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hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

Cliteracy #576

On the Regular version of today’s show …

An encore presentation of the conversation with Dr Laurie Mintz, author of Becoming Cliterate. We talk about the orgasm gap, why it exists and what couples can do about it.

On the Xtended version …

Dr Laurie continues with me again to discuss the route to female orgasms as well as their importance.

Learn more about Laurie here

Enjoy the show!

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Speaker: You are listening to the regular version of Sexy Marriage Radio,

Corey Allan: Welcome back to another episode of Sexy Marriage Radio. Pam, I don't know if you knew this, but the SMR Getaway is next week from the time this is airing.

Pam Allan: Well, thank goodness. I do know that.

Corey Allan: Yeah. You got your plans all laid out and ready to go?

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Getting to Indy?

Pam Allan: Yeah. I'm there.

Corey Allan: I hope so.

Pam Allan: Hopefully, I'm going with you.

Corey Allan: You're going to be in the car with me.

Pam Allan: I'm looking forward to that.

Corey Allan: This is an email that came in from an exchange I had with one of the couples coming, that's going to join us there, Indy.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: And she says, she's looking forward to the weekend for sure. So a funny story. My aunt and uncle and my parents were over yesterday while they were in town. My parents are coming to take care of our children while we're in Indy. And so the topic of the marriage conference came up. Our youngest who's 10 in the middle of the living room discussion pipes up and says, "So, Mom, what exactly will you and dad do at the marriage conference? Just make out the whole time or what?" We all died laughing. And then I said, "Well, yes, but we'll be doing other things too." Huh, I thought you guys might enjoy hearing that and see you next week. Love the SMR Nation.

Pam Allan: The 10-year-old mind.

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Pam Allan: All you do is make out.

Corey Allan: I love the SMR Nation and the fact that we get a chance to have all these kinds of conversations going on in homes, not just on the podcast show that we do every single week.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: But if you want to let us know what's going on in your world or share funny stories that happen in your world or dinner table or wherever, 214-702-9565. Send us an email of feedback to, where we answer those that come in as parts of the show, some are taken care of directly, some are just added to the queue, but everything is read and helps frame the conversation. So we want your voice to join us because we're all better when everybody's involved. Just like sex, it's better when both people are involved.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Not everybody, just the two of you.

Corey Allan: Absolutely. Because the hot bed for sex is the marriage bed.

Pam Allan: Check that.

Corey Allan: We're coming up on today's regular free version of Sexy Marriage Radio. We're doing an episode on cliteracy. I love the terminology.

Pam Allan: I like it.

Corey Allan: Pam's in favor of cliteracy.

Pam Allan: Both sides getting educated on all that is good.

Corey Allan: And so what I've done is gone back into the archives and taken two episodes with Dr. Laurie Mintz. And so for the free version, this is becoming cliterate. It's the conversation she and I had about her book, which is a fantastic read, highly recommend it. And then in the extended content today, which is deeper longer, and there are no ads, it's an additional conversation she and I had on just, don't be illcliterate, where we're just getting into what is the most reliable route for female orgasm and some of the research and the work that she's done because she's done a lot in this area. And so it's a fun conversation that we had, and this is a fun episode to put both together.

Pam Allan: I like it.

Corey Allan: So all that's coming up on today's show.

Corey Allan: What really stood out to me is the new book she's got out called Becoming Cliterate. And anybody that's going to title a book that straightforward, I'm on board because that is expertly titled. And so Dr. Lauri is joining me today. So, Laurie, it's great to see you and hear you today.

Laurie Mintz: It's great to be here. Thank you for having me.

Corey Allan: So if you wouldn't mind, since Sexy Marriage Nation is going to be introduced to you with this show, tell them a little bit about you just so we kind of get some of the introductions out of the way and then let's get into making the world more cliterate.

Laurie Mintz: That sounds great to me. So I'm a licensed psychologist in private practice in Gainesville, Florida. I'm also a professor at the University of Florida where I teach the psychology of human sexuality to about 100 to 200 students a year. It's really fun.

