The celebrity feminist has described the process by which she rediscovered her femininity - and her love of “emotionally meaningful” sex in ‘Vagina: A New Biography’.
Three years ago, the mother-of-two discovered that she was no longer connecting with sex in the satisfying way she had throughout her 30s.
“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,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Wolf as writing.
“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,” she wrote.
The 49-year-old visited a New York gynaecologist who suggested the problem may be far from in the mind, pinpointing nerve damage, which affects the different areas in the pelvis from which orgasms can be produced.
When one area is numbed or affected, orgasms may not be so full - a condition, as Wolf put it, that she could not face.
X-rays confirmed the nerve damage, caused by crumbled vertebrae L6 and S1, and revealed a mild version of congenital disorder, spina bifida.
“I almost fell off my chair in astonishment ... neural wiring? Not culture, not upbringing, not patriarchy, not feminism, not Freud?” she told the Sunday Times.
“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 said.
The solution was extensive surgery and the recovery process forbade sex for three months but the long-awaited outcome gave her a sex life that is back up to scratch, as emotionally charged and meaningful as ever.
“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,” she wrote.
“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,” she added.