The female orgasm: lots of throbbing and quivering – but no moaning

Name: The female orgasm.

Age: As old as humans.

Appearance: Widely variable.

You know one when you see one, though. Do you really?

Yes, it usually involves a lot of moaning. Is that right?

I watch a great deal of TV, and if a female character is moaning, it’s either because she’s having an orgasm or because she ate too much ice-cream after a bad breakup. It’s funny you should mention moaning, because researchers have just found that it’s not a reliable indicator of an orgasm.

As I said, it could also be the ice-cream thing. Sexual studies use two common methods for evaluating the female orgasmic experience – the orgasm rating scale (ORS) and the bodily sensations of orgasm scale (BSOS).

What do such devices for recording this information look like? They’re basically questionnaires for subjects to self-report different sensory and physiological sensations during orgasm.

Such as? The list of variables includes throbbing, flushing, quivering, pulsating, goosebumps and sweating.

Where does moaning come on that list? According to a new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, it shouldn’t be there at all.

How can that be? On the BSOS scale, it was one of the least-reported items, to the extent that researchers suggested it was of no use at all as a measure.

What were the most-reported items? Extragenital sensations, genital sensations and sweating were some of the most common, along with “pleasurable satisfaction”.

“Pleasurable satisfaction” is what I get when I wash the car. To each their own.

Does this mean that women who moan during an orgasm are faking it? I’m asking for a friend. “Copulatory vocalisation”, as the study’s authors call it, is certainly a response that remains under the woman’s conscious control.

In hindsight, this is the lesson that When Harry Met Sally was trying to teach us. But just because it’s not common doesn’t mean it never happens. Studies have shown there are many rare but verified phenomena associated with the female orgasm, including laughing, headaches, foot pain and sneezing.

Laughing? That explains a lot. For more information, may I refer you to the 2017 study titled: “Did You Climax Or Are You Just Laughing at Me?”

I think we all know the answer to that question. Sorry.

Do say: “I’ll have what she’s having – throbbing, quivering, pulsating and goosebumps, but maybe less of the sweating.”

Don’t say: “Oh dear – sounds as if somebody’s had too much ice-cream.”