Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 155–164 | Cite as

Female orgasmic experience: A subjective study

  • Mary Jo Sholty
  • Paul H. Ephross
  • S. Michael Plaut
  • Susan H. Fischman
  • Jane F. Charnas
  • Carol A. Cody


Human female orgasm was studied by collecting and analyzing the subjective orgasmic histories of 30 women, ages 18 to 59 years. Virtually all of the 93% who reported they had experienced orgasm also reported some level of conscious control over whether or not they reached orgasm. Women differed widely as to preferred types of physical stimulation and/or mental activities to facilitate orgasm. Orgasms were experienced as centered in the clitoral and/or vaginal areas. Women over 40 were more likely to have experienced orgasm in more than one anatomic site than were women aged 18 to 29. Marital status, religion, occupation, educational level, experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, various reported characteristics of relationships with partners, and early sexual experience were not associated with where orgasm is experienced within the body or with other variables of adult orgasmic experience. The variation among women as to how orgasm is best reached, differences in where it is experienced within the body, and the reasons why an individual woman experiences orgasms differently over time remain poorly understood phenomena.

Key words

female orgasm sexual history sexual experience female sexuality 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Jo Sholty
    • 1
  • Paul H. Ephross
    • 2
  • S. Michael Plaut
    • 3
  • Susan H. Fischman
    • 4
  • Jane F. Charnas
    • 5
  • Carol A. Cody
    • 1
  1. 1.Women in NeedThe Children's Aid Society of Franklin CountyChambersburgUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Work and Community PlanningUniversity of Maryland at BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of Maryland at BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Department of Maternal, Child Nursing, School of Nursing, and Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of Maryland at BaltimoreBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.ColumbiaUSA

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