I’ve been ruminating (ok, fulminating) all weekend on a lecture by Professor Stuart Brody (Professor of Psychology at the University of the West of Scotland) which I heard at the Royal Society of Medicine on Friday evening. It was the fourth and final instalment of a seminar on “Sexual Pleasure” organised by the Sexuality and Sexual Health Section.
Prof Brody is well-known in sexology circles for his controversial research findings. (“They’re not politically correct”, he says proudly, “But then, science isn’t politically correct! And evolution isn’t politically correct!”) His big thing is that penile-vaginal intercourse – without a condom, mind you – is way superior to all “other sexual behaviours” (safe sex, sex between two men, sex between two women, solo sex, oral sex, anal sex, foreplay, stimulating the clitoris during intercourse – you get the picture). Some of these are even detrimental to one’s physical and mental health, apparently, and are indicative of immaturity. (Hello, Mr Freud, is that you I hear?)
The reason for this is obvious, in his mind – it’s evolution, innit? The selfish gene. Ensuring humankind reproduces!
Anyhow, the thrust of Prof Brody’s lecture on Friday (for thrusting he certainly was) was that us sex educators are irresponsible to be going round telling women about the importance of the clitoris in sexual satisfaction, and may even be causing them harm, by detracting from the importance of the VAGINAL orgasm (ie from penile thrusting only, with no clitoral stimulation). These are the only orgasms worth having, apparently.
Now, I would have liked to take Prof Brody to task on so many of his sexist, heterosexist points, but he’s a clever scientist who has done all kinds of research (although not without many expert critics in my field – see here http://www.drpetra.co.uk/blog/the-clitorocentric-conspiracy-new-study-argues-were-discriminating-against-the-vagina/ for starters), whereas I’m just a Sex Therapist, and a woman who’s had sex. But you know when you only think of the right thing to say, several hours after a put-down?
If vaginal orgasms really are the evolutionary way to go, then why do so many women only have them rarely, and others not at all?