Corey Allan: Yeah, it would be.

Laurie Mintz: Yeah. It's really fun to give them science accurate information about sex. And I'm also the author of two books. The one that you just mentioned Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters And How to Get It, and A Tired Woman's Guide to Passionate Sex.

Corey Allan: Yeah. I haven't picked that one up, but I did finish Becoming Cliterate, and that's where I want to go because the thing that stood out to me is this whole concept of orgasm inequality. And so I'm curious, how did you land in there? What kind of spurred this work?

Laurie Mintz: Well, what spurred this work is both my teaching work and my clinical work. So in teaching psychology of human sexuality, when I teach about female orgasm, it's really hard to teach about female orgasm without mentioning the fact that we have an orgasm gap. And I was also seeing this in my clinical work. And to define the orgasm gap is basically, it's the fact that men are having way more orgasms than women are. Here's just one stat. In one nationally representative US sample 64% of women versus I think it was 96% of men, my numbers might be off by one or two points, but the bottom line is about a one to three ratio that men are having significantly more orgasms than women. So I wanted to do sort of a deep dive into why is this happening and how can we change that. And that's what inspired me to write Becoming Cliterate.

Corey Allan: Okay. And so this goes down to, if you boil down the idea that the book is proposing is it's really trying to empower and equip, arm women and then in turn their partners to help raise that number.

Laurie Mintz: Exactly. It's really written to change what happens in individual bedrooms, but also culture as a whole, which is sort of a lofty goal, right?

Corey Allan: Well, you're in the world of Sexy Marriage Nation. That's our lofty goal is the same.

Laurie Mintz: Right. So I wanted to change culture as a whole and individual bedrooms to make ... orgasm isn't the only goal of sex, of course. And people can have satisfying sex without orgasm, but very few people would argue that it is a very pleasurable experience. It enhances closeness and connection. And if one party is getting three times as many of those, we have to ask, why is that and how can we change that?

Corey Allan: Right. Okay. And so let's start with the societal view of it because that's the one thing you kind of lay is the foundation, that society has taught in some regards, the man-focused, that's the point of sex, that it's penal vaginal intercourse only, and that's how you define sex as opposed to you're coming at it and your lofty goal of no, no, no sex is more broadly defined. What do you mean by that?

Laurie Mintz: Yes. So I mean, I really appreciate the way that you put that because that is such an important central premise of the book is that we define sex as penial vaginal intercourse and we have a societal script that says foreplay just enough to get her ready for intercourse, intercourse, male ejaculation, sex over. And even the words we use, sex equals intercourse. Foreplay is everything that comes before the main event. And that is so deeply ingrained in our culture, but it causes massive problems because the vast majority of women do not orgasm from intercourse alone and yet they feel that there's something wrong with them. And men often feel like this is my job. I'm a real man if I make her orgasm by lasting long, thrusting hard.

Corey Allan: Right. By just the penal vaginal route.

Laurie Mintz: Right. And so that is really, that it's so deeply ingrained and yes, we can say ejaculation, male orgasm has procreation in its favor, and I say this in the book. Writing way back in the '60s, Masters and Johnson said that doesn't account for the force with which the female orgasm has been sort of negated or considered less important in the whole scenario.

Corey Allan: Right. And so go just from the research that you found for the book, when you're talking about the vast majority of women that are unable to orgasm just from penal vaginal intercourse alone, can you remember those numbers and just to kind of ...

Laurie Mintz: I sure can.

Corey Allan: I assume you could, I mean, I know we're right in your wheelhouse with this, but this is one of those that there are so many things that come out there in the tabloid world we're in and so you could take data and you're a researcher at heart as well, so you know full well, I can take some research and I can pull out it and make it say what I wanted to say.

Laurie Mintz: Absolutely.

Corey Allan: I've appreciated ... I'm sorry to step on you just real quick, but just so my audience understands, the thing I loved about your book is you came at it from a science basis. You came at it from here's credible stuff, let me give you what the other people say too, so that way we've got the contradictions, but then people can make a choice and a decision based on here's the data. And so I would love to hear what's the data for the percentages of women that can orgasm through penal vaginal intercourse alone versus needing to have the clitoris involved.

