September 29, 2009

Orgasm linked to genitalia attitudes

Women who feel comfortable and positive about female genitals find it easier to orgasm, U.S. researchers suggest.

These are important findings about body image, Debby Herbenick, associate director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Indiana University, says in a statement. Our culture often portrays women's genitals as dirty and in need of cleaning and grooming. Some women may have had greater exposure to such negative messages or may be more susceptible to their impact.

Herbenick's study created a scale for measuring men's and women's attitudes toward women's genitals. The survey component of the study involved 362 women and 241 men, most of whom were white/Caucasian and between the ages of 18-23.

The study, published in the International Journal of Sexual Health, also finds that men had more positive attitudes than women about women's genitals.

When women feel more positively about female genitals, they likely feel more relaxed in their own skin, more able to let go and thus more likely to experience pleasure and orgasm, says Herbenick, who is also a sexual health educator for The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.