"Because all real women do": The construction and deconstruction of "female orgasmic disorder"

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In the current dispute about the medicalization of female sexual dysfunction, both sides warrant their case on meeting women's needs and wishes. Yet there has been very little research about women's subjective experiences and the meaning they attach to them. This paper aims to gain a greater understanding of women's experiences of problems with orgasm and the social discourse and social praxes which produce them. The paper draws on a semi-structured interview-based study, consisting of 50 interviews with women age 25 to 67. Its findings challenge the idea that absence of orgasm is a medical condition, and argue that it is an embodiment experience that is socially constructed, both through media portrayals and through male expectations and "needs".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-72
Number of pages16
JournalSexualities, Evolution and Gender
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Embodiment
  • Female orgasmic disorder
  • Medicalization
  • Qualitative methods
  • Social construction


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