Laurie Mintz: Yes. And I'm so glad that you found the book science based because it was. That was very important to me that it all be based on research. And the question that you're raising, what is the percentage is an area that's really fraught with some contradiction and some confusion because, and I find this really interesting, the percent depends on how you ask the question itself.

Corey Allan: Sure.

Laurie Mintz: So if you ask, do you orgasm with intercourse? So you're including the idea of intercourse in the question, which we know has all this weight, women are supposed to do that. Right?

Corey Allan: Right.

Laurie Mintz: Then about than about 30% of women say, "Oh, I can do that," even if they've only done it once or twice. But when you actually specify, can you orgasm from intercourse alone, like you're not getting your clitoris stimulated in some way by the position you're in or touching yourself during intercourse or whatever, those numbers decrease. And again, there's variety in how far they decrease. Some don't find they decrease very much, maybe 20%. Others find it goes down to 15%. But then when I ask my students a question, and I've asked this, it's been over six to 800 students about over many years, what is your most reliable route to orgasm, so I don't pull for intercourse, I just give them a bunch of choices, 4% say intercourse alone.

Corey Allan: Okay. It's a huge difference.

Laurie Mintz: Right. So, really it depends on what question you're asking.

Corey Allan: Absolutely.

Laurie Mintz: If you're really asking women, what is your most reliable route, most say some form of clitoral stimulation, whether it's paired with penetration or not, about half and half.

Corey Allan: Okay. And so with that information and with the Sexy Marriage Nation hearing this because this is going to speak to a lot of women that have bought into the idea of either I should be able to climax just during penal vaginal intercourse alone, or they realize, okay, it's 30%, so that helps alleviate some. But if they hear wait, even that could be skewed and high. So that's the point of how do we involve the clitoris? How do we, as you have aptly and succinctly put it, become cliterate as a nation and as people?

Laurie Mintz: I mean, I can give you specifics of how we do it in individual bedrooms and I'd be happy to do that because it involves changing that script. But what we need to do is do something we've never, ever, ever done in Western history, and that is consider clitoral stimulation equally as important as penetration, as much of the main event as penetration. I say in the book at one point that, if we turned the tables, we might call clitoral stimulation sex and intercourse post-play if that was the main event. But I don't think that is a good solution. I don't think we need to turn the tables because there can't be quality without equality. And to me, quality sex is about equally valuing each end each individual route to organism and holding clitoral stimulation and penetration as equally sex equally as important.

Corey Allan: Okay. So, Pam, our sponsor today is a company that's near and dear to our hearts.

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Corey Allan: And so let's do a layman's terms of how do you get the clitoris involved?

Laurie Mintz: Okay.

Corey Allan: Because I think that's valuable information. And obviously, in your book, you go to great detail of here's how.

Laurie Mintz: I do.

Corey Allan: Which, well done.

Laurie Mintz: Thank you.

Corey Allan: Because there are lots of people, and I know a lot of times in my audience or at the Sexy Marriage Radio Getaway, or some of the different things that we've done where this is just not talked about. I mean, you're never going to hear a sermon on, let's talk about the clitoris at a church. I can't imagine that we will get there as a society, although I'd go to that church because if they're willing to speak to some things that, man, that can really help some people. But we got to spend some time going where no men go or no women go sometimes, just because it's valuable to know.

Laurie Mintz: Absolutely. Thank you for being willing to go there. And I would go to that church too, so let me know if you hear of it.

Corey Allan: Okay. I will do it. You'll be on the email list.

Laurie Mintz: Okay. The chapter you're talking about where I do give kind of a play by play how do you do this, I had a lot of trouble writing that because I had to find a way to do it that wasn't the usual advice, do this and everyone will orgasm because you have to also honor the fact that every woman's body is different. Every woman's genital nerves are actually positioned a bit differently. So communication is always part of this script and we can get back to that. So what I did in the chapter and what I want to do for listeners is basically, I used the metaphor of a script. Remember I talked a minute ago about foreplay, intercourse, ejaculation, sex, sex over. That's like the play, that's the script of the play.

