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A New Synthesis - An excerpt from The G Spot by Alice K. Ladas

"In 1975, at a conference organized by the Institute for Bioenergetic Analysis, women met separately from their male colleagues for the first time. It occurred to some that in all their years of personal and supervisory therapy with men they had never dealt clearly with their feelings about being women. Although many questions were raised at their meetings, few conclusions were reached, and the women failed to express what was on their minds and in their hearts. This is not difficult to understand, even in the late 1970s, since they were all members of a professional group run by men with plenty of unspoken rules about what they ought to be and do.

If the women could not express their views publicly to one another, perhaps they could do so privately in writing. Thus Alice and Harold Ladas decided to send out an anonymous questionnaire. A second reason for the questionnaire was to see whether it would bring to the surface differences between bioenergetic theory (circa 1977) and the actual beliefs, practices, and experiences of the women involved with it, something similar to what Karen Horney had been trying to do in the 1920s. Since all of the writing and lecturing on bioenergetic analysis had been done by men, based on clinical observation and philosophical speculation, it seemed time to get objective confirmation and some feedback from the women themselves.

The protective anonymity of the questionnaire gave the women bioenergetic analysts a chance to reveal many important things about their personal and professional experiences, and to discuss their theoretical agreements and differences freely. Close to 70 percent of the 198 women responded. The most significant theoretical disagreements involved the importance of the clitoris, a word not mentioned in their meetings, possibly because they had been taught that if they were to be considered mature, they wouldn't want to admit that the clitoris still held interest for them.

According to Freud, only persons who had experienced the analytic method personally and had made analytic observations of others would be in a position to evaluate his theories adequately. The women bioenergetic analysts were the first group in history who met Freud's criteria to be asked for their views. Additionally, they fulfilled another of Freud's criteria -- that their analyses be successful. Over eighty percent of the female therapists in this study reported that they had been helped by therapy in a number of important ways. Admission to a formal training program adds credence to the success of their analyses and their subjective evaluation of themselves. Eighty-one percent reported reaching orgasm through intercourse. Nevertheless, eighty-seven percent disagreed with the statement, "Stimulation of the clitoris directly or indirectly in intercourse is not important for the mature woman."

A major conclusion of this survey then is to challenge Freud's clitoral-vaginal transfer theory. According to the respondents, women would prefer not to abandon the clitoris in favor of the vagina, but instead add vaginal responsiveness to their enjoyment of clitoral stimulation!

Another important difference concerned the women's reports about multiple climax. According to Lowen, multiple climaxes are not true orgasmic experiences, but superficial genital reactions. Yet, a majority of these women classified their "multiple climaxes" as "orgasmic" in nature -- in spite of the official doctrine.

How can we explain these seemingly contradictory statements? Here is a group of women therapists, many who have experienced personally what it means to have a "vaginal" orgasm -- an experience centered in the vagina -- yet this same group insists that the clitoris is also significant, that clitoral stimulation during intercourse is pleasurable, that the clitoral orgasm provides a satisfying release, and that their partners should help them achieve this when it is desired.

The opinions of the women therapists in this study supported the beliefs of the Freudians and neo-Freudians about the existence of vaginal orgasm as well as the views of the sex researchers about the desirability of clitoral stimulation. Masters and Johnson's notion, however, that all orgasms involve the clitoris was not confirmed by the subjective experience of most of the respondents. So again we see that either/or arguments often meet our need for simple answers but rarely succeed in capruting the nature of reality."

-Excerpted from The G Spot and Other Discoveries in Human Sexuality by Alice Kahn Ladas, M.M.S., Ed.D., Beverly Whipple, Ph.D., and John D. Perry, Ph.D. (Published by Owl Books, Chapter 1, P.18-20)

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