Biography and Sexual Teachings of Shere Hite Part 2

About the model turned researcher Shere Hite, biography and history of her sexual teachings.


SHERE HITE (1943- ), U.S.


Hite's obvious feminist orientation is exemplified by her statement "It is very clear by now that the pattern of sexual relations predominant in our culture exploits and oppresses women. . . . It has institutionalized out any expression of women's sexual feelings except for those that support male sexual needs."

Her statistics generally agree with those of other researchers. Only 30% of the respondents regularly achieved orgasm through the thrusts of intercourse and 29% of them never did, but most women reported that they liked it anyhow, usually because of the intimacy associated with it. Some women have what Hite calls "emotional" orgasms, which, according to her, should not be considered substitutes for "real orgasms." She feels that the penis in the vagina may act as a kind of pacifier which diffuses a woman's climax, and says, Intercourse was never meant to stimulate women to orgasm."

Stimulation of the clitoris seems to be answer. For example, of the 82% of the women who said they masturbated, 95% reported that they reached orgasm easily and quickly. Most liked cunnilingus, too, and 42% who engaged in the practice said they climaxed from it. The consensus is that clitoral orgasms are stronger than those achieved during intercourse and easier to come by.

Men, according to most respondents, do not have enough interest in giving pleasure to women. In answer to the question How have most men had sex with you? The majority said they followed what Hite refers to as the "reproductive pattern." This consists of ". . .'foreplay' followed by' penetration' and 'intercourse' (thrusting) followed by orgasm (especially male orgasm), which is then defined as the 'end' of sex." More than half the women admitted to faking orgasms at present or in the past. One said bitterly, "It's over when the male ejaculates, unless the woman is lucky enough to have more than one man in bed." But even more than orgasms, women said that they wanted spontaneity, warmth, and communication, with less focus on the genitals and more on the emotions.

Hite's recommendations? In the chapter "Toward a New Female Sexuality," she says that women should not measure their sexual performances against anyone's standards but their own. She feels that intercourse and/or orgasm need not always be the goal of sexual activity; that trends toward male passivity and androgyny are healthy.

The book reinforces other researchers' findings which point toward a higher incidence of female bisexuality and acceptance of bisexual feelings in women. Several of those who answered the questionnaire volunteered that they were attracted toward other women and were either curious about female-to-female sex or interested in entering into an affair with another woman.

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