What Is The Orgasm Gap?

By | July 31, 2020

National Orgasm Day is celebrated on July 31 and it may seem whimsical to dedicate a whole day to climaxing, but there are some serious conversations still to be had. Everyone deserves a fulfilling and enjoyable sex life. Being with someone who you can communicate your needs and desires to is very important but there are some key differences that persist in the bedroom. So, what is the orgasm gap? Studies have found that heterosexual women are the demographic having the least orgasms during sex and it could be down to a lack of understanding when it comes to female anatomy and the vulva. 

The orgasm gap was a term coined to describe the disparity in orgasms between couples. Also known as orgasm inequality, studies have used it to measure sexual satisfaction among different demographics. A good and healthy sex life can’t be measured purely by how many orgasms people are having. However, studies have found that there’s a considerable difference between the number of orgasms men and women are having in heterosexual relationships. 

The orgasm gap doesn’t just exist between heterosexual women and men. It has been found that lesbian and bisexual women have significantly more orgasms than heterosexual women. Similarly, there’s an orgasm gap between women when they’re alone and when they’re with a partner. A study found that 39% of women said they always orgasm when they masturbate, compared to 6% during sex. 

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It would seem that across the board, the orgasm gap stands and it’s stark. A study conducted by Durex found that 20% of women said they don’t orgasm, compared to 2% of men. Three out of four women said they can’t achieve orgasm during sex and while 30% of men said they thought the best way to help a woman orgasm is through penetrative sexual acts, more than half of women pointed to clitoral stimulation as a way to make them finish. Researchers from the Archives of Sexual Behavior assessed the sex lives of over 52,500 adult Americans. They found that the group most likely to always orgasm during sex were heterosexual men. 95% said they usually or always climax. 65% of heterosexual women said they usually or always orgasm, the lowest of all of the demographics studied. 

Writing about the orgasm gap on Psychology Today Laurie Mintz Ph.D. said, “I am not blaming penises for the orgasm gap, nor am I blaming the men who own them. I’m also not blaming the women who have sex with the men who own them. The orgasm gap is a cultural problem.”

Researchers have attributed the orgasm gap to a number of things. Understanding women’s anatomy is fundamental to knowing what you like and feeling empowered to show a partner how to achieve it. Stereotypically, the clitoris is presented as something that people either can’t find or don’t understand. However, a YouGov study found that confusion surrounding the vulva is shared by both genders, and locating clitoris isn’t so much of a problem. When asked to label a diagram of a vulva 58% of people couldn’t describe the function of the urethra, 47% didn’t know what the labia was and 52% didn’t know what the vagina was. Some used euphemistic responses such as lips. 

This lack of understanding of the female anatomy was apparent in both men and women as 59% of men and 45% of women couldn’t label the vagina. Over six in ten men and 55% of women didn’t know where the urethra was and 43% of women and 52% of men failed to label the labia. While it’s presented as the mystical pleasure button, the clitoris was in fact the only part of the diagram that most people got right.

An understanding of your anatomy and the anatomy of your partner can dramatically affect your sex life. Knowing your own body can empower you to guide another person around it, increasing your pleasure and their confidence. Heterosexual women continue to be the group least likely to have an orgasm and that may be down to a lack of understanding about bodies.

Forbes – Healthcare

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