Laurie Mintz: And so I basically say let's change that script. And here's four types of scripts, and I can delve into any of them that you like, and they're all named after the female orgasm if it's a female reader, the male perspective if you're a male reader. So the first one is she comes first or you come first, depending on who's [inaudible 00:19:16].

Corey Allan: Right. Depending on who's reading.

Laurie Mintz: Right. And so what would that be? That would be for example, oral sex during which the woman has an orgasm followed by intercourse, where the man has an orgasm, or oral sex turn taking, where the woman comes first, or manual finger stimulation of the clitoris and then intercourse. And I'm not sure how your listeners feel and so I want to talk to them about vibrators.

Corey Allan: Oh, we have a sponsor, Covenant Spice, so we're good. Go there.

Laurie Mintz: Well, good. Okay, good. So, I mean, people have been using vibrators for centuries, as you probably have talked about, and they're not a substitute for a partner. They're just a way that many women need that intense stimulation to orgasm, so vibrator or female orgasm followed by intercourse. So basically anything that gives the woman full clitoral stimulation first, and then the next play is she comes second basically. And that play is the reverse, except there's something very important about this, that a lot of times we have images of rushing into intercourse without enough clitoral stimulation. And if a woman has intercourse before she's aroused enough, it'll actually be painful because she won't be lubricated enough and her cervix won't pull up out of the way. And 30% of women say they've had painful intercourse and not said anything to their partner, which is a lot

Corey Allan: Yeah. That confirms the importance of communication that you're alluding to of how we've got to be better at communicating with each other, but we also got to be better communicating with ourselves of like, wait, I got to face facts that this hurts and I got to say something. Because just grin and bare it is not going to help any one of us.

Laurie Mintz: No, that's not a way to enjoy what is supposed to be an enjoyable, connected part of marriage. So enough clitoral stimulation until the woman is very aroused, and then intercourse during which the man orgasms, and then some way for the woman to orgasm after, again, manual stimulation, a vibrator, et cetera. And I can get to the man's role in a minute because a lot of men will ask, well, what happens to me during all this, how do I stay excited? We can address that in a minute. And then there's the you come together, and I do not mean at the same exact time with the simultaneous mythical orgasm.

Corey Allan: The porn exacerbated, yeah, no. I know what you're talking about. That's that myth of the whole, yeah, I can't even think of the actual words that it would fit it, but it's that concept of some of that's just not even completely realistic.

Laurie Mintz: Exactly. Exactly. Plus as some writers say like how marvelous it is to experience and feel your partner's orgasm rather than try to time it. Plus if you're trying to time it, I mean the reality is you're going to be more focused on your partner than yourself, which means you're not going to be able to have an orgasm, which requires mindfulness immersing in the moment. So you come together means during the same act, not necessarily at the same time. And that act can be something like the old 69. But a lot of people say, well, that's too much going on.

Laurie Mintz: It can be mutual touching, or it can be intercourse, but intercourse in a certain position where the woman is sure to get clitoral stimulation and that can be the woman on top position, but she can rub her clitoris against the man's penis or pubic bone, but that's not enough stimulation for a lot of women, so having the woman use a vibrator or her hands on her self during intercourse. There's also actually some really interesting couple vibrators. There's a cock ring, a ring the man rears around his penis with an attached clitoral vibrator, so that the woman can actually get clitoral stimulation during intercourse. There's something called the Eva, it's a wearable vibrator. So that's coming at the same time. And then the final play is it's not necessarily a mainstay of a lot of relationships, but it is an option and I point it out, it's only you come. And only the woman comes. And when people hear that, they're like, that's weird. [inaudible 00:24:16] what's happening.

Corey Allan: That's society. Yeah. That's society speaking in this script that you're talking about, that wait, that's the unicorn that ...

Laurie Mintz: Exactly. And I had a writer write into my Psych Today blog and say, "I do this with my wife every Sunday morning. It's a loving and giving experience. I simply stimulate her to orgasm and ask nothing in return." So again, those are different ways to change that script and make clitoral stimulation just as important as ejaculation.

