The way a woman walks might be giving away a lot more about her than she knows, a new study says.
“Gait may be associated with orgasmic ability,” is the title of a study appearing in the September issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
But not just any old walk, according to researchers. A woman who steps with an energetic, fluid stride is the one who's most likely shaking the Richter scale. “The discerning observer may infer women’s experience of vaginal orgasm from a gait that comprises fluidity, energy, sensuality, freedom, and absence of both flaccid and locked muscles.”
In order to test a theory linking blocked muscles to sexual function, researchers from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and the University of West Scotland in Paisley asked students to complete questionnaires on their sexual behavior.
The students were then divided into two groups, those who said they “often” or “always” have vaginal orgasms and those who said “never” or “rarely.” The women were asked to walk 100 meters while thinking pleasant thoughts, as if they were on a warm beach, and then another 100 meters with the same scenario but adding a male about whom they had loving thoughts.
Two sexologists, blind to which women fell into which group, assessed the walks and correctly placed the students into either orgasmic or non-orgasmic groups 81 percent of the time.
For women just getting used to airport scanning machines that can see through their clothes, the result could be disconcerting. Will the airport security guards not only know what you look like naked, but whether you have orgasms?
Don’t worry just yet. The walks don’t easily fall into colloquial categories like “swivel hips” or “hootchie momma” or, my favorite from Jack Lemmon in "Some Like It Hot," “Jell-O on springs.” Researcher Stuart Brody, professor of psychology at the University of West Scotland, calls these terms “silly” and says none of them apply.
“It is that the vaginally orgasmic women do not have blocked pelvic muscles. As a result, the walk is natural, with the natural unobstructed connection between leg, pelvis, and spine movement," says Brody.
That sounds vague, but Brody and colleagues do suggest that the sum of the length of a woman's stride, plus the amount of rotation of her vertebrae, might signal vaginal orgasm potential.
Also, all the women walked in flats, because “high heels distort the walk,” he explains. So, women in heels are inscrutable, orgasmically speaking.
Don't miss these Health stories
More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?
Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.
- Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
- Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
- CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
- What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says
- More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?
In other words, an orgasmic walk may not be a seductive walk. Instead, Brody argues, it may be a sign of good mental health, confidence and a good sexual relationship. Ability to pick up those signs may be an evolutionary adaptation allowing potential mates to assess those qualities.
Other experts aren’t quite ready to embrace any of this. The study, as Brody himself points out, was only on 16 Belgian university women. Second, Brody is among those who argue strenuously that there is a difference between clitoral and vaginal orgasms and that women can tell the difference.
The whole issue of female orgasm is still murky.
“There is absolutely no consensus whatsoever on the thing that makes a woman orgasm,” reports Tierney Ahrold, a sex researcher at the University of Texas, Austin. “Female orgasm is a kind of unstable web of factors.”
Brody and colleagues, in a statement sure to pique male anxiety, say men have a lot to do with it. Two women in the study were misdiagnosed as orgasmic though they reported never having had a vaginal orgasm. “It might be that the women have the capacity for vaginal orgasm, but have not yet had sufficient experience or met a man of sufficient quality to induce vaginal orgasm,” the authors write.
Brian Alexander is the author of the new book “America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction."
© 2013 msnbc.com. Reprints