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Experiences and representations of the presence and absence of female orgasm.

Lavie, Maya; (2004) Experiences and representations of the presence and absence of female orgasm. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The aim of this thesis is to gain a greater understanding of women's experience of orgasm, and in particular, problems with the experience. Many women experience problems with orgasm. Notwithstanding the frequency of this phenomenon, it is understudied within psychology. This relates to the more general failure of sex research to acknowledge both the subjective and the social perspectives of phenomena. The theoretical grounds for this thesis are social representations approach and the embodiment approach. Informed by its theoretical basis, this thesis triangulates methodologically. The first section is constituted of a media analysis of two widely read British women's magazines. The second section draws on a semi-structured interview- based study, consisting of 50 interviews with women from three age groups, who define themselves as either having or not having problems with orgasm. The findings are wide-ranging and far-reaching. Firstly, orgasm is found to be a multidimensional experience: physical, emotional and relational. Secondly, the subjective experience of problems with orgasm is constructed differently by different women, largely in relation to their partners' reactions. Thirdly, the social representation of orgasm glorifies the experience and simultaneously pathologises women who do not have orgasms. Finally, the consequences of the findings outlined above are that they have a negative impact upon women's self image. As this thesis broadens the academic understanding of female orgasm, it hopes to contribute to a change in the social representation of female orgasm, which will empower both women and men.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Experiences and representations of the presence and absence of female orgasm.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10103868
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