First let me say I love Shere Hite. She’s always got great things to say, and is well known enough to get a better podium than most to say it.
And I quote:
[T]he stimulation women give themselves to reach orgasm is – unlike that used by men – radically different from the stimulation most women receive during coitus. So it is not at all surprising that the rate of orgasm during coitus is low.
It has been accepted for at least two centuries that women can masturbate “clitorally” to orgasm. Yet even today the definition of what we call sex is focused on coitus as the time when both people should reach orgasm via the same type of stimulation. Even in supposedly sophisticated pornographic material, clitoral stimulation is used only as a warm-up and is never depicted all the way to orgasm. It is this limited definition of sex that is at fault, not women’s bodies: sex should be composed not only of coitus but also of clitoral stimulation, by hand or mouth.
As always, it is a problem with a solution that is relatively simple in concept and overwhelmingly difficult in practice: education.
And honestly, I think the best way to communicate this to adults is via porn – books, movies, magazines. Think about it. People choose to see it, read it already. Just change how the sex goes down in these places – make sure that every time she’s screaming and tossing her head it’s from direct stimulation rather than from his 9″ slamming in to her from behind [ahem]. Enough of this, and men won’t believe that women can actually come from someone pounding away from behind without stimulation.
Drug companies that set out to “solve the problem of female orgasmic dysfunction” risk making matters worse if they neglect this and focus simply on female readiness to participate in sex. Putting money into supposed treatments that don’t work could mean financing unhappiness and divorce, leaving women’s feelings invisible or unexplained, and placing men on insecure ground. It risks fostering an atmosphere of fear and confusion in which love, including intense sexual intimacy and experimentation, needlessly becomes an area of conflict rather than pleasure.