Dodgy research again

// 22 May 2009

Just a quick one, before I rush off to help set up for this talk tonight (which, yes, if you’re wondering what to do with your Friday night in London, will be fantastic).

F-Word reader Ellen sent in the link in a comment about this feature, but I couldn’t help but share:

Female orgasm ability related to walking style

Erm, except they mean “penile-vaginal orgasm” actually, as becomes apparent immediately:

A new study found that trained sexologists could infer a woman’s history of vaginal orgasm by observing the way she walks. The study is published in the September 2008 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the official journal of the International Society for Sexual Medicine and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health.

Led by Stuart Brody of the University of the West of Scotland in collaboration with colleagues in Belgium, the study involved 16 female Belgian university students. Subjects completed a questionnaire on their sexual behavior and were then videotaped from a distance while walking in a public place. The videotapes were rated by two professors of sexology and two research assistants trained in the functional-sexological approach to sexology, who were not aware of the women’s orgasmic history.

16 whole students, wow!

The results showed that the appropriately trained sexologists were able to correctly infer vaginal orgasm through watching the way the women walked over 80 percent of the time. Further analysis revealed that the sum of stride length and vertebral rotation was greater for the vaginally orgasmic women. “This could reflect the free, unblocked energetic flow from the legs through the pelvis to the spine,” the authors note.

There are several plausible explanations for the results shown by this study. One possibility is that a woman’s anatomical features may predispose her to greater or lesser tendency to experience vaginal orgasm. According to Brody, “Blocked pelvic muscles, which might be associated with psychosexual impairments, could both impair vaginal orgasmic response and gait.” In addition, vaginally orgasmic women may feel more confident about their sexuality, which might be reflected in their gait. “Such confidence might also be related to the relationship(s) that a woman has had, given the finding that specifically penile-vaginal orgasm is associated with indices of better relationship quality,” the authors state. Research has linked vaginal orgasm to better mental health.

Comments From You

Saranga // Posted 22 May 2009 at 6:00 pm

“In addition, vaginally orgasmic women may feel more confident about their sexuality, which might be reflected in their gait.”

Utter conjecture! Unrelated bullshit!

Shellyanne // Posted 22 May 2009 at 6:59 pm

I just had a look at the link to the main article and couldn’t help but chuckle at the comment left today by “Anonymous”. Hm, yes, good choice of study there “doctor”! Genius!

Also, if you read the comments, it seems that most people recognize this as absolute tosh anyway. :o)

Jennifer Drew // Posted 22 May 2009 at 7:14 pm

Male scientists must be really desperate having to resort to specious claims that women who walk in a certain way are able to fulfil patriarchal definitions of appropriate female sexual pleasure. There is a very, very, very and yes very, long history of how sexologists, male practitioners and men in general have proclaimed real female sexual pleasure can only happen when hey presto – penis in vagina sex occurs and the woman is supposedly ecstatic! Women need to be constantly reminded that they must experience sexual pleasure and climax in one way only and that is via penis in vagina – anything else is ‘foreplay’ and not ‘full sex.’ Which begs the question just what is half sex? Less than 30% of women experience sexual climax via patriarchal definitions of female sexual pleasure but this has not prevented men from constantly proclaiming phallocentric sexual activity is the only ‘real sexual activity.’

For an accurate definition of women’s sexuality take a look at Scarleteen website because Heather Corinna neatly debunks the myth of vaginal orgasm.

But then male sexuality is rife with myths and patriarchal claims because phallocentricism is the supposed measure of what passes for human sexuality. I recommend these scientists re-read Koedt’s myth of vaginal orgasm.

What next I wonder? Will scientists declare a wonder pill has been created which will alleviate women’s lack of penis in vagina orgasmic potential? Oh I’ve forgotten such claims have already been made by some pharmaecutical companies.

Anna // Posted 22 May 2009 at 7:45 pm

‘Research has linked vaginal orgasm to better mental health.’

I wonder if that’s because those of us who can’t orgasm that way are fed up of being considered somehow defective? ..maybe?

Ian // Posted 23 May 2009 at 8:58 am

I am not a “sexologist”, but I am a University lecturer and researcher in psychology, and I teach research methods and statistics. This “research” makes me sick to my core. This is not science – it is headline-grabbing nonsense.

It actually makes me sad that this was published.

Laura // Posted 23 May 2009 at 10:59 am

“…specifically penile-vaginal orgasm is associated with indices of better relationship quality”

Because lesbians clearly all have terrible relationships. And I guess clitoral orgasms (or any other kind) are redundant, right?

polly styrene // Posted 23 May 2009 at 11:55 am

Saranga beat me to it.The use of the words ‘may’ and ‘might’ cover a multitude of sins. And are definitely not good ‘science’. Which tends to be about proving things.

