The Yellow Notebook
As time went on, he began to use mechanical means. (I look at the word mechanical — a man wouldn’t use it.) Paul began to rely on manipulating her externally, on giving Ella clitoral orgasms. Very exciting. Yet there was always a part of her that resented it. Because she felt that the fact he wanted to, was an expression of his instinctive desire not to commit himself to her. She felt that without knowing it or being conscious of it (though perhaps he was conscious of it) he was afraid of the emotion. A vaginal orgasm is emotion and nothing else, felt as emotion and expressed in sensations that are indistinguishable from emotion. The vaginal orgasm is a dissolving in a vague, dark generalized sensation like being swirled in a warm whirlpool. There are several different sorts of clitoral orgasms, and they are more powerful (that is a male word) than the vaginal orgasm. There can be a thousand thrills, sensations, etc., but there is only one real female orgasm and that is when a man, from the whole of his need and desire takes a woman and wants all her response. Everything else is a substitute and a fake, and the most inexperienced woman feels this instinctively. Ella had never experienced clitoral orgasm before Paul, and she told him so, and he was delighted. ‘Well, you are a virgin in something, Ella, at least.’ But when she told him she had never experienced what she insisted on calling ‘a real orgasm’ to anything like the same depth before him, he involuntarily frowned, and remarked: ‘Do you know that there are eminent physiologists who say women have no physical basis for vaginal orgasm?’ ‘Then they don’t know much, do they?’ And so, as time went on, the emphasis shifted in their love-making from the real orgasm to the clitoral orgasm, and there came a point where Ella realized (and quickly refused to think about it) that she was no longer having real orgasms. That was just before the end, when Paul left her. In short, she knew emotionally what the truth was when her mind would not admit it.
It was just before the end, too, that Paul told her something which (since in bed he preferred her having clitoral orgasms) she simply shrugged away as another symptom of this man’s divided personality — since the tone of the story, his way of telling it, contradicted what she in fact was experiencing with him.