New research from Belgium¹ has shown us something remarkable: Trained observers can tell with remarkable accuracy whether or not a woman has had a vaginal orgasm — just from watching her walk. The especially interesting part of this conclusion is that it was not a random finding from another study. It was specifically predicted and confirmed using existing hypotheses about sexual function.
Here’s the bit that’s clear and uncontested. Women who walk with “fluidity, energy, sensuality, freedom, and absence of both flaccid and locked muscles” are extremely likely to have experienced vaginal orgasm. That is, they experience orgasms internally from nothing more than stimulation of the vagina. Women who walk with stiffness, lack of energy and sensuality, restrictively, and with either flaccid or locked muscles are highly unlikely to have experienced vaginal orgasm. There was no correlation between a woman’s walk and clitoral orgasm — or never having an orgasm.
Here’s where it gets a bit controversial. There are a lot of things that are still unknown about the female orgasm. Ironically, we don’t even know for sure if every woman has a G-spot, or if the G-spot is necessary for internal orgasms. Bearing this (embarrassing and curiously sexist) fact in mind, one of the myriad hypotheses holds that internal orgasm is a function of mind more than body. Women who are comfortable with their bodies, their sexuality, and their partners are able to experience sex more freely and enjoyably, and are thus more likely to experience internal orgasm.
The foundation of this hypothesis isn’t just guesswork. Peer reviewed clinical research has determined the following facts with relative certainty:
- There is a real physiological difference (detectable via fMRI) between orgasms induced by clitoral and cervical stimulation. (It’s about whether or not the pudendal nerve or the vagus nerve is the main player.)
- Vaginal orgasms are associated with greater prolactin release after orgasm, which in turn is associated with better sexual satisfaction and general mental health.
Psychologists have been using observations of physical traits and behaviors as diagnostic aids for years. People’s bodies betray a wide array of psychological conditions, including depression, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Based on numerous established connections between mind and body, the researchers hypothesized a connection between orgasm and gait.
They found it. Now the contentious issue is figuring out what it means. The most obvious question is which is the chicken and which is the egg. Some research suggests that vaginal anorgasmia (inability to have vaginal orgasms) is caused by psychological issues — guilt, shyness, body shame, etc. Conflicting results indicate the opposite — physiological factors keep women from having vaginal orgasms, which in turn causes psychological dysfunctions.
Either answer is going to upset somebody, and unfortunately, it’s quite possible that it’s not as simple as one cause and one effect. In any case, it’s been demonstrated that certain forms of physical therapy (coital alignment technique, e.g.) have been successful in treating both male and female sexual dysfunction. (Premature ejaculation in men and anorgasmia in women.)
There’s an even bigger problem, though. Since we don’t even know if all women can have vaginal orgasms, we don’t know for sure that this is something that could or should be regarded as a dysfunction. Perhaps women are really divided into the cans and cannots, and each group walks differently because of physiological differences. On the other hand, maybe most women can but don’t have vaginal orgasms. If this is the case, then the walking differences may represent a profound and disturbing criticism of our culture.
In either case, this finding is a clear call for much more — and much more objective — scientific study of female sexuality.
¹Nicholas A, Brody S, de Sutter P, de Carufel F. A woman’s history of vaginal orgasm is discernible from her walk. Journal of Sexual Medicine [serial online]. September 2008;5(9):2119-2124.
- G-Spot: Fact or Fiction? (everydayhealth.com)
- What is the difference between vaginal and clitoral orgasm (wiki.answers.com)
- All Orgasms Are the Same … But Different (psychologytoday.com)