In the same year that the German Albert Einstein (1879-1955) published his groundbreaking Special Theory of Relativity (or Special Theory of Relativity), the Austrian Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) launched his theory of the female orgasm.
That of the father of modern physics revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos; that of the father of psychoanalysis unleashed a storm.
In his work “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality”—published in 1905 and revised several times until its final edition in 1925—he decreed that the female pleasure and orgasm of a healthy, mature woman were centered in the vagina.
Freud knew many women came through a small but ultra-sensitive organ known as the clitoris.
In the 19th century, several male experts had debated the role the clitoris should play in female sexuality, among other reasons because many were concerned that its manipulation could lead women to excesses, such as compulsive masturbation or nymphomania, or the rejection of sexual intercourse. .
For Freud, these clitoral orgasms were immature, infantile, and evidence of a mental disorder.
The Austrian explained that, unlike men who from childhood had the same guiding erogenous zone — the glans, women began life with the clitoris as their guiding erogenous zone, but “in the process by which a girl becomes a woman”, it ends up being transferred to the vagina.
“It often takes some time for the transfer to take place. During that time, the young woman is anesthetized (frigid, numb),” he said.
And he added: “In this change of the guiding erotic zone, . . . reside the main conditions of women’s propensity to neuroses, in particular to hysteria.”
If a woman didn’t move her center of sensitivity to the vagina, she was labeled frigid.
This diagnosis of frigidity, defined as the absence of orgasm during intercourse, became the standard for defining normal female heterosexuality.
Marie Bonaparte, Napoleon’s great-granddaughter and Freudian disciple who helped introduce psychoanalysis to France, was so fascinated by her professor’s theory that she underwent three surgeries to bring her clitoris closer to her vagina in hopes of remedying her inability to have a vaginal orgasm.” suitable”, although Freud begged him not to carry out the procedures.
The Freudian point of view dominated medical and psychoanalytic thinking for decades.
As a result, countless women who had difficulty reaching orgasm when being penetrated during sex (despite not having it when masturbating) were led to believe that their orgasms were not “real”.
Detail of the first edition of “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality”.
In the 1950s, the results of American sexologist Alfred Kinsey’s (1894-1956) research on female orgasm challenged Freudian orthodoxy.
As a result of interviews with more than 18,600 men and women in which they revealed their most intimate sexual secrets, Kinsey found that the vast majority of women who masturbated used clitoral stimulation.
Less than 20% included some form of vaginal penetration and only because they felt they had to.
Kinsey concluded that the insistence on a vaginal orgasm was a reflection of men’s presumption “about the importance of male genitalia.”
However, the publication of her book “Sexual Behavior in Women” in 1953 was met with such rejection that the content of the work was quickly suppressed.
Therefore, neither that nor the direct confrontation of the Americans William Masters and Virginia Johnson (a couple of gynecologists who helped to detonate the sexual revolution of the 60s) with Freud’s views on frigidity in 1957 changed the situation of women much.
It would be they themselves who would be in charge of challenging them.
Freudism was one of the main targets of women’s movement writers; he was attacked as sexist by French Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) in “The Second Sex” (1949), by American Betty Friedan (1921-2006) in “The Feminine Mystique” (1963) and by American Kate Millett (1963). 1934-2017) in “The Sexual Politics” (1970).
Feminists such as French feminists Monique Wittig (1935-2003) and Luce Irigaray denounced Freud’s obsession with female pleasure through the vagina as a ploy to subjugate women.
And American Anne Koedt, in her article “The Myth of Vaginal Orgasm” (1968), argued that clitoral orgasms were, in fact, the only way women could achieve true orgasm.
He postulated that the high rate of “female frigidity” was actually a high rate of men’s ignorance of the anatomy of the female orgasm and a desire to reduce women to prescribed social and sexual roles.
Many other exponents of this wave of feminism explored the relationship between sexuality and domination.
If for Freud sex was the key to understanding man, for that legion of women it was the key to freeing them.
Vaginal orgasm came back into fashion with the “discovery” of the G-spot, a sort of erotic “pleasure button” first described in 1953 by a German doctor named Ernst Gränfenberg (here’s why it’s called the G-spot) and popularized in 1982 with the bestseller “G Point”.
The existence of this erogenous area that supposedly would be in the anterior vaginal wall is accepted among the population, but controversial in the medical literature.
A recent survey entitled “G-Spot: Fact or Fiction?: A Systematic Review” examined 31 studies and noted that some consistently agreed on the existence of the G-spot, but there was no agreement on its location, size, or nature.
“The existence of this structure remains unproven,” he concluded.
As early as 2014, endocrinologist and sexologist Emmanuel Janni of the Tor Vergata University in Rome had released findings aimed at putting an end to discussions about the “creepy G-spot”.
Female pleasure, as her research showed, was not exclusively vaginal or clitoral, but was encompassed in what is known as the clitorurethrovaginal complex, the concept that dynamic intercourse within the vagina, clitoris and urethra can stimulate sexual release.
Science has also discovered that the ability to reach orgasm depends on neurology.
Despite the struggle for women’s liberation and scientific research, studies have found that heterosexual women are the demographic with the fewest orgasms during intercourse, which may be due to a lack of understanding of female anatomy.
Decades after being postulated, remnants of Freud’s discredited theory still remain, which for so long permeated the perception of female sexuality, although he himself apparently accepted that he did not really understand it, describing it as a “dark continent”.
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