This Orgasm Myth Is Out Of Control

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
We knew that Sigmund Freud had some pretty outdated ideas about sex (and female sexuality, in particular), but this theory takes the cake. Apparently, Freudian theory suggested that clitoral orgasms were not only inferior to vaginal orgasms, but also that clitoral orgasms were linked to mental health issues. Unfortunately, many researchers took that theory and ran with it. But thankfully, a new study has refuted that claim. The study, published last month in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, examined whether or not there's a link between the "type" of orgasm (clitoral or vaginal) women have and mental health. As author Nicole Prause told Research Gate, researchers brought 88 female participants into a lab to take a series of computer tests that measured mental well-being, with a focus on depression and anxiety. The tests included a series of both sexual and non-sexual films. The participants also disclosed whether they had recently experienced clitoral or vaginal orgasms. While the study found that women who had recently experienced clitoral orgasms were more responsive to erotic films, there was no evidence that there's a scientific difference between clitoral and vaginal orgasms, nor was there evidence for a link to mental health. In other words, clitoral orgasms were not found to be scientifically inferior and types of orgasms also had no scientific link to mental health. (Of course, your orgasm preference is your own.) Sure, Freud's theories have been disproven before, but it's nice to have official confirmation that clitoral orgasms are not linked to mental health problems. After all, orgasms are a great thing. We're not here for anyone shaming women for having them — regardless of the type.

The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more, here.

More from Sex & Relationships

R29 Original Series