So, can high heels really give you an orgasm?
Published 09/12/2011 | 06:00
As every girl knows, wearing high heels makes you feel sexier -- but just how sexy, exactly? French shoe designer Christian Louboutin has claimed to have discovered the real reason his high heels are so popular with women: they can give you an orgasm.
Mimicking the arched shape of a woman's foot at the all-important moment, he says: "So putting your foot in a heel, you are putting yourself in a possibly orgasmic situation."
Certainly, with their signature red sole, legion of celeb fans and exclusive price tag, Louboutin's creations have inspired lust in millions of women around the world -- but orgasm?
Pull the other leg, Christian! Sadly, today's stilettos are more likely to cause bunions or hammer toe than the Big O, according to chiropodists anyway.
"The effect of high heels on a man's libido have been well documented," says Maria Barber, distributor of Rockin' Reptile designer shoes in Ireland. "But according to my female customers, they can affect the wearer's sexual confidence just as much.
"One girl told me that everytime she wore her Rockin' Reptile Hannah shoes -- a six-inch red stiletto -- she ended up getting a date. When my own husband first saw the shoes, he encouraged me to buy two pairs!"
Dancing on Ice host Holly Willoughby, Pamela Anderson and Lady Gaga are just some of the celebrities who've boasted of wearing their skyscrapers to bed -- so could there actually be some science to Louboutin's logic linking high heels to orgasm beyond the bedroom too?
In one study of 66 women under 50, Italian urologist Dr Maria Cerruto found that high heels "directly work the pleasure muscles (pelvic floor muscles) which are linked to an orgasm".
"I adore high-heeled shoes and I wanted to find something positive about them," said Dr Cerruto of the University of Verona. "In the end I achieved my goal.
"Wearing heels during daily activity may reduce the need for the pelvic exercises necessary to keep that part of a woman's anatomy toned and elastic."
Whether fact or just friction, it's not the first time women have turned to something other than sex to achieve their own Meg Ryan moment -- washing machines set to spin, sit-ups and foot massages have all reputedly done far more than it says on the tin over the years.
After Men's Health magazine reported on the mystery of women climaxing in the gym, gym bunnies from all over confirmed that they had experienced a 'coregasm'.
"Seems on my third set of 15 reps, if I crank out a few more reps and go to 20, well, I can have an orgasm," responded one reader about her abs-fab fitness regime.
And it's not just an urban legend, according to author Dr Victoria Zdrok: "When a woman exercises, the release of endorphins and dopamine, which are necessary for orgasm, combined with the tension in the abs and lower extremities can cause clitoral stimulation" -- begging the question what might happen if you worked out in high heels.
Elsewhere, a Colorado woman who goes by the name Gabi Jones claims that it's ice-cream that leaves her in a McFlurry.
"One day as I was tucking in (to some ice-cream), I felt a tingle starting down below," recalls the 25 year old, who has a rare condition called persistent genital arousal disorder and now weighs almost 500lb after eating a lot of ice cream. "The pressure kept building until suddenly it swept through my body.
"My friends thought I was making it up. But from then on, every time I tucked into rich, creamy desserts, the trembling and tingling began."
With such breathless accounts from around the world, maybe Louboutin's high-heel-pothesis -- taken figuratively by Lady Gaga in penis-shaped shoes on American Idol earlier this year -- isn't that far-fetched after all.
For the 32% of women who say they never, or infrequently, experience an orgasm through sex, it may be worth a shot at least.
"Women are slow to learn about their sexuality," says renowned Australian sex therapist Dr Rosie King.
"Female sexual anatomy and sexual response is less straightforward than men's, and it can take time for a woman to fully explore and get comfortable with her anatomy and sexual response.
"The best way for a woman to learn how to climax is to experiment with self-stimultion -- either manually or with a vibrator," she adds.
"Unfortunately, some women become obsessed with the idea of having a 'real' orgasm -- a 'hands-free' orgasm. Does it really matter how a woman has an orgasm as long as she is sexually satisfied?" But while the female orgasm is often seen as, well, a bit hard to come by, some women don't need a man, rabbit or designer shoes to reach their destination.
As far back as the 1950s, sexologist Alfred Kinsey found that women can orgasm with their eyes closed -- peaking in their sleep to a sexy dream, just like men.
"Remember that the brain is the most powerful sex organ of all," explains therapist Lisa O'Hara of Relationships Ireland.
"But being sexual isn't just about having an orgasm.
"There's so much myth surrounding the female orgasm, and women can put themselves under so much pressure to have one they they miss all the pleasure along the way."
In the heel of the hunt, then, many women may prefer their husband to give them a pair of Louboutins rather than an orgasm in the first place.
"It's important for women to feel cherished and desired by their partner," says relationship expert Lisa.
"Orgasm simply doesn't happen for every woman through sex," she adds, "but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy yourself.
"Let's face it, sometimes sex is just a bit messy and fumbly -- the main thing is to have fun, with or without your high heels on!"