London - If you are a man who has been cursed with a less-than-generous handout in the pants department, you may want to look away now.
New research by the Journal of Sexual Medicine has shown that contrary to popular (wishful?) thinking, penis size does matter when it comes to pleasing a woman in bed.
The good news is that it only matters for some women and some types of orgasms.
The research, published online in September, has found that women who have frequent vaginal orgasms are more likely than other women to say they climax more easily with men with larger penises.
Stuart Brody, a psychologist at the University of the West of Scotland who conducted the research, asked a sample of 323 women about previous sexual encounters.
They were asked about their recent sexual behaviours as well as how important penile-vaginal intercourse and other sex acts were to them.
They were also asked whether penis length influenced their ability to orgasm with vaginal stimulation.
Defining “average” as 14.9cm, the researchers asked women if they were more likely to orgasm vaginally with a longer-than-average or shorter-than-average penis.
Brody and his colleagues found the women who reported the highest number of vaginal orgasms in the past month were most likely to say that longer was better.
Brody told Live Science: “This might be due at least in part to greater ability of a longer penis to stimulate the entire length of the vagina, and the cervix.
“Male anxiety about penis size may not reflect internalised, culturally arbitrary masculine stereotypes but an accurate appreciation that size matters to many women – just as men feel legitimate anxiety when they enter the mating market about their intelligence, personality traits, sense of humour, social status, height, wealth, and other traits known to be favoured by women across cultures.”
These findings come eight months after the same journal reported sensational new evidence that vaginal and clitoral orgasms are, in fact, completely separate phenomena and activate different areas of the brain.
A series of essays published in April said that contrary to popular belief – and many previous scientific findings – there was more than one way to satisfy a woman in bed and that the clitoris was not the only key to a woman’s sexual satisfaction.
The research showed that not only could women climax through sexual intercourse alone, but the resultant orgasm was wildly different from those reached by clitoral stimulation.
Other startling findings cited by the essays in the series include:
* Women are not only able to orgasm from vaginal and clitoral stimulation, but from stimulation at a range of erogenous zones, with some able to even “think” themselves to a peak.
* The sensitive G-spot – once thought of as a semi-mythical orgasm hot spot – could have a role in pain relief during labour by more than doubling a woman’s pain threshold.
* The ability to reach climax through vaginal stimulation could be linked to physical and mental health, with healthy women more likely to orgasm without clitoral stimulation.
In her essay, French gynaecologist Odile Buisson argued the case for the classic understanding of the female orgasm as dependent on clitoral stimulation.
According to this view, the front wall of the vagina is closely linked with the internal parts of the clitoris, meaning that stimulating the vagina without activating the clitoris ought to be impossible.
So, Buisson concludes, so-called “vaginal” orgasms could in reality be clitoral orgasms by another name.
The Journal of Sexual Medicine essays also included a provocative claim that that vaginal-only orgasms are less likely in women with poor physical and mental health.
One study found that women who had vaginal orgasms had a lower resting heart rate than others who did not experience them.
Other research has found that women who can reach a sexual peak without clitoral stimulation are less likely to use specific maladaptive psychological coping mechanisms.
Given the psychological link between different kinds of orgasms, Brody slammed as “malpractice” the common advice to women that orgasms originate only with the clitoris.
Emmanuele Jannini, a professor of endocrinology at the University of Aquila in Italy, called on women to take heed of the findings, but warned against fetishising them.
She said: “A woman should have an understanding – who is she, how is her body composed, what is the possibility of her body – but she should not be looking for something like a race, like a game, like a duty.
“Looking for the G-spot orgasm or the vaginal orgasm as a need, as a duty, is the best way to lose the happiness of sex.” – Daily Mail