Women's health * Men's health * Sexual health * Mental wellbeing

Sorry guys, size matters

it was how big? But so do other factors says new study

When it comes to the "big O", size really does matter, new research has found. The good news for men is that it's not the only factor!

In addition to penis length, psychologists from the University of the West of Scotland found that women who are able to mentally focus on vaginal sensations were more likely to regularly experience vaginal orgasms.

The length of time spent on intercourse was also important but - and this may come as a surprise to many women - the amount of time spent on foreplay wasn't a significant factor.

Previous research by Professor Stuart Brody and his team suggested that women who experience vaginal orgasms have all round better mental health than those who don't.

The new study therefore looked at which factors are most important in stimulating a vaginal orgasm – defined as "an orgasm produced simply from movements in the vagina without any additional stimulation."

In the study, over 900 Czech women provided information about their sexual histories including orgasm frequency, sex education, sex and foreplay duration. Ingeniously, women were asked to estimate their partner's penis length by mentally comparing it to a Czech bank note. (No doubt whipping out a ruler at the time would have been a bit of a passion killer!)

Just over a third of women thought they were more likely to experience an orgasm with men who had a larger than average penis length (14.5 cm or 5.8 inches), but two thirds thought that penis length made no difference, and a minority preferred shorter ones.

However, the most important factor of all was found to be the "ability of women to focus on vaginal sensations."

The researchers also found that women who had been "taught that the vagina (or the vagina as well as the clitoris) was important for eliciting female orgasm" as part of their sex education were more likely to experience this type of orgasm compared with women who had never had any sex education at all.

And the duration of intercourse, but not foreplay, was also a significant factor.

Somewhat controversially, the authors note that many clinicians and sexologists "falsely claim that vaginal orgasm does not exist, is very rare, or the same as clitoral orgasm."

But the psychologists disagree and argue for better sex education for women at an early age.

The research is due to be published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

This article was published on Wed 16 September 2009

Image © Domen Colja - Fotolia.com

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