Following Lucy Cosslett’s excellent article on the female orgasm in Standard Issue, the following notes are based on my experience and understanding.

1. Both vaginal and clitoral orgasms are powered from the clitoris, which is not a teeny weeny penis: it does not enter anything.

2. When a penis is inserted into their vagina, some women orgasm like popguns; they are rare, I suspect. Not my situation. I need to feel really comfortable with the man, so no anxiety re my performance. So no problem with husbands or live-ins. No luck whatsoever with one night stands.

Furthermore, the exterior circumstances need to be in tune with my mood. No success – however romantic the setting – if my back is against a picturesque stone wall and it’s raining.

3. Sex toys and plastic rabbits, the curved end of a screwdriver, anything that’s been purchased does not work for me, although it’s worth trying a you-sized cucumber to really understand what frigid feels like – and to know that you are not. If anyone calls you frigid, he’s not listening to you. Kick him out of bed.

4. Whatever suits you, tell him. Whether he can accept that or not is up to him. Whether you then accept him or not is up to you.

5. With masturbation, you are in charge of the situation, so you know what’s going on. There is no anxiety (my experience).

6. You can masturbate your clitoris to orgasm using whatever sexual images move into your mind, bidden or unbidden by you.

7. This also works for a masturbatory vaginal orgasm, if you imagine penetration by the man of your choice.

8. My novel, LACE, was a book about sex from a female point of view. On my last publicity tour for the 2012 relaunch, clearly some of the male journalists didn’t quite dare ask me at what age a woman stops having orgasms.

This was a pity, because I had a reply ready: “Why ask me? I’m only eighty years old.”

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