07 September 2012 by

Naomi Wolf: Discussing Vaginas, 'Brain Vagina Connection' And Rape


Vagina: A New Biography, the latest book by seminal campaigner and writer Naomi Wolf (who also wrote The Beauty Myth) was arguably the most hyped book of 2012. Furious pieces about its merits and failings have been written the world over, from Suzanne Moore's brilliantly written if brutal commentary  in the Guardian on how this book is more self-help than feminist, to this review in the Economist which describes it as 'entertaining' and 'appalling'.

Either way, everyone is talking about it. So when we heard Naomi was discussing the book, female sexuality and 'brain vagina connections' in person at the excellent Intelligence Squared, Grazia went to have a listen...

As heard by Jess Duncan

 

On the history of female sexuality...

We're just coming into a new era that could take us out of 500 years of insult about our own female sexuality. Female desire is a lens through which all cultures have projected their fears about the vagina. This misunderstanding of female desire has led to a situation that despite thirty or forty years of ‘sexual revolution’, it is not working for a lot of women.

On the truth about women and sexual desire...

and another 30% report that they don't orgasm during lovemaking. No one tells women that every one is wired differently and that you have to learn your lover’s responses very patiently each time. Males are very simple, there are some basic things that make men happy. However, with females it is difficult to count the ‘sexual points’ and they are all over the place.

On orgasms and the brain...

Neuroscience shows that female sexuality is very different from conventional wisdom. There is a profound brain vagina connection. When women feel free to fantasise about rewarding sex and strategies to get it, dopamine is activated. When a woman is having an orgasm she gets Opioids, which are about ecstasy. When you have had an orgasm you get Oxytocin, which creates bonding, closeness and trust.

On female genital mutilation...

If you want to target a woman's brain, you target her vagina. Why has it been the target of Female Genital Mutilation? Vagina science really explains that. The vagina is a meeting place for various super powers in women. When a woman has a Cliteradectomy or Female Genital Mutilation, they give up that positive cycle. It's a way to subjugate women.

On 'violent' and 'non-violent' rape...

‘Non violent’ are very difficult to prosecute. Science has established a body of evidence that shows there is no such thing as a non-violent rape. It changes the female body in immeasurable ways. We need to change rape law so women are no longer ashamed. Most rapes don't get convictions right now because they start consensual and become non-consensual. If we all claim the right to yes and the right to no, that will eventually transform rape law.

 

On 50 Shades of Grey...

Everyone brings up the S&M question at some point. There is no evidence that actual rape and violent situations arouse women, when they are out of control. It is about being in control. Rape is not arousing, but many women have rape fantasies. This is why 50 Shades of Grey is flying off the shelves. The vagina is a barometer that lets a woman know when she is safe. Women really need to feel safe from 'bad stress', in order for the nervous system response that is so crucial for profound female sexual pleasure.

On orgasms post-childbirth...

Our vagina has wisdom for us at different stages of life. Women in their twenties seem to be more clitorally active and when women have babies their vagina actually gets more responsive. I'm hearing from women in their sixties that sexual desire continues but to 'use it or lose it.'

On having a vagina...

Women need to stop running; when they say fuck you, I have a vagina, sexuality and I am a serious person. The Gay Rights movement is a great model, they needed to reclaim their history and to articulate their needs. It's really critical for women to understand their own sexuality, whether they have a partner or not.

Thanks to Intelligence Squared

 


Comments

All posts must obey the house rules, if you object to any comments please let us know and we'll take the appropriate action.