In women's orgasm experiences, cleitoral knowledge and gendered sexual scripts appear to play a significant role

In women's orgasm experiences, cleitoral knowledge and gendered sexual scripts appear to play a sign ...

New findings from the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy reveal the relationship between knowledge about the clitoris and female sexual pleasure. The findings demonstrate the importance of clitoral knowledge, although they suggest it is still relatively limited among women and men.

"The clitoris is fundamental to women's pleasure and orgasm experiences," according to study authors Marie-Feline Dienberg of the University of Cologne and Verena Klein of the University of Southampton.

“A few years ago, a research found that clitoral knowledge among both women – who theoretically had access to a clitoris throughout their lives – and men is rather low.”

573 heterosexual people (64% women) who grew up between 18 and 68 years old completed a 9-item quiz about clitoral knowledge. They also indicated how often they had an orgasm during sex, and how often they had an orgasm during masterbation.

On the quiz, participants answered about 4.5 out of the nine correctly, indicating that clitoral knowledge has not increased since 2005. Women were somewhat more likely to answer correctly than men.

„We know way too little about the clitoris. On average, people answered 50% of the clitoris question correctly,” Dienberg and Klein said.

The new study, which focuses on the "orgasm gap," found that women were less likely than men to experience orgasm during partnered sex. However, there was no statistically significant difference between women and men's endorsement of orgasm-related gender norms.

Importantly, the researchers found that women with more clitoral knowledge were less likely to support gender norms, which was in turn associated with higher sexual pleasure and orgasm experience on a larger societal level.

In the context of masturbation, greater clitoral knowledge was associated with increased orgasm frequency, but not during partnered sex, according to Dienberg and Klein. "Our findings suggest that sociocultural barriers such as gendered sexual scripts might hinder women's sexual autonomy."

The study has its drawbacks. First, the research's cross-sectional nature prevents the development of any definitive conclusions about cause-and-effect relationships.

Because the largest orgasm experience exists between heterosexual women and men, the researchers focused on heterosexual individuals. "It would be interesting to examine clitoral knowledge levels and endorsement of gendered sexual scripts among more diverse study populations to provide further insight into the interaction between clitoral and sexual pleasure," said the authors.

Marie-Feline Dienberg, Tanja Oschatz, Eden Kosman, and Verena Klein coauthored the paper, "Does Clitoral Knowledge Translate into Orgasm?"

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