Joanna // Posted 23 May 2009 at 1:12 pm

Is it just me, or is anyone out creeped out by ‘Doctors’ trying to verify the kind of orgasm a women has by watching them? It’s like we’re lab rats there to be disected and studied. I don’t want to think men can tell anything about my sexuality by the way I walk thank you. Lets try it with men now shall we?

Joanna // Posted 23 May 2009 at 1:24 pm

Has anyone taken a look at some of the comments on the website for this article? My God – I am absolutely FUMING. It’s utterly, utterly disgusting they can get away with it. There’s comments here talking about ‘frigid’ women, how you can tell when one’s been laid by her walk, how one ‘serviced 30 women’ and they could ‘barely walk’ due to ‘violent and vigorous penetration’….this has made me SO ANGRY could someone please tell me what can be done about studies like this?!!

RadFemHedonist // Posted 23 May 2009 at 3:29 pm

Oh silly Laura Woodhouse, of course lesbians all have terrible relationships, I mean what with all those female hormones making them all irrational and their lack of such feminine traits as the ability to bake cakes and apply makeup attractively, I mean sometimes they might have periods at the same time and then heads will roll/bombs will go off/babies will cry and dogs will start growling ominously/there’ll be a national chocolate shortage and het couples will be denied the full range of god-given wedding cake options…

Seriously though, this is not a scientific study, the sample size is small, and A) if there is some correlation between ability to orgasm from vagina-penis intercourse and mental health (and I doubt it) then I would think the likely explanation is that women who can’t orgasm from vagina-penis intercourse are quite likely to have societally induced feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy about this, perhaps coupled with the disappointment of male partners that their penis is not, in fact, magical (not that any man has a magic penis) and that such women may not be orgasming from partnered sexual activity at all if their male partner (if they are straight, if they are a lesbian then the dynamics are different because of the lack of male privilege and the addition of being oppressed as a homosexual), as is often the case, is unwilling to participate in sexual acts that do provide them with the necessary stimulation for orgasm or the woman lacks the confidence to voice her dissatisfaction so the male partner thinks everything is fine, even if they would happily try other things with her (such as clitoral stimulation) if they were aware. Society makes it so that women who require direct clitoral stimulation for orgasm feel they have to hide this from their partners, as if they were cheating them, which ties in with the old myth and societal standard that those in relationships do not masturbate, because that would mean admitting that none of us fits with another like a jigsaw, we all have our individuality and that men’s penises (because what is meant by sexual relationship is v-p intercourse) are not necessarily how all women always orgasm.

Saranga // Posted 23 May 2009 at 5:28 pm

Agreed with RadFemHedonist.

I am very entertained by the idea of a magic penis!

Fran // Posted 24 May 2009 at 12:49 am

I wrote about this a while ago. Stuart Brody, one of the people behind this study, has done a TON of similar studies (all with equally dodgy sample sizes) “proving” that heterosexual sex and vaginal orgasm are best. Predictably, he believes that “political correctness is stifling science.” Here’s a list of some of his articles, read to be infuriated:

KJB // Posted 24 May 2009 at 3:14 am

Oooh! Oooh! I can play this game too!

I’m a sexologist from the Sex Institute for Sexy Sexual Studies,* and I’ve discovered that you can tell how long and wide a man’s penis is, by the way he blinks. My study involves all the men I have ever seen (20?!). Subjects were encouraged to give me an estimation using their thumb and forefinger – er, I mean, observed blinking for 2 hours and also videotaped from a distance in a public setting. Over the course of a day. Of course.

Further analysis revealed that the sum of total blinks and lash contraction was greater for the men with a big porn-star rod – er, the better-endowed men.

Can I have a headline now, please?

*may be non-existent

Ben // Posted 25 May 2009 at 7:28 pm

Isn’t anyone going to make fun of “This could reflect the free, unblocked energetic flow from the legs through the pelvis to the spine”? “Energetic flow”? Really…

mdev // Posted 27 May 2009 at 3:16 pm

Gosh ! What goes on under the name of research. And that too by watching 16 students’ gait and jump to an imbecilic conclusion one way or the other. Give me a break. And these guys are sexologists?

It does not even deserve a comment.

Riv // Posted 29 March 2010 at 6:38 am

ummm… I was just looking for the history of the word dodgy…. How the hell did I end up here?

Since I am though, being but a lowly under-educated plumber I agree that the study is b.s. I mean… 16 people for a study? does that mean that 12.8 women walked with longer strides than the other 3.2?

Maybe the next study might have something to do with the average amount of plumbers that accidentally expose their backsides and the link with strip club attendance….

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