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The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm

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"The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm"
Cover of the first edition
AuthorAnne Koedt
PublisherNew England Free Press
Publication placeUnited States
Media typePrint

"The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm" is a feminist essay on women's sexuality written by American radical feminist activist Anne Koedt in 1968,[1] and published in 1970.[2] It first appeared in a four-paragraph outline form in the Notes from the First Year[3] which resulted in an extended article in Notes from the Second Year[4] journals published by the New York Radical Women[5] and was partially based on findings from Masters and Johnson's 1966 work Human Sexual Response.[6] It was then distributed as a pamphlet in its full form,[7] including sections on evidence for the clitoral orgasm, female anatomy, and reasons the "myth" of vaginal orgasm is maintained.[1]

Koedt wrote this feminist response during the sexual revolution of the 1960s. The goal of this response is to address both the "myth of the vaginal orgasm", create awareness and education for women and men about female sexual pleasure, and to counter previous thought about the female orgasm. Koedt reflects in her writing, "It was Freud's feelings about women's secondary and inferior relationship to men that formed the basis for his theories on female sexuality. Once having laid down the law about the nature of our sexuality, Freud not so strangely discovered a tremendous problem of frigidity in women. His recommended cure for a woman who was frigid was psychiatric care. She was suffering from failure to mentally adjust to her 'natural' role as a woman."[1] Koedt breaks societal barriers of what is considered acceptable to discuss and her article played a vital role in the feminist sexual revolution,[8] and draws on research done by Alfred Kinsey, among others, about human sexuality to support her claims.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Koedt, Anne (1968). "The myth of the vaginal orgasm". Notes from the Second Year. OCLC 2265246. Archived from the original on 2013-01-06.
  2. ^ Koedt, Anne (1970). The myth of the vaginal orgasm. Somerville: New England Free Press. OCLC 2393445.
    Reprinted as: Koedt, Anne (1996), "The myth of the vaginal orgasm", in Jackson, Stevi; Scott, Sue (eds.), Feminism and sexuality: a reader, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 111–116, ISBN 9780231107082.
  3. ^ New York Radical Women (1968). Notes from the First Year. New York.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  4. ^ New York Radical Women (1970). Notes from the Second Year. New York.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ Gerhard, Jane (Summer 2000). "Revisiting "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm": the female orgasm in American sexual thought and second wave feminism". Feminist Studies. 26 (2): 449–476. doi:10.2307/3178545. hdl:2027/spo.0499697.0026.216. JSTOR 3178545. PMID 16856271.
  6. ^ Henry, Astrid (2004). "Finding ourselves in the past: feminist generations and the development of second-wave feminism". In Henry, Astrid (ed.). Not my mother's sister: generational conflict and third-wave feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 83. ISBN 9780253344540. Preview.
  7. ^ H, Mata (March 12, 2011). "A month of awesome women: Anne Koedt, author of "The Myth of Vaginal Orgasm"". blogher.com. BlogHer.
  8. ^ Wade, Lisa (January 5, 2009). "Orgasmic birth and the myth of the vaginal orgasm". Sociological Images.

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