How Shere took women’s sexual pleasure to new Hites
She longed to be a composer but ended up starting a sexual revolution for women in the US
Shere Hite, the feminist writer who has died aged 77, winkled from thousands of Americans the truth about their sexual and emotional lives, and catalogued her findings in a series of controversial books – notably The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality (1976), which has sold more than 50 million copies.
The book placed the female orgasm at the centre of the feminist movement. It was compiled from some 3,500 detailed responses to a questionnaire distributed to women throughout the US, and revealed that 82% of respondents masturbated and 70% did not achieve orgasm through penetrative sex. In defiance of received wisdom, The Hite Report concluded that women orgasmed as a result of clitoral, rather than vaginal, stimulation.
Shere Hite, who styled herself as the first feminist sex researcher, decried male sexologists such as Alfred Kinsey and William H Masters for promoting the Freudian view that women who did not enjoy sex were “frigid”, or otherwise deficient, rather than understimulated...