Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 367–386 | Cite as

The female orgasm: Pelvic contractions

  • Joseph G. Bohlen
  • James P. Held
  • Margaret Olwen Sanderson
  • Andrew Ahlgren

Abstract

Eleven nulliparous women manually self-stimulated to orgasm, each on three separate occasions. Pelvic contraction pressure was measured by an anal probe and a vaginal probe simultaneously. Near the perceived start of orgasm, a series of regular contractions began in nine of the women. Anal and vaginal contraction waveforms were synchronized with each other, and the same number of orgasmic contractions occurred in each lumen. Anal pressure had a higher resting baseline and greater amplitude contractions than vaginal pressure. The perceived start of orgasm did not correspond precisely with the onset of regular contractions. Mean intercontraction intervals increased linearly at an increment of about 0.1 second through the series of regular contractions. Amplitudes of contraction pressure waveforms, representing pelvic muscular force, were initially low, increased through the first half of the regular series, and then decreased. Area and net area of the pressure waveforms, reflecting pelvic muscular exertion (force × time), increased during the regular orgasmic contractions. Three of the women's orgasms consistently included only a series of regular contractions (orgasm type I). For six other women, orgasms consistently continued beyond the regular series with additional irregular contractions (orgasm type II). Types I and II had been identified previously in men. Two women had no regular contractions during reported orgasms. This pattern, type IV, had not been recorded in men. Women of different types showed marked differences in orgasm duration and number of contractions. Identification of these types in subjects is important for meaningful comparison of contraction parameters in different studies.

Key words

female sexual response pelvic contractions orgasm masturbation vaginal probe anal probe 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bentler, P. M., and Peeler, W. H. (1979). Models of female orgasm.Arch. Sex. Behav. 8: 405–423.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bohlen, J. G. (1980). A review of subject orientation in articles on sexual physiology research.J. Sex Res. 16: 43–58.Google Scholar
  3. Bohlen, J. G., and Held, J. P. (1979). An anal probe for monitoring vascular and muscular events during sexual response.Psychophysiology 16: 318–323.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bohlen, J. G., Held, J. P., and Sanderson, M. O. (1980). The male orgasm: Pelvic contractions measured by anal probe.Arch. Sex. Behav. 9: 503–521.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bohlen, J. G., Held, J. P., and Sanderson, M. O. (1982). Response of the circumvaginal musculature during masturbation. In Graber, B. (ed.),Circumvaginal Musculature in Sexual Function S. Karger, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Bunzl, M., and Mullen, S. (1974). A self-report investigation of two types of myotonic response during sexual orgasm.J. Sex Res. 10: 10–20.Google Scholar
  7. Butler, C. A. (1976). New data about female sexual response.J. Sex. Marriage Ther. 2: 40–46.Google Scholar
  8. Campbell, B. (1976). Neurophysiology of the clitoris. In Lowry, T. P., and Lowry, T. S. (eds.),The Clitoris Warren H. Green, St. Louis.Google Scholar
  9. Dickinson, R. L. (1949).Human Sex Anatomy. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  10. Fisher, S. (1973).The Female Orgasm. Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Fitts, W. H. (1965).Tennessee Self-Concept Scale—Manual. Counselor Recordings and Tests, Nashville.Google Scholar
  12. Gillan, P., and Brindley, G. S. (1979). Vaginal and pelvic floor responses to sexual stimulation.Psychophysiology 16: 471–481.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Kinsey, A. C., Pomeroy, W. B., Martin, C. E., and Gebhard, P. H. (1953).Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. W. B. Saunders, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  14. Kollberg, S., Petersén, I., and Stener, I. (1962). Preliminary results of an electromyographic study of ejaculation.Acta Chir. Scand. 123: 478–483.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Masters, W. H. (1960). The sexual response cycle of the human female: I. Gross anatomic considerations.West. J. Surg. Obstet. Gynecol. 68: 57–72.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Masters, W. H., and Johnson, V. E. (1966).Human Sexual Response. Little, Brown, Boston.Google Scholar
  17. Petersén, I., and Stener, I. (1970). An electromyographical study of the striated urethral sphincter, the striated anal sphincter, and the levator ani muscle during ejaculation.Electromyography 10: 23–44.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Robertiello, R. C. (1970). The “clitoral versus vaginal orgasm” controversy and some of its ramifications.J. Sex Res. 6: 307–311.Google Scholar
  19. Roubaud, F. (1876).Traité de l'Impuissance et de la Stérilité chez l'Homme et chez la Femme. Bailliere, Paris.Google Scholar
  20. Singer, J., and Singer, I. (1972). Types of female orgasm.J. Sex Res. 8: 255–267.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph G. Bohlen
    • 1
  • James P. Held
    • 1
    • 2
  • Margaret Olwen Sanderson
    • 2
  • Andrew Ahlgren
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family Practice and Community HealthUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Center for Educational Development, Department of Curriculum and InstructionUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Physiology Research Laboratory, Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationMinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations