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Glenn, J. Kaplan, E.H. (1968). Types of Orgasm in Women—A Critical Review and Redefinition. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 16:549-564.

(1968). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 16:549-564

Types of Orgasm in Women—A Critical Review and Redefinition

Jules Glenn, M.D. and Eugene H. Kaplan, M.D.


1. The terms "vaginal orgasm" and "clitoral orgasm" are widely used but ill-defined.

2. Adequate definitions must take into account three factors: (a) the area stimulated (e.g., vaginally stimulated orgasm); (b) location of the orgastic experience (e.g., vaginally experienced orgasm); (c) the anatomical and physiological changes during orgasm.

3. Masters and Johnson found a basic pattern of anatomical and physiological changes common to all orgasms, always including vaginal contractions, independent of the area of stimulation, with marked variations in intensity and duration.

4. Correlations between observable physiological reaction and area stimulated are inconclusive. Masters and Johnson indicate that stimulation of the clitoris in masturbation often leads to more intense orgasms than those resulting from intercourse.

5. Masters and Johnson have demonstrated correlation between intensity of observed physiological response and intensity of the experience of orgasm.

6. We hypothesize a possible association of very intense physiological response in orgasm, intense grasping vaginal sensations, and oral-sadistic biting fantasies.

7. Additional investigation may demonstrate further correlations between the type of orgasm experienced and the physiological sequence observed.

8. The area in which the orgasm is experienced need not be the same as the area of stimulation.

9. There is a great variation in the location of the experienced orgasm. Sites other than the vagina and clitoris may be involved.

10. There is a great variation in the location of the area stimulated as well.

11. The type and location of orgasm experienced depend largely on the degree and distribution of cathexis of the mental representations of specific areas, the repression of sensations during orgasm, and the nature of the fantasies associated with the

orgasm. Both drive satisfactions and defenses against them influence the quality and location of the orgastic experience.

12. The location of the orgastic experience is a useful starting point for associations that will lead to the understanding of the latent unconscious meaning of the orgasm.

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