History of Sex Surveys: Human Sexual Response Part 2 Facts and Fallacy

About the sex survey conducted by Dr. Masters and Johnson in the 1950s on Human Sexual Response, findings on psychology physiology and sex, facts and fallacy.

Survey: HUMAN SEXUAL RESPONSE

When Done: 1953--1965.

How Done: Manual and mechanical manipulation, natural coition and, for many female study subjects, artificial coition were observed and recorded. Cardiographs and other conventional medical devices measured heart rate, blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, etc. Cameras were used so that responses could be studied in slow motion. The one piece of mechanical equipment that would not be considered standard in any physiology laboratory was an electrically-powered artificial phallus, made of plastic and designed for intravaginal observation and photography.

Subjects Studied: Initial subjects were prostitutes--118 females and 27 males. Later, volunteers were enlisted on the basis of their genuine concern with the sexual problems the research might solve. Some couples were referred by their physicians. Former patients of Dr. Masters brought their husbands. In all, 694 individuals, including 276 married couples, participated. Of the 142 unmarried participants, all but 44 had previously been married. The men ranged in age from 21 to 89; the women, from 18 to 78. More than 200 had gone to graduate school; another 200 had not attended college at all, and some had not finished high school. Most were Caucasian, but 11 couples were black. Thirty-four married couples were over the age of 50. The one common characteristic of the volunteers was that all were able to reach orgasm during both masturbation and coitus while under observation. Applicants who could not were eliminated. The participants experienced more than 10,000 orgasms under laboratory conditions.

Where Done: In a laboratory at the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation in St. Louis, Mo.

Findings: The research conclusively shattered these long held "phallic fallacies":

FALLACY: Women experience 2 types of orgasms, "clitoral" and "vaginal."

FACT: All orgasms in the female are physiologically the same.

FALLACY: A women capable of experiencing multiorgasms is "oversexed" and a rarity.

FACT: All women are naturally multiorgasmic.

FALLACY: The basic causes of female failure to achieve orgasm are physiological.

FACT: The basic causes of female failure to achieve orgasm are attitudinal, "for thousands of different reasons."

FALLACY: All prostitutes are frigid.

FACT: In-depth interrogations of prostitutes revealed that the 2nd-greatest motivation for moving into or continuing in prostitution was sexual desire. (The 1st motive was economic.)

FALLACY: Nyphomania is a rare and definable disease.

FACT: Masters and Johnson's findings confirmed Kinsey's: "A nymphomaniac is a woman who has just a bit more sex tension than her partner."

FALLACY: Simultaneous orgasm is the ideal to be striven for in intercourse.

FACT: Simultaneous orgasm is a lovely thing when it happens, but to try for it deliberately would be an imposition of technique.

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