Anne Koedt: American activist (1941-) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Anne Koedt
American activist

Anne Koedt

Anne Koedt
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American activist
Is Activist Feminist
From United States of America
Field Activism
Gender female
Birth 1941, Denmark, Kingdom of Denmark
Age 82 years
The details (from wikipedia)


Anne Koedt (born 1941 in Denmark) is an American radical feminist and New York-based author of The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm, a classic feminist work on women's sexuality. She was connected to the group New York Radical Women and was a founding member of New York Radical Feminists.


Koedt was an early member of The Feminists, a feminist separatist group that split in 1968 from the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women; other prominent members included Ti-Grace Atkinson, Sheila Michaels, Barbara Mehrhof, Pamela Kearon, and Sheila Cronan. In 1969, Koedt left the Feminists to form the New York Radical Feminists (NYRF) with Shulamith Firestone. NYRF was organized into small cells or "brigades" named after notable feminists of the past; Koedt and Firestone led the Stanton-Anthony Brigade. By 1970, conflicting factions within NYRF had driven both Koedt and Firestone out of the group they had founded and Koedt withdrew from organized activism, later commenting "I was done with groups after that."

The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm

In 1968, Anne Koedt published her most influential work, "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm" in a radical-feminist journal titled Notes from the First Year. In the article, Koedt frankly challenged the dominant understandings of female sexual pleasure held by most medical and psychoanalytic experts of the time, who were almost exclusively male. In particular, the article took issue with the predominant Freudian(Sigmund Freud) account of female sexuality that discounted the clitoral orgasm as "juvenile" and viewed orgasm achieved through the vagina as the only "mature" form. Women who failed to achieve orgasm through penetrative, heterosexual intercourse were therefore labeled as dysfunctional or frigid by the professional community. In Koedt's view, this approach placed unfair blame on women for their lack of satisfaction during straight sex, inaccurately pathologized normal female sexual function, and caused many women to seek unnecessary psychoanalytic treatment for a nonexistent ailment rather than exploring techniques that would lead to a more pleasurable sexual experience. In support of her position, Koedt marshaled up-to-date research on the female anatomy and sexual response, including recent work by Alfred Kinsey and Masters and Johnson, to demonstrate that the clitoris, rather than the vagina, is the primary site of erotic stimulation. Koedt went on to argue that male chauvinism and the urge to maintain women in a subservient role were the primary driving force perpetuating misconceptions surrounding female sexuality.

The article was widely circulated in pamphlet form, inspiring many supporters to advocate for celibacy or to promote lesbianism as positive alternative to heterosexuality for women. Other feminist readers were more critical, taking particular issue with Koedt's assertion that women who testified to experiencing vaginal orgasms were either confused due to lack of education regarding their own bodies or "faking it " so as not to offend their male lovers' egos.

Other Writings

Koedt's December 1969 Politics of the Ego, A Manifesto for New York Radical Feminists was first published in Notes from the Second Year and later in her anthology Radical Feminism. An excerpt from this manifesto continued to be circulated as part of the 1976 "Introduction to New York Radical Feminists" pamphlet until the NYRF post office box closed in 1989.

Koedt became the editor of Notes From the Third Year replacing Shulamith Firestone in 1972. Some feminist groups felt that the more radical feminist positions that had been previously included were edited out of this third edition.

Selected works

  • Koedt, Anne (1970). The myth of the vaginal orgasm. Somerville: New England Free Press. OCLC 2393445. Available online.
    • And also as an article: Koedt, Anne (1968). "The myth of the vaginal orgasm". Notes from the Second Year. OCLC 2265246.
      • Reprinted as: Koedt, Anne (1996), "The myth of the vaginal orgasm", in Jackson, Stevi; Scott, Sue, Feminism and sexuality: a reader, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 111–116, ISBN 9780231107082.
  • Koedt, Anne (1971). Lesbianism and feminism (pamphlet). Chicago: Chicago Women's Liberation Union. OCLC 61667966.
  • Koedt, Anne; Levine, Ellen; Rapone, Anita, eds. (1973). Radical feminism. Times Books. ISBN 9780812962208.
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 19 Oct 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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