Corey Allan: Okay. So tell me how you think of this because what I've been doing as a trend on Sexy Marriage Radio is trying to help listeners in the Sexy Marriage Nation think of marriage as a long game. That's the beauty and sophistication of it. So therefore, it's not necessarily about the event, it's about the entirety of the events. So if you think of it in terms of, okay, hold on, so I'm going to make Pam, my wife, she's the main attraction today. It's her pleasure in this event, that's the play we're going to do. It's her. So I don't get attention at quote-unquote in that play, but so what, this is a long game. Because the next day, or later that day, or later that week, we could do a different play. And that's the thing I love about the sophistication and elegance and sacredness of marriage is this is a long act communication play.

Laurie Mintz: Absolutely. And I think that it's really important to not misinterpret that I am saying that every encounter, both people have to orgasm, whether that's in general or because you're doing the only you come event that you're right. That it is a long haul and moods change, situations change, people change. And in marriage, you kind of go with those ebbs and flows together over the long haul. But the point is if in the long haul, one person's orgasms are happening three times as many as the others consistently, that's really something we need to look at and say, why? Why is that happening?

Corey Allan: Yep. That alters everything.

Laurie Mintz: Yep. So I completely agree.

Corey Allan: Okay. So how do we then, if you can speak briefly on just finding the clitoris, I mean, I think that can be relayed over the audio waves enough, just to kind of give a little bit of a roadmap. Because I can think of some of the emails that have come in, the feedback to that talk about, "I don't know. I was not taught genitalia and a vulva." I mean the penis, yeah, everybody kind of understands that appendage because it's external and you've seen it. So it's much more complicated than just that, there's other components of it that are very elegant and sophisticated. But a woman's genitalia, that's the forbidden fruit, if you will sometimes. So walk us through a roadmap just real quick.

Laurie Mintz: Yeah. And it's true. I mean, a lot of women don't even know. There's a study, about 30% of people can't locate the clitoris on a diagram. That would not be true of the penis.

Corey Allan: Exactly.

Laurie Mintz: So honestly, the clitoris is both an internal and external organ. It's actually way bigger than people realize. But where you're really talking about locating and finding is the external part that is touchable. And basically, I hate to use this, but it's a good visual since we don't have a picture, I have pictures in the book, people talk about the little man in the boat. So if you think of a canoe, you think of a woman's vulva as a canoe, and there's a little person sitting at the top of it, that would be where the clitoris is. And in fact, what's really interesting is women have lips, they're called the inner lips and the outer lips, but don't get confused because the inner lips sometimes stick out from the outer lips. That's very normal, et cetera.

Laurie Mintz: But if a woman would take a mirror and kind of pull her vulva apart, and she would look at those inside lips, which are actually analogous to the head of the male penis in terms of infant embryo development, and she'd follow those lips up to the top, what happens is those lips meet to form the clitoral hood, which is analogous to the male foreskin. And under that hood is a gland and that's analogous to the tip of the penis. And there's a teeny, teeny little organ and for most women, it's so jammed full of nerves that it's too painful to touch directly. So a lot of people like to stimulate it through the hood that covers it or from the side or from the lips, but that's where the external clitoris is and how to find it.

Corey Allan: Good because that's information that's worth knowing because if you're really wanting to get this part of you involved, you got to know where you're heading to have it. And that's the interesting thing is that the gap from the vaginal opening to the clitoris varies among women. But a lot of times, if you're just doing penal vaginal intercourse alone, you're pretty far away if you think about it from the clitoris, so it is difficult to get it involved with quote-unquote intercourse.

Laurie Mintz: I'm so glad you brought it up. Also there's variation in how far the clitoral hood and glands are from the vaginal opening. And there's really good research that anyone who has more than about an inch, it's not close enough to where the action is to be stimulated. And I use a metaphor in the book that's not mine, but I love it, and that is, if intercourse works to stimulate the clitoris indirectly, it's because you're pulling in and out, the lips are moving. You're moving the lips and by penetration, which is stimulating the clitoris, but if you pull on your ears, it'll move the cheeks. But it's a whole lot easier to just move the cheeks directly.

