Author Naomi Wolf (pictured) had been born with a mild version of spina bifida, a condition which stops the vertebrae developing properly
When making love started to leave her cold, feminist writer Naomi Wolf felt depressed and confused.
But searching for answers lead to a startling discovery that the female orgasm is not necessarily down to experience, upbringing or a lover’s skill – experts believe it is all to do with a woman’s internal wiring.
After enjoying a satisfying sex life throughout her 30s, the best-selling author of ‘The Beauty Myth’ has told in a new book how she slowly became aware she was losing the ‘vitality’ she had once felt.
Her relationship with her partner of two years, however, still gave her ‘great emotional and physical happiness’.
Miss Wolf, 46, said: ‘To my astonishment and dismay, while my orgasms were as strong and pleasurable as ever, something very different was happening after sex, to my mind.
‘I realised one day, as I gazed out on the treetops outside the bedroom of our little cottage, that the usual post-coital rush of a sense of vitality infusing the world, of delight with myself and with all around me, and of creative energy rushing through everything alive, was no longer following the physical pleasure.
‘I felt I was losing somehow, what made me a woman, and that I could not face living in this condition for the rest of my life.’
The American academic researched her condition but found no explanation for the loss of sensation until she visited New York gynaecologist Dr Deborah Coady.
Dr Coady told her it could be a problem with the pelvic nerve - her area of expertise - being compressed and casuing numbness.
Some pelvic nerves originate in the clitoris, others from the vagina and cervix, and branch out, via the pudendal nerve to the base of the spinal cord.
Miss Wolf said: ‘All of the complexity, I would learn later, gives women several different areas in their pelvis from which orgasms can be produced, and all of these connect to the spinal cord and up to the brain.’
She was referred to Dr Jeffrey Cole, an expert in muscular-skeletal medicine who x-rayed her back and found a crumbling of her vertebrae, even though she had never experienced pain or back problems.
Scans showed two of her lower back vertebrae – L6 and S1 - had been jolted out of alignment so only half of each stack of vertebrae touched each other.
Naomi Wolf said she felt she was losing what made her a woman. She could not face living with a loss of sensation
Miss Wolf's new biography to be released next month
Using electrical impulses, he showed which nerves in her back ‘lit up’ and which were now in darkness.
It turned out she had been born with a mild version of spina bifida, a condition which stops the vertebrae developing properly.
Unaware of it, her fragile vertebrae were further damaged by a fall in a department store in her 20s, from which she thought she was unhurt.
Over the years, her spinal column drifted further out of alignment around the injury and was now compressing one branch of the pelvic nerve – that terminated in the vaginal canal. The branch to her clitoris was intact.
Dr Cole told her: ‘All women’s wiring is different. That’s the reason women respond so differently from one another sexually. The pelvic nerve branches in very individual ways for every woman. These differences are physical’.
He added that men’s sexual wiring is much more uniform.
Miss Wolf told the Sunday Times: ‘I almost fell off my chair in astonishment…neural wiring? Not culture, not upbringing, not patriarchy, not feminism, not Freud?...’
‘It presented the obvious suggestion that anyone could learn about her own, or his or her partner’s particular neural variant as such, and simply master the patterns of the special way it worked.’
She went through a painful four-hour surgery to re-fuse the vertebrae which involved putting a 17 inch metal plate with attached metal joints into her lower back.
It was three months before she was allowed to make love again – but the sensations in her pelvis returned.
Following surgery Miss Wolf was not allowed to make love again for three months - but the sensations in her pelvis returned (posed by models)
She said: ‘Slowly, but steadily as internal sensation reawakened, as the ‘blended’ clitoral and vaginal orgasms that I had been used to returned to me, sex became emotional for me again.
‘Sexual discovery for me was like that transition in the Wizard of Oz in which Dorothy goes from black-and-white Kansas to colourful, magical Oz.
‘Gradually I re-experienced the sense of deep emotional union, of post-coital creative euphoria, of joy with oneself and one’s lover…and the sense that all was well in some existential way, that I thought I had lost for ever.’
Naomi Wolf’s book ‘Vagina: A New Biography’ is published next month.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2193849/Feminist-Naomi-Wolf-finds-enjoyment-sex-nerve-wiring-repaired-surgeon.html#ixzz24fmQDMXI