a facility for the mentally retarded, or performing artists" (a follow-up study will no doubt consider the relationship quality of cowgirls, aquarium workers, and rodeo clowns). These women rated their relationships more highly if they experienced penile-vaginal orgasms, but not orgasms from anal, oral, or masturbation. Again no data on whether in those P-V orgasms included vibrator or finger assistance. Do sexologists not get that this is important? Apparently not, nor do they shy away from statements like "It is possible that women who are focused on clitoral masturbatory stimulation are less attuned to the more interactive and neurophysiologically more complex behavior of penile-vaginal intercourse" (nah, they're probably just blind) or "Characterological factors might lead some women to choose sexual behaviors other than penile-vaginal intercourse for the very reason that those other behaviors are less intimate" (because the intimacy of an act is totally a measurable quantity that's the same for everyone). I don't mean to knock sex research here — it can be interesting and even useful. And I'm prepared to believe that penile-vaginal sex has unique benefits for some heterosexual couples. But let's take these studies for what they are — measurements of other people, and often incomplete measurements at that. They can't measure what makes us feel good, and they shouldn't dictate how we feel about ourselves. Gait May Be Associated With Orgasmic Ability [EurekAlert]
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