Corey Allan: Just move the cheek. Exactly. If that's your goal is to get your cheeks moved by pulling your ears, it's not necessarily the best way to accomplish it.

Laurie Mintz: Exactly. Exactly.

Corey Allan: Okay. So I guess the last thing I've got on my mind is I've got some emails that have come in from husbands that they want to get access for her pleasure more. She's reluctant. She's not willing. It's happened a couple of times, but it's not a regular occurrence, even though he's a willing participant. And obviously, these are skewed because I don't know how willing he really is. It could just be, I want more warm up so I can be the main attraction. But I'm going to take it as no, they want access because they want her pleasure. Do you have some thoughts coming from a woman and a scientist and the work that you do that can help a woman realize the role that this can play, how this can enhance their life, how do you overcome the shame or the uncertainty? Can you speak to that for just a little bit as we wrap this up?

Laurie Mintz: Yeah, absolutely. And a big shout out to the men who are writing who want to make it an equal opportunity event. And I take it at face value too. To the women, I'd say the shame of your orgasm, the shame of your sexuality, the shame of clitoral stimulation in our culture is so deeply ingrained, it goes way back to Freud who said ... He started this whole mess

Corey Allan: Way to go Freud. Yep.

Laurie Mintz: Yeah. When he said the clitoral orgasm is immature, he even said when a woman is married and has had sex long enough, she will transfer her clitoral feelings to her vagina. That's like saying, well, the longer you live, you might be able to eat with your nose instead of your mouth. You don't transfer sensitivity of organ. So to the women, I'd say, this is like a lot of things that you have to work on, it's so deeply ingrained in you because you've grown up in this culture that it's okay to acknowledge that, but to move past it too, to educate yourself, to normalize what you need, to enjoy your body.

Laurie Mintz: I actually had a client, and this may be really helpful to your listeners, when she learned about the clitoris, she came back to a session and she said, "I've been thinking a lot about this." And she said, "I think that it's God's gift to me. I think the clitoris is God's gift to me and I am going to therefore, use it to the best of my ability in my marriage." And that really helped her to realize it's there for a reason. The clitoris is the only organ in all of human anatomy that its only purpose is pleasure. The penis is pleasure plus urination.

Corey Allan: Right.

Laurie Mintz: The clitoris does nothing but pleasure, so it's a very unique organ. And to give yourself a pep talk that it's there for a reason and learn about it and use it.

Corey Allan: Perfect. Yeah. Because I think that's a message that needs to be heard far and wide. So, Laurie, I have to say thank you for joining me with this. I love the fact that there are all kinds of researchers out there, more and more in the world of sex and eroticism and pleasure and the inner workings of our bodies. Because it's baffling to me, Pam, to look back and think of how ignorant we were as a society, as people in a lot of ways.

Pam Allan: And how fabulous to have this avenue to give people a good, safe place to go to listen, to hear, to learn more and not get stuck in the trash.

Corey Allan: Yeah, absolutely.

Pam Allan: Yeah. So I'm so thankful that you're doing this and you have the connections that you're making with people like Laurie, that just have such great data for the Nation to hear.

Corey Allan: Yeah. Because what we do, I mean, this is the title of the second part of the show today was Don't Be Illcliterate. Because it's such an important thing that there's still times that I come across where people don't recognize that normal penal vaginal intercourse alone isn't usually enough for a woman to reach orgasm. The clitoris has to be involved. And so the more and more times we can shout that from the rooftops or through the podcast airwaves just to let people know, I think we can help a lot of people discover what sex and marriage can actually become.

Pam Allan: Agreed.

Corey Allan: Well, this has been Sexy Marriage Radio. If we left something undone, we want to hear it from you. Let us know 214-702-9565, or feedback at So those of you in the Nation that might be heading to Indy next week, we'll see you there. Those of you that aren't, you'll be missed. We'll see you next time.