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the climax of sexual excitement, experienced toward the end of coitus or of surrogate forms of sexual activity, for example, masturbation and nocturnal emission. The biological role of orgasm, which is an unconditioned reflex, is to reinforce the entire sex act. Orgasm is not required in females for fertilization, and it is not experienced by females of most animal species, with some mammals being the exception. The mechanism of orgasm is complex, involving the physiologically coordinated participation of cortical, subcortical, and cerebrospinal nervous structures.
In healthy men coitus always culminates in orgasm. The majority of healthy, normal women, on the other hand, usually do not experience complete sexual arousal and orgasm until several months to several years after the initiation of a regular sex life. Subsequently, orgasm does not occur in women with every sex act; by convention, it is considered “normal” when sexual intercourse is accompanied by orgasm at least half the time. A large proportion of women—according to some data, up to 41 percent—never experience orgasm; many of them suffer from acquired anorgasmia, which can be corrected, while others may be conditionally characterized as “constitutionally frigid,” although they know all the joys of motherhood and consider their marriages happy.
Attempting to “cure” every case of anorgasmia is as unpromising as attempting to change the temperament of a human being as long as such a “cure” ignores the biological aspects of female sexuality and the differences between individuals.
REFERENCESVasil’chenko, G. S. “Orgazm.” In Patogeneticheskie mekhanizmy impotentsii. Moscow, 1956. Pages 47–51.
Imielinski, K. Psikhogigiena polovoi zhizni. Moscow, 1972. (Translated from Polish.)
Sviadoshch, A. M. Zhenskaia seksopatologiia. Moscow, 1974.
Malewska, H. Kulturowe i psychospoleczne determinanty zycia seksualnego. Warsaw, 1967.
Gebhard, P., J. Raboch, and H. Giese. The Sexuality of Women. London, 1970.
G. S. VASIL’CHENKO