Hite graduated from Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Florida. She received a masters degree in history from the University of Florida in 1967. She then moved to New York City and enrolled at Columbia University to work toward her Ph.D. in social history. Hite attributes the non-completion of this degree to the conservative nature of Columbia at that time. She later completed a Ph.D. at Nihon University (Tokyo, Japan) and another Ph.D. in clinical sexology at Maimonides University, North Miami Beach, Florida.
Shere Hite has focused on understanding how individuals regard sexual experience and the meaning it holds for them. Hite has criticised Masters and Johnson's work for uncritically incorporating cultural attitudes on sexual behaviour into their research. For example, Hite's work showed that 70% of women do not have orgasms through in-out, thrusting intercourse but are able to achieve orgasm easily by masturbation or other direct clitoral stimulation. Only 30% of the women in her study reported ever experiencing orgasm during thrusting intercourse. She has criticised Masters and Johnson's argument that enough clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm should be provided by thrusting during intercourse, and the inference that the failure of this is a sign of female "sexual dysfunction." Whilst not denying that both Kinsey and Masters and Johnson have been a crucial step in sex research, she believes that we must understand the cultural and personal construction of sexual experience to make the research relevant to sexual behaviour outside the laboratory. She offered the criticism that limiting test subjects to "normal" women who report orgasming during coitus was basing research on the faulty assumption that having an orgasm during coitus was typical, something that her own research strongly refuted.
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